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Kitchen Organizing: Make the Most of Drawers

Kevin Sharkey
Executive Editorial Director Decorating, Home, and Style
Kitchen Organizing: Make the Most of Drawers
Photography: Ditte Isager

Ready to get organized? The kitchen should be the room you start with, since it's the center of most living spaces. The most common problem with kitchens is that there is never enough space for everything. However, there are so many ways to optimize the space you do have without creating a mess of stacks and impossible-to-close cabinets. Here are my tips for getting the most out of kitchen drawers.

1) Instead of simply tossing tea packets and strainers in a drawer, keep them organized with a compartmentalized space like the one above.


2) Create a drawer for measuring cups, scissors, and other helpful tools.


3) Organize napkin rings into plastic containers, so you'll never have to worry about losing or misplacing any rings.


4) Martha collects Japanese knives, which she stacks neatly in their own dedicated drawer.


5) If your kitchen is the hub of your home, chances are you're constantly using it as a second office. Keep all of your labels, stationery, and other supplies in a drawer. Mesh organizers work just as well in a kitchen drawer as in a desk drawer.


6) Martha loves these jadeite containers, and she puts them to good use in this drawer. The small dishes hold all the elements of a well-prepared first-aid kit.

Kevin Sharkey
About the Author
Kevin Sharkey is Senior Vice President and Executive Editorial Director, Decorating, and Executive Creative Director, Merchandising for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. (MSLO). A designer and all-around creative expert, he plays a vital role in shaping MSLO’s editorial content and product designs. Mr. Sharkey came to MSLO in 1995 from Parish-Hadley, a venerable New York ... Read More

Comments (29)

  • keylimes 9 Feb, 2014

    Always inspiring...thanks Kevin!

  • mbf5 6 Feb, 2014

    So glad you're back blogging. You were missed. But...please, no retread photos from old MSL mags. I loved it the first time around a couple years ago, but how about some new stuff? Thx! Looking forward to it...

  • thomas 6 Feb, 2014

    Please people give it up. These are obviously pictures of drawers from MS's kitchen. With the amount of food prep and no. of parties Martha blogs about I would think 5 sets of anything is not too much. Take the photos as suggestions, not literally. Kevin Sharkey would need an entire staff to produce the kind of "realistic" blog entries from nothing that you're talking about. Take the time to write daily blogs. Let's see how original yours are.

  • SharonT-Davis45 4 Feb, 2014

    I need to organize my kitchen utensils. Creative ideas for forks, knifes and spoons. I house 10. My daily drawers are a mess. Any tips for that? And I agree with all the comments on here. As a foster home that fist aid drawe would need a lock please. And sharp knives are a no no. Unless put up. Way up. Thanks for the help.

  • Rosebud7 1 Feb, 2014

    These are great ideas. Maybe i've seen them before, but if I haven't done it yet, I love to see it again.

  • Sangria12 28 Jan, 2014

    I seem to have had a problem with the comments. I received an error on the first and repeated the comment a 2nd time(to the best of my memory). How can I eliminate one of the comments?

  • Sangria12 28 Jan, 2014

    Nice to see compartmentalized spaces AGAIN but the article has little value to those, such as myself, who have been following Martha for years. Mind you, anyone can take a photo of a drawer and say this is a compartment solution. Perhaps it would be better to include photos and an instructional DYI including a retailer list. A little more depth would be appealing to your readers. Martha used to have DYI tutorials and retailers but for some reason, ditched it. Please bring it back!

  • Sangria12 28 Jan, 2014

    Nice to see compartmentalized spaces AGAIN but the article is of little value to those who have been following Martha for years. A little more depth would be appealing to your readers. Mind you, anyone can take a photo of a drawer and say this is a compartment solution. Perhaps it would be better to include an instructional DYI including a retailer list. Martha used to have DYI tutorials but for some reason ditched it. Please bring it back!

  • Dswish 28 Jan, 2014

    Now I know how to store my five sets of measuring cups. ...Doesn't everybody have five sets of measuring cups. I'm just kidding but really, this is supposed to be the best the best website for this type of info. So the content really should be taken up a notch.

  • hannerbananer 27 Jan, 2014

    I agree with all the comments. Martha built her empire on all of us who purchase her magazine and many of the different products that she puts her name on. Her website/columns/magazine should still be relevant to all of us. I don't look at Vogue magazine, nor do I think it's beautiful. Most of us don't have multiple homes to fill with our collections. Please, get real.

  • lbbranco 27 Jan, 2014

    carole7 For my plastic lids, I use a rectangular basket and I keep that on a shelf with my containers.

  • shi ling 27 Jan, 2014

    The loose pills and the pills with no labels in that first aid drawer are accidents waiting to happen. You should remove this picture from your posts.

  • Archestrautus 26 Jan, 2014

    Kevin I enjoyed the article. The comments, not so much. Too many people want to nit pick at things. Just see the beauty in what you have presented to us. I look forward to reading more of your articles.

  • Archestrautus 26 Jan, 2014

    I love Martha's collection of Japanese knives. The ideas presented here are good but I have way to much to fit into subdivided drawers. It does however work well for silverware and utensils.

  • cvon 26 Jan, 2014

    I'm afraid Martha's in serious danger of becoming one of those "hoarders". Honestly, a drawer for her collection of Japanese knives? This kind of "better living through organizing" is becoming more and more irrelevant and ridiculous. Please give us ideas that have at least some value, and are not just something to laugh at.

  • periwinkle2manypets 25 Jan, 2014

    I found the first aid drawer horrifying. It was dangerous, there were drugs not in a container, nor labelled. Child safety?

  • Emily Magnuson 25 Jan, 2014

    where do you get the jadeite containers?

  • Gwenseeks 25 Jan, 2014

    I agree with jackieryan......why have so many of the same things? Kevin, you are out of touch with the readers of Martha Stewart. As jackieryan said: declutter first.

  • jackieryan 25 Jan, 2014

    In the first couple of pictures, why do you have so many of the same things? So many tea strainers, scissors, serving utensils (all the same size, too!) and measuring cups... Try decluttering your kitchen instead of organizing around the clutter; you'll feel better and be more in touch with your readers.

  • carole7 25 Jan, 2014

    I need an idea how to store tops to plastic storage bowls. Maybe something like a bag to store bags...would that work?

  • Joan N 25 Jan, 2014

    Beautiful, but I agree, please get real. The majority of us don't have room, or money or time
    for all that stuff. We need real life suggestions. Where do I put my hand mixer now that I've moved from a house to an apartment??

  • bakergail 25 Jan, 2014

    I don't take these ideas as "literal" roadmaps for my own home but as inspiration that I apply to my life, my house and the things I have. I think Martha's greatest value has always been to show us an ideal, something beautiful to think about. It's like Vogue magazine. How many of us would actually wear the clothes on the models? But how beautiful to look at and get ideas for our own reality.

  • BetteMc 24 Jan, 2014

    This is a person with too, too much of everything: who, in the real world, needs 5 sets of measuring cups, 4 wooden juicers and countless off-center spreaders? With all due respect and admiration, your magazine needs to come up for ideas for those of us who live in the real, tight-budgeted world.

  • Rowaida Flayhan 24 Jan, 2014

    Happy New Year Kevin! It is great to see you in a new phase. I am looking forward to learning and being inspired again in a different light. Wishing you a new beginning and a great success in all aspects.
    Best wishes
    Rowaida Flayhan

  • MVB29 23 Jan, 2014

    I have always loved Martha but really, who wants that much clutter organized/stuffed into drawers? I think that Martha needs to come down to the middle/even lower class level and start giving advice to those of us that have homes that are 3 bedroom, not 5. Martha, give new advice too....... I'm seeing the same emails that I got in 2010. Almost ready to drop out of the Martha loop here.

  • LindenBlossom 22 Jan, 2014

    My thoughts exactly! Although one has to admire the exquisite way the capsules co-ordinate with the Alca Seltzer packets ;-). Lethal but lovely!!

  • TSom 22 Jan, 2014

    I couldn't agree more @kittymom5. The first aid drawer looks lovely, but is in fact very dangerous.

  • TSom 22 Jan, 2014

    I couldn't agree more @kittymom5. The first aid drawer looks lovely, but is in fact very dangerous.

  • kittymom5 22 Jan, 2014

    As always, great ideas. However, in the picture of the First Aid supplies in Jadeite containers (6), the first thing to jump out at this retired nurse were those pills sitting open in a container! Wrong in so many was! Whatever they are, perhaps Benadryl? they should not be open to the air and moisture as they will deteriorate very quickly! Also not labeled! Worse yet, children or others could easily access these unknown pills. Entire drawer should have childproof lock. Please correct this!