Updated February 22, 2020 – Are your kitchen drawers stocked to the brim with a mix of spoons, forks, rolling pins, kitchen knives, condiments, and who knows what else.
With everything packed in at random, it gets frustrating sifting around just to find a butter knife.
You find yourself taking everything out to find that one thing you’re looking for. You yank a drawer open, only to find that something scraped up the insides.
Some fancy drawers come with built-in dividers to avoid these situations. Most standard drawers don’t. Don’t worry! Organizing your kitchen drawers isn’t difficult, and there are lots of great ideas and materials from which to choose.
Why Bother with Drawer Organizers?
Kitchen drawer organizers and dividers ultimately make for an easier kitchen experience for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you’re a culinary god or a student novice. Tidy kitchen drawers are always better than messy ones.
You’ll only see them briefly as you look for a spoon or something, but a well-designed kitchen drawer organizer pays for itself in the long term. An organized drawer is much less prone to damage. Messy, overstuffed drawers may end up scrapped or dented. You don’t want that to happen after you’ve invested a lot of money in remodeling your kitchen!
OXO Good Grips Expandable Utensil Organizer
OXO products are some of my favorite tools for organizing my kitchen. They understand the challenges faced when trying to create convenient storage places without sacrificing on style.
That’s why the OXO Expandable Utensil Organizer is first up on the list of the best drawer organizers and dividers.
The OXO utensil organizer is designed with space in mind. Not only space for all your flatware, but also functional space to suit any kitchen. It’s a great little divider for tight spaces.
It comes with 3 horizontal compartments set parallel to each other with a 4th compartment set vertically across. And it also has a larger compartment that you can choose to use or not. This compartment slides out and is perfect for utensils like spatulas, whisks, flippers, tippers and serving spoons.
The horizontal compartments are designed with smart little dividers which help to organize your flatware in less space. And the smaller, vertical compartment is perfect for can openers, vegetable peelers, and even cheese knives.
OXO also added a fantastic feature by giving it a non-slip coating underneath. I love this because a pet peeve of mine is utensil holders that slide around when I open and close my drawers.
If you have particularly odd-shaped drawers or narrow ones the OXO is ideal for making storage a breeze. Because of the slide-out compartment, it expands from 9.75 inches to 16.45 inches. The 3 horizontal compartments measure in at 14 x 2.5 inches and the 4th smaller compartment is 8.5 x 4 inches.
And the handy slide-out compartment is 10.5 inches when it’s fully open. But the beauty is you can slide it less if you have a smaller space. With all these sizes, you can customize in any way you like, to suit your needs.
The OXO Good Grips Expandable Utensil Organizer comes in 2 sizes to suit any drawer size. The smaller divider is 9.75 inches and the larger one is 15.5 inches. So you can pick the one that meets your organizing desires.
Although the OXO utensil holder is a smart space saver it can hold a surprising amount of flatware. This is because of the generous compartments and the genius dividers.
You have various options available to you. You can stack your flatware in opposite directions and use the dividers to keep them in place – so no more playing hide-and-seek to find that elusive fork. Or you can remove the dividers to handle all shapes and sizes of flatware.
If you have fancy flatware with molded handles don’t worry. The OXO will hold these perfectly even with the dividers. One reviewer organizes her chunky 12-piece Mikasa flatware set (Amazon) comfortably.
The OXO is made from lightweight molded plastic. A light organizer is important for the lifespan of your drawers. If your organizer is too heavy and it’s filled with flatware and other cutlery, it puts unnecessary pressure on the hinges of your drawers. And soon you’ll be repairing drawers. Although it’s light, it doesn’t compromise on durability.
I’m lazy when it comes to cleaning. But even if you’re not, you’ll also love the rounded corners of the OXO. This design makes cleaning as simple as a quick wipe with a cleaning cloth because there’s no room for dirt to collect in corners.
OXO’s cleaning instructions are to “wipe clean with a damp cloth” but from my research, many reviewers are popping it in the dishwasher. If you want to do this, I suggest only using the top shelf and a low setting. This is not a guarantee that it won’t get damaged, so it’s at your own risk.
The OXO Good Grips Expandable Utensil Organizer is a super addition to any kitchen. But like everything, there are some drawbacks. And things that can be improved.
You might be disappointed to find out that the plastic dividers are not rubber coated. But I think this is a good thing. Rubber can be hard to clean and over time dirt will settle on a coating making them look grubby.
Although the OXO fits well into narrow drawers, if you have extra narrow drawers you might not be able to fully extend the slide-out compartment. But if you need just that extra space it still works well.
Another improvement I’d like to see is a way to lock the slide-out compartment into place. Not being able to lock it into place doesn’t affect its functionality, I just think it’ll be a neat feature.
The OXO utensil organizer is not your average kitchen accessory. Its versatility, durable design and modern look makes it something special in its class. And the extra slide-out compartment alone makes it one of my favorite drawer organizer for any kitchen.
Bamboo Cutlery Tray – by Utopia Kitchen
Next up is the Bamboo Cutlery Tray by Utopia Kitchen. I like this drawer organizer for its design, functionality and eco-friendly materials.
It’s a compact, all-in-one divider with a smooth, neutral look and contemporary style that will fit like a glove in any kitchen style.
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It’s designed with 5 dividers. It has 4 horizontal compartments and one shorter vertical compartment. So you can sort and organize all your flatware like knives, forks, spoons, and even those handy kitchen gadgets.
The tray measures 13.7 x 9.8 x 2.3 inches in total. The long horizontal compartments are 10 inches inside and the shorter compartment is 9.25 inches. So this pretty little drawer organizer will even fit snugly into small apartment drawers.
But if your drawers are under 10 inches, this might not be the drawer organizer for you. Something like the OXO Good Grips Expandable Utensil Organizer from Amazon would suit you better.
Although this Bamboo Cutlery Tray is reasonably sized, it’s more suited for organizing flatware. And it could handle whisks, cooking spoons, and small kitchen gadgets. But larger kitchen tools like chefs knives, spatulas, and serving spoons will be too big.
Even with its compact design, you’ll be happy to know it can handle a fair amount of flatware. Many owners of this product keep an 8 piece flatware set in this organizer, with room to spare.
A great space-saving tip is to organize your flatware in opposite directions giving you even more room for organizing.
Like I mentioned before, the environmentally friendly material of this drawer organizer is what caught my eye. Bamboo is sustainably sourced and renewable making eco-friendly. It’s also FDA and FSC approved.
You’d think a drawer organizer made from Bamboo might be heavy. But it’s not. There’s been a lot of talk that Bamboo might be the new carbon fiber!
Although the material is light, this drawer divider is durable and sturdy. But it won’t leave scratch marks on your silverware.
This manufacturer makes also makes a great knife block that tucks your knives safely away. Read my review of the Totally Bamboo in-drawer knife block.
Cleaning the Bamboo cutlery tray is as simple as wiping it down with a clean, damp cloth. Utopia Kitchen says the organizer can be washed with mild soap and water.
One reviewer said she washes hers by submerging it in water. Although this works for her, I wouldn’t recommend it. Because regular exposure to a lot of water could cause the Bamboo to swell.
The Bamboo Cutlery Tray is a neat little drawer divider. But it’s not perfect. There are a few drawbacks just like there is to anything.
In 2016 a reviewer commented on a strong toxic-like smell when he received his organizer. Another customer made a similar comment later in the same year. In all honesty, this would have put me off too.
But in January 2017 another customer remarked on the feel-good, natural smell of the tray, and how her old drawers now smell fresh. And there have been no other remarks on a toxic smell. From what I can tell, the manufacturer is using nails instead of glue to piece the tray together. Which accounts for the fresher, more natural smell.
Also, the width of the compartments is a little narrow. Which makes it tricky to reach down to grab something from the bottom. On the plus side, the length of the compartments is roomy enough to hold flatware with a longer design.
The Bamboo Cutlery Tray is well designed and sturdy. But I don’t think it can hold as much flatware as other drawer organizers. I think it’s ideal for an 8 piece set or less – the maximum a 12 piece set. Any more, and it might start coming apart at the seams.
I’m a fan of this Bamboo Cutlery Tray by Utopia Kitchen. It fits most standard sized drawers and can easily hold the everyday flatware for a family of 4. And, if you’re eco-conscious, you’ll be happy to know you’re doing something great for the environment. While at the same time keeping your kitchen organized and beautiful.
Honey-Can-Do Steel Mesh 7-Compartment Drawer Organizer
Honey-Can-Do products are well known, especially in the kitchen. This drawer organizer a straightforward divider with a few twists. It’s designed to be expandable and offers 7 compartments. The expandable compartments offer you space to fit just about any drawer.
The problem with such large drawer organizers is they often don’t fit into regular sized drawers. But Honey-Can-Do have designed this one with a 2 inch low profile making it an easy fit. And it’s got a silver kind of finish and a nice minimalist feel.
This utility drawer organizer’s regular size is 16.5 x 20.2 x 16.5 inches. And it expands to a whopping 19 inches. This is a very useful feature.
If you need more space just expand it, if you need less just retract it. Whatever your space needs are you can pretty much get what you need with this feature.
With 7 different compartments when it’s fully extended you’ll have space for all your steak knives, forks, spoons, teaspoons and butter knives. And don’t forget those elusive kitchen gadgets that disappear into big black holes. You’ll have enough space to keep them close at hand.
Also, the tray can be separated. This gives you even more options in terms of how you want to organize your drawers.
The Honey-Can-Do drawer organizer is made from stainless steel which is great to fight off rust. Many reviewers have been using their drawer organizer for over 2 years with no rust issues.
Of course it’s up to you to make sure it’s dried off properly after washing. But as a rule stainless steel is rust resistant.
And they’ve powder coated it with material which is scratch resistant. The manufacturer claims it won’t scratch your flatware, but in the long run, I have my doubts about that. Metal on metal will always cause some scratching.
As you can imagine, cleaning a stainless steel mesh tray couldn’t be easier. The powder coating I mentioned earlier helps keep dirt and grit from collecting. But like anything if you leave it uncleaned for too long it will become sticky and gritty.
I recommend cleaning it with warm soapy water and a clean cloth. It’s also best to let it air dry and then wipe down with a drying cloth. That way you can make doubly sure there are no drops of water hiding anywhere.
The Honey-Can-Do drawer divider does come with a few drawbacks through.
In 2015 one reviewer ended up with a ruined divider after putting it in the dishwasher. This may have been a bad batch or the reviewer had the dishwasher setting too high. Either way, I wouldn’t recommend putting this organizer in the dishwasher. So, if you don’t like hand washing, this might be a problem for you.
I think there will be a problem with knife and fork tips getting stuck in the little holes of the mesh. One reviewer did mention this. Although he found it very funny watching his wife try to pry the fork out. But jokes aside, this might irritate you.
Also, the expandable compartment are not joined in any way, so you can pull them apart completely to set up the way you like. Some reviewers found this to be a drawback, but I think this is a great feature. Giving you the freedom to arrange things just the way you like them.
The Honey-Can-Do expandable drawer divider is not a bad choice if you want lots of options in terms of space. It’s well made and pretty tough if you consider some reviewers use it to organize heavy tools like hammers, screwdrivers and cutters.
But in all honesty, it’s not my first choice to use in my kitchen. I think it’s more suited to utility rooms, offices and garages. And I don’t think it’s particularly pretty either.
A surprise inside every drawer!
Like your drawers, this market may seem flooded with little difference in options. But look closer! There’s a world of kitchen drawer organizers out there. It’s just a matter of finding the one that’s right for you. Sophisticated or functional, you’ll be delighted at finally putting some organization into your drawers.
For more tips on keeping your kitchen clean and organized, check out this guide. You might also like these articles on how to clean scorched stainless steel cookware, and how to clean the outside of your fridge.
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