I Sent a Pro Organizer a Photo of My Cramped Kitchen Drawer — Here’s How She’d Get It Organized

published Dec 3, 2022
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Credit: L. Daniela Alvarez

Like most apartment dwellers, I have a tiny kitchen. The open layout of my apartment and kitchen means there’s not a ton of space for storage — I even had to push my fridge closer to my stacked washer and dryer to make room to add a slim storage cart. While I consider myself to be a notably clean and tidy person, I struggle to keep things organized in my kitchen cabinets and shelves because of the limited space. 

Since I only have three kitchen drawers, I tend to jam-pack whatever I can in them. My bottom kitchen drawer is reserved for items like food storage containers, disinfectant wipes, kitchen towels, sandwich bags, and rolls of aluminum foil and parchment paper. Accessing certain things in this cramped drawer was always a pain, especially the rolls that I never put back where I found them since they were just stacked on each other. 

Despite my insecurity to reach out for some organizational help, I decided to ask Jean Prominski, certified professional organizer and founder of Seattle Sparkle. “I know many people living in apartments are very short on space, so not everyone is going to have the flexibility to move things to another location,” she says. This reassured me since not only did I not want to rearrange my entire kitchen, but I also wanted to find a simple solution for my small space that I could stick to.

Credit: L. Daniela Alvarez

First, Prominski recommended that I get a container to hold my towels since they were standing on their own and being held together by having so many items in the drawer. This quick fix involved using one of the glass storage containers as a holder. Because I mentioned that I keep my short storage containers in a cabinet, she recommended that I move the tall plastic containers from the drawer to that cabinet to keep them together.

Next, she suggested keeping my silicone baking mats with my baking sheets in the oven to free up some much-needed space. Lastly, Prominski suggested keeping items I use less frequently toward the back.

Credit: L. Daniela Alvarez

To begin, I took everything out of my kitchen drawer. This proved helpful since there were things I had not used or even seen in months (like lids that didn’t fit any of my containers) along with little pieces of junk and trash (how an empty matchbox got to the back corner of the drawer is a mystery to me). I placed all the rolls and sandwich bags first since I wanted to prioritize their visibility and accessibility. I worked around them, adding back the disinfectant wipes, box of Swiffer dusters, and glass storage containers.

Then, I added the container of towels and other things I had space for like a box of magic erasers and a plastic squeeze bottle. I was glad to see I still had a bit of space left which I wasn’t tempted to fill so I could keep my drawer neat and organized. 

Credit: L. Daniela Alvarez

I rehomed the tall plastic containers that were originally in my drawer to one of my kitchen cabinets. This new arrangement made more sense since all my containers and lids were together in an area where I kept dry goods and unopened oils and sauces.

With a little patience, elbow grease, and an expert’s help, I was able to learn that less is more when it comes to keeping my kitchen tidy while decluttering and rearranging items can be a huge help when maximizing any area of your home.