The Best Utensil Organizer Will Tame Your Out-of-Control Kitchen Drawers

Store your flatware and cooking tools so everything is accessible for cooking and tasting. 
Photo of an assortment of flatware.
Photo by Joseph De Leo

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Welcome to Clean Enough, a new kind of cleaning column for busy home cooks who have better things to do than scrub and sanitize around the clock. Every few weeks, neurodivergent writer and mom Emily Farris shares tips, tools, and products that can help you stay on top of the dirtiest spots in the kitchen and cut down on clutter.

I don’t know how many utensil organizers I’ve purchased over the course of my adult life, but in the last year alone, I’ve had at least seven. Part of that has to do with my job (writing about this stuff) but it’s mostly due to the fact that I’ve lived in so many different places and as annoying as it is, there is no standard size for cabinets and drawers.

Most recently, I moved from a house I owned for a decade into an apartment, which forced me to rethink my whole setup. What worked in my century-old closed-off kitchen isn’t as functional in my more open, renovated one and even most expandable organizers don’t take up the full width of my two 22-inch-wide drawers.

So I set out to find an organizer with lots of compartments that would make flatware accessible for me and my young sons. I figured that while I was at it, I’d look for something that could help me organize my hazardous heap of cooking utensils. It’s no fun to have a run in with a vegetable peeler while digging through a drawer looking for a microplane, you know?

In the end, it was a modular system that finally helped me finally get my shit together—or rather, neatly separated so I can find the utensil I need when I need it. Read why I loved it below, or scroll down to hear about the trials and errors of other silverware organizers I tried.

The best silverware organization system: Oxo modular organizers

I had almost given up my quest for the perfect utensil drawer organizer when it crossed my mind that Oxo must make their own version considering their expansive cooking utensil offerings. And I was thrilled to find not just one utensil organizer, but a whole system of them. I immediately ordered four different sizes from Target, thinking one or two might work for me, and after reconfiguring them a bit, I’m using all four in my two 22-inch drawers. Now all of my small kitchen tools (even items that would have lived in a junk drawer if I had room for one) have a home.

While Oxo doesn’t exactly promote these as a whole modular system, the dividers can all be removed, flipped and swapped between organizers. And they can be expanded to fit your drawer perfectly—just pull the gray tray out as far as you need. The corners are square to eliminate gaps and these even have nonslip feet that actually work.

I’ve already reconfigured them once after thinking I had everything set exactly the way I wanted it, and I’m sure I’ll do it again after I live with this setup for a while. And that’s the beauty of this system: you can change it however you need to, when you need to. Even when if you move.

Width: Varies

OXO Long Handled Tool Organizer

OXO Expandable Kitchen Tool Drawer Organizer

OXO Expandable Utensil Drawer Organizer

OXO Compact Silverware Organizer

OXO Good Grips Expandable Utensil Drawer Organizer and Expandable Long Tool Organizer Set

An organizer that worked well enough: Brightroom 6 Compartment Organizer

Most recently, I used this fixed plastic organizer from Target’s Brightland in my old house and for a little while after moving, and for the most part, I was happy with it. The compartments are very spacious with high sides so nothing falls into the wrong place and the bright white color makes it easy to see when it’s time to clean (it’s dishwasher safe!). I also like that the top horizontal bay that runs perpendicular to the others is roomy enough to hold my Boksa cheese slicer (that I use to make citrus twists for cocktails), an Oxo Y-peeler, a bulky Oxo can opener, and a set of measuring spoons. But it was nowhere near wide enough for my utensil drawer and I really wanted at least one more vertical compartment. It also slid around in the drawer so I had to put a grippy shelf liner under it. Still, the price is very nice and if you happen to have ridiculously deep drawers or store your silverware on the counter or shelf, these organizers are stackable.

Width: 13.3 Inches

Brightroom 6 Compartment Organizer White

Other organizers I tried to love

The ubiquitous expandable plastic organizer

For a long time, I thought an organizer like this was the solution to all of my utensil drawer problems. It’s affordable, it expands to almost 23 inches, it has up to 10 compartments, and because it’s plastic, it’s easy to clean. But most models like this one have rounded corners, which makes it too easy for dust and debris to fall into the drawer and the bottom slips around in the drawer too, so I’d need to use a grippy shelf liner with this. I would also prefer a lighter color since black makes it too hard to see any dirt that falls into the compartments, and this particular model comes in five lighter colors. This is the organizer I tried, but there are many like it available at Amazon and on other retailers.

Width: 13 inches to 22.8 inches Silverware Drawer Organizer

The ubiquitous expandable bamboo organizer

This organizer is totally fine. And it almost extended the full 22 inches it would take to fill my drawer side to side. It has up to 10 compartments and I like that the corners are hard angles and line up with the corners of the drawer, but when it’s expanded, there’s a small ditch along the front that would surely be a receptacle for crumbs and debris. The adjustable dividers are also a little flimsy and because the bottom is hard, I would need to put this organizer on a grippy shelf to prevent it from sliding around when opening and closing the drawer. It does come with little labels should you need to label your compartments, but that feels like a bit much.

Width: 12.6 inches to 21.2 inches

SpaceAid Bamboo Silverware Drawer Organizer with Labels

Yamazaki Home Tower Expandable Cutlery Drawer Organizer

I am kind of obsessed with this Japanese housewares brand and already have a handful of Yamazaki pieces in my home so I really hoped the expandable cutlery organizer would work for me. Unfortunately, even when this hard plastic organizer is fully expanded, there are only five compartments and I need more than that (the little acrylic tray that sits on top is very small and shallow, so I’m not counting those compartments). It also slides around in the drawer. But all is not lost! I’m now using this to store my Nespresso pods in a narrow drawer by my Vertuo machine and it works pretty well for that.

Width: 9.8 inches

Yamazaki Home Tower Expandable Cutlery Drawer Organizer

Joseph Joseph DrawerStore utensil organizer

I really wanted to love this slim, space-saving stacked flatware organizer from Joseph Joseph, and I was hopeful it could hold all of my flatware which would allow me to put the cooking utensils in the same drawer and free up an entire other drawer for trivets and hot pads. But the center dividers don’t go all the way to the bottom, so the smaller, lighter flatware my kids use tipped over and disappeared into the bottom of this divider. Plus, the handles of my larger, sturdier pieces stuck up so far that they caught when I opened and closed the drawer. Because the handles face up, it’s kind of hard to tell what’s what (there is a tiny marking at the end of each row for spoons, forks, and knives, but it’s nearly impossible to see if you don’t know where to look). If you have a narrow, deep drawer this might work wonderfully for you, but it was not the silverware storage solution I hoped it would be for me.

Width: 7 inches

Joseph Joseph DrawerStore Compact Utensil Organizer