Kitchen Utensils Worth Keeping vs the Ones Just Taking up Space — 'It's the Secret to Decluttering Drawers'

Declutter and organize your kitchen cabinets and drawers with these expert-approved tips

A kitchen with natural stone and materials
(Image credit: Austin Leis. Design: Ome Dezin)

The new year is now in full swing, but February is still a great time to start organizing your home before spring arrives. 

If your kitchen drawers and cupboards and stuffed full with tools you hardly ever find yourself using— it might be time for a declutter. But how do you know where to start when it comes to how to organize a kitchen, and what's worth keeping?

It can be difficult to know what might come in useful, but if you're not regularly reaching for something in your kitchen, chances are you don't need it.

Luckily, these experts are on hand with some tips to help cut the clutter. Soon your kitchens will be looking beautifully streamlined!

Kitchen tools worth keeping

1. Chef's Knives

A kitchen featuring natural oak wood

(Image credit: Shade Degges. Design: Lindye Galloway Studio + Shop)

Rather than having a knife block filled with blunt knives, investing in one, good-quality chef's knife will mean you can declutter the rest. 'A high-quality chef's knife is a versatile and essential tool in any kitchen,' says Di Ter Vest, professional organizer and founder of Di Is Organized. 'It can handle a variety of cutting tasks, from chopping vegetables to slicing meat. Investing in a good chef's knife is a worthwhile decision for efficient and enjoyable meal.'

While these can be quite pricey, there are plenty of great affordable kitchen knife options out there for those of us who aren't professional chefs that you won't regret adding into your kitchen storage.

2. A Blender

a kitchen with a brick wall backsplash

(Image credit: deVOL)

A good blender is such a versatile kitchen tool— it's perfect for making soup, smoothies and sauces. 'A blender can save time in the kitchen and encourage the consumption of healthy, homemade foods,' says Di. They also often come with a takeaway cup so you can take your smoothies on the go when you're rushing out the door.

They're also perfect for making frozen drinks like milkshakes, mocktails and cocktails for hosting in your home during the warmer months. 

3. Microplane grater/ zester

a white oak kitchen

(Image credit: Haris Kenjar. Design: Hoedemaker Pfeiffer)

Used in professional kitchens worldwide, this nifty tool is small and very effective, and it won't take up much space in your drawers. 'A microplane is perfect for grating cheese, zesting citrus fruits, and even grating spices like nutmeg,' says Di. 'It adds flavor and texture to dishes.'

It's also much smaller and easier to store than a traditional grater, and is so much more versatile. 

Kitchen Tools to Declutter

A minimalist kitchen

(Image credit: Lichelle Silvestry Interiors)

1. Single-use gadgets

'The first step in dealing with any kitchen drawer is the review,' says Ben Soreff, professional organizer from House to Home Organizing. 'Take everything out and sort.'

One of the first and easiest places to start is decluttering gadgets and tools that you just don't reach for, that end up left forgotten at the back of a cupboard or drawer. 'Gadgets that only serve one specific purpose can clutter your drawers without providing much value,' says Di. 'Examples include avocado slicers or strawberry hullers.'

Ben recommends focusing on how often you use an item. 'That mellow baller or ice cream scoop might have been useful for one party, but you don't use it every day.'

By removing these objects from your kitchen, you will be able to clearly assess how much you have.

2. Novelty appliances 

Much like the single-use gadgets, it can difficult to declutter and store kitchen appliances — they take up unnecessary space and rarely get used. 'Appliances that are rarely used and take up significant counter or storage space, such as popcorn machines or panini presses, may not justify their presence if you don't use them,' says Di.

Think about how often you actually use these items to justify whether they are worth keeping. If you do find yourself using them, clearing space in a cupboard will allow you to put them away, keeping your counters clutter free.

3. Excessive plastic containers

A kitchen with storage for appliances

(Image credit: Sharon Litchfield. Design: NAKO Design)

If you're anything like us, you have a cupboard filled with mismatched food storage containers without lids! 'An excess of mismatched plastic containers and lids can quickly become disorganized and take up valuable cabinet space,' says Di. 

'Streamline your container collection by keeping a set of versatile, stackable containers with matching lids and discard damaged or orphaned pieces.'

This is an easy cabinet to tackle, and will make you feel so much more organized when you're meal-prepping or making a packed lunch.

Old or duplicated utensils

'You may find that over the years you have accumulated multiples of kitchen items like spatulas and spoons,' says Ben. 'Some came from joining apartments or your parents, and some may be beaten up, chipped or broken. Think about how expensive it is to replace, or how easy it is to purchase again.'

'Keeping multiple spatulas, ladles, or tongs that serve the same purpose can create unnecessary clutter,' says Di. 

Keeping only the essentials will streamline your collection, and duplicates or items that have been rarely used and in good condition can be donated.

Non-stick pans in poor condition

There really is nothing worse than a non-stick pan that no longer serves its function.

'Non-stick pans with scratched or damaged surfaces can release harmful chemicals and are less effective for cooking,' says Di. 'Consider regularly inspecting and replacing non-stick pans when they show signs of wear. If your budget allows, invest in high-quality cookware that lasts longer and performs better.' 

Decluttering any non-stick pans that are no longer usable will also create more pan storage cabinet space for the ones you are keeping.

How to organize your kitchen tools

'Now that you know the quantity of kitchen tools you're keeping, you can decide the best place for the items to live,' says Ben.

'Single spring-loaded dividers create zones for your kitchen gadgets and prevent not being able to find what you are looking for.'

Finally— it might be time to declutter your junk drawer. 'That junk drawer should be emptied,' says Ben. 'After reviewing, set up containers for everyday items like batteries, limited office supplies, tape measures, and a few tools- turning your junk drawer into a utility drawer,' says Ben.

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Ottilie Blackhall
Trainee Writer

Ottilie Blackhall is a master’s Magazine Journalism student at City, University of London. After graduating from the University of Edinburgh, with a degree in English Literature and History of Art, she decided to pursue her love of writing and develop her passion for writing about literature and art. Having started a book review blog during lockdown, at City she is working on her portfolio.