5 things people with organized drawers always have – according to professional organizers

It isn't always enough to have drawers for organization. Sometimes, you need to organize the drawers themselves too

(Image credit: Armac Martin)

When it comes to organizing our homes, we usually think about which storage we can fit in and leave it at that.

However, given that we cannot see inside our storage at a glance, these home storage ideas can quickly become overwhelming and full of clutter as we dump items in to get them out of our line of sight. The only way to fix this? Expand our organizing ideas to those, too.

We talked to some of our favorite home organizers to learn what things people with organized drawers always have in common so we could learn from the very best.

Things people with organized drawers always have

How you organize drawers around your home might change depending on which room they are in – your kitchen organization might need some more robust and specialized organizers than organizing dresser drawers, for instance.

That being said, there are a lot of practices you can transfer across storage – these are the five essentials that will keep your home in perfect order.

1. Sectioned storage

Plastic containers in kitchen drawers

(Image credit: Life Kitchens)

Whether you are organizing deep drawers or shallow storage, people with organized drawers always section items using organizers, shares Julia Jackson, professional organizer and owner of Your Harmonized Home. There are a few ways to do this. Julia recommends using commercial bins or containers to keep your drawer organization clean and aesthetically pleasing:

‘Get the proper bins or containers. This doesn’t need to be fancy but have smaller containers and group similar items together. Using clear adhesive under each bin helps prevent them from shifting in the drawer,’ she recommends. Before shopping, try our trick for measuring for drawer organizers to make sure everything fits and you don’t waste any space.

If you are looking to organize your home without spending any money, or want to cut down on your plastic usage, James Lott, Jr. CEO and founder of The Super Organizer suggests recycling containers from around your home instead:

‘For example, when my name-brand butter container is empty, I wash it out and use that for the smaller items,’ he shares. ‘There is a name-brand gelato that has the wonderful and sturdy plastic containers they come in, I have used those for electronic cords, push pins, paper clips. etc. I had ordered pancakes from IHop thru a delivery service. When I was done, I used that to put in my drawer for screwdrivers, and scissors. You are helping the environment, saving money, and staying organized.'

2. One drawer per category of item

Double vanity, grey drawers, tile floor

(Image credit: Future)

Where space allows, people with organized drawers will usually try to have only one category of item per drawer to help keep their storage streamlined, says Robyn Reynolds, certified professional organizer and owner of Organzie2Harmonize. This kind of organizing system is perfect for tasks such as organizing kitchen drawers or organizing a home office, she adds:

‘As for systems, organize your drawers with like items. In the kitchen have one or more drawers with cooking utensils, one to use as your junk drawer. The same is true of the office/desk drawers. Within each drawer, the organizers should house the same type of item or be used for the same purpose.

‘For example, in the kitchen serving utensils together, spatulas together, wine corks, measuring spoons, etc. In the office, pens together, then pencils, markers, notepads, and the like.’

3. A good decluttering scheme

Several acrylic bathroom drawer organizers

(Image credit: Igishevamaria via Getty Images)

It is not enough to declutter once and leave it at that. People with organized drawers usually have a great decluttering scheme that they revisit regularly, says Robyn Reynolds, certified professional organizer. ‘To begin, spend 10-15 decluttering what isn't necessary and organize the rest. Continue on to more drawers if you have the time and the bandwidth. Once you see the progress it will motivate you to keep going.’

4. They have patience

living room with coral sofa and dark wood chest of drawers

(Image credit: Katie Merkle)

While social media would have us believe that organizing our home can all be done in one day, that is rarely the case. People with organized drawers have the patience to know that collecting all the best organizers and finding the perfect system that works for you takes time.

‘Sometimes, even the thought of organizing drawers can feel so overwhelming. My tip for overcoming this hurdle is to start small. Really, really small. If you're feeling overwhelmed, don’t try to organize all the drawers in a room in one day or weekend. Set a goal to organize one drawer per day,’ urges Julia Jackson, professional organizer.

‘Then, plan regular maintenance to keep the drawer in order,’ she adds. ‘Once it’s streamlined, it becomes easier to keep it tidy and nice. Once a week or month, remove what’s accumulated to keep it looking fresh.’

5. Clean drawers

bathroom with double vanity, mirror and drawers

(Image credit: Future PLC)

A well-organized drawer isn’t just one with organizers and minimal clutter – they are also clean, too. Even if the items we put into our drawers are clean, be it laundry or our office supplies, drawers have an annoying habit of getting dirty quickly.

When decluttering your drawers, consider using a microfiber cloth with an all-purpose spray, or a mini vacuum cleaner, to pick up dust and debris to keep your organization and your items in top condition.


Why should you use drawer organizers?

Although it can seem pointless to use drawer organizers – or even a waste of space – using drawer dividers can help to keep items together and easy to find, and prevent things from getting lost at the back, or falling down the back of the drawer. They can even make the drawer more practical by allowing you to stack storage on top of each other to make use of deeper drawers.

Are drawers better than shelves for storage?

Generally speaking, drawers are more practical than shelves for storage – be it in a kitchen, or for organizing clothes. They help to conceal clutter so that it is not visually overwhelming but they contain the clutter so that it does not overflow into the rest of your space. They also help to keep items cleaner, as they are not subjected to dust or grease.

‘The main thing that people have with organized drawers is peace of mind, less stress, and more time,’ concludes Robyn Reynolds, certified professional organizer. ‘An organized drawer allows you to easily see what you need when you need it. You are less stressed because you know exactly where to go to find what you need and you spend less time looking for things which gives you more free time.’

Chiana Dickson
Content Editor

Chiana has been at Homes & Gardens for two years, having started her journey in interior journalism as part of the graduate program. She spends most of her time producing content for the Solved section of the website, helping readers get the most out of their homes through clever decluttering, cleaning, and tidying tips – many of which she tests and reviews herself in her home in Lancaster to ensure they will consistently deliver for her readers and dabbles in the latest design trends. She also has a first-class degree in Literature from Lancaster University.