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An “ABC” Approach to Kitchen Tool Storage


A number of years ago, when I was working in the non-profit world, the management of our organization brought in a consultant to help our executives with time management and personal organization. I remember two things very clearly from his advice to me after spending a half-day shadowing my job. 


The first thing he told me was that I needed to delegate. “Robby, 80% of what I’ve watched you do could be done by a well-educated sixth grader. Give those jobs to someone else so that you can concentrate on doing the things that only you can do.”


The second piece of advice had to do with organizing my work space - or, as he called it, my “work ecosystem.” I was thinking about that advice this weekend as I was making biscuits in my kitchen … and struggling to find the right space to work or to remember where the biscuit cutters were.


So sometime over the next two weeks, I’m going into the kitchen not to work, but to organize. And I think I’ll use Craig’s “ABC” approach.


This approach is dividing your tools (in this case kitchen tools) into three categories. Category A is the things that are used the most often - those things that you need almost every time you do something in the kitchen. Those “A” items ought to be out and available. For me that means hanging on a hook or sitting on the counter somewhere. I can grab them without going into a drawer, cabinet, or utensil crock. My Category A tools are my pepper grinder, salt cellar, a small metal colander, and, on hooks over the stove, three different sizes of universal silicone lids.


Category “B” would be those items that you use regularly enough to have them just one step removed from immediate access. For me, that is a kitchen drawer/cabinet or a utensil crock. It takes a little more effort to retrieve these Category “B” tools, but I don’t have to go anywhere to do that.


A key here is being rigorous enough in limiting Category “B” tools that you don’t overcrowd your storage space and make it difficult to retrieve the tool you want. An overloaded utensil drawer or an overcrowded utensil crock can make retrieving the right tool a very frustrating experience. Be rigorous in making sure that only tools you use regularly are in Category “B” space.


Category “C” would then be tools that you use infrequently. You still need to know where they are and how to easily get to them, but they don’t need to be immediately available in the kitchen. For me, that means a set of plastic utility drawers in my basement. The drawers are still well organized enough to easily find what I need, but I’m not having tools that I use once a year keep me from being able to find something I use every week.


What are your best tips for organizing your kitchen space? Let me know at robby@kneadedkitchens.com, and we’ll try to share some of them in future posts.

By Robby Richardson

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