I’m an organiser. For me, messes are like puzzles that can be tidied up with oodles of rubber bands, baskets, and folders. But for six years, one mess eluded me: my cutlery drawer. Filled with the spatulas and wooden spoons, serrated knives and scissors, that I use when I teach Pakistani cookery, as well as measuring cups and piping nozzles, its disorder tormented me. With a drawer too narrow to house all my utensils yet packed to the brim with stainless-steel paraphernalia, I tried everything to neaten it up, from stacking similar items together to using dividers and clips, to no avail.
The jumbled mess made it hard to find what I needed and slowed me down when I was trying to make a fast dinner. More important, the lack of usable drawer space in my small kitchen also meant that all my sharp tools lived on the countertop within reach of my three kids. But then last month, while strolling along my local high street on a much needed break from my children (including a 5-month-old baby I gave birth to in the first week of lockdown), I popped into TK Maxx. Browsing the kitchen section (my favourite part of the store), I saw a display with stacks and stacks of what looked like ordinary plastic trays. When I looked closer, I saw they were exactly what I was hunting for: a compact cutlery holder. I bought one immediately.
Made by Joseph Joseph, this clever unit stores the same amount of flatware as a standard holder but takes up half the space, courtesy of a simple design trick: building up, instead of across. Each cutlery section is layered over the other on a downward angle, so knives, forks, spoons, and teaspoons are stowed away neatly in tiers that slightly overlap. Items can be placed inside each compartment head- or handle-first — I find handle-first better because you can fit more in and immediately see the tops of everything. Choose headfirst and you’ll see only the handles sticking out of each section (a motif of a spoon, fork, or knife is embossed beside each compartment to indicate which item goes where).
I can fit all my regular cutlery in it (about 12 of each item), splitting the spoons into two stacks of six and layering the knives on top of one another, leaving me with enough room in my drawer for a compact knife holder, too. The tray never slides around, because it has nonslip feet on the base, and it’s easy to wipe clean.
Most important, I finally have room in the same drawer to store odd-shaped utensils like my spaghetti spoon, pressure-cooker weight, and meat cleaver. Plus, I’ve rid my countertop of jars full of homeless cookware. Now, the tongs I use to flip rotis with, my assortment of baking spatulas, the myriad fish slicers I’ve amassed from cookery teaching, and the single pastry brush I’ve used for years are safely tucked away inside a single childproof drawer.
The Strategist UK is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Read about who we are and what we do here. Our editors update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.