Plates In Drawers: 5 Genius Reasons You Should Avoid Plates in Cabinets!

Wondering about the best plate storage—and whether you should store your plates in drawers or in cabinets? We’re sharing 5 brilliant reasons to avoid storing your plates in upper cabinets!

Growing up, everyone I knew stored plates in their upper cabinets. No one seemed to think twice about it; that’s just the way it was done.

Tradition does that. People learn how to do something without asking “Why?”…and on and on it goes!

However, when I redesigned our kitchen setup, I knew I wanted to try having my plates in a drawer!

(And I wanted to try it without those pegs people installed to “hold” the plates in place, because I didn’t think they were necessary. I also like flexibility and didn’t want the pegs to constrict us in future! 🙂 I talk more about this in our 21 Kitchen Organization Hacks.)

plates stored in a drawer with pegs

This is what I didn’t want!


We’ve Tested It For You! 🙂

women in kitchen opening a drawer full of plates stored inside
Plate storage: are cabinets or drawers best?

So after seven years of having our plates in a drawer, what did we think?

We loved it! (And we never needed the pegs. 😉 )

What did we like about it? And what are our 5 reasons why storing your plates in a drawer is better than storing them in a cabinet?


#5: Frees Upper Space!

My #5 reason is that storing your plates in drawers frees up your cabinets for smaller, lighter items!

We used ours for glassware, from water cups and wine glasses to cocktail and beer glasses (which I accumulated during my food and wine magazine years and all the sommeliers insisting that I needed them😋😂), with room for our “hidden” appliance cabinets below…

…and the other gave us room for a hot drink, tea and coffee bar station!


#4: Better Use of Every Inch (Plus Better Access)!

One thing I especially loved about storing our plates in drawers was that I could fit all our smaller little bowls and plates between all the larger ones!

In a drawer, those fit between the larger plates, whereas in a cabinet you can’t do that!

It also made it easier to access these smaller plates and bowls more easily, because you just pull out the drawer and voilà!

white plates stored in a drawer
Plates in drawers make it easier to access!

PS: Don’t think you have enough drawer space for this? You can create it!


#3: Helpful for Others!

This doesn’t just include easier access for average height or taller adults. Having your plates stored in drawers means it’s easier for shorter individuals and older children to reach too!

I like this not only for hospitality reasons but also so a separate “child drawer” area isn’t necessary, taking up even more of your kitchen storage space!

white kitchen drawers in large kitchen
I don’t just keep my plates in drawers I also keep my baking supplies in a drawer!


#2: Offers You Flexible Placement!

Plates are usually one of (if not the) heaviest item you consistently have in your dishwasher. Therefore, it usually makes the most strategic sense to store your plates as close to your dishwasher as possible.

But here’s the deal: you may not always have a great upper cabinet next to your dishwasher! (Or, in many cases, access to that upper cabinet is impeded by the open dishwasher, forcing you to have to twist and get into awkward positions to reach that upper cabinet space.)

When you know you can store your plates in drawers—that cabinets aren’t your only option—it opens up your placement options so much more!

The best placement of your plates near your dishwasher (or dishwashing area) saves a surprising amount of your time and energy (think days of your life over the years, which I’ve calculated for other kitchen ideas!).

dish drying runnels next to sink
Our built-in countertop drainboard is one of my favorite features in our kitchen!


#1: Better For Your Back!

But the #1 reason I wanted to store my plates in drawers (and still the #1 reason I liked having them this way for all those years!) was that it was just plain better for body movement!

Having your plates in drawers at waist level means it’s easier for you to both take out the plates you want as well as put them away!

woman in kitchen, storing plates in a drawer
Plate storage in drawers is better ergonomically!

For those with mobility issues or back, neck, or other physical challenges, this is golden!

And even for those of us who don’t have back problems, this helps us stay in the right position as we move and work (so important!). I had an injury a few years ago and my physical therapist was amazing. She explained about some of the most common movements we do in our homes and how we can do them better.

I don’t know about you, but I’m all for that, especially as I age!😆

Here’s a video of our plate drawer in action!


“How Else Can I Make My Kitchen Work Flow Smoothly?”

Want your kitchen to function as smoothly as ours does? While we’re booked through 2024 with client projects, you can get our Kitchen Design & Organization Guide TODAY to get yours there!

(And that’s whether you’re doing a full remodel or just want to work with what you already have!😄)

large white kitchen with drawer storage
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So if the thought of unloading a dishwasher full of plates makes your arms and back ache, you’ll want to re-analyze your current setup! We’ve done all the prep work so you don’t have to in our Kitchen Organization Guidebook!


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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Jean

    As someone who is older and who has had lower back problems, having to lean over and put plates away is much harder on the lower back, than standing up straight to put them in an upper cabinet. I’m glad it works for you, but for me, it would be a mistake. Thank you for the article. I always enjoy looking at different ideas for storage.

    1. Jess

      Yes, that’s why I like ours in the uppermost drawer—if you check out the photos you can see no leaning over needed!🤗 It’s SO great there!

      Thanks Jean!

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