How Pool Noodles Can Help You Store Knives Better

Sometimes the best ideas are found in the last place you'd expect. Take pool noodles, the inexpensive yet highly functional summertime toy. These colorful tubes of foam have a surprising amount of housekeeping uses (such as stuffing them in your boots to help them keep their shape), and in your kitchen, they can even help you store your knives.

When you store knives loose in a drawer, they rub and scrape against each other, dulling the blades, not to mention the sharp edges and points can damage the drawer (or your fingers when you go digging around in there). Using a pool noodle to organize your knives and protect the blades couldn't be easier. Once cut up, the noodles will fit in right into your drawer. They don't take up counter space like a knife block would, and won't disrupt the look of your kitchen with their candy-colored hues.

To try this out, simply cut a pool noodle to fit snugly in the width of your drawer, then cut slots down the length of the noodle for each knife you want to store. Place the knives with the sharp side of the blades down, inside the slots. This way, they can be arranged horizontally in a neat row. Because the foam is thick, it will hold your knives in place without jostling them around. When you need a knife, you can easily grab it by the handle and put it right back inside once it's cleaned.

Pool noodles are inexpensive and efficient

You can buy drawer organizers for knives in a variety of materials, such as wood or bamboo, but a pool noodle may be more efficient in more ways than one. Firstly, there's the cost: Foam pool noodles can be purchased for around a dollar in many stores. Secondly, you can cut the noodle to fit inside your drawer and slice as many slots as you need for storing knives, making the noodle tailor-made for you. A pre-made knife organizer can be too large (forcing you to return it) or too small. It might not be able to hold all your knives, or it could slide around every time you open and close the drawer. A pool noodle stays tightly in place at all times.

As far as what to do with the rest of the noodle, once you've cut off the portion you need, don't just throw it in the trash. There are so many creative ways to use these tubes, like cutting a slit in the middle of a noddle and affixing it to the side of a door to keep it from slamming. They can be used in a similar manner to add a soft foam covering to sharp edges of tables or railings, making your home safer for kids. You can even cut pool noodles into small rings to hold tea candles at a fun summer-themed party. 

Other ways to keep your knives organized

The great thing about the pool noodle method is that it can store as many knives as you like, and you can even store other kitchen utensils in the slots, like fish spatulas and kitchen shears. That being said, tools like knife blocks can have their place. Many people enjoy storing their knives right on the counter for convenience. Ina Garten uses her knife block in an unconventional way to keep her knives in tip-top shape, to give you an idea of how to use this tool efficiently. 

However, if your kitchen is cluttered or super small, you might need storage tips beyond clever use of a pool noodle or knife block. Some cooks argue that only three basic knives are needed in a home kitchen. A knife block chock-full of tools can be a boon for some, but are not an optimal choice for those with limited space. To reduce clutter, try downsizing your knife arsenal — learning to perform kitchen tasks with a limited number of tools saves money, space, and makes you a better cook.

Most of the time, the only super useful tool that comes with the purchase of a knife block is a sharpener. No matter how you store them, knives will dull over time. Luckily for space-savvy cooks, you can use a dinner plate to sharpen knives. Get smart with substitutes for single-use tools, and keeping your kitchen spacious and organized can be a much easier task.