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Organization Tips for Your Kitchen

These 10 simple organization tips show how to turn empty space in kitchen cabinets and drawers into useful storage for supplies and utensils.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

Save time in the kitchen

For me, kitchen time is wasted time. I want to get the job done, get out and get on with life. So I designed these projects to give you efficiency, easy access and effortless organization. If you’re like me, you’ll appreciate the time savings. If you’re not like me—if you actually enjoy your kitchen—you’ll love the projects even more because cooking will be more convenient.

What It Takes Time: 1 to 4 hours, depending on the project
Cost: $10 to $50 if you have to buy all the materials. If you have some wood scraps lying around, most of these projects will cost less than $10.
Skill level: Beginner to intermediate
Tools: Drill, sander, table saw

Drop-down tablet tray

This tray will keep your tablet computer off the countertop. As it swings down, it also swings forward, so the tablet isn’t hidden under the cabinet. The mechanism is simple; just make and position the arms exactly as shown here and it will work smoothly. I cut the aluminum parts and rounded the corners with a grinder. When closed, small cabinet door magnets hold up the tray. I clipped the plastic ears off the magnets and glued the magnets into place with epoxy. The liner in the tray is a foam placemat cut to fit. Don’t worry, small magnets won’t harm your tablet; it actually contains magnets.

Rollout drawer for lids

Drawer in a drawer

Add a divider for upright storage

I don’t know why the pan or tray you need is always the one at the bottom of the pile. But I do know the solution: Store large, flat stuff on edge rather than stacked up. That way, you can slide out whichever pan you need. Cut 3/4-in. plywood to match the depth of the cabinet, but make it at least an inch taller than the opening so you can fasten it to the face frame as shown. Drill shelf support holes that match the existing holes inside the cabinet. Finally, cut the old shelf to fit the new space.

Rollout storage panel

If you know how to mount a slab of plywood on drawer slides, you can take advantage of all the nifty shelves, hooks and holders sold at home centers. It’s easy as long as you remember two critical things: First, make sure the drawer slides are parallel (see next photo). Second, make your cleats thick enough so that the slides will clear the cabinet door hinges. (I glued 1/2-in. plywood to 3/4-in. plywood to make my cleats.)

To install the panel in the cabinet, reassemble the slides. Hold the whole assembly against the cabinet wall and slide the panel out about 4 in. Drive screws through the cleats at the rear, then slide the panel out completely and drive screws at the front.

Cutting board storage

Hidden cutting board

Trim-head screws

Trim-head screws

Building notes

  • The costs for each project assume you have to buy all the materials, but if you have wood scraps lying around, you can cut those costs drastically.
  • All the wood projects shown here are finished with Minwax Wipe-On Poly (sold at home centers).
  • Unless otherwise noted, all the materials for these projects are available at home centers.
  • If you want to cover plywood edges with iron-on edge band, read Edge Banding With Iron-On Veneer Edging.
  • Several of these projects require joining 1/2-in.-thick wood parts. You can do that with a brad nailer, but if your aim is a smidgen off, you’ll blow a nail out the side of the part. Trim-head screws are safer. Their thin shanks won’t split thin wood (as long as you drill pilot holes), and their small heads are easy to hide with filler (or ignore).

Flip-down paper tray

Add a shelf

Instant knife rack

Back to Top

Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

    • Miter saw
    • Air compressor
    • Air hose
    • Brad nail gun
    • Cordless drill
    • Circular saw
    • 4-in-1 screwdriver
    • Countersink drill bit
    • Level
    • Drill bit set
    • Hearing protection
    • Orbital sander
    • Safety glasses
    • Self-centering drill bit
    • Table saw
    • Wood glue

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.

    • 3/4-in. plywood
    • 1/2-in. plywood
    • 1/4-in. plywood
    • 1/8-in. x 3/4-in. aluminum bar stock
    • Shelf supports
    • #10 washers
    • Cabinet magnets
    • No. 10 x 1 1/2-in. screws
    • 1 1/4-in. screws
    • 1 x 2
    • Edge banding
    • 1/2-in. thick wood
    • Angle brackets
    • Full extension drawer slides
    • 1/4-in. acrylic plastic
    • Finish washer
    • Crimp sleeve
    • Sheet metal
    • Rare earth magnets
    • Trim head screws
    • Wipe-on poly

Comments from DIY Community Members

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October 08, 8:11 AM [GMT -5]

Some of these organizers for cabinets look very good, although, I am a single woman and do not have any of the correct saws and tools required to make them. The only saw that I have is a jigsaw and I am quite handy with it. I always read all of the ideas, but think I am missing important tools to complete the job. I believe that most of your tips are for men with complete workshops, saws and tools and knowledge in constructing things like drawers.

I do enjoy getting tips for organizing rooms.

Some of your instructions are not detailed enough for a person like myself who is not very knowledgeable in building items.

Enjoy your emails.

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