10 Kitchen Cabinet & Drawer Organizers You Can Build Yourself
These 10 simple organization tips show how to turn empty space in kitchen cabinets and drawers into useful storage for supplies and utensils.
Drop-Down Tablet Tray
Rollout Drawer for Lids
Drawer in a Drawer
Deep drawers often contain a jumbled pile of interlocking utensils. Our solution is a sliding tray that creates two shallower spaces. Make it 1/8 in. narrower than the drawer box, about half the length and any depth you want (ours is 1-3/4 in. deep). When you position the holes for the adjustable shelf supports, don’t rely on measurements and arithmetic. Instead, position the tray inside the drawer box at least 1/8 in. lower than the cabinet opening and make a mark on the tray. Our shelf supports fit tightly into the holes, but yours may require a little super glue. This simple drawer rests on shelf supports.
Add a Divider for Upright Storage
Of course the pan or tray you need is always the one at the bottom of the pile! Here’s 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. Screw two brackets to the cabinet floor; one to the face frame and one to the back wall of the cabinet (not shown). Finally, cut the old shelf to fit the new space. Here are more kitchen storage projects that create more space.
Rollout Storage Panel
Keep small stuff from getting lost in deep base cabinets. 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. Place a plywood spacer between the drawer members as you screw them to the panel. Screw the cabinet members to cleats. Second, make your cleats thick enough so that the slides will clear the cabinet door hinges. (We 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
To store cutting boards, mount a rack on a cabinet door (Check out these other inside-cabinet door storage ideas, too). Use a sheet of 1/4-in.-thick acrylic plastic; plywood would also work. You can cut acrylic with a table saw or circular saw as long as you cut slowly. Knock off the sharp edges with sandpaper. Round the lower corners with a belt sander. For spacers, use No. 14-8 crimp sleeves (in the electrical aisle at home centers), or any type of tube or even blocks of wood would work.
Hidden Cutting Board
The secret to this project is ‘rare earth’ magnets. The ones we used are just 5/32 in. in diameter and 1/8 in. tall. Browse online to find lots of shapes and sizes. Implant magnets at the corners of your cutting board and add more if needed.
Make the metal plate under the cabinet larger than the cutting board so the board will be easy to put away. Glue the sheet metal to plywood with spray adhesive. Drill holes near the corners and screw it to the underside of a cabinet. Drill holes sized for the magnets and drop in a dab of super glue. Insert the magnets with a nail head. Slide the nail sideways to release the magnet. The metal plate grabs the magnets. Make sure you use galvanized steel, not aluminum. Plus, learn how to make your own cutting board!
Flip-Down Paper Tray
This tray is perfect for pens and paper. When closed, it’s mostly hidden by the cabinet face frame. Hinges and magnets hold this tray in place under an upper cabinet. To install the tray, screw on the hinges first. Then open the cabinet door above and clamp the tray to the underside of the cabinet while you screw the hinges to the cabinet. Need a more robust command center? Here’s how to build a message center in your kitchen instead.
Add a Shelf
This project provides more space for plates and bowls in crowded kitchen cabinets. Most cabinets come with only one or two shelves, leaving a lot of wasted space. So we added one (and sometimes two) shelves to most of our cabinets. All it takes is 3/4-in. plywood and a bag of shelf supports. The supports come in two diameters, so take an existing one to the store to make sure you get the right size. Here’s another place to add shelves in your kitchen.
Instant Knife Rack
You can size this knife rack to suit any cabinet door and any number of knives. To build it, you just need a table saw and wood scraps. Run the scraps across the saw on edge to cut kerfs. Adjust the blade height to suit the width of the knife blades. You have to remove the saw’s blade guard for these cuts, so be extra careful. Also cut a thin strip to act as an end cap. Glue and clamp the kerfed scraps together and sand the knife rack until the joints are flush. To mount it, use two 1-1/4-in. screws and finish washers. Plus: check out these great cabinet door storage ideas.