The kitchen is one area in the home that can get overrun and become dysfunctional without just the right storage solutions. Too few, too small or too deep cabinets, drawers and shelves can make for tricky kitchen storage and frustrating meal prep day in and day out. One of the hardest aspects of being a renter is not being able to change these more permanent fixtures, and if you’re a renter and you move a lot, it can be costly and frustrating to have to constantly buy organizers to make your space function just right. Here’s a quick, simple and inexpensive DIY project that will help you organize those kitchen drawers and make the most of the space you have!
The drawers in our current rental home kitchen are generously sized. At first, I thought it was fantastic that I could store so many things in one spot, until it started to look like this:
With just a few inexpensive supplies and about an hour of my time, however, I was able to create a perfectly tailored yet easily removable organizer that now has my drawer looking like this:
Here’s what you need:
Balsa wood or foam core sheets
Decorative contact paper (optional)
Start by emptying the drawer and purging what can and should be stored elsewhere. Then, group the remaining items into functional and logical categories, and place them back into the drawer to get a visual sense for how everything will fit.
Once the general layout is set, take some detailed measurements of the height, length and width of the drawer.
The goal is to precisely cut down the boards and notch them so when fully assembled, the organizer fits perfectly into the drawer and stands up on its own.
It is best to build the organizer one step or section at a time. Ensure each piece fits just right before moving on to the next. If the boards aren’t snug enough to the sides of the drawer or the intersections aren’t tight enough to stay in place, re-cut the boards until everything is sturdy.
To connect the wood sections, make a series of slots and notches into the balsa wood or foam core sheets. Each slot should be half the height of the entire board and the same width as the balsa/foam core thickness. In my organizer, the balsa wood was 4” tall and ¼” thick. Therefore, all my slots were 2” tall and ¼” wide. Using a straight edge and the X-ACTO knife, create slots in the middle of the boards and “hooked” notches on the ends, as shown.
To assemble the boards in a 90-degree formation, slide the notches into the cut-out slots and press gently until both boards are even across the top.
Continue to create slots and notches, piecing the organizer together just as you need it. Keep it mind that slots should always be cut out of the top and notches should be cut at the ends, on the bottom, as shown below:
Once the organizer is fully assembled, you can certainly stop here.
However, if you’d like to make it a little more decorative and durable, wrap each piece in pretty contact paper.
To wrap each piece, cut a piece of contact paper slightly wider than the cut section. Trim away all the excess paper (just on one side) with the X-ACTO knife by following the edges of the cut wood.
Fold the wood upwards onto the rest of the contact paper and continue to trim away the excess paper with the knife. Be sure to carefully cut away the paper on all the notches and slots as well.
With each piece wrapped up, re-assemble the organizer, slide it back into the drawer and place all your items back in!
Now, instead of all your utensils rolling around the drawers, everything is sorted and given a dedicated home!
This drawer organizer cost about $8 in supplies and took about one hour to assemble. Not only is it perfectly customized to fit this specific drawer, but it can quickly and easily come out when it’s time to move!
If your kitchen drawer or cabinet space is at a premium, a few simple DIYs can go a long way in adding significant form and function! Also try our DIY painted utensil jars (seen below) as a companion project for keeping often-used items at the ready, and check out these seven clever ways to add even more storage to your rental kitchen!