How to Make a Customized Drawer Organizer for FREE!

How to Make a Customized Drawer Organizer for FREE!

How many of you have a junk drawer? I think everyone has at least one. This one belongs exclusively to my kids for their pencils, markers and everything else they need for art projects or homework.

What has always bothered me about THIS drawer is, no matter how many times I tried to organize it, it always ends up like a hot mess and we can never find anything without digging around. Pencils, markers and crayons end up without their boxes and disheveled with no regard for the cute little boxes or organizers I’ve purchased in the past. Not to mention the time I’ve spent on several occasions cleaning it out. It drives me CRAZY!

I searched the internet and always found the same results. By fancy organizers or use cutlery holders. Which is nice but I’ve tried those and was determined not to spend a penny more for this drawer. One day I was helping my son with a diorama for a class project when it hit me! CARDBOARD!

I thought it was strange too. On an inquisitive mission, I emptied the drawer on the carpet and placed a box inside. It fit one way, but not the other. Hmmm…. it wasn’t deeper than the drawer and with a little measuring, cutting and tweaking, I thought I could customize it to fit what we had by the sizes, length and width of the drawer. I began to separate everything into piles….  pencils with pencils, crayons with crayons, markers with markers and other like items so I could see how much space they took up and what the length would be. With so many sizes for different items, you really have to make these piles first.

Keep in mind that these were not deep or large boxes…which was perfect. One box I had,  was used to ship a replacement laptop battery. You can use many different kinds of boxes as long as they aren’t deeper than your drawer. I wouldn’t use shoe boxes, the cardboard is too thin. You really need the thicker shipping cardboard.

I measured the sides, then cut off the box lid. The sides of the lid (or flaps ) will come into play later so don’t discard them just yet.

I placed the box on top of the inside of the drawer. This box was too long for the direction I needed so I used a marker to mark where my cut off would be. I measured a pinch larger so if it didn’t slide into the drawer tightly, I could cut a little off until it did. You want these to be snug but not so tight that the cardboard bends or buckles once place in the drawer. It’s better to cut them too long at first and cut off a little bit at a time, than to cut it too small and end up with a box you can’t use. Keep fitting it and cutting it, until it fits.

This picture shows another smaller box I also used with the same depth as the large box. I used this one a few times by cutting a few sections off that I also measured. You can put them in long ways, side ways – it just depends on what size drawer you have and what you are putting in it.

When I finally had it situated the way I wanted, I took the edges (the flap parts of the lid) from the box lids and cut them into pieces. See, I told you those lids would come in handy! I measured these pieces to go in between the boxes to use as labels/dividers. You want these to be snug too –  so cut them a little larger at first.  Just like the boxes you can take off a little at a time. This assures a snug fit. You can even use a little hot glue to assure they won’t move around.

Here is the end result. An organized drawer!

As you can see better here, the edges of the box lids is what I wrote on and used for the labels/dividers.

Granted it isn’t fancy or pretty but it does the job and it was FREE! If you wanted to kick this up a notch, paint the cardboard and line your drawer with pretty paper. You can get the kids in on this project by getting them to do the painting!

The major complaint I read on a few sites is people have different size drawers! With this solution you can customize it to fit the size drawer you have and your needs!

Get creative…I’d love to see pictures of what you come up with and would love to post them!



  1. 6

    Jenni E. says

    Ohh, I really like this idea! I have more than 1 junk drawer and you have no idea how many of those little plastic organizer separate pieces I have bought from Walmart. The cheapo ones that are like $0.50 each or something, but they wind up missing and the drawers get all messy again. At this point, I just open and sling whatever in there and pray nothing jumps out at me! They’re out of control right now. Thanks for this tip!
    Jenni E. recently posted..Blog Carnival and Coach Purse Giveaway!!My Profile

  2. 10

    Bonnie Caselman says

    I have to admit I’m one of those open & fling/push it into the junk drawer. In fact, I keep my cutting boards in my junk drawers on top. They help keep the chaos contained. I think your idea is probably a better solution. :-)

  3. 14

    marthalynn says

    You make this look so easy! I want to go make some for my bathroom drawers right now! This is such a great idea and I love that it protects my wood if something spills. Thanks for motivating me to organize.

  4. 15

    Kristin says

    We have a major issue with junk drawers in this house. Like HUGE. It’s driving me nuts and I really have to tackle the problem…this might work!
    Kristin recently posted..Dude, chill…My Profile

  5. 18

    Sharon Siqueiros says

    Thanks for sharing this with us!! This idea is perfect for a drawer I keep extra lipsticks, eye pencils etc in. I’m really enjoying this hop and getting some great ideas from you ladies!

  6. 20

    Gina Brickell says

    Great idea! I think everyone has a least one “junk drawer” in their house.. Me, I have about 3! Same thing happens to me though too: no sooner than i get it organized, it’s right back a mess! Most drawer organizers dont fit into the drawer right, and this is a really good idea!

  7. 22

    Leah CB says

    This is such a great idea! I have so many junk drawers! I have one cabinet that is nothing but junk in it, but in my mind it’s organized! This would really be great and keep from stray staples, thumb tacks, and all of the other nonsense floating in them. I do try to keep my 2 main drawers cleaned out about once a month or so. At least this way it would be organized instead my pulling everything out looking for one blue crayon, lol.

  8. 25

    tami s says

    YOu have much patience. don’t think I’d be able to keep fitting and cutting. I would probably give up. Drawer looks great!

  9. 30

    Missy S. says

    I have a drawer that I need to try this on!! Your finished result looks great and you fit so much in there!

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