The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me. ~ Psalm 16:6 nasb

Monday, March 4, 2013

A Place for Everything

I've been back in my kitchen lately for some more organizing!  I just love organizing.  Order makes me happy.  *sigh*

My kitchen peninsula, and its "peninsula drawer," as we call it.  :)

I have to very wide drawers in my kitchen, and when we first gutted and remodeled it back in 2007, I was amazed to have any drawer wider than 12 inches.  I remember excitedly driving over to Linens 'n Things and spending quality time making layouts in their organizer aisle with various organizing baskets and various layouts, measuring everything and getting everything just right (or as just right as I could with the items they carried) to fit in my allotted drawer spaces.  What joy and fun that was!

Before:  Plastic bins and white-coated wire baskets

Those containers and baskets served me adequately until several weeks ago, when I ran across some foam board my parents had given me when they moved out of the home they had sold.  I started wondering how hard it would be to frame out the drawer with this stuff, then cut various cross pieces to fit all my kitchen tools.  It would truly be a custom drawer organizer!

Foam board, or sturdy board, white, about 1/8" thick

Here's how we did it:

Step One:  Use the Right Tools for the Job.

Tools we utilized in this project:
  • Tape measure -- Measure twice, cut once.
  • X-Acto knife -- For cutting the strips of Sturdy Board.
  • Pencil-sized X-Acto -- For detail cutting (shaving the piece if too long, etc.).
  • Pencils -- For drawing lines (and erasing them!).
  • Yardstick -- I used one to draw lines on my paper design.
  • Plain paper and tape -- when I designed what the inside of the drawer would look like.

Step Two:  Prepare the Drawer!

Take everything out of the drawer!  Plus, it's easier to remove the entire drawer from the cabinet so you can maneuver around the drawer and design it more efficiently.  I did most of my work on our cleared-off dining room table.

Step Three:  Design Your Space.

Tape paper together to fit the inside of the drawer.  I had a couple of large sheets I got from who-knows where, so I figured I may as well use those up (see my recent post about using things up!) and de-clutter while I designed.  :)

Since this was a large drawer, once I had my paper taped together and cut out in the shape of the drawer, I used a yardstick to draw lines where I wanted dividers to go.

Next, I made sure the spaces fit the items I wanted in those spaces--also keeping in mind that the sturdy board is about 1/8" thick and I would lose a little space due to the thickness of all the walls.

Step Four:  Get Hubby Involved!

I don't like to measure, cut, or do all that type of work.  It was a huge blessing to have Fernando lovingly agree to this crazy (his word) idea.  He agreed to measure and cut the pieces I wanted, and I would do the rest of the work putting everything together.

The first pieces to be cut were the long ones that spanned the width of the drawer.  This is important, and something we learned only after messing up the second drawer.  Since the pieces fit snugly, the longer ones ended up being held in place by the shorter pieces that run the depth of the drawer.  This helps because the long piece along the front width of the drawer is slightly bowed due to the screws holding the drawer face (and the drawer knobs/handles) in place.

Once the drawer was framed out, Fernando cut each inner piece.  As you can see in the photos below, the height of these pieces is the same as the height of the drawer, about 2.5".  This drawer is a shallow drawer, and most of my spaces were long (to reach in and back), so we didn't have to worry about being able to reach a hand in to the back of the drawer once the drawer was back in the cabinet.  I'll show you a variation later on down--keep reading.

Step Five:  Good Ol' Elmer's Glue!

Yep, it's what I used.  Don't use their school glue--it's more watered down (for little kids) and tends to be best with just paper.  I used their all-purpose glue, and it worked like it's supposed to.  As I inserted the pieces, most stayed tight enough to remain where I inserted them.  Fernando shaved off a bit if they were too long, or re-cut pieces that ended up being too short.  No worries--the only thing this was costing us was time!

In the above photo, once the pieces were generally in place and I was pleased with the design, I put a little glue along each joint--wherever pieces met each other.  Just a little glue, so the pieces wouldn't fall when I tipped the drawer on its side to glue more extensively.  I let the glue dribble down along each corner just a little bit, and wiped it up if it puddled at the bottom.  Yes, I built and glued everything right into the drawer.  I was careful to try to not let the glue get all over the actual drawer, plus if ever I have to remove the boards from the drawer--it's Elmer's!  Dissolves with water!

This next step is very important.

Step Six:  Have Patience.

A song my friend Pamela sang at her campfire one night comes to mind.  She sang it real slow.  (I know the grammar is wrong, so don't correct me.)  Wait for the glue to dry!

Step Seven:  Use Some More Glue.

After the glue dried, I set the drawer up on its end and leaned it against the wall.

I went along each place the boards joined--only the boards that were facing up!--with a bead of glue along the seam.  See?

Then it was time to go do something else again.  Yep--waiting.  I waited until I couldn't stand it any longer (this was a two-day process, y'know, waiting for all that glue to dry).  Once the glue was dry, I flipped the drawer onto its other side and placed beads of glue along the other seams.  Then it was wait, wait, wait once again, until everything was dry.

Oh, and one note--you may notice in some of the photos that the boards are just a teensy bit, um,  un-straight.  A few of the boards are off, in my persnickety and perfectionist opinion.  But I was still happy with the results, and not at all concerned that the boards were not perfectly square.  (In my second drawer, the boards are more noticeably "off."  You'll see those in my next post.  But I still don't care.)

Step Eight:  The Fun Part Begins!

Woo-hoo!  It was finally time for the really fun part:  putting everything back into the drawer.

Just the sight of the above empty drawer gives me excited goosebumps!  :D  Anyway, the rest of the photos will show you the spaces and what I put in them, with an explanation here and there.  Enjoy!

Cookie stamps I've collected over the years get their own space!

A spot for Tupperware freezer labels and Post-It Notes

See those green things in the plastic box above?  Those are Pampered Chef corn cob holders.  I wanted the ability to not only contain them, but to be able to pull them out of the drawer come food-prep time.  Since the holders can be put on the corn before boiling, we like to husk the corn outside; this little container allows the holders to be contained even when they're out of the drawer.  Nifty, huh?

Above and below are examples of a shorter wall that I inserted into the drawer.  When I emptied the drawer of its contents, I discovered a number of those brown, square Pampered Chef scrapers (for cleaning their stones and for lots of other uses).  I wanted those scrapers contained in their own space, so Fernando cut a little length of board two inches high instead of the standard 2.5 inches, and I inserted that piece in the front of the drawer and glued it in place.  Et voilĂ !

I added this little space (note the 2" height of the wall) after I finished the silverware drawer.

Garlic press, can opener, little strainer.

I'm reminded of a recent commercial where you see a house light go on late at night, then the video changes to show a woman in the kitchen, standing and gazing at her new fridge.  The light goes off, then on again to the same scene.  Then elsewhere in the darkened house, you see a light go on, and the video changes to show her husband in the bedroom, gazing at his new flat-screen TV.  If you happen to drive by my house late at night and see the kitchen light on, chances are I'm doing the same thing in front of my kitchen drawers.

Cost of this drawer:  absolutely nothing but time.  Benefits:  special time with my honey, and a beautifully custom-designed drawer.

Next segment--my silverware drawer gets a makeover.  Stay tuned.

***UPDATE:  If you're using your drawer organizer to store heavy items, such as silverware, please read this new blog post to see how I solved the problem of sagging drawer bottoms and creeping kitchen items!

Back to life,

Visit my photography blog
Visit my photography website