3 Kitchen Clutter Organizers
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Wood Magazine

3 Kitchen Clutter Organizers

Make the cook's life easier with a trio of projects you can build in a weekend.

Trio of Kitchen Organizers

Trio of Kitchen Organizers

These small projects solve big storage problems in your kitchen--jumbled silverware drawers, inaccessible base cabinets, and clattering stacks of bakeware. We built each one to fit the drawers and cabinets in the kitchen remodel featured in issue 196 (see More Resources on last page). But you can quickly resize them or customize them to fit your kitchen and your storage needs using the instructions in this article. Basic tools and a few scraps of stock will get the job done.


Start with a Drawer Organizer
Organized silverware drawer
Enlarge Image
Compartments keep silverware
organized, with infrequently used
items at the back of the drawer
and everyday utensils in front.

Start with a Drawer Organizer

1 Bring drawer disorder to a close

Store-bought kitchen drawer organizers separate silverware -- most of the time. But the organizer you design and build works all of the time because you customize it for the size and number of knives, forks, spoons, and accessories you use.

Disorgazized silverware drawer
Enlarge Image
A one-size-fits-all organizer didn't fit
this drawer's contents. If anything,
it encouraged clutter by overstuffing
the drawer.
Size the Organizer

Measure the drawer interior and design your organizer's outside dimensions 1/4" smaller to allow for easy removal of the tray for cleaning. Make it just tall enough to hold the utensils. Then decide how many types of forks, spoons, knives, and accessories you'll store. Make silverware dividers about 1/2" longer than the longest piece of silverware.


Build it to fit
Exploded view of drawer
Enlarge Image
Clamping parts inside of drawer
Enlarge Image
Spacers between the silverware
partitions keep the left-to-right
partitions 90° to the tray bottom.

Build it to fit

Build to your dimensions

Prepare enough 1/2"-thick stock to make the front, back, sides, and partitions. Cut all parts to width; then the sides to length. Now cut the front, back, and two left-to-right partitions 1" shorter than the outside width of the organizer. Cut to length the front-to-back partitions separating the silverware. To make items easy to reach, mark a centered, curved cutout on each partition using a compass or fairing stick. (See More Resources, on last page) for how to make and use your own fairing stick.) Bandsaw on the waste side and sand to the line.

Quick Tip: Combine your cuts. Instead of cutting each curve separately, tape together a stack of identical blanks and lay out the curve on the top blank. Then bandsaw and sand the stack to create parts with identical curves.

Dry-assemble the organizer with the silverware partitions and left-to-right partitions in place, and measure for optional partitions at the front or back. Cut these to size and double-check the fit. Then finish-sand the partition parts to 180 grit.

Working on a dead-flat surface, glue and clamp the silverware partitions to two left-to-right partitions, as shown in the photo. (To shorten clamp times, use a nailer with 1" brads.) To this assembly, glue, clamp, and nail the sides, front, back, and remaining partitions. After the glue dries, measure the assembly length and width, and cut a bottom to size from 1/4" plywood. Glue, clamp, and nail the bottom to the assembly. Then apply three coats of clear finish, such as polyurethane.


Time for Trays
Organzied pans under drawer
Enlarge Image
Full-extension slides bring the entire
tray out into the open. We added trays
to only the fixed shelf on these cabinets
because hinges would have blocked
trays on the bottom. But your cabinet
doors may allow stacked trays on both
the shelf and cabinet bottom.

Time for Trays

2 Base-cabinet contents come to you

When half of a cabinet's contents prove so hard to reach that they might as well be in the garage, it's time to take back control. Sliding drawerlike trays that extend the depth of a cabinet bring even the stuff at the back out where you can see and reach it.

Disorganized pans
Enlarge Image
Bending and stretching to retrieve
contents from the back of these
cabinets was literally a pain in the
Exploded view of tray
Enlarge Image
Size the Trays

First measure the width of each base cabinet face-frame opening and subtract 1". Then measure from the inside of the face frame to the cabinet back (usually about 23"). Size the overall tray length 1/2-1" shorter than the cabinet depth. We designed our trays with 2 1/2"-wide sides, fronts, and backs [Drawing 2].


Build the Trays
2 steps of cutting
Enlarge Image
Use Step 1 to dado both ends of each
tray side. For Step 2, tape a 1/4"-thick
shim to the rip fence and rabbet both
ends of each tray front and back.

Build the Trays

Build to your dimensions.

Cut the tray sides to length and the fronts and backs 1 1/2" shorter than the tray width you calculated. Cut the front faces 1/4" shorter than the width of the opening in the cabinet frame.

Next dado the inside faces at both ends of the tray sides, as shown in Step 1 of Drawing 3a. Then cut mating rabbets on the ends of the fronts and backs, as shown in Step 2. Cut grooves in the front, back, and sides for the tray bottom. Measure between the bottoms of the grooves and cut the tray bottom to fit within the grooves. Assemble the tray and finish-sand to 180 grit. Stain the front face to match your cabinets and apply three coats of clear finish. (We used satin aerosol lacquer, sanding with a 320-grit sponge between coats.)

Now put it to work.

Choose the longest slides that fit the depth of your cabinet. To use 22" side-mounted, full-extension slides (see Source on last page), first install mounting strips running from the front to the back of the cabinet sides. See "How to make organizers ride on slides" on page 8. Install both tray-mounted slide parts flush with the bottom edge of the tray sides. Mount the tray in the cabinet and check that it slides smoothly.

Next apply double-faced tape to the tray front face. Center the front face in the opening with 1/8" reveals on both sides and above the rail or shelf edge. Then drill and screw through the tray front to mount the front face.


Cookie-Sheet Organizer
Pull out tray with cookies sheets
Enlarge Image
Position the rails to support your flat
pans, cookie sheets, and cutting
boards. The bottom rails act as the
sides of a long tray.

Cookie-Sheet Organizer

3 Tame the cookie-sheet monster

If pulling out a pan from your bakeware stack sounds like a five-car pileup, restore calm to the kitchen with a sliding cookie-sheet organizer built for your needs. Then hide it by attaching a new or existing cabinet door to its front.

Door open with trays
Enlarge Image
We have no idea why this door had
two knobs. They didn't prevent a pan
Size the Organizer

Make the total width 1" narrower than the face-frame opening to allow clearance for the slides. This organizer's height can be anything up to the height of the face-frame opening, although we made ours about 4" shorter to save material. Make the overall organizer length about 1" less than the cabinet depth.


Assemble the Organizer

Assemble the Organizer

Build to your dimensions

Attach solid-wood or iron-on edging to 3/4" plywood for front and back panels the width of your finished organizer. Then subtract the combined thickness of the panels from the length of the organizer. Cut the six rails that length from 3/4x2"-wide stock for the upper rails and 3/4x3"-wide stock for the bottom rails. Now cut the plywood bottom to the same length as the rails and the width of the front and back panels, as shown in the illustration.

Dry-assemble the organizer with the rails and bottom butt-joined to the front and back, and drill countersunk pilot holes in the front and back. Glue and screw the front and back to the rails. Now glue the bottom to the bottom-rail edges. Finally, cut slide-mounting rails the length of the organizer and glue and screw them to the bottom.

Now put it to work

Attach slide-mounting strips to the sides of the cabinet as explained in "How to make organizers ride on slides," shown on page 8. Then screw slides to the slide-mounting strips and the slide-mounting rails on the organizer.

We made a new door for the cabinet shown in the photo as part of the kitchen remodeling, but you can mount an existing door on the organizer just as easily after removing its hinges. With the organizer in place, tape a scrap spacer to the back to bump the front just proud of the cabinet face frame. Then place double-faced tape on the organizer front, center the door on the face-frame opening, and press it against the tape. Drill and screw through the organizer and into the door. Then stand your bakeware on edge in the organizer with the shortest pieces to the outside for easy reach.


Add the Slides
Rail to slide drawers on
Enlarge Image
Screwing into side rail
Enlarge Image
Driving the screw separates a poorly
clamped joint, throwing off the part
alignment even if the screw pulls
the joint back together.

Add the Slides

How to make organizers ride on slides

Both the slide-out trays and the cookie-sheet organizer require full-extension, side-mounted slides (see Source) that attach to your cabinets. The cabinet-mounted part of each slide first requires slide-mounting strips.

• For a single-door base cabinet, cut two strips 2 1/2" wide and plane them to fit flush with the face-frame stiles, as shown far right. Screw the strips to the cabinet sides with their bottom edges on the cabinet bottom.
• For a double-door cabinet with a center stile, as shown on page 4, first mount strips inside the cabinet as in a single-door cabinet. From 3/4x2 1/2" hardwood, cut two slide-mounting strips that reach from the inside face of the center stile to the cabinet back.

From 3/4"-thick hardwood, cut two spacer blocks to a width equal to the width of the cabinet?s center stile minus 1 1/2". Then cut both blocks 2 1/2" long. Center, drill, and screw a spacer block to the center stile at the bottom. Measure from the cabinet side to the center-stile spacer block and screw another spacer block to the cabinet back that distance from the side. Drill and screw slide-mounting strips to the front and back spacer blocks, as shown below right.



Drawer slides: 22" 100-lb, full-extension drawer slides no. 02K30.22, Lee Valley Tools, 800-871-8158 or leevalley.com.

©Copyright Meredith Corporation 2002, 2010



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