I hate buying drawer organizers. New ones are so expensive for something so simple (sometimes $20+ if you want one that looks nice.) If you go to a thrift store, you end up digging through piles of junk to find a single, beat-up plastic organizer that’s priced at $5, which is exactly $4 more than I’m willing to pay.
So when it came time to organize my new desk’s primary drawer, I said no to the organizer hassle, and decided to make my own. I did it under an hour, entirely with scrap wood, and didn’t spend a single cent. I swear, it was so easy that I will never buy another drawer organizer again.
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How to Make a Drawer Organizer
(In One Hour, Out of Scrap Wood)
- 1" x 2" Furring Strips- I used some scraps I had sitting around. I would guess it takes a little more than one strip for the design I used.
- Wood Glue
- Brad Gun and Nails- These are (kind of) optional. Wood glue alone is enough to hold the organizer together after it drys. However, each wood glue joint takes 20 minutes to dry, meaning that building the organizer will be a painstakingly slow process. The brad nails secure the pieces in the short term, meaning if you have a nail gun, you can continue assembling as the glue of the previous joint dries.
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Step 1 : Determine Object Placement
I laid my drawer out on the floor and arranged all the items I wanted to store in the drawer.
I actually have extra space. The nice part about the organizer design is that I can add more pieces later if I want to.
Step 2: Cut Pieces to Size
I started with the two long pieces that span the entire length of the drawer. Despite that I wasn’t storing anything in the back half of the drawer, I still made the organizer span the entire drawer. This way, the organizer wouldn’t shift around every time I opened or closed the drawer.
In my case, these pieces were 22” long.
Then I moved from left to right, placing the pieces in position as I went to make sure everything would fit together perfectly.
A Note About Saws
Since I now own a miter saw, I used it to cut the pieces to length, which was quick and easy. Other saws will work, but may be slower and make less accurate cuts depending on the saw.
If you don’t have a saw, you might be able to do this project with thinner wood and a hand saw. While Home Depot and Lowes both will cut wood, I’ve had mixed results asking them to cut something this small and precise. They make it pretty clear that their cutting services are primarily so you can fit the wood in your car, and they “don’t do precision cuts.” Some stores will still make cuts like this for you, and it doesn’t hurt to ask, but I wouldn’t make that my plan A.
Step 3: Glue Pieces Together
Before I started gluing and nailing, I made a quick plan of the order to make sure my brad nailer could access all of the joints. Your plan may differ from mine depending on what your organizer looks like.
I started by making three independent parts: the left sides, the right side, and the center “H” part that surrounds the flash drives and binder clips.
Then I assembled the pieces together from left to right. I did a dab of glue on each joint, then secured it with brad nails.
- I used 1” brad nails in my nail gun. Like I said earlier, their primary purpose is to hold the organizer together while the glue dries.
- Before I assembled the pieces, while they were still arranged in the drawer, I made pencil marks at the beginning and end of each joint. That way, when I was assembling the organizer, I knew exactly where to place each piece.
- I intentionally arranged the wood so no two pieces intersected the long front-to-back strips in the same place. This allowed me to always secure the joints with brad nails.
I booked three hours for making this organizer, and it was done in one! Super easy and quick to make; I really mean it when I say that I’ll never buy another drawer organizer again given that I can make one so easily. And it looks super cute, plus it matches the monitor riser organizer I have on top of my desk (coming soon!!) In the meantime, if you love organizers, check out my scrap wood wall organizer- it's one of my favorite projects!