11 September 2013

DIY: drawer organization with foam-core board

I’m back today to tell you a little bit more about how I got our desk under control. Yesterday’s post was all about how I got the outside surfaces organized, but today... I admit the darkness within.

Gaaaahhhhh. For SHAME.

With the disaster going on in those drawers, I couldn’t ever find what I needed. When I did dig in to locate some necessary item, I’d dislodge the mess and the drawer wouldn’t close. I can sometimes deal with messy drawers and cabinets, as long as the mess is on the INSIDE. When it starts rearing its ugly head on the outside... it’s time to deal.

So, deal I did. Which, unfortunately, required me to clutter up my newly clean desk surface.

Only temporarily, though! I just wanted to get everything out so that I could assess what was in the drawers and decide what was worthy to keep. For instance, the original drawer hardware and some plasticky bits that belong with our white shelves need to be kept, and this desk’s drawers is honestly as good a place as any.

On the other hand (ok, well, literally the SAME hand, but you get what I mean), we have a crusty white-out rolly-thing that neither of us have used in years, a rock-hard rubber eraser, and a black plasticky bit that probably belongs on something super important, but not so important that I know what it is.

Into the trash they go!

After throwing out what I didn’t need... I put it all back in the drawer, in categories. And, DONE!

Haha, no. Not done. But I wouldn’t put that past me, right? I’mma write a blog post about taking everything out of a drawer and then putting it all back in. Totes worthy of eight hundred words.

No, I put things back in the drawer into categories... because I was going to create custom dividers around them! That’s why there’s all that space between items – I wanted to make sure there would be room for the divider itself.

And because these would be fixed dividers (not bins or trays that could be shuffled around), I was very strategic about what would be at the front of the drawer (i.e. the stuff I grab from the drawer in the dark without thinking) and what would be relegated to the back (i.e. stuff I shouldn’t discard but only use once every three years when I think aloud, “Don’t we have a drawing compass? I thought we had a compass. Where would we keep a compass?”)

Once I decided I liked the arrangement of items in the drawer, I started making my dividers. I decided to use some foam-core board I had on-hand (leftover from a project I am DYING to complete and show you... soon, dear readers!). To start, I drew lines to cut long strips, which would allow all the dividers to be the same height:

The small ruler’s for measuring in millimeters (they beat 1/16ths of a inch every time!), and the yardstick is just for drawing the straight lines. And no, I still don’t know how I came to own a yardstick from a Chevy dealership in Montana. Still one of life’s great mysteries.

I just cut the long strips with an x-acto knife on a cutting board:

No worries, no carpet was harmed in the making of this post.

I started with the long strips, and then cut the smaller pieces to size. I just held up a strip, marked the size, and then cut it on the board.

For the most part, I just cut the pieces ever-so-slightly too large and wedged them in. Because these drawers are on the small side, they hold themselves up. But a few pieces were a little wobbly and would benefit from extra stabilization, so they got a weensy bit of scotch tape, trimmed to fit all the edges:

I intentionally tried to take a high-contrast photo so you can see how I taped it. In real life, the tape is practically invisible!

And overall the difference is INCREDIBLE:


Lately the siren song of the Container Store has been trying to lure me in, with all its pretty and shiny items that try to convince me I’ll be organized if I can only throw enough money at them. I’m glad I resisted, because this project took me under a half hour, and it was FREE! Even if you don’t have foam-core board, you can pick up a sheet for three bucks, and use only a small part of it.

And you can’t beat a free project that makes me grin and clap every time I open the drawers:

Scissors and post-its at the ready!

You know, I’ve got a bit of foam core board left. No drawers are safe!

Psst, in honor of Patriot Day, perhaps you’d like to stop by Centsational Girl Kate’s post about her recent New York City trip? It’s such a fantastic city, and I cannot WAIT to go there with Mr. P someday!


Tina said...

Remembrances of my Before/After School choice cards holder box I made out of foam core board - it lasted over ten years, too... Remember? :-)
To free up a space those drawer handles could easily be repurposed into a necklace holder with a find of the right board...