{five minute friday} How to Get Drawer Organizing Right the First Time

You may have noticed that Five Minute Friday has been on a bit of a hiatus. Things have been really hectic behind the scenes, and I was having a hard time coming up with new five minute projects that I felt were really valuable and helpful to you guys. But recently, in the midst of working on another project, I had a light bulb moment and literally dropped what I was doing to create a quick five minute solution to one of my biggest organizing challenges... drawers!

Let me back up just a bit... My husband had been traveling for work quite a bit, and despite my "single parent" duties totally wearing me out, I decided that while he was out of town it would be the perfect time to organize the disaster of a closet on our main floor. 

I'd been putting this project off for a long time, mostly because I knew that to get it finally organize, I was going to need to completely empty the closet and start from scratch... and that meant that the contents of the closet would wind up all over the living room until I could get everything reorganized and put away. But once I finally decided to do it I was super motivated to GET. IT. DONE.

I assembled two sets of IKEA Alex drawers that I tucked below the bottom shelf in the closet, but I needed to come up with a plan to make the best use of all that drawer space. {This is just a little sneak peek at my new "household closet"... I'll show you more in a later post.}

IKEA Alex Drawers in Bottom of Household Closet

I don't know about you guys, but I find drawers so challenging. I have tons of small items to organize in this closet, so I knew that shallow drawers were my best option, but coming up with the right organizing plan to keep every drawer from becoming a junk drawer. One key is definitely to use lots of dividers and drawer bins, but finding ones that fit and make the best use of the space is a challenge in and of itself.

I was on my second trip of the day to The Container Store looking for the right-sized containers to organize all of my new drawers when I discovered a totally genius tool they have to help... a pull-out gridded shelf! 

The organizing nerd in me was so excited to play around with this grid to come up with a perfect configuration of drawer bins... but I didn't find quite what I was looking for {or at least not at the price I wanted to pay since I had a lot of drawers to fill}.

I gave up for that afternoon, with plans to look for more affordable drawer bins at a few other stores. But I couldn't help but thinking how much easier it would be if every store had a pull-out gridded shelf for drawer planning.

And that's where my stroke of genius comes in... a simple five minute solution to create my own portable drawer planning grid to ensure I would come home with drawer bins that would make the best use of my space, and save all the extra trips for returns and trying again. 

My first thought was to use a piece of poster board and draw a grid on a it to duplicate The Container Store's gridded shelf... but what I really wanted was something portable that I could easily take with me to any store, and a big piece of poster board didn't fit the bill.

But then it dawned on me that a lot of the wrapping paper up in my gift wrap closet is gridded on the back. I grabbed out a large roll, confirmed that the grid on the back was one inch, and knew I was in business!

DIY Drawer Organization Grid

I cut a 24" x 36" piece of wrapping paper {large enough for even the biggest drawers in my house}...

Wrapping Paper Grid

...and then simply used a Sharpie to write in numbers to correspond to the inches along each side of the grid.

DIY drawer organizing grid

In less than five minutes, I had my very own drawer planning grid that I could easily fold up or roll up and stick in my purse to use at any store while shopping for drawer divider bins.

I simply measured each of my drawers and jotted down the length, width, and depth in the notes on my phone {the mini-measuring tape on my keys comes in handy so often}. Then I headed out to shop with my rolled up drawer planning grid and my measurement.

At the store, I unrolled my DIY drawer planning grid and used it to figure out which bins would fit best, and come up with an ideal configuration for each drawer.

This extra few minutes of planning paid off big time when I brought all the bins home and they fit in my drawers exactly as I had laid it out on my grid!

I filled up the first drawer with all of my Command hooks, Command picture hanging strips, felt chair pads, and other small items.

In another drawer I organized all of our batteries, flashlights, and outlet taps.

I feel like I've finally cracked the code to successful drawer organization... it all comes down to planning, and my new portable drawer planning grid allows me to get it right the first time! No more buying a bunch of random drawer dividers, crossing my fingers that they fit right, and then making returns when they don't! 

Drawer Organizing quick tip

This simple DIY grid is a five minute solution that is going to save me hours of headaches and help me better organize every drawer in the house!


  1. This is one tip I can really use! I was thinking of taking my actual drawer with me into the store...

  2. Jennise MartinezJuly 21, 2017 at 1:30 PM

    Thank you for all the tips

  3. I'm just starting out but my favorite item so far is my son's personalized karate belt rack!

  4. Thanks for all your tips. I will be using them.

  5. Love the tips. I'm just starting out, I've dine a few cards, and am starting with vinyl.

  6. Lov making my 'bling' spiritwear!!!!!

  7. I love this...as a 4th grade math teacher...I see using it as an area lesson as well!