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I am super excited to share D.I.Y. drawer dividers I made for one of my office supply drawers. Before I get into the nitty gritty details of how to make one let me share the frustration that lead me to create it. The house we live in came with a desk area in the kitchen. It’s in between the fridge and the pantry. It doesn’t work. In fact it irks me more than anything. We had one in the previous house and I hated it too.
It’s such a waste of precious kitchen prime real estate. The desk is confined and uncomfortable. I bump my knees getting in and out. The chair gets in the way of traffic if it’s not all the way under the desk. When I sit at that desk I feel like I am in the middle of a busy road and I am going to get hit at any minute. The cars coming in (my family) have to swerve to avoid running me over. Needless to say I refuse to use it.
That left me with no office area. For years I lived as a nomad when it came to a desk and office space. As a result we had piles and piles of papers shoved in bags and boxes in different places of the house. A couple of years ago we decided it was time to give me a much needed office so we renovated a small room we no longer used as much.
When I was searching for a desk I focused on my knees. I wanted something nice and open underneath so my knees wouldn’t suffer bumps and bruises. Unfortunately I didn’t consider storage for my office supplies. We had a small dresser hanging around in the basement. I gave that a try but it didn’t quite work. The drawers were too deep and too long. There was too much wasted space and I needed extra storage for books and magazines.
I was brainstorming how to solve my storage issue and decided to purchase another IKEA Kallax storage unit with two drawer inserts. This gave me four drawers to store office supplies plus shelf space to store additional books & magazines. A mini challenge was born: organize an office supply drawer a day. I tried some of the drawer organizers I had on hand for the first drawer. Unfortunately they didn’t quite fit and didn’t quite make as good use of the space as I wanted.
D.I.Y. drawer dividers to the rescue!
I needed dividers that would hold pens, highlighters, markers, staplers, binder clips, paper clips and rubber bands. A custom drawer divider would be the best solution to store the contents so I made one using materials I had on hand. Here are the steps to follow to make your own:
1. Gather materials
- Foam core board (purchased at Dollar Tree Store)
- Decorative paper of choice (I used wrapping paper)
- Drawer liner of choice (similar)
- Safe cutting surface (I used a self-healing cutting mat)
- Flexible measuring tape
- Utility knife (to cut the foam core board)
- Rotary cutter (optional – works great with the type of drawer liner I worked with)
- Glue (optional unless you’re using wrapping paper like I did)
- 2″ high holders w/self-stick adhesive (I found them at The Container Store)
2. Measure the length and width of the drawer
A flexible measuring tape allows you to get into the corners to get more accurate measurements.
3. Measure and cut drawer liner
Notice the pattern of the drawer liner you are using before you measure and cut. Some patterns look best when installed vertically or horizontally. There are other patterns that are more forgiving and it makes no difference whether you install vertically or horizontally. I decided to go with the horizontal look based on the amount I had left in my roll.
Tip: If you are using paper with an adhesive back to line your drawer skip using the printed grid on the back of it. It’s not as precise as your measurement.
4. Add drawer liner and 2 inch holders to the drawer
Make sure to spend some time planning the space between your dividers. I made mine 2.5 inches. Once you know where you want them mark the inside of your drawer and place the 2″ self-stick holders where you need them.
5. Measure and cut foam core board to create dividers
The holders determined the height of each divider (2 inches). This would be the width of the foam core board as it’s laying flat on the floor to be cut. I needed to create 4 sections about the same width and length so I cut 2 two pieces exactly the same to run parallel to each other. Then I measured the width of the drawer and cut a third piece to be placed horizontally.
Tip: Foam core board can look messy after cutting. Wrap each board with contact paper to cover any imperfections and to add a pop of color and/or pattern.
6. Notch foam core board pieces to create more sections
To create more sections I needed to place one of the boards horizontally. I marked where the horizontal piece would meet with the vertical boards. Then I used a board as a guide to mark the width of the notches.
I used scissors to cut the notches out.
The boards running vertically (front to back) got one notch and the board running horizontally got two notches.
7. Place the dividers in the drawer
After notching the boards I added them into the drawer and voila the drawer now had 6 sections.
8. Add a sub divider (if needed)
Even though the drawer had 6 sections for supplies I had some smaller items (i.e. paper clips and binder clips) that I wanted to keep separate and required a smaller section than the ones I had available. Guess what I did? I made it!
I measured the length and width of one of the sections.
Then I cut out a base, two sides and an extra divider out of foam core board. I covered each piece with wrapping paper to cover imperfections and add a pop of color.
I used a hot glue gun to put all the pieces together.
After the glue dried I placed the sub divider in the drawer.
9. Load the drawer with office supplies
D.I.Y. drawer dividers all done and looking great holding some of my office supplies. I love how easy it is to see and access everything in this drawer.
Stay tuned for more office supply organization as I tackle the other three drawers in my new IKEA Kallax storage unit.
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