Organization Geeks Need Not Go Broke — How to Make a No-Sew Drawer Organizer

by Katy on September 10, 2012 · 36 comments

When I saw this homemade drawer organizer on Pinterest, I knew I had to give it a try. Why? Because it was made from old cereal boxes, wrapping paper and Mod-Podge.

 And because of this nest of disorganization:

Yeah, not so pretty. Luckily, my older son had been saving cereal boxes, and didn’t care if I swiped them all.

Although I read the instructions from The Stonybrook House, I mostly just winged it. I glued the boxes back to their 3-D shapes using my hot glue gun, and then just cut the boxes into different sizes. I shuffled the boxes around until I found a configuration that I liked, and then I hot glued the boxes together.

Do you like how they look from the bottom?

I wanted my drawer organizers to have long-term durability, so I decided to use my leftover $1.99 Goodwill Ikea fabric from my table project instead of wrapping paper.

Here’s how it looked about halfway through, using Mod-Podge to glue the fabric onto the boxes:

And here’s how it looks all completed. See how wavery the sides are? If I were repeating the project, I would use something stronger like shoe boxes. However, it doesn’t affect the function of the cubbies. They’re actually quite stiff from all the Mod-Podge.

 And here’s they look all filled up with stuff.

 And here’s the drawer in place, which looks awesome!

 And when the drawer’s shut, then it’s all nice and organized.

Because, as Gretchen Rubin says:

“Outer order contributes to inner calm.”

Ohmmm . . . . 

And as a bonus, I am sharing my new sugar packet container which I pulled from a free pile this week. Perfect for storing Q-tips in the medicine cabinet!

Who needs The Container Store when you have a couple of old boxes, glue and a bunch of time to kill?

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Su Mama September 10, 2012 at 11:45 pm

Very cute!

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Victoria@SnailpaceTransformations September 11, 2012 at 2:49 am

Love it! I can think of a couple of places this idea might come in handy. I suppose you could use leftover wallpaper for this as well and it still turn out fairly sturdy. I always see a bin of wall paper leftovers at our local thrift store where the rolls go for as low as .25 cents.

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Linda from Mass September 11, 2012 at 4:29 am

I love this idea! I went to the container store this weekend to just look around. When I saw the magazine holders, all I could think about was how expensive they were and I could make them out of cereal boxes.

I also noticed all the closet organizers and looked at the prices. Some of the less expensive ones were over $1000. I want to reoganize my double coat closet to be a part pantry and part coat closet. After going to the store, I realized that I can put an old Kmart shelving unit that my husband bought when they were going out of business. It was one that held all the jeans of different sizes. I think it will fit perfectly in half the closet and I will cut down the existing hanging rod and shelf on the other half. It will just cost me time.

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Diane September 11, 2012 at 4:51 am

<3 both so much!

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melinda harbaugh September 11, 2012 at 6:12 am

oh my gosh…..i so seriously think we are “sin twisters” (twin sisters!) separated at birth!!!! I have read your blog for a loooooong time now and love it. so much of what you say, do and think could have been taken from my pea-brain mind!!!! oh my gosh!!! when i saw this post on the drawer organizer from pinterest, i HAD to comment-i ‘liked’ this drawer organizer , twice i think!, to try for myself-though you have beat me to actualy doing it! it looks great!!!! thanks so much for helping me to know i’m not alone!!!!

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Renee CA September 11, 2012 at 6:30 am

I love a good box! Would it have been easier to cover each box separately, then glue gun them together, then cover around the outside?

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Renee CA September 11, 2012 at 6:39 am

Well, looking closer, it probably helps with strength to have the fabric or paper wrap over the top of where the boxes are connected. Whatever works!

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Reese September 11, 2012 at 10:50 am

I thought the exact same thing. To make it fit better on each box, I’d cover them each individually (easier to maneuver too..) and then just wrap a piece over the sides where the boxes connect. Then you have EXTRA durability 🙂

Like how you think Renee.

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Renee CA September 11, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Thank you. Always looking for a more efficient way, which is not always efficient!

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Katy September 13, 2012 at 9:30 am

That would have worked well, but I barely had enough fabric for this project.

Katy

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jennifer@little blog in the big woods September 11, 2012 at 7:15 am

I have more drawers that I care to list that need this treatment! Thanks for sharing!

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Megyn @MinimalistMommi September 11, 2012 at 7:24 am

I’m wondering if there is another way to adhere fabric so the cardboard doesn’t get wavy. I LOVE this idea, but I’m such a perfectionist that the waviness would forever bug me lol!

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Lili@creativesavv September 11, 2012 at 7:49 am

Megyn, there’s a product called SprayMount. I’ve used it in my work and found it great for adhering paper and fabric to solid surfaces, without the wrinkles. And because it’s such a thin film, you don’t get the bleed-through effect.

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Jen September 11, 2012 at 7:45 am

Cute! I love repurposing for organizing. I’ve been using the big plastic salad containters for organizing my yarn and other craft supplies. I can sort the stuff by yarn weight or type of craft supply and see what’s inside. And they stack nicely under my work table or on my shelving unit.

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Renee CA September 11, 2012 at 2:07 pm

Wow! I hate throwing those things away and never thought of using them for organizing lightweight items. I’ve been a box/jar/container saver for umpteen years and did not think about those salad boxes. Thanks!

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Kheila February 12, 2015 at 6:14 am

That’s brilliant!That’s brilliant! Going to give that a try, thanks.

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Lili@creativesavv September 11, 2012 at 7:46 am

That turned out very nicely. I’m currently saving boxes for a desk top organizer. I was at Michael’s last week and saw some I wanted to copy. I’m saving the USPS video-size priority mail boxes, so just need more people to send me videos and then I’ll be all set to begin my project! This could take a while.

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Bellen September 11, 2012 at 8:39 am

Probably like most frugal recyclers I started out using covered cereal boxes for storing magazines and then progressed to using them for all kinds of things – patterns, tapes, DVDs, floppy discs (yea, I’m old) and so on. This progressed to painted computer paper boxes and painted banana boxes for larger items on shelves and in closets. So why didn’t I think of this? Great idea and will be doing it soon.

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Ani Mia September 11, 2012 at 12:10 pm

I bet contact paper would work well for this type of thing too.

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tna September 11, 2012 at 12:36 pm

That little glass container is cute. I would probably put bobby pins in it. If I had bobby pins. I’m thinking about experimenting with bobby pins to control my hair now that it’s getting longer, maybe even curling it with bobby pins….but so far I’ve not seen bobby pins at a thrift store. The fabric you used to make the organizer is pretty. I like blue. I would probably use it to make a pillow or a little sack to store things in. I don’t have much stuff to put in a drawer to get messy. In the bathroom I have a toothbrush and tweezers and nail clipers. I just put them in a drinking glass on the counter to keep them organized. Almost all my shelves and cabinets and drawers in the house are empty…although my cat likes to take naps in all of them so sometimes they are full and fluffy. ^..^

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Jean Burke September 11, 2012 at 8:42 pm

Now that is what I call a great idea. Love the drawer divider.

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Erin from Long Island September 11, 2012 at 11:11 pm

hmmm….i’d be all over this if I had a glue gun. Alternatives? i have plenty of tape, many kinds!

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Katy September 13, 2012 at 9:31 am

Borrow one from a friend.

Katy

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PigPennies September 12, 2012 at 6:17 am

Is it just me, or did you fit a lot of lamps in that drawer?! 😉

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Katy September 12, 2012 at 6:27 am

Ha, now you know my secret. I have such a hard time resisting lamps and chairs. 😎

Katy

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AnnabelVita October 30, 2012 at 6:32 am

This is genius! I love it and the fabric is perfect. Thanks for the tip about the wobbly edges.

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Megan October 30, 2012 at 2:01 pm

So clever! I never would have guessed they were made out of cereal boxes. I love your fabric choice as well. I would LOVE for you to link this up at my Ginger Jamboree Link Party!!

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Katy October 30, 2012 at 2:45 pm

Done!

Katy

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Debbie / Daqa November 7, 2012 at 12:08 am

Nice & easy project, with a minimum of tools and supplies needed! (wich means not a lot of mess/ quick to put away if the kids need attention). I’ve made magazine/paper storage containers from Cat litter boxes (they are quite sturdy), and still have some cut in shape but waiting to be “papered”. (See here for my project: https://daqadoodles.wordpress.com/2011/10/25/kattengrind-dozen-worden-lectuurbakken-en-het-verschil-tussen-satijnglans-mat-en-glans/)
The wavy-ness of your boxes is part of it looking very fabric like. If you look at the Ikea fabric storage unites (like the shoe boxes or hanging storage things) the fabric is a bit wavery as well. It adds more charm to it.
Nice blue fabric, by the way!

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Katy November 7, 2012 at 12:32 pm

Great magazine bins! Wish I could read the text, but thanks for sharing!

Katy

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Debbie / Daqa November 8, 2012 at 12:42 pm

Thanks 🙂
I had put the english text at the bottom (I was still blogging in 2 languages at that time, and had put the english text below), but I think there’s not much need for words with that project and that amount of pictures 🙂

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Erik November 25, 2012 at 12:24 pm

Will it hold sharp knifes and forks also you think, vecause my drawer needs some tidy-up?

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Shannon March 16, 2013 at 9:12 pm

Very cool! I’m obsessing over your colorful drawer unit beside your desk. I’m in need of something similar and have been looking around. I’m sure I’ve seen it somewhere before but can’t recall! Where is it front. Or do you know who makes it if you scored it second hand?

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Katy March 17, 2013 at 8:05 am

I scored it as a curbside find, but I know they’re sold retail as well.

Here they are on Amazon, maybe you could do Swagbucks to earn Amazon credit:

http://www.amazon.com/Blue-Hills-Studio-Storage-Multi-Color/dp/B002GAXH5W/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1363536318&sr=8-2&keywords=blue+hills+studio+storage+cart

Katy

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