drawer dividers, organizers, shelf liner?

mary6283February 1, 2009

What are the best kinds of drawer dividers for things like everyday silverware, cooking tools, etc? Is it best to go with wood? plastic? mesh? Does anyone have a suggestion for a good inexpensive source?

Also, is anyone glad that they did NOT line their shelves?

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I use the mesh drawer organizers and like them. My kitchen will be done the end of June and I plan on using the waffle cushioned liner in my cabinets to protect them. I have used them in a condo we owned and was able to put them in the washer and put them back into the cabinet. I bought my organizers at Bed, Bath & Beyond with my 20% coupon. The liner came from Costco.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2009 at 12:17PM
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I got double cutlery inserts in two of my kitchen cabinet drawers, and think I am going to like them. (Kitchen still in progress). You do lose a wee bit of otherwise usable *space* because the wood dividers are fairly thick, but it does look beautiful! And no shelf paper or liner will be required. (Although I *might* put down small, cut-to-fit waffle-type cushioned liners in with the flatware, just for noise control or to help prevent scratches. Not sure yet, though!)

One thing, if you choose that option, you want to be sure to get those drawers in full extension, otherwise you can't easily reach the items in the back part of the drawer(s).

    Bookmark   February 1, 2009 at 3:22PM
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I love fitted silverware drawers that have the raised bar with slots for stacking the flatware, like in fitted chests--but my kitchen flatware has resin handles and doesn't stack! My old kitchen came with built in dividers. I don't like them so much because everything slops around and they're hard to clean. I hate to say it, but I've had the best utility from Rubbermaid. Not pretty, but useful.

I don't like shelf paper. My mother has industrial sheet vinyl built in. My cabinet maker likes to use Formica in his boxes. It took me some thinking to go along with that, but he assures me that he has no VOC adhesive, and the Formica is also no VOC. For all that it's plastic, I love the utility. Easy to clean, looks nice, nothing gets under it.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2009 at 3:35PM
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Melissa Houser

My current kitchen has wooden dividers built into the silverware drawer. I plan to put wooden dividers in my new kitchen as well.

Living in FL, it's a constant fight with bugs, so I prefer no shelf liner. To me, that just gives the critters a place to hide. You may have a different experience with that. I won't even keep grocery bags, plastic or paper, because I'm afraid they'll come in on the bags. I need to finish sewing my own washable bags...note to self.

I also don't like knife blocks, but I'm considering having something built into a drawer for knife storage. Right now, my knives live in a small drawer next to my stove. I keep a tea towel in the drawer and change/wash it out weekly.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2009 at 5:11PM
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I use bamboo dividers for my silverware, one of my utensil drawers, a baking drawer, and the junk drawer. Bought them at TJ Maxx & Marshall's.

Used the cushion liner (can't remember the name right now) in my pot drawers and in the cabinet where I keep my oils and vinegars. (I'm lifting up the liner with my finger in the last shot.)

    Bookmark   February 1, 2009 at 5:33PM
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...it's called Cushy Cupboards. I also lined my detergent shelf in the laundry room cabinet with it. Love it!

Here is a link that might be useful: Cushy Cupboards

    Bookmark   February 1, 2009 at 5:37PM
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I really wanted a wood silverware organizer, but my drawers are only slightly over 13" front-to-back (the cabinets are 19"), and the standard ones didn't fit. Even my old Rubbermaid organizer (dusty rose!) missed it by 1/4"! I hunted around all over the place... found a plastic one in BB&B that would fit, but it wasn't really what I wanted.

My aunt suggested the modular bamboo boxes like from Lipper - they come in different sizes, you can just buy a bunch and put them together. Indeed, you lose a lot of space to the thickness of the sides of the boxes, but they look nice and you can arrange them however you like.

In the end, I found a *gorgeous* bamboo silverware organizer in Target - inexpensive and beautifully made! I combined that with the Lipper boxes for utensils and I'm very happy with it. I have very classy looking drawers!!!

As for shelf liner, I got the clear ribbed stuff that many people here use from BB&B. I feel too paranoid to put anything on my naked plywood shelves! I even put it under the bamboo drawer organizers. Yeah, I'm a bit obsessive-compulsive! LOL at myself!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2009 at 9:23PM
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My mom opted to go very utilitatian with these Knape & Vogt inserts which I cut down for her drawers. She got hers at HD but Lee Valley also carries something identical (you might save a couple bucks getting them there). They are easy to pop out and can be washed in the DW.

Knape & Vogt drawer inserts:

Spice trays are great and are a vast improvement over her old overstuffed spice jumble:

I thought the utility trays were going to replace her utensil holder but it didn't happen so more recently (after it creeped back onto the counters) I replaced it with this caddy (in Canada it is sold as a Wiltshire product and the utensils are sold separately):

So now her collection of dollar store wooden spoons and scrapers have been confined to the inserts off the counter. She has one by the stove and another by where she preps her baked goods.

She lined all her shelves (not sure with what - something from Wal-mart). She used the Ikea drawer liner for her deep drawers and pantry pull outs.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2009 at 10:34PM
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I also use Cushy Cupboard liners in all my cupboards and just put it in my laundry room - it saved my wood cabnets after I had a soap spill and didn't notice it for a week.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2009 at 10:59AM
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Why are you all putting in liners? When we purchased the cabs, I was told I wouldn't need it. They are being installed today (I'm excited!) but we have the "melamine" wood grain on the bottoms. Will I have to still put it in??

    Bookmark   February 2, 2009 at 11:06AM
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Mine are oak so I want to protect the wood.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2009 at 11:26AM
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Nope. You don't need liners if there's melanine on all your shelves and drawer bottoms. The melamine is a kind of plastic and is meant to be functional, protecting the wood or mdf that the cupboards are made out of.

A lot of people love the feel of putting things away on Cushy Cupboards, and the airflow that the ridges on the ridged liners give. Some people would rather throw away cheap shelf paper than get in there with a sponge and clean.

I generally am not a fan of plastics in my furnishings, but I think it's great for kitchen shelves!

    Bookmark   February 2, 2009 at 12:32PM
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I got plastic drawer organizers from Ikea. They are not very pretty but Ikea has them in extra-large sizes which fit my wide drawers and can store all my flatware and cooking utensils. I also got ribbed plastic shelf liners there and put them in almost all my drawers and shelves. They muffle the sounds and things don't slide around. I think it's great to have shelf lines in your oil/spice cabinets. It's much easier to throw out the oily liners than to clean the shelves.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2009 at 12:58PM
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I had the ridge liners prior to Cushy Cupboards and didn't like cleaning them. If you have it under a toaster you have to take it out to clean the crumbs and I was surprised at the oil that had dripped and hid in the groves. It was discusting! I love how easy the CC is to keep clean and be aware of areas in need of a quick wipe.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2009 at 2:38PM
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I bought little brass divider holder things from Lee Valley: Dividers and 4" x 1/4" poplar boards either 2' or 4' long from Lowes to create custom dividers for utensils in one drawer, and for silverware in another drawer. I don't have any pictures yet, since that was this past weekends project, but it really turned out nice.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2009 at 3:31PM
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I tried the liners from Ikea and did not like them. I've tried them all - Cushy Cupboard are by far the best. I'd put liners over the melamine - it still scratches and can look pretty bad. My dh has made wood dividers for all my drawers - I think he should start marketing them. I put the CC under the dividers.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2009 at 8:58AM
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I got some pictures of my new custom sized drawer dividers:

    Bookmark   February 4, 2009 at 1:06PM
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A late response as I'm only seeing this just now, but a beautiful job, bob_cville. They are the nicest cutlery dividers I've seen!

Our cabinet company was to do custom inserts on site at the time of installation, but seeing these now, I think we will do it ourselves, which will save a few dollars (every one counts), and give us time to figure out how we use the drawers and want to organize them.

Thanks for the inspiration.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 2:40PM
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I just read through all of these (missed some of it before). Bob cville - those dividers are great!

Great thread. Any advice on storing those tiny bottles of extracts in drawers? I've read the spice threads...

    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 11:26PM
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Thanks for the kind comments.

The little brass divider holder things I bought from Lee valley tools were really easy to press right into the drawer side, or into an already installed poplar divider using a large, flat faced vise-grip pliers that came as a part of a pocket hole jig kit that I bought for a different project.

I like how, because they are completely custom, I could size them so that they fit the implements that I own, rather than having to place the implements based on which slot happens to be big enough to hold them.

I also really like how the tall divider going across the middle of the silverware drawer shows the beautiful color variation you can get with poplar heartwood, with deep walnut-like brown, with streaks of black, purple or green.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 2:42PM
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Please let me chime in here - I've spent the last week very upset, trying to find dividers that will look good in my cabinets, because many of my drawers don't go as far back as most standard base cabinet drawers. I've spent a lot (a lot!) of money on this kitchen & I really don't want to use cheesy little plastic boxes in the drawers. Seeing Bob cville's beautiful dividers has given me new hope.

Bob, am I correct that you had to saw (rip?) the 4 inch strips of wood to make them shorter, or are your drawer sides 4 inches high?

    Bookmark   April 5, 2009 at 10:45AM
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Bob_cville, thanks so much for the pictures! They're really helpful.

I never got around to nice dividers in my last house because I couldn't find what I wanted, so I just used hodge-podge from the old house, including a couple of Velveeta boxes! Most of the commercial ones are too shallow. I found those Lee Valley clips some months ago and planned to order a few to play around with to see if they really worked . . . now that I've read your posts, I'm ready to order!! My cabinets went in last week, countertops due next week, so maybe by the time I move in, they'll be here and I can make beautifully organized drawers.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2009 at 2:07PM
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Well I was inspired by some of the nicely organized drawers shown here so now that my remodel is winding down, I went out today to see just what I could find to help me straighten mine out as I start putting everything back into the kitchen.

A huge improvement over the mess that everything was before the remodel.

And the cost wasn't too bad either. Only $50 at Lowes for the organizers for both drawers.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2009 at 12:16AM
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I also use Cushy Cupboard liners in all my cabnets. They have saved my wood on several occasions. Had a Pam can blow and the CC liner caught all the liquid. It happened while we we on vacation so it would have ruined the wood.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2009 at 9:13AM
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Yes you are correct. I needed to first rip the boards from their original 4 inch width, down to about 3 inches to fit in the drawers. (or about 1 3/4 inched for the front section of the silverware drawer. Also once I had the boards the correct width, I needed to carefully cut the boards to length.

Then to get the boards to the correct length a powered miter saw is the best option, but again depending on what tools you have available, maybe a hand-held circular saw and a speed square, or a miter box and a hand-held pull-saw.

If you have a table saw, ripping the boards is trivially easy. If not there are probably a number of other ways to make the boards the correct width. (The easiest might be to find a friend with a table saw, and ply that friend with a bottle of wine, to cut them to width.) But you should also be able to do it with a straight-edge and a hand-held circular saw, or maybe even a straight-edge and a utility knife.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2009 at 12:00PM
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I'm not keen on the nonskid liners, so another option for self liner is kraft paper (like brown paper sack) from the packaging/shipping section at a store such as Walmart. When it's time, the paper can be replaced for less than $3.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2009 at 5:13PM
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bob - I hope you don't mind, I am going to follow your lead on dividers. I have one question though, what was it that made you make the front dividers on the silverware drawer shorter than all of the others?

Also, in case I can save anyone else a bit of time, I think these are the drawer divider channels that bob used:

Drawer divider channels

    Bookmark   May 12, 2009 at 8:35PM
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The reason for making the dividers in the front of the silverware drawer shorter was simply one of usability. Given that the narrowest of the silverware slots is about 2" wide, if they were the full 3 1/4" deep it would be difficult to impossible to reach the last implement in that slot.

And yes, those are the exact dividers I used, I put a link to them in my first post, but it was inline in the text and probably not so obvious.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2009 at 1:57PM
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bob cville, I like your system a lot, and I love most everything I've gotten from Lee Valley. I might experiment with this for my kitchen too, thanks for the idea. I wonder why your Kreg Premium face clamp is cooler than mine, though! Mine doesn't have blue handles....

    Bookmark   May 18, 2009 at 10:37PM
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First - I can't believe I'm taking photos at 5:30 am to add to this thread! LOL

My cabinet maker includes 2 custom made dividers for whichever drawers I choose to for my cutlery & utensils. They are pretty much screwed in and permanent, so it is a good thing I'm happy with my placement choice!

Cutlery drawer side view.

and straight on:

Utensil & spices.
I had to winnow my spice jars down to the ones I use most often as I found it was too much of a jumble to fit the cooking utensils; the other 15 or so spice jars are relegated to another drawer. If I had the spice jars first he would have configured the slots a little differently, but this works just fine.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2009 at 5:58AM
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Thank you for all the advice on custom drawers. I ordered the wrong size brass things from Lee Valley. I already had the wood so my husband made these by using small nails and his nail gun (I think). Anyway, they came out great! Thanks for the inspiration! I put all my stuff on the counter and he customized the whole thing. BTW, it was WAY cheap! Maybe $12 for the wood! and Lee Valley took back the stuff I bought- no problem.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 1:33PM
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