If there is one thing I chat about here on the blog quite a bit, it’s organizing drawers! Now having lived in 8 different homes, I’ve had my fair share of drawers to organize and have admittedly spent a lot of time and money testing different solutions. While it is indeed exhilarating to find or make perfectly-fitting dividers for a particular drawer, more and more I now turn to my favorite drawer organizing “hack” that works in any drawer, no matter its size, shape, or location within the home. This “trick” is not only quick and easy, but it also utilizes items you might already have on hand. Let me show this easy-yet-effective way to organize any drawer in your home!

Dresser drawer organized with white gift boxes

Why I Skip Expensive Drawer Dividers

One thing I have learned from moving so many times is that we need serious flexibility when it comes to our organization systems. A dresser that holds office supplies in one house might become a bedroom dresser in the next. An ottoman that holds games now may hold pillows and blankets in a guest room later.

Figuring out the best organization solution for every spot in our homes is one of my very favorite parts of moving so much; but this is also precisely why I don’t like spending a lot of time or money on “perfect,” high-end, or very specific-fitting organizers. Not only does it take a lot of time (that we often don’t have) to find just the right product, but there is just no guarantee that what I buy for one home will work in the next.

When I’m organizing drawers, I don’t want to spend a ton of time or money hunting down or making the perfect organizers…so I usually turn to individual bins, boxes, and baskets and make my own “custom” arrangement instead.

My Favorite Way to Organize Any Drawer

Below is a snapshot of my clothes in my San Diego closet drawer. Can you spot what I’m using to create dividers within the drawer?

Clothes organized in a drawer with plastic shoe boxes.

Empty shoeboxes used when organizing drawers

Tired of my t-shirts and sweaters being a disorganized mess in this oversized drawer, I dug some clear plastic shoe boxes out of my organizing stash. Their size was big enough to hold my folded clothes nicely, and their height was shallow enough to allow the drawers to open and close with ease. Instead of having to measure, shop, or DIY something to fit these drawers specifically, four inexpensive boxes created the dividers I needed in order to keep my clothes sorted, tidy, and looking oh-so-nice. And it took all of about 5 minutes!

So what’s the hack I love so much?

Step 1: Organizing Drawers With Bins & Boxes

Stop looking for all-in-one organizers that fit your drawers just right. Instead use small off-the-shelf boxes, bins, and baskets to create your own series of dividers within bigger drawers. Sometimes this may require hunting around your home for items you have on hand. Or you might even need to make a visit to your local Dollar Store or Target Dollar Spot. But with a variety of containers in hand, you can likely “Tetris” your way to a ton of order within any drawer.

Organizing drawers with plastic shoeboxes

Organizing drawers with plastic shoe boxes

Step 2: Embrace the Empty Space

When you’re organizing drawers with generic boxes or baskets, the likelihood of items fitting perfectly is pretty low. However, this doesn’t need to be frustrating. In fact, empty space can easily be turned into an additional “compartment” within the drawer.ย Here’s what I mean…

See that channel along the right-hand side of the drawer? Sure, I was bummed when two more shoeboxes wouldn’t fit there. But honestly, I didn’t need them. The edges of the shoeboxes themselves create a divider, and items can sit both within the box and outside it. So I was able to create four compartments with the boxes, and a 5th by leaving an open space on the far right-hand side of the drawer.

Clothes organized in a drawer with clear plastic shoeboxes

Sweaters

Whether you use as many bins that will fit or intentionally use bins to create pockets of open space, you’ll be able to make a variety of sized compartments to hold exactly what you need!

Step 3: Keep Bins In Place

When placing boxes or bins into drawers to create division, you might be able to fit everything in so snuggly that nothing moves around when you open and close the drawer. However, if your boxes don’t fit quite tight or you intentionally choose to leave open space (as described above), you will quickly grow frustrated by your boxes sliding all around.

There are now lots of options for keeping drawer organizers in place within a drawer. For each of these products, you’ll want to place the sticky product on the bottom corners of the organizers so they adhere to the base of the drawer and keep whatever arrangement you come up with firmly in place!

Same Concept, Any Drawer!

If you look through all the drawers I’ve organized over the years, you’ll see this drawer organization hack in play over and over. Whether I use some cardboard boxes I have leftover from Christmas to hold my socks or purchase a variety of matching bins to hold pens, pencils, and craft supplies, each one is the same concept: individual bins arranged in such a way to create custom divided compartments within a drawer!

Dresser Drawers

In my side table dresser, shallow bins from IKEA fill the width of this drawer to create smaller compartments that are easier to keep tidy. (See More: A Look at My Capsule Wardrobe in My Closet & Drawers)

Dresser drawers organized with white bins

Underwear Drawers

For smaller items such as socks, tights, and undergarments, some beautiful gift boxes fit just right! (See More: A Look at My Capsule Wardrobe in My Closet & Drawers)

Dresser drawer organized with white gift boxes

Pantry/Kitchen Drawers

Kitchen drawers can be segmented with large bins to hold a variety of items such as snacks, utensils, cutlery, dish towels, and more. (See More: How to Organize Pantry Drawers)

Organized Pantry Drawers with clear bins.

Junk Drawers

You can even contain the clutter in your junk drawer with a series of mis-matched cardboard boxes wrapped in pretty paper! (See More: How to Make Drawer Organizers with Cardboard Boxes)

Drawer Organizers with Cardboard Boxes

Bathroom Drawers

Just because boxes have lids doesn’t mean you have to use them. These Sterilite clip boxes were the perfect solution to organizing drawers in our bathroom. (See More: Creative Ways to Organize Bathroom Cabinets & Drawers)

Organized bathroom drawers with Sterilite bins.

Toiletries

Office Drawers

Individual acrylic bins in a variety of sizes can help you make the most of even the skinniest of desk drawers, when other organizers typically won’t fit! (See More: How to Organize Cords In a Drawer)

Desk drawer with organized cords and plugs

Craft Drawers

Mixing-and-matching individual bins also allow you to accommodate a wider variety of items in a single space. (See More: How to Use Individual Dividers to Create Custom Organization)

Want to make the most of every inch in your drawers but can't find the right organizer? I'm sharing how easy it is to customize your drawers with off-the-shelf drawer organizers!

Deep Drawers

Large drawers? No problem! Just look for larger bins, shoeboxes, or baskets to fill up the space and hold bulkier items. The far channel in the drawer below is another example of employing leftover space when organizing drawers! (See More: Creative Ways to Organize Bathroom Cabinets & Drawers)

Bathroom drawer organized with clear bins

Finding the Right Bins For Organizing Drawers

Once you have the right containers in hand, this type of organization project really couldn’t be simpler. Just place them in your drawers, play around until you find the best arrangement, secure in place, and put your things away.

However, finding “just the right” bin or basket can admittedly take some work. Here are some tips and tricks to keep in mind while shopping or hunting through your garage:

  • Height is Most Important. Make sure whatever bins or baskets you choose are shallow enough to allow the drawer to close (but are still big enough to hold what you need to store).
  • Consider What You’re Storing. Think about what you need to put in the drawer before selecting bins. If you need to organize small items like batteries, jewelry, etc, smaller containers are better. If you need to store clothes, toys, or bigger items, larger bins will be required.
  • Keep the Bins Consistent. Surely you can use whatever you can find; but if you’d like your drawers to look clean and streamlined, use bins in all the same finish/color.ย (You can even wrap mis-matched bins in coordinating paper like I did here.)

I love a good bin or basket and use them pretty much everywhere. But even if you aren’t a crazy basket lady like me, I hope this post demonstrates that organizing drawers doesn’t require fancy, expensive dividers or fussy DIY projects to create some order. It’s been my experience that finding inexpensive, sturdy bins to fit drawers is pretty easy; and with some experimenting, you can come up with some pretty amazing arrangements to take advantage of every inch you have and store whatever you need!

See You Soon!
Megan