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2 Easy DIY Kitchen Cabinet Organizers

Filed Under: Kitchen & Bath, Big Projects

In any kitchen organization project, there are two main goals: To make it easier to find what you're looking for, and to use space more efficiently. These easy-to-build cabinet organizing aids do just that.

Let's take a look at two simply DIY organization aids for kitchen cabinets: tiered shelves and helper shelves.

Tiered shelves are like rows of seats in a movie theater; the varied heights allow you to see what canned goods you have in the front and the back of the closet. The top few inches of the rear cans are visible without having to shift things around.

kitchen cabinet, shelvesCarl Weese/Home & Garden Editorial Services

To Build the Tiered Shelves
This project is built entirely from 1 x 4 pieces of pine. In actual dimensions, that's 3/4" x 3-1/2" -- a perfect fit for the average can, which is about 3 inches in diameter.

1. Cut the upper and lower sets of tier supports (the vertical portions) to 3-1⁄2" wide and 1" thick respectively.

2. Cut tier shelves (the horizontal portions) to the width of your cabinet, minus 1/2 inch to ease installation. If you're storing large cans, alter the depth of the shelves to suit.

miter box, sawCarl Weese/Home & Garden Editorial Services

3. A miter box ensures square crosscuts when working with a hand saw. A table saw, circular saw, or saber saw will all, of course, speed up the work.

hammering nailCarl Weese/Home & Garden Editorial Services

4. Assemble the shelves and shelf supports with glue and 1-1/2-in. finishing nails, and smooth with 100-grit sand paper.

kitchen cabinet, shelfCarl Weese/Home & Garden Editorial Services

Project #2: HELPER SHELF
Helper shelves not only make use of wasted space, they also reduce the number of items in a stack. With short stacks, it's much easier to pull out and put away plates.
Helper shelves make use of the wasted space that can be found in many kitchen cabinets. (P.S. Build a larger version of the helper shelf for linen and clothing closets. They're great for adding storage for bedding, towels, and sweaters.)

To Build the Helper Shelf
Building the helper shelf is similar to building tiered shelves except it's assembled with no. 8 x 1-1/2-in. wood screws instead of nails because the joints may be subject to more weight and stress.

building shelfCarl Weese/Home & Garden Editorial Services

I built mine with a 1/2" thick x 11" deep x 13" wide plywood top. The sides are 3/4" x 5-1/2" x 11" pine.

building shelvesCarl Weese/Home & Garden Editorial Services

1. Trim excess veneer with a utility knife or block plane, and finish the edge with a sanding block for an invisible joint.

Carl Weese/Home & Garden Editorial Services

2. With the shelf clamped to the sides, drill pilot holes using a countersink bit

Carl Weese/Home & Garden Editorial Services

3. Attach the the supports to the shelf with glue and no. 8 x 1 1⁄2" flat head wood screws.

Have you built any easy, DIY organizational aids? Email your photos to!

  • Ray Russell

    Since I just completed a kitchen cabinet replacement project, I think these are great ideas. My old kitchen had 10 feet of counter place with 6 drawers. Now that I have extened the cabinets into the dinning area I now have 22.5 feet of counter top space and 19 drawers. I just wish I had taken better photos of the before and after.

  • Julie

    You can buy these little shelves, etc. through Harriet Carter-type magazines. They're cheap and work great.

  • Kim Smith

    We just installed our kitchen cabinets from . They are absolutely beautiful; they are solid wood with a satin finish. The price was affordable, fast shipping and the quality exceptional. We are doing our bathroom next!

  • Johnny

    I recently bought cabinets from and they had a nice selection of cabinet organizers.

  • 4 Comments / 1 Pages

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