A cubby grid for a tie drawer with a curved drawer front

Had the customer asked me about the feasibility of putting a cubby grid in a non-rectangular space, I would have advised against it. But he didn’t ask. He just designed and bought, approved the drawing, and after his order arrived, had been assembled assembled, and put in the drawer, he took the following image and sent it to me. That was the first time I knew about the curved drawer front.

No, it’s not perfect, but he says it works for him and he’s happy. Notice he filled in the gap in the front with glasses cases.

So there you have it. Now we know.

New Concept — 2 Cubby Grids in 1 Drawer

When a potential customer approached us about needing two grids — one for ties and one for belts — in the same large drawer I thought we were going to have to steer her towards a much more expensive maple insert as the solution. Remember: cubby grids can’t stand on their own. They need to have support from all four sides of the drawer, otherwise they’re a wobbly mess.

When I told Nathan what I was planning to propose, he put on the brakes. “That will be so much more expensive. Let me think about it. Seems like there should be a way…”

It didn’t take long for him to realize what I should have. As long as there is a wall to serve as a support between the two grids, there’s no reason two cubby grids couldn’t sit side by side in the same drawer.

So here’s what we did. The customer planned one grid for ties and another for belts, and we reserved enough space to insert 1 or 2 acrylic walls between them. That “dividing” wall between the ties and belts below is nothing more than 2 pieces of acrylic she slipped between the two grids to tighten things up and give extra support all around.

2 cubby grids in a single drawer

I designed an insert, but I’m not ready to purchase yet. How do I save my work?

Good question.

I’m not happy about the truthful answer, but here goes. You currently can’t save your work on our website. There. I said it. We plan to add that capability in the future, but it hasn’t yet worked its way to the top of the priority list.

Here’s what you can do…

Take a screenshot so that you can (relatively) quickly recreate your work if you’re not ready to purchase right now.

If you’re a designer working with a client, you can do the following:

  • Add you item to the cart.
  • Copy the “options” code that you see in the cart and paste that code into an email. Send the email to me at the address on the Contact page.
  • I will then generate a to-scale drawing for you to share with your client. It will be sent in PDF format. (In your email, include the client’s name if you want it to appear on the drawing.)

Hopefully that helps. Let me know if you have additional questions about this topic.

Designing Upside Down

“I don’t see quite the design I’m looking for.  The attached drawing shows the drawer layout I want.”

– knows-what-he-wants customer

“Use our Kari template and plan the insert as if it were turned 180 degrees in your drawer. I hope that makes sense and that it works for you!”

– me

Here’s the Kari template. Do you see how it’s the same layout as his drawing, just upside down?

This strategy worked. He was able to design and purchase on our website, and here’s the feedback we received after he received his order.

“We love them, as do my in-laws.”

– knows-what-he-wants customer

Can’t beat that!

Layered/stacked kitchen drawer organizers

I recently received the following images from a happy customer who ordered two custom drawer inserts, and they sit in the same drawer, one on top of the other. The top insert fills the width but not the depth of the drawer. She can move the top layer to the front or back of the drawer to access the items underneath. Clever. And it looks great!

This is a great solution for tall drawers and for tiny kitchens where some drawers need to pull double duty.

“I want a cubby grid, but my drawer is over 31 inches wide. What can I do?”

If you have a greater than 31″-wide drawer, you won’t be able to plan a cubby grid using our design wizard, as it won’t accept drawer dimensions greater than 31.

But you can contact us, and we can design a cubby grid for your large drawer that will actually be two cubby grids with staggered walls that sit side-by-side in your drawer.

The red dots on the drawing below indicate where the “tails” of the two cubby grids would meet.

When scooped dividers are not appropriate

Scooped dividers are handy — even essential — in some situations. In others, they’re just a preference. There’s one situation, though, where having scooped dividers is not advised — when they’re oriented perpendicularly to the utensils they separate. Not only are they unnecessary in those situations, they’re a liability. Let me explain…

In general, scooped dividers should be oriented in same direction as the utensils, as in the scooped divider (not circled) on the left in the image above.

The remaining circled scooped dividers in the photo above are oriented perpendicularly to the utensils that will be in those sections and will be subject to the impact of sliding utensils on the smallest, most vulnerable area of the dividers, the material just below the cutout, as the drawer is opened and closed.

In such cases, we insist that you opt for regular dividers. Not only will you save money, you’ll get a more durable product.

Can I turn my custom insert around?

If you mean, “Can I turn my custom insert 180 degrees?” the answer is yes. You can plan inserts with this in mind. Here are some examples of inserts that were planned in one orientation, but the owner is using them turned around. What was at 12:00 is now at 6:00.

Here is our Eric template…

And here is an insert designed using the Eric template, turned 180 degrees in its drawer.

The following is our Jill template…

And here is an insert designed with the Jill template turned 180 degrees in the drawer.

Here is our Andrea template…

And here is an insert designed with the Andrea template and turned 180 degrees in the drawer.

So, yes, turning an insert around in your drawer works just fine.

What’s not possible is flipping the insert over, pancake style. That’s a no-no for two reasons.

First, the underside of our inserts are unfinished. Second, and more importantly, the dividers would not function properly. The dividers cannot be removed from the bottom. This is an intentional design so that the entire insert can be lifted straight up, and, even if the insert is bottomless, the dividers will not fall through. 

Avoid this common mistake when sketching your drawer insert

You can see it in your mind’s eye — the perfect layout for your drawer. Quick, make a sketch before the image fades!

If you’re like most of us non-engineering types, you sketch your layout in two dimensions. The artistic quality is akin to a stick figure, which is fine as long as you realize that, like stick figures, stick drawer organizers  don’t exist in the real world. Real-world drawer inserts have dimension (or thickness). Are you with me?

I sometimes receive drawings like the following along with a message like this: “This is a pretty straightforward design. Can you make this?”

Well…no, actually.  Here’s why…

The drawer’s internal depth is 19″. The perimeter walls and the two horizontal fixed walls will be 1/2″ thick. When we subtract the thickness of the front perimeter wall (1/2″ thick), the back perimeter wall (1/2″ thick), and the two horizontal fixed walls (1/2″ + 1/2″ = 1″), we’re left with 17″ of usable depth.

There’s 17″ to divide among the front, middle, and back sections — not 19″. So it’s back to the drawing board. At least one section’s usable space will need to be reduced. If that’s not possible due to the length of the contents being stored, a different layout is needed.

P.S. If things just won’t fit, maybe you need an outside-the-box solution.




Sometimes things fit best outside the box

I recently helped a customer with a tricky drawer arrangement. The drawer to be organized was a 13.5″ deep island drawer. (Remember: the “depth” of a drawer is the front-to-back dimension.)

This was her first draft… original drawing cropped

…and it was problematic. Do you see the problem?

Let’s just consider the right side of the drawer. The  back section is 11″ deep. The front section is 2.38″ deep. 11 + 2.38 = 13.38. When we add in the thickness of the perimeter walls alone, which are 1/2″ each (and we won’t even mention  that horizontal wall in the middle) the depth of the entire insert would be 14.38″, which would not fit in a 13.5″- deep drawer.

We needed a different design, a different place for the 13″-long items.

Here’s what we did. In the drawing below, the thick black box represents the drawer box.

out of box solution

We removed the long section in the front of the drawer and decreased the overall width of the insert so that the 13″-long items could be stored in the space between the insert and the right side of the drawer. So the longest items in the drawer will be stored outside of the insert.

Problem solved. Organized drawer. Happy customer. 🙂

Here are some other examples of inserts that don’t fill the entire drawer.

glassware insert

medium-sized kitchen drawer

silverware drawer