2021 is going to be interesting

Hello friends!

Well, 2020 was especially eventful for us and 2021 is promising to be the same. No doubt that’s the case for you as well.

But the quest for great organization never ceases, and Orderly Drawer is here for you.

The long-awaited upgrades to the Santiago line are now being rolled out. As you can imagine from reading here, the difficult spaces in our home are starting to be transformed by these versatile organizers.

Several new types of organizers are in the works. Join our mailing list to get updates about this and more.

Is there an ideal cubby size for a tie drawer?

Good question. There would be if all ties were created equally, but they’re not. Remember the skinny neckties of the ’80s? Perhaps they were in backlash to the wide ties of the ’70s. Today, ties tend to be mostly somewhere in between, but you never know when a new width will become the next big trend. What to do? Here are some thoughts on how to size your tie cubbies.

Cubby Grid tie drawer organizer

If you want your cubby grid to be evenly spaced, and you want your ties to be placed broad-side up in drawer, as seen above, you need to measure the width of your widest tie and plan the cubby width accordingly. The above are 3.5″ x 3.5″

A 3 x 3″ cubby will comfortably accommodate the typical tie, if not in the broad-side up position, then in the edge-side up position so that the coil is visible, like a cinnamon roll’s swirl, as in the photo below. (Thanks to Flickr’s WernerKrause for the use of this image.)

rolled tie

Don’t forget that cubbies don’t have to be evenly spaced. You could have a couple columns for skinny and bow ties and one for wide ones, as shown in the layout below. On page four of the design wizard, just drag the wall to suit your preference.

cubby grid design

On page four of the design wizard, just drag the walls to suit your preference.

“The drawer insert is beautiful and is the right size…but I can’t get it in the drawer!”

I recently got the following from a customer:

The divider looks great. The only problem is my drawer does not come out and it just won’t fit. We are talking about half an inch…So upset. What would you recommend? Is it easy for me to remove the nails from one side and trim it a bit?

This was my response:

Don’t worry. We’ve never met a drawer that could not be removed from the cabinet. Sometimes it seems impossible, but you probably have some modern drawer slides with a safety feature to keep the drawer from toppling out on a curious toddler. There’s probably a very simple mechanism that needs to be pressed or slid to one side to allow you to completely remove the drawer. 

I recommend you do a Google image search to find out what kind of drawer slides you have, and then to a search at YouTube for how to remove a drawer with that type of slide.

Let me know how it goes!

The customer was able to figure out how to remove his drawer and successfully put his insert in. No tools required.

Thin side walls for inserts in narrow drawers

narrow drawer with extra-thin side walls to maximize usable space

Another title for this post could have been “A match made in heaven — your narrow drawer and the Brandi template.” But that sounds too dramatic and rather ridiculous. So we’ll stick with the boring-but-practical-sounding title.

The narrow kitchen drawer tends to be used for flatware, and there may be no better candidate for a custom drawer insert. Why? Because every bit of space counts in a narrow drawer!

Narrow flatware drawer organizer insert

By far, our most popular template for narrow kitchen drawer is the Brandi template…and for good reason. When all the dividers in an insert are oriented front-to-back, we can use thinner material for the side walls of the insert, leaving more usable space across the width of the drawer than with other templates.

You might be wondering, “Why can’t you always use thinner material?” Well, the slots require that we use thicker material. If dividers are in the side-to-side orientation, we need thicker walls to make sure there’s room for slots and for enough material left over for a structurally sound product.

tiny kitchen flatware drawer

If having thinner material is important for your drawer situation, let us know, and we’ll do what we can do accommodate.

Should the height of my drawer insert match the height of the drawer box?

large flatware kitchen drawer with knife block

People often assume that the height of their drawer insert should be level with the height of their drawer box, but this is not necessarily the case. Another common assumption is that there are “standard” drawer sizes. If you’re reading this blog, chances are you live in a part of the world that is wealthy enough to have no such thing. Beyond kitchen counter height, there are not many “standards” when it comes to cabinetry and therefore drawers. Drawers come in a myriad of sizes, including heights.

narrow drawer flatware silverware

large flatware drawer with narrowly spaced compartments

The height of your insert should be determined by how you plan to use the drawer — not by the height of the drawer.


Consider a 4.5″-tall drawer where you plan to store silverware. If the drawer insert were 4.5″ tall,  and you had a 2.5″-wide compartment for forks, imagine reaching your hand into such a compartment. If you can’t imagine the tight squeeze that would be (especially if you have large hands and if the compartment contained only a few forks), try to simulate such a situation before designing and purchasing. Such an insert might look nice in the drawer, but retrieving items from it could be quite awkward.

There’s a reason why most off-the-shelf drawer organizers are 2″ or less in height.

Certainly, though, there is a place for tall-ish inserts — a narrow , 10″-wide drawer that needs to hold 12 place settings of flatware, a baking drawer for large bulky items that could spill over a short insert…

Bottom line: when deciding the height of an insert, consider functionality above all else. Consider how your drawer extends and if that should factor into your insert height decision. If you determine that you need a 2.5″ or taller insert, you might want to consider scooped dividers.

Pausing on the Santiago Knife Block as we prepare for something better

When we launched the Santiago line about two years ago, we had reason to believe we’d be able to eventually offer that product line at bargain basement prices. After hunting extensively and corresponding with various suppliers and dealing with a shortage of helpers, we were not able to get the price nearly as low as we had hoped.

Needless to say, we were disappointed.

So we’re working on a new line of acrylic products that will be much more affordable and somewhat more versatile, a kind of sister line to the Santiago line products. On top of this, we plan to have a super-affordable you-assemble option on this line. When fully built out, we expect this line of custom inserts to include options/features like a spice rack, cubby grids, and a knife block that can be part of a larger drawer insert.

Stay tuned. If you want to be notified when this new line is ready, make sure you’re on our mailing listWe’ll have some extra-sweet deals for beta testers.  


Organizers for drawers of hutches, sideboards, buffets….

hutch drawer insert

It’s easy for what I’ll call “overflow” drawers to get ignored. I’m talking about drawers in sideboards, hutches, buffets, credenzas, servers… These drawers typically store overflow silverware, the good silver, linens, etc. Their drawers are usually shallower than those found in kitchen cabinets, and finding a suitable organizer can be tricky.

If you’re looking for a nice drawer insert to complement your hutch/sideboard/buffet, we can provide a solution that looks, perhaps, as timeless as the furniture piece.

Makeup drawer inserts

Santiago white acrylic makeup drawer organizer

Makeup Drawer inspiration.

When Orderly Drawer was young, we offered only wood inserts. Today they’re available in acrylic as well, which many may find a more suitable material for makeup and other bathroom drawer.

makeup drawer organizer

custom makeup drawer insert

maple makeup drawer organizer

Stacked drawer organizers

Stacked Inserts

We’re occasionally asked about the practicality of stacking inserts, one on top of the other.  This can be a good solution when… Continue reading “Stacked drawer organizers”

Full-extension vs 3/4-extension drawer slides and why it matters for your drawer design

There are many different types of drawer slides in modern cabinetry. For the purpose of this post, I’m concerned with two types — those that fully extend and those that do not.

A drawer that fully extends can slide out of the cabinet cavity so that the full real estate of the drawer is exposed, as in the photos below.

custom insert for narrow drawer

drawer organizer - Brandi template with scooped dividers

With full-extension drawers, you’ll have no issues with accessing the contents of your drawer, no matter what template you choose on which to build your design.

Moving on to drawers that do not fully extended, like the one below… Continue reading “Full-extension vs 3/4-extension drawer slides and why it matters for your drawer design”