Clever Kitchen Ideas: Dish Organizer

Create more room in your cabinets with this custom dish drawer.
By: Heidi Karpa


Need more room in your cabinets? Try this custom dish drawer.

Need more room in your cabinets? Try this custom dish drawer.

Materials and Tools:

peg board
wooden dowels
wooden dowel pins
measuring tape
drill and drill bits
low grit sand paper
wood glue
stain (optional)


1. Empty out your drawer and measure the width, height and depth of its base. Double check all measurements.

2. Determine which plates, pots, bowls or cups will go into the drawer.

3. Lay out sample arrangements to determine the best configuration. Readjust as necessary to get the most effective configuration. Tip: Do not overcrowd your drawer. Leave room around each stack for ease of maneuverability.



After cutting pegboard to size, slide it in your drawer.

After cutting pegboard to size, slide it in your drawer.

4. You will need four dowels to surround each stack of plates or pots. Figure out your final count of total dowels now.

5. At you local hardware store, have peg board cut to the proper dimensions for your drawer base. Double check the measurements of the cut board at the store.

6. Select the wooden dowels you wish to use. Dowels come in various colors or wood tones. Keep in mind your cabinets' wood tone. Select the dowel which is the closest match and is approximately the thickness of your thumb. This will give the dowel more stability.



Attaching a smaller peg to a hollow dowel makes a dish divider.

Attaching a smaller peg to a hollow dowel makes a dish divider.

7. Have your wooden dowels cut to the proper lengths. Have extras cut. Again, double check the dimensions of the cut dowels.

8. Select 1/4" wooden pegs. Make sure you purchase extras.

9. Lightly sand your dowels. It's important to remove rough edges.

10. You can stain your dowels if you wish. Allow for drying time.

11. Drill a hole in the center of the bottom of each dowel.



Place a dish in the drawer, then the dowels around it.

Place a dish in the drawer, then the dowels around it.

12. With a drop of wood glue, insert a wooden peg into each hole. Allow for drying time. This wooden peg will fit into the pre-cut holes in the pegboard, so you want a really secure bond.

13. Keep in mind that the wooden peg should sit flush with the pegboard. You don't want it too short or too long.

14. Place your pegboard in the bottom of your drawer. You may secure it with a bead of wood glue along the bottom of the board if you wish, but allow for drying time. 16. Insert your pegs/dowels into their desired locations.

15. Review your planned locations for plates, cups, pots or bowls and readjust as necessary.

16. Once the dowels are in place, stack your drawer with the selected items.

Variations: Like this idea but don't have a drawer deep enough for dishes? Here are some other options:

  • Use the assembly process above to create an organized drawer for calendars, checkbooks, address books and important contact information. This is the drawer that typically becomes a junk drawer.
  • Or create a spice drawer organizer. It's much easier to cook when your spices are laid out and easy to view.
  • Finally, pegboard hooks have come along way. Attach some pegboard to your wall and create a kitchen command center. Organizational hooks, cups and shelves all attach easily and will allow you to be more efficient and less stressed.
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