Here’s how to measure drawers like a professional organizer to get accurate dimensions of organizing trays and dividers. Sponsored by Hart Tools
As a former professional organizer, one thing my clients mentioned more than anything else was how they just don’t know how to organize drawers. It’s funny how something as small as a drawer in the kitchen can cause such a holdup, but it’s actually a pretty difficult task for someone just getting started in organizing their home.
Today I want to share my exact method for getting accurate measurements of drawers so you can buy the right organizers the first time and avoid standing in return line and wasting your afternoon redoing your project at least once.
How To Measure A Drawer
First you need a good tape measure. It needs to be small enough to maneuver around the drawer, but weighty enough to get an accurate reading. I prefer measuring tapes from Hart Tools, which are available at Walmart stores nationwide. My favorite is this sleek black one, but all Hart measuring tapes are good, sturdy quality.
Start by measuring the length of the drawer. Get the full length from the front to the back, all the way down to the exact fraction of the inch. It may not seem like that eighth of an inch will matter, but it definitely does. Write the measurement on a piece of paper.
Then measure the width of the drawer. Get the full width from one side to the other side and write that exact measurement on the same piece of paper.
Finally, measure the height of the drawer. Get the exact height from the bottom of the drawer to the top of the drawer side and write those dimensions down, too. You now have basic dimensions to work with. Length x Width x Height (Example: 14-1/8″ x 10-1/16″ x 3″)
You might be tempted to measure the height from the bottom to the top of the opening in your cabinet, but this is risky because you need space for the organizers to breathe. If you get them too close to the top of the opening, they can scrape the cabinet frame as your drawers flex and move with temperature changes.
Tape Measure Secret Hack
In the photos above you probably noticed that I’m not bending my measuring tape at the end. This is the professional organizer secret that most people don’t know about. When you bend a measuring tape in a 90 degree angle, you aren’t getting an exact reading down to the fraction.
Instead, check your tape measure for a number on the back. It’s usually imprinted on the lower part of the back of the tool. That number is actually the width of the tool! You can see in the image above that my tape measure is 3″ wide. So when I press the tape measure housing up against the inside of the drawer, I get a precise measurement. All you need to do is note the measurement on the tape, then add the inches from the housing to that number. (Example: 14-1/8″ wide + 3″ of tool housing = 17-1/8″)
Figuring Out How Many Drawer Organizers You Need
Here’s where that paper and measurements come into play. You have the dimensions you can work with, so now it’s pretty much a game of trial and error to fill the space. If you already know which drawer organizers you want to buy, look them up online and get the measurements from the website. Be sure to get the full dimensions, not the interior dimensions. Then draw out a few potential layouts using those dimensions to see which ones fit best. It’s like a puzzle.
Most drawer organizers are between two-and-a-half and three inches tall, but you can find some that are more shallow or deep by a detailed search. And most drawer trays are in widths and lengths of increments of 3″. This is because you can make squares and rectangles easily with 3″ increments.
Your goal is to have as little gaps around the edges as possible, but sometimes it’s unavoidable. You can fill gaps that are too small for another drawer tray with scrap pieces of wood, or you can store skinny items like cooking tools, candle lighters, reusable straws, or small rolled up bags.
More Tips For Using Drawer Organizers
I’ll be sharing more tips for customizing store-bought drawer organizers on Hart’s website soon, so be sure to follow them @HARTtoolsUSA on Instagram to stay up to date with new posts and tutorials.