DIY built in drawers for a closet organizer – TwoFeetFirst


Do you ever find yourself frustrated with the lack of organization in your closet? Are you tired of using cheap storage bins, canvas shelves, or flimsy plastic drawers that always seem to break? If so, it’s time to upgrade your closet by building a custom organizer with sturdy, smooth-gliding drawers. In this step-by-step tutorial, I’ll guide you through the process of creating six perfectly-sized drawers for your closet organizer. Say goodbye to clutter and hello to a more organized and visually appealing closet!

Step 1: Cutting the Plywood

Before getting started, you’ll need to gather your supplies and carefully cut the plywood to the specified dimensions. Refer to the provided diagrams to ensure accurate measurements. Remember, it’s important to use high-quality cabinet-grade plywood for the best finish. Take your time and make clean, precise cuts.

Step 2: Adding a Dado to the Wood

To connect the bottom of your drawers to the other wood pieces, you’ll need to create a groove or slot called a dado. This can be done using a router with a 1/4″ bit or a table saw. Follow the provided tutorial for detailed instructions on adding a dado to each piece of plywood. Make sure to cut the dado on the inside of the drawer, as it will be the visible side.

Adding Pockets for Support

After creating the dado, it’s time to add pockets to the wood to provide additional support for the drawers. The Kreg Jig K5 is a fantastic tool for this task. Add at least three pockets to each back and front piece of the drawers. These pockets will be placed on the same side as the dado. Take care not to go overboard with the number of pockets, as too many can weaken the structure.

Sanding the Wood

Now that the wood has been prepared with dados and pockets, it’s important to sand all the surfaces to ensure smoothness and prevent any potential splinters. Use #220 grit sandpaper with an orbital sander to make the job easier. Be sure to sand all sides and edges of the wood. Once you’re finished sanding, wipe down the wood with a cloth.

Building the Drawers

With all the pieces prepared, it’s time to assemble the drawers. Lay out the sides, front/back pieces, and the 1/4″ bottom piece on a flat surface. Start by placing one of the side pieces with the dado facing up. Insert the bottom piece into the dado, and then add the front and back pieces, aligning them with the dado as well. Finally, add the last side piece to complete the box shape. Apply wood glue to the edges of the top front/back piece and carefully place it back into position. Use clamps to hold the pieces together firmly.

Next, use the provided pockets to attach the pieces securely using 1″ screws. Wipe away any excess glue that seeps out. Repeat this process for all six drawers.

Sanding the Drawers

Once all the drawers are assembled, it’s time to sand the wood once again. Pay close attention to the edges and corners to ensure a smooth finish. This step is crucial to prevent your clothes from snagging or getting splinters.

Installing the Drawers

Finally, it’s time to install the drawers into your closet system using the supports already in place. Follow the instructions provided with your drawer slides to ensure correct installation. Adjust the drawers until they are level, and then secure them in place using the appropriate screws. Aim to leave a small gap between the bottom drawer and the trim piece to avoid any potential obstructions.


Congratulations! You’ve successfully created custom drawers for your closet organizer. Just imagine how much more efficient and visually pleasing your closet will be with these sturdy, smooth-gliding drawers. Enjoy the additional storage space and the ease of finding your clothes. Say goodbye to messy tote bins and hello to a more organized closet. Happy organizing!

Ideas to update a small closet

This tutorial covers the construction of the drawers only. For a comprehensive guide on creating the drawer fronts and the actual closet organizer, refer to the associated articles. Remember to use cabinet-grade plywood for the best finish. Also, note that the dimensions provided in this tutorial may vary depending on your specific closet organizer plans.

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