In Detailed Order: Organizing My Desk Drawer

by Diane Henkler on 01/30/2012

Last week I lined my desk drawer with pages from a thrift store book on lettering.  I love how it turned out, but since the drawer is nice and big, it needed some sort of organizing dividers to keep everything from shifting around.  Dividers would also make it easy to find things and maintain as well as easy to find and keep organized.    I clipped an inspiring drawer photo from a magazine a long time ago and when I brought the desk up from my basement, I went looking for the clipping.  I found it!

Here it is – I love the way the drawers are divided with a simple label for each compartment.  The scan quality of the photo isn’t great, but if you look at the bottom left you can see what I am talking about.

 Restoration Style Home Office Decorating Ideas

I was sent a P-Touch1290 label maker before the holidays to review, but I didn’t have time to do anything with it. When I moved my desk up from my basement – not only did the clipping come to mind, but so did an idea of how I could use the P-Touch.

P-Touch-Home-Label-Maker

I thought about making the DIY Drawer Organizers that Stephanie Lynn at Under The Table Dreaming did with her kitchen drawers and painting them white, but I didn’t want something permanent and locked into one size dividers as I don’t know what I may want to put in my drawer a year from now.

DIY Drawer Organizers

If you know me, you know I enjoy finding ways to re-purpose items. I went around my house and collected all the small boxes I could find.  I found quite a few since Christmas wasn’t that long ago. They held candy, jewels, checks, wallet, etc.  I used the tops and the bottoms of each box. Since the boxes were all different colors, I sprayed the top edges with spray paint just so they would look cohesive.  I also picked out a few pieces of scrapbook paper and lined the boxes using a few decorative patterns. I still have to collect more boxes, but you can see how I have created pretty dividers to organize all my drawer junk.  The boxes can be changed and rearranged in many different ways -they fit together like a jigsaw puzzle.

Drawer organizing ideas for your home office desk

How to Make Drawer Dividers Using Boxes and Scrapbook Paper

What You Will Need:

An assortment of small boxes
Scrapbook Paper
Paper Cutter
Scissors
Ruler
Pencil/Colored Pencil
Glue Stick
White Cardstock
Labels
 

Drawer organizing ideas

 

Make a Liner for Each Box

How-to-line-a-box-with-scra

1. Lay scrapbook paper right-side down. Trace the top of the box on the paper making sure there is extra space all around that is the same measurement or taller then the height of the box.

2. Use a colored pencil/pen and a ruler. Make a line on each side of the box outline 1/8” inside the lines. This will allow for the fact that the inside of the box is smaller than the outside. If it is a very thick box, make the lines 1/4”.  Once you make one line – you will understand this step, if it seems confusing.

-Once the lines are made you need to score the lines. This is easily done by lining  up the ruler with each line and gently running the closed tip of a pair of scissors or a paper clip along the ruler. You don’t have to press too hard, you just want to make an indent in the paper.

3. Cut outside the lines to cut off each corner- so that no pencil marks show on the 4 tab like sections.

4.  Your lining should look like this.

 

Fit the Liner into the Box

 Drawer Dividers

1.  Fold the score lines and place the paper into the box. If it is too big – adjust the size by taking another 1/8” off of one or more sides until it fits.

2. Once it fits, mark the height of the sides of the box on the liner. Remove and cut off excess.

3. Rub a glue stick allover the back of the liner.

4.  Place in box. Smooth the bottom and sides with your fingers to make sure the paper is adhered.  If you want to cover the outside of the box, measure the height and cut a strip to size.  Glue the strip around the box.

 

Make the Strip for the Label

Drawer Organizing Ideas

1.  Using a paper cutter – cut the card-stock into 1/2-inch strips.

2. Score down the center of each strip by running the closed tip of a pair of scissors along the ruler. This will create a scored line to fold the strip in half nice and neatly.

3.  Place the folded strip along the back of your lined box. Mark the length and cut with scissors.

4. Run a glue stick along the inside bottom of the strip.  Attach to top back of box. Smooth with your hands to make sure it is adhered.

5. Peel the backing from your label and attach to the paper strip.

6.  All done.

 

Organizing Made Fun

The P-Touch was quite easy to use right out of the box. It came with one cartridge and full instructions.  I just started playing with it until I understood how it worked. It came with a diagram of all the sizes, fonts, and stylish designs you can create on the labels.   I just went with the simple Helvetica font.    Once I made a few, I started having fun with it and thought of all the other places that could use a label – like the circuit breakers in the electrical box in the basement. We labeled that years ago, but the writing has faded and now it is a guessing game on which breaker is for what.  The labels made with the P-touch are said to be indestructible and will never fade.

The only downside I found using it was that it needed 6 AAA batteries – which can get costly if you start labeling everything in sight, like me :)  Would be more cost effective if you could just plug it into a wall socket, but then the initial price of the machine would be more.  The retail cost of the the P Touch runs around $39.99.

The labels come out the back of the machine once you press print.  There is a side button to press and your label is instantly cut.  It is quite fun and easy to use.

P-Touch-Label-Maker-by-Brot

I am feeling very organized  and I like the feeling, the feeling of  order.

How to make Drawer-Dividers

Since I love the black and white lettered drawer liner, I added a few clear plastic boxes to the mix. They won’t need a scrapbook liner since they are see-through.

Drawer organizing ideas

This was a fun project since I love to organize. Once I was finished with the drawer, I started making labels  for the file folders in my file cabinet.   The P-Touch only comes with one sample starter pack of tape and I used it up, so I will have to get a full roll to finish my file drawer on my next trip to Walmart or Staples.  It will be a huge milestone for me to finally have the files in the cabinet all nice and neat with easy to read labels instead of my scribbled on handwriting in all different colors of inks.

Home Office Organizing Ideas

 

 

 

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Nana Diana January 30, 2012 at 1:45 pm

That is EXACTLY how I organize my own drawers…except…mine aren’t nearly that pretty! Love what you did here- xo Diana

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2 Patricia January 30, 2012 at 1:49 pm

I just cleaned out my desk drawers and am wishing I had some boxes I could use like you have. Unfortunately, I pitched them last week when I was decluttering.

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3 Lynne January 30, 2012 at 1:51 pm

Diane,
Is there a banner, crown jewel, award for you? You come up with the best, inexpensive, easy to do, “why didn’t I think of that,” ideas! I am convinced my mind doesn’t work that way although I do an okay job of “copy!”

Such a great idea . . . once again thank, YOU!
Love, Lynne

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4 Kim {ShopKim on Etsy} January 30, 2012 at 2:49 pm

Love the idea of putting the paper on the inside! Going to have to try this.

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5 The enchanted home January 30, 2012 at 2:55 pm

Wow this is sooo impressive and inspirational. One of the best tutorials I have seen in a long long time. So clever and very well done!

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6 Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions January 30, 2012 at 4:41 pm

Nicely done, Diane! This post came at a good time ~ I just got a whole bunch of little jewelry gift boxes together this morning, and I was going to give them to my daughter. Now I’m not so sure!

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7 beach house living January 30, 2012 at 6:12 pm

Very neat and tidy for sure.
We have a label maker but it’s doubtful a desk drawer would every be so organized around here.

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8 Bettsi January 31, 2012 at 1:41 am

They look so cute! Such a happy drawer. I love the Brother P-touch. I used one at my last job and now I’m going through withdrawal! I think I’m going to need one of my own.

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9 Diane January 31, 2012 at 7:30 pm

Hi Bettsi -
When I first got it, I kind of was thinking – why do I need this thing -Waste of time and batteries. Once I started using it, I quickly changed my mind. I am enjoying it a lot! Who knew a label maker could be so much fun to use.

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10 Susan January 31, 2012 at 6:21 am

Diane….as PO in Boston, I love making organizing pretty! Great job.

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11 Upscale Downhome January 31, 2012 at 11:13 am

Really cute. I’d be happy every time I opened this drawer. I love the coordination of your papers.

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12 Diane January 31, 2012 at 7:27 pm

That’s what I like – happy! Why have it boring when pretty isn’t too hard to achieve and will add a little beauty to my day.

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13 Laurel@Ducks in a Row January 31, 2012 at 12:21 pm

Love how this looks – it would make me very very happy! I also love that you just made it work, but it still is very pretty!

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14 Dawn January 31, 2012 at 12:28 pm

What a great job organizing, I need to do that too.

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15 Sandra Licher January 31, 2012 at 3:52 pm

Thanks for the ideas! I have organized my drawers and used all kinds of free containers like you did but I did not cover the bottom of my drawer or use cute paper to cover the containers. No wonder it doesn’t look “done” or pretty either, yours does! It’s all in the details and you covered them all! I do have a label maker but it only has one font and I would like more. Mine was about $20.00 and doesn’t take as many batteries either but I want more style in my labels! You’ve got me going now and I am going to have to re-visit my drawers!

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16 Diane January 31, 2012 at 7:15 pm

Hi Sandra – The label maker is addicting, but a fun addiction. I can’t wait to get more tape so I can continue labeling everything. My friend came by yesterday and told me her hubs got her one for Christmas. Since getting it, she has labeled just about everything in her house :)

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17 Marilyn Holeman February 2, 2012 at 8:25 pm

As usual, you’ve gone the extra mile, and added in the pretty papers. It would make me happy whenever I opened the drawer.

I’ve been using a label maker for several years, and don’t like using all those batteries, either, but using rechargeable ones makes it a little less painful!

Thanks for the great ideas.

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18 breanna February 3, 2012 at 1:04 pm

great tutorial!! I’ve shared it here: http://dollarstoremom.com/2012/02/pinterest-picks-25/

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19 Sheryll & Critters. February 10, 2012 at 5:55 pm

Oh, I so love your organized drawers……. and I am jealous. (grin).

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20 Emily May 29, 2012 at 7:27 pm

I love this! You have helped me so much! definitely going to try it!

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21 Jenny October 13, 2012 at 4:21 pm

Great idea and really beautiful boxes.

I found it a little strange though that you complained about the cost of the batteries for your labeller. I too have this label model and MY major complaint is the cost of the tape cassettes. They are incredibly expensive plus this particular labeller wastes about two inches of tape per label. Not cost effective at all!

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22 Diane October 13, 2012 at 5:06 pm

Hi Jenny – When I wrote this post I did not know how much the cartridges cost, only the batteries that I had to buy. It came with 4 refills of tape. When I went to buy one, I could not believe how much they cost. I totally agree with you and wonder why they have to cost so much – Same with printer ink. I also agree with you that each label uses up more tape than needed. I always want it to stop right after it prints. :) We have outside valves and electrical pumps that the tape is wonderful for. It truly is industrustible from the sun, rain, snow, and cold. We use to use magic marker and that faded quickly. It really is a great machine, but the price of a refill makes me think “Do I really need to use this or can I make a label myself a whole lot cheaper.”

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23 estelina sanchezhall December 10, 2012 at 9:55 am

You can always buy the batteries cheap with coupons and stock up. Also, office max runs them for $1 for 20 (with maxperks) about three times a year. If not, packing tape over cardstock makes for a good, wipeable label also that is inexpensive.

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24 Skintight December 21, 2013 at 5:42 am

Sweet. Will definitely copy.

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25 Vivi January 24, 2014 at 11:34 am

Thank u so much for the tutorial! Now I am addicted to making cute boxes for everything. I find myself walking around the house looking for boxes to makeover like a lion looking from prey! :)

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