DIY: Lower Cabinet Drawers

When we moved recently, I left a kitchen full of drawers instead of cabinets under my entire countertop. They were a joy to use! That isn’t reasonable to install in our new kitchen, but there is an alternative.

We installed sliding drawer inserts into the existing cabinets. Four were from Aldi and fit into the bigger cabinet. Four were from Closetmaid and fit into the more narrow cabinets. Now pans and bowls can stack nicely inside the cabinet. When I need anything, I can pull out the wire basket and see what is available. It’s fairly easy to pull something from the right stack, and it can be replaced just as easily.

In order to do that, my husband had to make some minor modifications to the cabinets. That took not quite 2 hours, and the install of the drawers was 2 or 10 minutes each, so this was done in one evening.

First, the half shelf needed to be removed (for the two-tier drawers) or converted to a full shelf (for the single drawers).

  • Taking out the shelf was pretty easy — just remove the screws and then the boards.
  • To make a full shelf, he cut shelf board (using some of what we had removed from the other cabinets) to make side supports (arrow in photo below). These had to be placed outside the space needed for the drawer, so we did a dry run before they were attached. Because of the dry run, he did need to move the hinge on the door to allow the drawer to slide by (circled in photo).

  • Then he cut a shelf to fit in the front half of the cabinet, next to the half shelf in the back. This was placed on top of the side boards, and he put a couple of screws down into the side boards on each end.

Now each cabinet had a flat surface for all the drawers to attach as designed.

Then, we opened up the boxes and installed the drawers as instructed.

  • The Aldi drawers were simple. They came in two pieces. The frame had four screws to attach to the floor or shelf. Once that was done, you slid the drawer in. It’s then ready to use.
  • The Closetmaid set needed a few more minutes to assemble the frame, but it was fairly simple (as long as you had the pieces right side up). It had the same attachment to the floor before it was ready too.

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