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Brilliant Plastic Storage Container Organizer

Are you tired of your plastic food storage containers always being a jumbled mess, and never finding the matching lid you need? Here is a solution to keep your containers and lids neat and organized. And what's great is that it's self-contained and portable so you can easily move it from a cabinet to a pantry shelf and you can take it with you when you move.

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drawerDeb Pike

The Finished Project

This organizer is made of birch veneer cabinet-grade plywood and can be placed inside a cabinet or on a pantry shelf. Make your own to custom fit your containers and your kitchen.

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suppliesDeb Pike

Materials Needed for This Organizer

  • 3/4-inch-thick birch veneer cabinet-grade plywood
  • One 2- x 4-foot sheet of durable pegboard
  • One 2- x 4-foot sheet of 1/4-inch hardboard (for bottom of box)
  • 1 pkg. of twelve 1/4- x 12-inch poplar dowels (pegs)
  • Two 18- to 28-inch tension rods, 7/16 inch diameter
  • 1 handle or drawer pull
  • Paint
  • Paint brush, small roller or sponge
  • Wood glue
  • Twelve 16-gauge 1-3/4-inch nails
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sawDeb Pike

Tools Needed to Make Your Organizer

  • Table saw
  • Drill
  • 16- to 18-gauge nailer (hand nailing also works)
  • Mallet to pound in pegs
  • Tape measure
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
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wood Deb Pike

Cut the Wood Pieces

Determine the width and depth of the organizer box based on the cabinet or shelf you plan to set the organizer in or on. With a table saw, cut the boards to the correct height, width and depth to fill most of the space, leaving a little clearance on each side.

Note: If you’re storing this inside a cabinet, pay attention to the cabinet opening as the box will need to slide in and out.

The box we made is going inside a cabinet. The back boards shown are 16 inches x 6 inches and the side boards are 19-1/4 inches x 6 inches.

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edgeDeb Pike

Dado and Rabbet Cuts

On the front and back boards of the organizer box, using a table saw, cut a 3/8- x 3/4-inch rabbet cut on the ends of both pieces. If you are not familiar with rabbet cuts, this video will explain what they are and how to make them.

Next cut a 1/2-inch dado cut on the bottom of all four boards ,approximately 1/4 inch up from the bottom.

Note: You wouldn’t have to do the dado step but it makes the box stronger. Not familiar with dadoes? Here’s everything you need to know.

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woodJack Richeson/Amazon

Cut Bottom Piece to Size

We cut ours small enough to fit inside the base dado. It measures 19-1/4 inches x 15-1/4 inches.

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woodDeb Pike

Apply Glue To All Rabbet Cuts

Apply a line of wood glue to the rabbet cuts. Line up the top edges and with a 16-gauge nailer, place three 12-16 gauge 1-3/4-inch nails into the back edge, as centered as possible. Do this on both sides. Here’s everything you need to know about gluing wood.

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woodDeb Pike

Slide Bottom Panel into Dado Grooves

Setting the front board aside, take the other three boards (both sides and back) and add a line of wood glue to the three dado grooves. While the glue is still wet, slide the bottom hardboard panel into the grooves.

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woodDeb Pike

Attaching the Front

Using your nailer, attach the front board of the organizer. Line up all of the edges and secure it with three 12-16 gauge 1-3/4-inch nails, just as you did on the back piece. Do this on each side to secure it in place. Check out this no-hassle nailer.

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bladeDeb Pike

Cut the Pegboard

Measure the interior of the organizer. Cut the pegboard to fit inside the organizer bottom.

Tip: for sturdier pegs, double up the pegboards. Be sure to line up the peg holes before cutting the second board. Here are 11 ways to organize your home with pegboard.

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dowelsDeb Pike

Cut the Dowels

Cut poplar dowels to desired length. We cut the dowels in half so that they are each 6 inches long. Dowels are surprisingly versatile. Here’s how to make Under-cabinet shelves with dowels.

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handle Deb Pike

Drill Hole for Handle

To find the center of the front board, use a ruler and draw a diagonal line from corner to corner and make an “X”. With a pencil, mark where the lines intersect, this should be where you drill the hole for the handle. Using a drill, make a 3/16-inch hole, then line up the handle and screw it in from the back. Here’s a complete guide to installing cabinet hardware.

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paintDeb Pike


Using a small roller, paint brush or paint sponge, paint all sides of the organizer, inside and out.

Note: We chose to paint the pegboard to match. Check out these eight clever painting tips.

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rodsDeb Pike

Tension Rods

Place the two tension rods lengthwise to hold both large and small lids. Organize containers as you wish, then using a rubber mallet, lightly pound dowels in the peg holes to keep your containers organized and in place. Here are 25 ways to use a tension rod other than to hold up a shower curtain!

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rodsDeb Pike

Give the Organizer a Home

Place the organizer in a cabinet, drawer or on a pantry shelf. The beauty of this project is that it’s portable so you can move it anywhere! Now that you have your plastic food storage containers and lids all organized, we recommend these additional instant storage solutions.

Deb Pike
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