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DIY - Above Fridge Tray Divider

How to organize the cabinet above the fridge

A place for everything and everything in its place is a phrase that makes completely sense for everything that's needed or used in the kitchen. All the big and small appliances, utensils, gadgets, etc. that we use in the kitchen need a place to call home. That's why is so important to bring organization to the cabinets and make the most of them.
Organizing the cabinet above the fridge was the one was my latest project. I'm so very proud at how it turned out!  Not only it looks good every time I open those doors, but I can now store lots of kitchen essentials in there. :)
During my last post about kitchen organization  I showed you how messy some of my cabinets were.

Well, it was time to begin working on the biggest trouble and that was the cabinet above the fridge. Look at all that wasted space?!

The cutting boards, trays and big plates had to stay here, but the cleansing wipes and paper towels had to go. This whole cabinet is going to be dedicated to baking supplies, my daughter is the one who deals with this stuff, she's happy.  ;)

Once emptied, the plan I had in my mind for this space was something like this:

Sorry about those bad graphics, but you get the idea. On the left side there was going to be a tray divider and on the right hand side, some shelves to store all the baking goodies.

The whole cabinet is a 36x24x24 I bought at Ikea when the Fridge Enclosure was built.
In order to determine the height of the divider, I measured the trays to come up with a number, the metal ones are 12", the big wooden board is 15" but that's the only one this high, most of my trays are 12 or under.  The depth of the trays, alone and stacked together, was also measured, again, trying to come up with a number for the width of each division.

The final decision was to give the trays a usable space of 14" (height) x 20" width.

I didn't want to spend much money on materials, I bought two 4x8 sheets of ¾" and ¼"Underlayment, they are not too smooth, but I didn't care, that cabinet doesn't stay open for too long.

So, this is how the divider was built:

The three main pieces for the divider were cut out of the ¾" material (one piece to divide the whole cabinet in two and two more pieces to create the top and lower sides of the tray divider).

Decide how wide you want your spaces and mark the wood. I tried to divide the whole area in equal sections of 3¼".

I don't have a table saw, I guess that's the easiest way to cut the grooves or dados for the divisions, so I made use of what I had, a router with a ¼" Straight dado bit.
Both parts (top and bottom), were placed along side to create continuous lines, the red arrow in the picture below shows the place where both parts meet.

Clamp your pieces to the table or working surface. Use a ruler or guide, I used a straight piece of wood to make the cuts with the router. A sand bag was placed in the middle to keep the guide from moving.

The place where you should install your guide is determined by the distance from where the bit is located to the edge of the router, in my case that distance is 3". From each marked line I measure three inches away and that's where my guide would go.

Go slowly, keeping the edge of the router in contact with your guide at all times.

Each dado cut was done twice, first at around 1/8" deep  into the wood and then about 1/4" deeper. This way is easier on your router.

This process is easy but takes time.

Doing both pieces at the same time ensures perfect alignment.

Once you're done with the dado cuts, you can go ahead and cut the divisions from the ¼" material (in my case 14" + the amount each division goes into the dado cuts, I cut them at 14.5").

You can go ahead and dry fit it and adjust accordingly.

The ¼" divisions were then bundled up with tape to create a cut-out design on the front part of all of them.

You can use a jig saw to cut out this part. I used the BladeRunner X2.

After caulking and sanding all the pieces, they were spray painted.

As soon as they were dry, holes to connect the pieces together and to the cabinet were done with the Kreg jig.

Make sure the top shelf is level before attaching it to the left of the cabinet.

kitchen organization - DIY above the fridge tray divider

This is how it looks:
how to organize the cabinet above the refrigerator

I couldn't wait to fill it up with stuff.
how to organize your kitchen

Ha, I even brought some more trays I had stored in the basement, though I should get rid of those and buy some of the ones I keep on using.
The plastic boards that were previously stored under the sink, can fit here too. Well, I have to change those too, they are old and ugly.
The wooden boards and the roller fit perfectly up there.


It's so fun to be this organized!
above the fridge cabinet organization - trays and big plates in tray

And hey, for the right hand side part you have to click right HERE, because I'm sure you also want to tackle that part!

For more kitchen organization ideas check these out:

how to make a plate rack inside a cabinet

how to organize measuring cups and spoons on door of cabinet

DIY pantry organized with pull out shelves how to


  1. Cristina it's beautiful. Love how you used the router with a straight bit to make the dados - I don't have a table saw either so this is good for reference. Looks perfectly organized and much more user friendly.

  2. WOW It looks so good you could leave those doors off and show it to the world. Way to go Cristina!

  3. I have been waiting for this one Cristina! And you DID NOT disappoint! I am doing a happy dance! LOVE it! Your dividers are perfect, I love the cut out fronts! You are so awesome, pinned!

  4. Love it, Cristina!! I have been thinking of making something similar for a long time. Hoping to put into action soon. Thank you for the motivation!

  5. Me encanta como de cada espacio haces un lugar organizado y bello , un espectacular paso a paso

  6. That is one organized kitchen! It looks great!

  7. I love how organized this is, I wish I had something similar in my cabinets because my baking sheets are completely out of control!

    xoxo, SS

    The Southern Stylista

  8. There is nothing you cannot do. With a little imagination you created an awesome and functional storage area.

  9. Wow that's great! I love the idea. Too bad mine isn't that tall because I would totally want this done for me!

  10. I had a headache just reading about you doing this. And that is why I'm not a DIY'er lol. But I'd KILL for a space like this in my kitchen!! How much do you charge?!

    1. I totally understand Meaghan! It's like when my husband tries to explain to me technical video stuff. I just don't get it! :) Though it's easy according to him!

  11. I am planning a kitchen redo. I pinned this to show the planner.

  12. I sooooo need this, my trays are a mess and always fall out into me! Thanks for the tutorial.

  13. I totally need this for serving trays and cutting boards! Thanks for the tutorial!
    I would love for you to stop by my blog and join our Something to Talk About link party!
    Have a great day!

  14. That is a wonderful idea, and it really looks so neat and organized!

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