Simple Drawer Organizer Recycled From A Cereal Box

Simple Drawer Organizer Recycled From A Cereal Box

Several months ago I was looking for a way to corral all of our masks into one simple to grab spot but I wasn’t quite sure what to use to accomplish this task. I wanted the masks to be easily available at the front door, rather than stored out of the way somewhere else, so they would be simple to access whether we were grabbing a mask on the way out the door or wanting to return cleaned masks back to their spot after washing them. At this point I had just moved the masks from a pile in our office to a small cinched bag at the front door but I wasn’t happy with the bag as individual masks was hard to find and pull out of the bag when it was time to leave the house. I considered tossing all of the masks into a single basket and although Matt’s masks are all black and the kids are all small I was still worried that it might be difficult to find a specific mask in the basket if we’re rushing out the door. Apparently when I need an organizational solution I turn to recycling emptied paper boxes, to get a custom fit for cheap, and so I, again, looked to our cereal boxes and came up with this awesome short separator that is so simple to pull down whenever I’m putting away cleaned masks and incredibly easy to grab a mask from when I’m in a hurry.

Collage image geared towards Pinterest showing three images, a title, and the main URL. The top image stretches the width of the image and shows an emptied Special K cereal box. There are two purple areas pointing to two, side by side, images below showing the two cardboard organizer. The one on the left shows three separate piles of masks while the one on the right is inside a plastic drawer and separates play money.

At our front door there aren’t a lot of places I could store masks so I knew going into this that I was creating a small organizer I could easily place on top of our cabinet, an Ikea Billy bookcase with a glass and paneled door, located close to our front door. I looked around our home and found a just emptied box of Kellogg’s Special K cereal that was the perfect size for what I wanted it for. I quickly grabbed my X-Acto knives, clear packing tape, masking tape, and some scissors so I could get to work.

As a quick aside. If you’re looking for an upcycled organizer but want something that looks just a bit different I’ve previously upcycled a larger sturdy cereal box into a paper organizer by opening the front and part of the top. I also created smaller cardboard  ‘cups’ to organize a drawer or shelf along with some toys for the kids including a simple vehicle with a working paper plate wheel, a simple kitchen stove and oven set, and a set of shelves for a kitchen set which I’ve done twice now.

I started out by laying the cereal box on it’s side, so it was short and wide, before using small pieces of my packing tape to reinforce the back corners. I then grabbed my X-Acto knife and, leaving an inch or two in the back and a lip along the sides, started cutting the top and most of the front of the box out. I knew I’d be stacking each set of masks and thus wanted the front open so I could easily see which masks were in each pile and which were missing, so still dirty, without having to go through all the masks. I also chose to leave the very back of the top uncut so it’s larger lip on the back edge would help hold the masks down in case the piles started getting larger so the masks wouldn’t be able to fall out easily.

Image shows a closeup of the Kellogg's Special K cereal box with tape attached to the right side and sticking up from the back corner. Around the box sits blue-handled scissors, packing tape, masking tape, and a portion of the X-Acto knives box pokes in from the right.
After laying out the box on the table I started by reinforcing the back corners with my packing tape.
Image shows the box on it's side with most of the top and front cut away. There's a large stripe of box in the top back, a smaller section at the bottom front, and a smaller lip along the sides. The silver X-Acto knife sits in the opened box and the rest of the tools sit scattered around the box.
I wanted there to be a large lip in the back holding the masks in place along with a lip along the front, so nothing easily falls off, so I left the top uncut along the back by about an inch or two and kept a lip along the bottom of the front. I also wanted the walls to be sturdy so I left a smaller lip along the sides so the box retains it’s integrity. I made the simple cuts with my X-Acto knife.

I then took the piece of cardboard I had just cut off and checked to see if it could fit within the cardboard box. It did so I next stood it up so I could see how high the main box came on it and thus what width of strips I needed to cut should be. I cut two strips, as I needed three sections, from the cardboard front and laid them in the main box to confirm that they fit.

Image shows the box with the interior showing a reversed image of the missing piece of the box. Around it sits a mask on the grey bag of masks, masking tape, packing tape, X-Acto knife, X-Acto box, and scissors.
I took the large piece of cardboard that I had cut out from the box and placed it, flattened, inside the box to make sure it wasn’t wider than the opening.
Image shows the cereal box on it's side with the top and front cut off. Inside a strip is loosely placed vertically to act as a divider making one large and one small space in the box.
I turned the piece of cardboard vertical so I could size how tall the main box was. I then tried to cut out a strip of the box keeping it to a constant width. I sized the newly created strip inside the main box and then trimmed it’s height down until it properly fit. I did this one more time so I’d have two dividers and thus three sections in my organizer.

Once I was happy with the height of the two strips of cardboard the next task was to decide where they should go. I knew Matt’s masks were a bit taller, or wider when laid down, than mine and both of ours were larger than the kids. I also knew I used the same sewing pattern size for both of the kids’ masks; hence why when I realized we could only fit three piles instead of four I decided to combine the kids’ masks together. I ended up trying to make the three spaces similar widths to each other but when it came to readjusting them I preferred making the leftmost space the largest over the kids’ rightmost space.

Once I was happy with how it was laid out I next taped the strips in by laying them flat inside the box and taping the bottom down. I then flipped the strip over the taped section, so the tape is now hidden, and taped the other side of the bottom down. This made the strip, or divider, a bit floppy back and forth but I knew it was overall secured to the bottom. I then made the divider vertical and taped the back of the newly created divider to the back and top of the cardboard box making it secured.

Image shows a closeup of the divider within the opened cardboard box. It's laying flat so it blends in with the box and there's a clear shiny piece of tape along it's left side taping it to the box.
I figured it would be easiest to start with taping the bottom down as I was able to lay the strip down flat and simply tape along the length.
Image shows the same closeup as the previous image although this time the strip is flipped over, and slightly tilting up, so you can see the printed side of the box. There's a strip of shiny tape holding it in the box.
Once the first side was taped down I flipped the strip over and taped down the other side.
Image shows a closeup of the back of the divider. The back isn't taped yet you can see a lot of tape at the top of the box holding the divider in.
Once the base was secured to the bottom of the cereal box it was time to make the strip stand up vertical and stick it in place by taping the back top of the strip to the wide lip on the top of the box. I started by taping the underside of the top of the box and then added tape, angled, to the inner opening, cut it, and folded the tape up.
Image is a bit hard to see as the camera was compensating for the darkness but you can see the back of the divider and see the shiny packing tape on either side of the divider holding it in place.
Once I was happy with how secure the top and bottom of the divider was I next attempted to tape the back of the divider in through the small space. If you had a wider cereal box this would be easier but I liked the idea of my organizer being short and, most importantly, only had the skinny cereal box available when I wanted to make this.
Image shows a closeup of the top of the divider showing where the strip leaves the overhang on the top of the box. There's a piece of fingerprinted tape about to be folded over by my finger.
Once I was happy with how secure the divider seemed I next decided to reinforce it’s attachment to the top of the box with some more clear tape placed over the edge.

Once both strips were securely taped my mask organizer was finished. I next separated out my masks so I had a pile of Matt’s, a pile of mine, and a pile containing both of the kids’ masks. I figured I almost never left the house with only one of the kids so it didn’t matter if I combined theirs together. Each pile got it’s own slot in the organizer so they easily stay separate from each other and yet are easy to grab since you could easily see what is available from the front. I love how simple the organizer was to make and use. Once filled I carefully placed the whole organizer on the top of the cabinet near our front door for when we next needed them.

Image shows the just made organizer with all the masks placed carefully in piles inside. The far left shows a pile of black masks with a blue pipecleaner on top available to be inserted into a mask. The center shows my masks with a black and marble decorated one on top with lavender bias tape. The far right shows a pile with brighter colors and patterns along with neon shoelaces as a tie.
I separated out the masks based on the mask’s size (Matt, me, and the kids) trying to keep the current favorites near the top and then gave each pile it’s own slot in the upcycled cereal box organizer.

Since the above photo was taken the mask box has started to get fuller; as you can kind of see in the below photo. If I make more masks I could see leaving our favorite go-to masks in the organizer, for easy grabbing, and move our extra masks, that we don’t like as much, to a basket so we have them in case of emergencies but they don’t need to be as accessible. That way the cereal box holder wouldn’t get too overstuffed and break on me… although it would be simple enough to make again as long as I had another emptied cereal box handy.

Image is taken from below looking up to towards the ceiling. It shows the top of the Ikea Billy cabinet with the organizer placed on top, slightly extending past the edge, with more masks stuffed inside compared to the image above.
It’s been three months since I’ve made the upcycled organizer and it’s still going strong. I love how easy it is to reach up and grab whether I need a specific mask or whether I have a pile of cleaned masks that I want to put away. The only issue I might have is when the bias tape strings are hanging down and getting in the way of the cupboard door but that is easily fixed by putting them away more carefully.

Like all of my upcycled paper projects at this point you could go easily go decorate this in some way; although, like all the past ones, I haven’t yet and don’t see myself doing it anytime soon.

Making the mask holder was so simple and quick that I decided to turn one of the drawers in my kids’ kitchen set into a cash register for the play money I bought them from Michael’s Arts and Crafts. I quickly grabbed another box of Kellogg’s Special K cereal, originally a three pack from Costco, and removed the bag inside before then grabbing the drawer in question along with the felt play money and random ‘coins’ the kids have collected over the years. After confirming that the cereal box does in fact fit within the drawer it was time to get started. I love that I didn’t have to shorten the box to fit within the drawer.

Image shows the plastic drawer sitting on the table with the Kellogg's Special K cereal box laying inside. Off to the side Ada and Zoey are standing by the table organizing the bills and coins.
I started out by laying the emptied cereal box within the plastic drawer to confirm it fit. I love how perfectly it fit within the drawer and especially how it’s just short enough that I won’t have to trim any of it’s height to allow the drawer to close later on.

After confirming that the box, in fact, fit in the drawer it was time to figure out how to lay out my organizer to better fit the bills and coins. I wanted there to be a space for all the money to fit in the drawer yet keep each type of bill separate from the other bills so it’s easy to grab a $1, $5, $10, or $20 bill when you wanted a specific one.

Image shows the cereal box within the plastic drawer again. There's a $5 and $20 bill side by side. The $5 is against the back of the drawer while the $20 bill beside it overlaps the side of the box and lays over the top of the drawer's front.
I started out by trying to place the bills end to end. Ignoring the fact that there’s no space between the two bills for a divider there’s also no space to fit both bills in the cardboard box or even the drawer. This way was quickly chosen against.
Image is take from above looking down at the plastic drawer. There are four bills laid side by side (5, 20, 10, and 10) going from the left to the right and slightly overlapping the front edge of the drawer. Off to the side Ada is organizing a pile of $5 bills while Zoey is seen, slightly, beside her.
I quickly snapped a photo after grabbing four bills (to represent the 1, 5, 10, and 20 dollar bills) and laid them side by side along the length of the drawer. They still overlapped with the front of the drawer but I realized, most importantly, that the drawer width fits the length of the bills and this could work if the bills were all angled a bit on their side. I quickly confirmed that they were too wide to fit in the drawer vertically, just in case, and knew angling a bit would be the perfect solution.

Once the best general layout was decided it was time to cut out the opening I needed in the box and figure out exactly how I needed lay out the dividers so the organizer worked how I wanted it to. Like before I cut the top and side of the box off but this time, other than a small lip to keep the box’s structural integrity in tact, I cut it all off. Once it was ready I put it back in the drawer, pushed the uncut side against the side of the drawer so there was more width to work with, and started by roughly planning what I wanted to do before marking the cereal box with a pencil to show where I wanted the divider for the coin and bill sections to be.

Image shows a closeup of the cut open cereal box within the plastic drawer. There is a $5 and $1 bill set within the cereal box and overlapping out of it as a placeholder for where the bills are going to go. There is a pencil mark within the cereal box showing where the bills extend to.
I started out by cutting the top and side of the box off so it could take advantage of the width of the drawer. Once I put the box back in the drawer I used two bills, on either end of the box, to mark how much space I needed so I could fit the bills

After removing the bills I cut a strip of the removed cereal box and made sure it’s height was similar to the height of the cereal box. Like with the mask organizer I laid it down, so the edge lined up with the pencil marking, and taped it before flipping it over and taping the other side down. Once it’s base was secured I next used packing tape to secure either end to the side of the cereal box. The strip ended up being shorter than what I needed so there was a bit of space between the edge of the divider and the cereal box so I next attempted to join them while making a wall with the packing tape. It didn’t feel too secure so I grabbed my masking tape and reinforced either end so I knew for sure it was secure. Just remember if you marked your cereal box you may want to erase it before applying the tape. In my case I used transparent packing tape and forgot to erase the pencil so the marks are now showing through and protected from being erased now.

Image shows the opened cardboard box set on a table with a strip of cereal box placed printed side up across most of the width of the box. It's taped down along the top side.
I laid the strip of thin cardboard down making sure the one edge was lined up with the pencil line marked on the cereal box. I then grabbed a strip of packing tape and taped it down.
The strip from before is flipped over so it's along the top of the box and you can see the pencil marks below it and the tape showing through underneath it. My fingers are holding it down.
I then flipped the strip over making sure it didn’t wiggle too far off from the line. I noticed that the strip ended up not being flush against the line but since it looked slightly equidistant along the length and since it was on the coin side I left it as it was and secured it down with another strip of packing tape.
The cardboard strip is taped down to the base behind the pencil mark. To the right you can see the edge of the divider taped to the side of the cereal box.
There was a bit of a space at either end of the divider so I made sure to create a makeshift wall with the packing tape while I attached the sides of the divider to the sides of the cereal box.
Image show a view above and to the front of the cereal box; when looking straight at it. The edges of the divider are taped down with beige tape.
I didn’t like how the clear tape looked and thought it seemed a bit flimsy so I grabbed my masking tape and secured either end of the divider.

Once the main divider, for between the coins and bills, was secured it was time to figure out where to put the shorter dividers to separate the different bill types. There are four different bill types in the play money set I bought so I knew I wanted to have three dividers put in so I’d have four slots available. Like before I snagged a couple of bills and used them as placeholders so I could calculate where I wanted the new dividers placed before charging ahead. I then grabbed the excess piece of cereal box, that I had used to cut the first divider, and cut three more strips from it before taping them all down, first the one side and then flipping them over to tape the other side, so they were all secured to where I had marked them to be. After they were taped to the bottom I next taped the back of each divider to that first divider so they’d all stay upright. Before taping over the top of that junction I grabbed my scissors and trimmed the excess height from the dividers so they were all similar heights and then I secured them with more tape.

Image shows a closeup of the cereal box with the one horizontal divider in place and a couple bills laid down. The bottom of the cereal box has been marked up in a couple places. The tape and pencil are to the right and the extra bills and coins to the left.
I grabbed a couple of the bills and used them to decide where I should put the three dividers and marked on the cereal box where I thought that should be.
Image shows the box marked with two longer marks and three smaller marks.
I started by dividing it into three sections and then changed it to four sections hence the five marks.
Image shows three dividers laid down at a ninety degree angle to the first divider. All have been taped down on the one side so each one overlaps the one next to it.
Like before I laid each divider down and taped it before flipping it over to tape the other side. This time I started on the left side and laid the strip of cardboard down at a ninety degree angle to the first divider, I then taped it along the right side, and then went on to the next two strips repeating this process.
Image shows the same as before except this time the strips of cereal cardboard have been flipped over so the printed side is up and they're towards the right side now.
Once all three strips were placed I flipped them over, one by one, and taped it down on the other side.
Image shows a something that almost looks like a cash register. The back is one horizontal section. Coming from it are four sections with the center three strips extending past the end of the register.
I then made each divider point upward and taped the back of them to that first divider so they would stay standing up.
Closeup showing the top of the cereal box with scissors laid over top of the one divider to show them being recently trimmed.
Once they were secure I took my scissors and trimmed any excess height so the new dividers would equal in height to the first divider and the edges of the cereal box.
Image shows a closeup of the dividers' junction with tape facing upward about to be folded over to secure their place.
I then taped along the top of each divider making sure each one was secure.

And with all the dividers taped and secure it was time to check if the organizer still fit in the drawer. I knew at this point that the dividers were too long to fit within the drawer’s width but I also knew that I wanted to wait until this point to trim them as the drawer was wider than the cereal box was and I didn’t want them to be too short. I placed the cereal box in the drawer at an angle, since it didn’t fit, and then trimmed the dividers in length until the organizer fit the drawer perfectly.

The cereal box organizer is tilted upwards in the plastic drawer as the three newly added dividers are too long to fit within the width of the drawer.
I knew the dividers were too long to fit the drawer’s width but I wanted to wait until this point to trim them so I wouldn’t shorten them by too much.
Image shows the upcycled cereal box organizer perfectly fitting within the plastic drawer as the extra coins, bills, and scissors sit of to the sides.
Once trimmed the organizer fits perfectly making this drawer into a makeshift cash register. I love how it stays in place as the cereal box is as long as the drawer and the dividers are kept long enough to keep it from shifting back and forth.

And the cash register, or upcycled cereal box organizer, was done! I placed all the coins into the larger enclosed sections, currently divided but later all mixed up, and gave each specific set of bills their own home in one of the four remaining sections. It works perfectly at an angle as it’s so easy to see each of the bill types when you pull open the plastic drawer.

Image shows the plastic drawer sitting on the table with the coins and bills all perfectly organized within.
And the cash register is all organized and complete!
Image shows two larger pieces of cardboard and a lot of little sections, from trimming things to size, laid out on the table.
And from the two cereal boxes I only had this much cardboard left to be recycled once I was done.

And with that both upcycled cereal box organizers were complete! I’m so glad I thought of making my own custom organizer as it works amazingly on keeping my masks organized and I absolutely love how adorable the drawer looks for my kids’ kitchen set. And now the kids have easy access to their money whenever they want to sell their yummy creations.

I wanted to share these with you as, although super simple, they made my day to day life easier and I wanted you to know about them in case you were also looking for your own organizing solution for a particular section of your home. Let me know if you end up using this idea and if so what did you organize with it? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. Hope your day is going well and you’re having a good week.

If you’re interested in getting any of my future blog updates I currently come out with a new one every Wednesday and share them to my Facebook page and Instagram account. You’re also more than welcome to join my email list located right under the search bar or underneath this post.

Related Posts

Latest Posts