Dresser Organizer

This small project describes a dresser organizer, which is simply a place to set your keys on your dresser without scratching up the top of the dresser. When I first started working I would forget my keys, or wallet, or cell phone on occasion in the mad rush to get out the door to work on time. As a remedy I started laying everything I used on a daily basis in a predefined location when I took it out of my pockets at the end of the day to minimize my chances of forgetting something the next morning. The task of standardizing your working environment is a classic manufacturing engineering trick which obviously spilled over into my personal life. The only problem with this arrangement is that over time you start to scuff up the location where you drop your keys every single day.

Simple dresser organizer to protect keys from scuffing your dresser, and provide a place for keeping personal items organized

To protect the top of my clothes dresser I created an organizer out of 1/8″ plywood that had locations for everything that I kept in my pockets. I used a jig saw to cut out the holes in the plywood to define the boundary for each item. I then glued a second identical piece of plywood underneath to create a bottom for the organizer. In my first iteration nothing was square/straight/flush, but it got the job done. This version has been serving its purpose for more than three years.

Old dresser organizer, which follows the workplace standardization scheme: "A place for everything, and everything in its place!"

As a quick and easy project I made an updated version of the organizer for a friend (picture at top of post). For the new version I used my table saw to make everything as straight and square as possible. Instead of cutting holes out of the plywood, which is inherently error prone, I built the borders up from strips of plywood. I took special care to match the grain directions on the plywood veneer. The circular hole in the top right hand side of the new organizer is for safely holding a wedding ring while you work in the yard. Since this organizer will take a lot of abuse, I applied extra coats of polyurethane to give it an extra tough finish. As a final step after gluing and finishing everything, I squared up the edges by running the organizer past the table saw one last time to remove any small misalignments. This produced smooth flush edges which improves the look of the project.

Comparison of the old edges (top), to the new edges after being squared up on the table saw (bottom)


About Ryan

Ryan is currently a National Research Council Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Air Force Research Laboratory. His research area includes Prognostic Health Management of Electronics. For more information please visit: www.rdlowe.com
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One Response to Dresser Organizer

  1. John D. Stolz says:

    Hi Ryan…
    I put a piece of Craftsman Tool Box Liner (expanded polyolefin foam) in the bottom of my dresser organizer to protect the finish and to quiet the sound made by keys and coins. It is easy to fit, easy to clean and no plasticizers to leach out and affect the finish. Link to the material is:


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