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Old 05-05-2017, 10:09 AM   #1
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Question The 'Black Hole' in Ikea Alex Drawers

The drawers pull out only so far, making it really hard to reach or even see anything in the rear few inches. Got any recommendations to help make what goes in the back of the drawer easier to access? (Hoping to avoid buying any pricey lucite drawer organizers)
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Old 05-05-2017, 10:37 AM   #2
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I'm completely unfamiliar with these drawers, but that's one of my pet peeves on most drawers! I put things that are long enough to extend into the "visible" space at the back, and shorter things in the front. Things like border punches and rulers and paper crimpers and such. Still a nuisance, but better...

On my Sterilite/Iris/whatever desktop drawer units, I cut the stops off the drawers with some snips so I can pull the whole drawer out if I want to, for EXACTLY the reason we're discussing here!
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Old 05-08-2017, 02:23 AM   #3
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Me Too! I hate the black hole. I keep drawer organizers in most drawers so I can pull them out to see what's in the back. Believe me my solution isn't that great either. I found clear trays at Ikea, but there are lots of trays out there so it's a personal choice. I was looking for the drawer organizers I use for you and these look interesting, cheap too!
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Old 05-08-2017, 03:00 AM   #4
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I use drawer organizers and shallow organizer boxes, and the ones in the back are long enough to easily get to. One type stacks so you can double it on some of the Alex drawers. Those are nice for mini ink cubes. I'll post the name later (if I can find it).
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Old 05-08-2017, 03:31 AM   #5
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I'm completely unfamiliar with these drawers, but that's one of my pet peeves on most drawers! I put things that are long enough to extend into the "visible" space at the back, and shorter things in the front. Things like border punches and rulers and paper crimpers and such. Still a nuisance, but better...

On my Sterilite/Iris/whatever desktop drawer units, I cut the stops off the drawers with some snips so I can pull the whole drawer out if I want to, for EXACTLY the reason we're discussing here!
Yes, exactly. The space in the far back of our shallow kitchen drawers isn't needed so small boxes were put there so everything doesn't slide back. The cabinet over the oven/microwave has built-in dividers for cookie trays, etc., and round pans would roll back and disappear. So I put IKEA cardboard magazine holders across the back. You can't see them but they stop the escapees.

And funny, I store rulers the other direction - front to back -in a long box, so they become the longer things. I guess drawer issues are common.
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Old 05-08-2017, 04:37 AM   #6
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The organizers: The Container Store calls them "Clear Shallow Stackable Drawer Organizers." The manufacturer's label says livinbox.com (not a typo), Shuter Enterprise Co. LTD., and calls them, "Drawer Organizer Material: PP." Kind of rolls right off the tongue. ; )

https://www.containerstore.com/s/off...uctId=11003583


They cost $3.49 or $3.99, come in three sizes, and a bunch of mini cubes and other supplies fit nicely. I stack some and not others, and often pull out a stack or two of minis when using them, or I just reach for a couple with the drawer open.
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Old 05-08-2017, 05:56 AM   #7
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I bought a rolling cart with drawers that didn't come out all the way, not from IKEA. And didn't use them much but then I put 8 by 11 and a half card stock in it and I can work with that.
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Old 05-08-2017, 06:35 AM   #8
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Like gregzgurl said, I would try and store things that are long enough to extend into the visible space. Larger background stamps for example.
If you are willing and able to "give up" that space I would cut down cereal boxes to fill in the back of the drawers and keep stuff from sliding back there. No extra money spent, assuming you already buy cereal that is!
Besides my many craft supplies, I tend to have a pen/pencil/marker "fetish". A few years ago I cut the bottom 2 inches off a couple of Family size Cheerio boxes and use those in my bedside table drawer to keep all these pens etc. gathered together and not rolling everywhere.
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Old 05-08-2017, 11:32 AM   #9
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Thanks, guys. I guess there is no magic solution.

I looked at various stamper images of the wide Alex drawers and notice now how the drawer always seems to be displayed only halfway open - sneaky cover-up! Also, I looked at Jennifer McGuire and Kristina Werner's storage videos again and notice now that things like stamp pads, embossing powder, and glitter are shown stored from left to right in front of the drawer, rather than the front to back I am accustomed to with the Iris storage cart drawers. The space behind holds rectangular organizers that can be be pulled out from the Black Hole.


Getting a largely Ikea stamping room is pretty, definitely, but it definitely is not a foolproof way to solve storage needs (as I am finding).
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Old 05-08-2017, 12:07 PM   #10
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I've had Alexes for ages and am 98.6% happy - maybe because so many drawers are similar, like Sue pointed out. Like some in our kitchen, and they were custom. I just checked my Crate and Barrel desk drawers - there are two shallow drawers, and I never noticed but they're the same. One has a lucite organizer that expands to the entire length, and the other came with built-in dividers plus I put a long, narrow kitchen utensil plastic box in it.

I have pen refills in the back section of that drawer, and because they're in packaging almost 8" long, they're visible and grabbable.


So I think it's a matter of planning what fits where, and the best containers that fit the way we work plus the furniture. It isn't instant mashed potatoes; it takes (took me!) a while. Plus one size does not fit all; just because 800 thousand people swear by Raskog or Alex doesn't mean they're for everyone.



Just my take; YMMV.

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Old 05-08-2017, 01:35 PM   #11
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Out of curiosity, I measured the inside of the Alex drawers. They are roughly 20.5" deep. About 14" pulls out all the way - so a little more than 2/3rds of the drawer. (Excuse my messy math.)

In an Alex with three drawers and hanging file drawer, about 15.5" pulls out.


(My Crate and Barrel desk drawers are only 15.5" deep, and 11" show." Interesting they're only 15.5", since the desk is far deeper than the Alexes.)
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Old 05-08-2017, 01:52 PM   #12
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Oh, I still love the Ikea stuff, and the Black Hole is only a nuisance with the shallow drawers of the wide Alex chests. Deeper drawers give you easier access to the back. One of my favorites is the large Malm chest of drawers, which is great for filing all my dies and is able to hold color spray bottles upright. The punch drawer is a jumble, I confess, but at least the chest handles the weight of all those punches.
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Old 05-08-2017, 02:05 PM   #13
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Oh, do you have the tall Malm chest? I had tried to figure out a way to fit one in but no go.

Please don't take my measuring as any particular message. I'm an information junky and had never thought about the drawers much (other than how to set them up), especially the measly Crate & Barrel ones. (That's what you get when you choose form over function; I just thought the C&B desk with the X legs was so pretty way back when. I still do, but could have made a more functional choice. Plus the chemical odor when the drawers were opened was so overwhelming that I could taste it. It sat in the garage for weeks airing out.)
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Old 05-08-2017, 05:32 PM   #14
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What a PITA! I am glad I found this out and learned a life lesson about checking how far out drawers go! For whatever reason, all drawers of any kind in my house come all the way out-which isnt good if they fall out on your foot. Trust me.
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Old 05-08-2017, 05:49 PM   #15
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What a PITA! I am glad I found this out and learned a life lesson about checking how far out drawers go! For whatever reason, all drawers of any kind in my house come all the way out-which isnt good if they fall out on your foot. Trust me.
Not at all. LOL I love mine (have four, may get one more). I think if it was a real PITA for many, they wouldn't be so popular. Just no tiny objects in the back, NBD.
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Old 05-10-2017, 07:10 AM   #16
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One solution to this is the plastic cutlery holders you put into kitchen drawers. Oe the IKEA fabric drawer dividers, the ones with the zip across the bottom?
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Old 05-16-2017, 06:20 AM   #17
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I would get someone who is handy to look at the inside of the cabinet and see if the drawer stops can be altered to allow the drawers to move further forward.
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Old 05-16-2017, 02:02 PM   #18
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With regards to the 'black hole' of Ikea Alex drawers--it's most likely the rails that fit on either side of each drawer. There are rails (I dunno what brand, or even if Ikea sells them) that let you pull out a drawer all the way. It's very handy and the rails have a stop to them so the drawer doesn't fall out all the way.
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Old 04-14-2020, 05:08 AM   #19
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TBH, I prefer to make all furniture, including drawers, on my own. That's why I don't have such a problem. Try to call a carpenter or something. Maybe he will help you to find out how to deal with this problem. Or just make a new drawer, like I did. And one more thing - try to find a fine linear guide if you will make a drawer on your own. For example, I prefer German linear guides (or how they call them - führungsschiene). This is a most important part of any drawer.

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Old 04-14-2020, 02:34 PM   #20
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Quote:
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I would get someone who is handy to look at the inside of the cabinet and see if the drawer stops can be altered to allow the drawers to move further forward.
It has to do with the length of the drawer glides. That's all the farther those glides will open. Unfortunately! But the issue is cost. A full-open drawer glide is much more money, and Ikea uses the least expensive option to keep the costs down.
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Old 04-14-2020, 04:58 PM   #21
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It has to do with the length of the drawer glides. That's all the farther those glides will open. Unfortunately! But the issue is cost. A full-open drawer glide is much more money, and Ikea uses the least expensive option to keep the costs down.
To Diane's point, you could replace the existing glides with longer ones if you were so inclined. You can get them at Home Depot, Lowes, etc. You would need to know if they were side-mount or bottom-mount (I'm guessing side-mount) as well as the length needed.
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Old 04-14-2020, 05:18 PM   #22
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I have small and wide Alexes. The depth hasn’t been an issue - I hadn’t noticed how far drawers pull out or don’t pull out and hadn’t ever heard there was an issue for anyone. Divider trays and/or boxes are used, and things not used often are toward the back - like in other pieces of furniture.

I’m confused about the rail supposedly not going all the way back and wonder if it’s something else that stops the drawer. In the photo of this “open” Alex unit, you may be able to see the glides that go all the way back. So maybe it’s the glides on the drawers?

(For just this one Alex we didn’t build the drawers, and instead cut a white shelf purchased at Home Depot to as a hack to make a shelving unit. BTW, that’s a full sized ScorPal on the top - it rests on the glides; no shelf needed!)


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Old 04-14-2020, 08:11 PM   #23
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To Diane's point, you could replace the existing glides with longer ones if you were so inclined. You can get them at Home Depot, Lowes, etc. You would need to know if they were side-mount or bottom-mount (I'm guessing side-mount) as well as the length needed.
I asked my son (who builds custom furniture) about the glides on the Alex cabinets a few months back. Here's his input.

Yes, the glides go all the way front to back in the cabinet...surface mount on the walls. On the drawer, they are recessed into a slot on the drawer. Because the drawer goes all the way to the back of the cabinet, and the glides are a two-part glide, they cannot open fully. They need to remain overlapped to support the weight of the drawer and its contents. The cheaper the glide is built, the more "overlap" needs to be maintained to hold the weight of a filled drawer.

In order to have a full-extension opening, one of two things needs to happen. Either the drawer has to be shorter than the glide (if it is a two part glide) or you use a three-part full-extension glide.

I'm pricing some cabinetry right now and the least expensive full-extension glides are about $20 per set. Those that support my work surface in my stamping cabinet were $55 per set of two...and that was many years ago. For a five-drawer Alex, the glides would cost more than the whole unit costs. On top of that, you would need to replace the sides of the drawers, or possibly have to rebuild them, in order to handle the "beefier" glides.

All in all, for the OP, the best way to handle the "black hole" in the Alex drawers is to put bigger stuff in the back, or use containers that can be lifted out. Kind of a bummer!

BTW, I looked at a "compatible with Ikea Alex" drawer organizer on Amazon and noticed that it is 14.5 inches deep. It definitely turns the black hole into unusable space.
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Old 04-15-2020, 03:04 AM   #24
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Here's a video by someone who made drawers come out further by removing the first set of ball bearings. The drawer will be less stable, especially if putting heavy items in it. Be careful!

I’ve had Alexes and a couple other Ikea pieces for years - one large piece for about 20, and they still look new. Ikea revolutionized affordable, contemporary retail furniture shopping, and it's studied in design and marketing classes. But there are trade-offs buying something for $59 (on sale) or $79 versus a couple hundred on up. So it’s not for everyone.

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