Do you have devices piling up on the countertops, cords dangling, making an ugly, tangled mess? Hide all the jumbles by adding a new electrical outlet and building a charging station INSIDE the drawer. The steps are pretty straightforward. You can follow the instructions outlined in this blog post and complete this project in a few hours. (Really, it’s not as hard as you think.) Let me show you how.
What I love about this charging station
OK, before I begin the tutorial, let me share a few things I love about having a charging station. Besides the obvious reason of getting ride of clutter (which I’m sure we all like), having all the cords in one place makes charging devices a breeze. I no longer need to search for chargers or wait for my turn to charge my phone, when the kids/hubs misplaced a device or urgently need to charge their dying electronics. There is plenty of ports for everyone.
Secondly, I really appreciate the design of this in-drawer outlet (affiliate link). Thanks to a partnership opportunity, I was able to test the product for free. This particular model is on the higher end in terms of price, but it comes with safety measures to prevent overheating. The metal arm also protects the power cord as I open and close the drawer. There is no tugging and dragging. Everything runs smoothly, making the charger a seamless part of the drawer. Check out Docking Drawer’s website, if you’re interested. Save 15% from your order ($300 and above) with discount code SHERRY15.
What surprised me the most is after we installed the outlet, both kids started to place the remote control or Nintendo back to the drawer without nudging. They AUTOMATICALLY put away their stuff, which has never happened before. Whoa, whaaat? Having a charging station right where we need it is like setting up an organizing system in the center of the home. It builds good long term habits and removes the extra steps to declutter. It feels like magic!
A few important things to consider before starting
- The method I show here is based on the most common wiring (15-amp circuit). Your electrical setup may be different and require additional considerations. If that is the case, do your research before tackling the project.
- To install one of Docking Drawer’s models, in general you need 2” clearance behind the drawer box. There are ways to hack it, such as adding a spacer or shortening the drawer box (reference spec book). But a great place to start for picking the most suitable model is to use this online quiz.
- Check if there are pipes or other obstructions behind the wall. An electrical blueprint or construction photos are useful guides. So are stud finders.
- Many jurisdictions across North America allow you to do your own electrical work in your home. However, don’t handle electrical work for friends and family. Apply for a permit, if your town or city requires it.
- Consult an electrician if you are unsure of any of the steps. Electrical work is dangerous and can have serious consequences.
- Jig Saw
- Wire stripper
- Electrical Outlet Box
- 15 amp Receptacle (with USB ports or Basic)
- Wire (Use 14-gauge wire for a 15-amp circuit)
- Wire Connector (Standard or 3-Port Connector)
On a very high level, this project involves two phases: 1. add an electrical outlet; 2. add the new in-drawer charger. Below is an illustration of all the main components. This is adopted from Docking Drawer’s specifications.
The genius part of this approach is most kitchens already have outlets above the countertops. By tapping into an existing outlet, you can easily add a new outlet right below it inside the cabinet, without doing complicated rewiring work.
The same concept works for a power strip, if you decide to go that route.
Phase 1. Add an electrical outlet
- Turn off power to the working area in the breaker box.
- Remove the cover plate and the existing outlet.
- Measure and locate the new outlet location, and trace the cutout area. The easiest way to do this is to locate the new electrical box in the same position as the existing outlet vertically, as illustrated in the image above.
- Drill into four corners of the cutout area. First use a smaller drill bit to make pilot holes, then enlarge the holes with a ½” drill bit, so the holes are big enough for the saw blade.
- Use a jig saw to cut open the drywall.
- Feed a new wire through the knock out hole of the existing outlet down to the new opening. The wire should appear right before the hole. Simply pull it out.
- Strip insulation from the electrical wire with a wire stripper.
- Mount the new outlet box.
- Attach wires. Depending on the type of receptacles you use, the way to screw in wires may be different. But the general rule of thumb is the same: connect white (neutral) wire to a silver-colored terminal screw; black (hot) wire to a gold-colored terminal screw; bare wire to the green grounding screw.
- Rewire the existing electrical outlet with wire connectors.
- Secure the outlets to the box, and install the cover plates.
Illustration of wiring different types of receptacles.
Phase 2. Add the in-drawer charging outlet
- Decide where to mount the new charging outlet in the drawer.
- Tape the template to the back of the drawer box with painter’s tape.
- Based on the template, drill into four corners of the cutout area.
- Use a jig saw to cut open the drawer box.
- Fit the new charging outlet in the opening.
- Mark where the metal arm should go, making sure it’s level before securing it in place.
- Secure outlet with cover plate.
- Plug in and ready for use!
If you’re a visual learner, check out this video I posted on Instagram about the whole process.
I also highly recommend reading the following online resources. They explain the steps and precautions clearly and helped us decide how to tackle this project even without much prior experience.
As always, leave a comment below if you have any questions! Talk to you next time.