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A low-cost weekend do-it-yourself project is building a custom made organizer make more efficient use of the space. This project only requires basic carpentry skills to construct and install a storage system to bring organization to any closet in your home.
The advantage of a closet organizer is the ability to alleviate a continual problem of finding something within an overcrowded, cluttered, and disorganized storage area.
DIY Closet Organizer
Recommendations, tips, and guidelines are provided for planning, building, and installing a customized storage system during a weekend.
Planning for Closet Storage
Why build a closet organizer instead of buying one pre-manufactured? Besides saving money, the only closets typically found in a house with straight walls and square corners are in custom-built homes. These imperfections often cause the need to modify pre-built organizers during installation, which may be difficult or unsightly without the proper tools.
The following are tips to consider when planning this weekend do-it-yourself project:
- Inventory the amount and sizes of items which are stored within the closet. (Also, a good time to donate those old clothes or items).
- Once the closet is clean, measure the width of the closet at the bottom and at top shelve locations. Then measure the depth of the closet using the same locations. These measurements are used to determine how straight and square the walls are when cutting shelves for installation.
- If the closet is finished with drywall or paneling, use a wood stud finder to locate and mark the location of all studs behind the finished walls.
- A stack of shelves (12 inches wide) from the floor to the ceiling in the closet provides convenient storage for folded clothes such as sweaters, sweatshirts, shirts, and blouses. Placing these shelves in the center of the closet provides convenient access.
- Remember to take into consideration winter clothes. These clothing items typically take up more space on shelves.
- Draw your organizer design with all dimensions for use during building and installation. The design should provide as much use of closet depth as possible, 12 to 14 inches deep is preferred.
- Recommend installing three clothes closet poles. Two on one side of the stack of shelves (one – 32 inches from the floor, the second – 78 inches from the floor) for hanging shirts, blouses, etc. The third closet pole is installed on another side of the shelves – approximately 78 inches from the floor for dresses and long coats.
- Recommend including a set of shelves for shoes in your design. Allow enough width and depth for shoes to sit side-by-side on the shelves.
Tools and Materials Needed
The following are typical tools and materials needed to build a do-it-yourself closet organizer seven feet wide and eight feet tall.
- Tape measure
- Table or circular saws
- Angle or framing square
- Nail set
- Stud finder
- Two sheets three-quarter inch by four foot by eight foot finished plywood (birch is recommended for its finished look and strength).
- Three-inch by one-inch wood support boards for attaching shelves and closet poles
- Sixpenny finishing nails
- Two and one-quarter inch drywall screws
- Six closet pole hangers
- Closet pole 10 foot long
- Wood glue for gluing all joints for added strength
- Wood putty for filling holes after setting nails
- Stain and clear finish or semi-gloss (is more durable than flat paint) paint as needed
Building and Installation of Storage System
The following steps provide guidelines for this do-it-yourself remodeling storage organizer project.
- Locate each wooden stud behind the finished wall. If cinder block or concrete, anchors are required to fasten wood supports to the wall.
- Layout dimensions of all shelves and dividers on each plywood sheet. Mark each piece with a code, for ease of identification during installation, on ends hidden after installation.
- After cutting the shelves and dividers, stain or paint as needed. This step saves time and is easier to complete before installation.
- Measure and cut the wood support boards for shelves and closet pole hangers.
- Attach (wood screws) the wood supports to walls at stud locations, ensuring there is room for the stack of shelves. These shelves are placed against the wall and attached (nail and glue) to wood support boards from the inside.
- Build the stack of shelves (nail and glue joints) and place in the desired location within the closet.
Attach (nails and glue) wood support boards to the stack of shelves on the side facing the side walls. These supports must be level with the support boards attached to walls.
- Attach the closet rod pole hangers to the wood support boards, centered between the front and back of the closet. Cut closet poles to length and install.
- Build the shoe shelves (nail and glue joints) and place on the floor – side with one closet pole hanger.
- Install long shelves and attach (nails) to support boards.
- Set nails (nail setter) and fill with wood putty. Stain or paint as needed.
Compared to buying a pre-manufactured or custom-built organizer, this interior home improvement project has the potential of saving hundreds of dollars.
This low-cost do-it-yourself project also has an advantage over pre-manufactured closet organizers – it is custom-designed to fit a specific closet. This advantage saves installation time and wasted money on modifications to make a pre-built organizer fit the closet.