Recommendations, tips, and guidelines are provided for planning, building, and installing a customized storage system during a weekend.
A low-cost weekend do-it-yourself project is building a custom made organizer to make more efficient use of the space, through custom closets carpentry. 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.
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 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 closet is finished with dry wall 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 floor, the second – 78 inches from floor) for hanging shirts, blouses, etc. The third closet pole is installed on other side of the shelves – approximately 78 inches from 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 saw
- 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
- six penny finishing nails
- two and one-quarter inch dry wall 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 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 closet. Cut closet poles to length and install.
- Build the shoe shelves (nail and glue joints) and place on 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.
20 DIY Closet Organizing Hacks
1. Install Clothing Dividers in Your Closet
By making your divider tags, you can easily categorize your clothes by their sizes or what type of clothing it is. Make sure it’s easy to hang for your convenience.
2. Make A Rack to Hang Additional Clothes With
Build your own rack to separate any additional clothes you have or separate clothes you wear frequently to easily get them and not make a mess in your closet.
3. Add A Hidden Hamper in Your Closet
Build yourself a hidden hamper so you can keep your floor free of clothing, you can also place your laundry in this hamper.
4. Use Soda Can Tabs to Hang Multiple Garments on One Hanger
Recycle and make use of leftover soda can tabs by placing them on the hanger’s handle to give you an additional option to hang your clothes so you can minimize the space your clothes are occupying in your closet.
5. Make Use of Shower Rings
For garments such as scarves or bras, you often find yourself wasting the use of a single hanger for the garment, make use of shower rings to maximize the use of a single hanger and hold these garments individually.
6. Make Use of Chains
It may not look pretty but using chains can significantly organize your clothes by allowing multiple hangers to be hung in one line making it easier to organize clothes.
7. Make Use of Vertical Spaces e.g. the side of Your Shoe Stand, etc.
If you have shelves or shoe stands make use of the vertical spaces, and place hooks on them to hang various accessories such as bags, jewelry, belts, and more.
8. Use Shoe boxes to Organize Clothes
If you have drawers in your closet, place shoe boxes inside the drawers to help you organize and categorize your clothes easier.
9. Use Reusable Labels
Make use of reusable labels if you’re sharing your closet with someone else. You can use small chalkboards to separate your clothes, accessories, and other things from theirs to avoid unnecessary mess.
10. Install Rods on The Closet’s Door
Install rods on the closet’s door for additional space to hang your accessories such as hats, scarves, and more. So, you can place more clothes in your closet.
11. Place Your Shoes in Cubbies
Keep your shoes off the floor and place them in cubbies if you have them in your closet or make a simple cubicle to place your shoes in to easily find what you want to wear.
12. Make Use of Wine Boxes to Organize Your Shoes In
It’s always a good idea to recycle, make use of big old boxes and use them as a shoe organizer so you can easily find what you want to wear next.
13. Use Strings to Hang Your Glasses
Hang your sunglasses or glasses on a wire to save up space on your drawers and easily find what you want to use.
14. Use an Old Picture Frame to Organize Shoes
Make use of your old picture frames by putting them under your drawers where you can easily place your shoes, thus minimizing space consumed in the closet.
15. Make Your Own Drawer Organizers
Create your own colorful drawer organizers for your accessories or other smaller garments with the use of scrapbook paper.
16. Use Tension Poles
Say goodbye to shoe explosions because with the use of tension poles you can easily make your very own shoe organizer, these are inexpensive and are readily accessible in hardware stores.
17. Use Acrylic Holders
Display your clutches and purses in acrylic holders that you can easily place on the wall of your closet.
18. Hang Metal Catchalls on Your Walls
Install these convenient carriers on your walls or door to place your smaller garments or bags.
19. Practice Color Coordination
Color coordinate your containers to easily identify where your different clothing is stored.
20. Use Every Nook and Cranny of The Closet
Use all spaces in your closet to maximize storage space and for it to be easier to organize, such as placing your shoes at the bottom and bags at the top.