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Closet Door Built-In Storage

Okay, so I have to admit, I have A LOT of shoes. I'm not the type to put away my summer shoes during winter, because you never know when you need a pair of flip flops or open-toe heels during the colder months (call me crazy but I don't stick with the close-toe heel rule...if there is one). Because I don't put away my summer shoes, coupled with the fact that I have a ridiculously small closet, it can look like a hot mess with the quickness. My closet is in my son's room, so even if I line my shoes up nicely, he eventually gets in there and messes them up. Hence, my need for a solution!

Time: 2 Hours Cost: $38 Difficulty: Medium


I promise all of my clothes are nicely hung and in some what of a style coordination, however, I don't want to ruin my knit cardigans by hanging them on hangers so I just hang them over the middle of my closet rack. If anyone has a solution to this issue, please feel free to share! I don't have any drawer space for them, otherwise I'd fold them. I'm beginning to think I'm going to need to figure out another project for additional clothes storage (maybe I'll mount some more crates on the wall..?).

-3 pieces of 1x6x8 common board
-2 pieces of 1x2x8 common board
-1 1/4" screws
-1 1/2"-2" trim nails

Not pictured:
-fine grit sand paper
-wood glue
-damp rag
-measuring tape
-2 clamps

-chop saw
-drill with bit and counter sink
-nail gun

*Note: amount of wood may vary depending on the size of your door and how big you want your storage unit to be.

STEP 1: Measure, cut and sand boards

As mentioned in my supplies list, I purchased (3) 1x6x8 boards and (2) 1x2x8 boards. I cut my boards to the following lengths using a chop saw:

(2) 1x6 – cut to 6’
(5) 1x6 – cut to 16”
(10) 1x2 – cut to 16”

*If you don't have a chop saw, you can have your boards cut at Home Depot or Lowe's, whichever place you purchase them.

I decided to keep my wood unfinished, however, if you want a finish on your boards, I would suggest finishing them before cutting.

After I cut my boards, I knocked off the splinters and edges with a piece of fine grit sandpaper.

Here are my cuts all laid out before assembling them.

STEP 2: Assemble shell of storage unit

First, I measured every 18" on my 6' boards to mark where my shelves would sit. Rob suggested I do this before assembling anything.

Then, I applied wood glue to the edges of one of my 16" 1x6 pieces and positioned it between the top edges of my 6' pieces.

I nailed the outside of the 6' pieces to the inside edge of the 16" 1x6 piece.

In order to easily mount my storage unit, I glued and nailed a 16" 1x2 piece directly under the 16" 1x6 piece.

Once the end was glued and nailed, I attached a clamp to hold everything together until the glued cured.

Repeat these steps for both ends of the storage unit.
Here is the unit all clamped up...now it's time for shelves.

STEP 3: Assemble shelves of storage unit

Much like STEP 2, I assembled my shelves by gluing and nailing the remaining 16" 1x6 pieces of board. Once I put glue on the ends of my 16" pieces, and starting at one end, I placed the top edge of my board on my pencil marks from the first part of STEP 2. Then, I wiped any glue that bled and stapled the end shelves.

STEP 4: Assemble rails of storage unit

For the double rails of each shelf, I knocked in two pieces of 16" 1x2 boards, one at a time. I used two scrap pieces of 16" 1x2 boards for spacers. I didn't use wood glue for this step, because the rails were so tight. I simply used a hammer to gently knock them in place and stapled the ends from the outside of the 6' boards.

STEP 5: Mount storage unit

Finally, I used a counter sink attachment for my drill to pre-drill three holes on the top of my storage unit and three holes on the bottom. Then, I screwed in my screws to make the unit nice and secure.

I'm really happy with how this built-in storage unit came out for my closet door. I still have a few stragglers sitting on the floor but I feel my closet looks so much more organized, given how small it is.

*Because I only had to purchase the lumber for this project, it was less than $40 total for supplies.
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Materials used for this project:

  • 3 pieces of 1x6x8 common board   (Home Depot)
  • 2 pieces of 1x2x8 common board   (Home Depot)
  • 1 1/4" screws   (on hand)
See all materials
  • Nancy Carlson
    Nancy Carlson Jesup, GA
    on Dec 3, 2016

    Thanks for the idea! I built a set of selves to fit inside the door frame of an unused door to store all my paint. That location isn't going to work, so I'll hang it on the back of a door! Now about your closet. I don't have any good suggestions for hanging sweaters, but I do have a suggestion on how to get more space, and make it more accessible. Take the rod and shelf down and hang rods sideways! If you have dresses, Make one side the standard height, with shelves above, and the other side hang one rod at 41" and the other at 80". You will gain a few extra feet of hanging space (maybe depending on how much you have now, and how deep the closet is) but best of all, it will be a 'walk in' closet!

  • Hillela G.
    Hillela G.
    on Dec 3, 2016


  • William
    William Burbank, IL
    on Dec 3, 2016

    Great project! Great storage! Super share! SAVE!

  • Linda Lee
    Linda Lee Milwaukee, WI
    on Dec 3, 2016

    Hi! Not a question, maybe a solution to your cardigan problem...at a thrift store I found a cloth hanging storage unit (possibly for shoes) which could be adapted for clothes. It folds up like an accordion when not in use. It hangs on the closet rod. A thick piece of wide material, with very wide Velcro goes around the clothes rod and this is attached to the sturdy top of the unit with large metal rivets. It's made entirely of cloth. Each shelf piece is covered with cloth. The material used as the shelf is lightweight and sturdy. (not cardboard). Then it's all sewn together. It is entirely enclosed at the back by one long piece of cloth that is sewn onto each of the shelves. The side cloths are attached to each shelf, but are narrower pieces attaching at the very front edge, but don't go all the way to the back. This leaves an opening at each back corner, making it easier to sew the side shelves on. When covering each shelf leave enough material on the edges to be sewn to the long pieces. Fold the long cloth over the shelf edge covering top and underneath. (Like folding a piece of paper in half) and sew all together with a straight stitch. (Leaves an edge that sticks out). The material used reminds me of those big canvas painters' cloths. You can customize it to the size you need. This one is 12"D x 8" W and 4' H with 6" between each shelf. I can send pictures later if you want to see it. Sorry for being so long winded, but I hope it helps!

    • Theresa Andreeff
      Theresa Andreeff
      on Dec 12, 2016

      They sell them at Ikea and they are perfect for sweaters and such. Very reasonably priced too

  • Miriam I
    Miriam I Bay Shore, NY
    on Dec 4, 2016

    My closet NEEEEDS this!

Inspired? Will you try this project? Let the author know!