Made by Mitch
Made by Mitch
  • Hometalker
  • Bridgeport, WV

Built-in Closet Organizer

6 Materials
$100
3 Days
Medium

Over the past couple of years I have been trying to upgrade certain parts of the house and I decided that it was time to overhaul this closet. It had a clothes hanging bar and one shelf in it. This was ok but it could definitely be much more efficient. So I built a large shelf and installed it into the closet and added a couple hanging bars to it to be able to hang clothes still. This made the closet so much more usable than it was before. It was a pretty simple project. I hope you enjoy!

Over the past couple of years I have been trying to upgrade certain parts of the house and I decided that it was time to overhaul this closet. It had a clothes hanging bar and one shelf in it. This was ok but it could definitely be much more efficient. So I built a large shelf and installed it into the closet and added a couple hanging bars to it to be able to hang clothes still. This made the closet so much more usable than it was before. It was a pretty simple project. I hope you enjoy!

Using the Rip-Cut to rip plywood
Using the Rip-Cut to rip plywood

The first thing I had to do for this project was cut all of the plywood into usable pieces. You can choose the size you want for your shelf, but my shelve was designed specifically to fit the closet space I was working with. It was roughly 2’ wide, 6-½’ tall, and 15” deep. Because of how tall my shelf was I needed an extra piece of plywood for the bottom shelf. If you were doing a smaller shelf, you could get by with one less shelf and using only one sheet of plywood. To cut the plywood, I used the Rip-Cut made by Kreg tools. This is a jig that attaches you your circular saw and allows you to make perfect rip cuts. If you don’t have a tablesaw, this is a great alternative to ripping down large pieces of plywood or even if you have a table saw it is much easier ripping it this way rather than trying to push an entire sheet of plywood through a table saw. After ripping the plywood, I could move on to assembly. 

Kreg pocket-hole jig do drill pocket holes
Kreg pocket-hole jig do drill pocket holes
Assembling the shelf
Assembling the shelf

The next thing I had to do was assemble the shelf. To do this, I used a pocket hole jig also made by Kreg tools. Pocket holes are a very fast and easy way to join boards. The jig is easy to use and it is super fast. The first thing I did was drill pocket holes where they were needed on the boards. I did three pocket holes per shelf. I made sure to put the pocket holes on the underside of the shelf so they would be hidden when looking at the shelf.

Attaching top board
Attaching top board

The next thing I had to do was assemble the shelf. To do this, I used a pocket hole jig also made by Kreg tools. Pocket holes are a very fast and easy way to join boards. The jig is easy to use and it is super fast. The first thing I did was drill pocket holes where they were needed on the boards. I did three pocket holes per shelf. I made sure to put the pocket holes on the underside of the shelf so they would be hidden when looking at the shelf. 

To assemble the shelf, I used a piece of wood that was cut the exact distance as the space between the shelves and I used this as a spacer. So instead of measuring between each shelf, I just put down the spacer and then screwed in my next shelf. This was a very quick way to assemble the shelf. After I got one side finished, I flipped the whole shelf over on top of the other side board and repeated the entire process with the spacer on this side. I did have to measure the space between the bottom shelves, because it was a little larger than the others. I did the top board last and to attach that board, I had to put the pocket holes in a different place. The pocket holes are on the side board of the shelf instead of under the shelf. After this, I added a small decorative kick toe board at the bottom. I inset it ¾” to give it a little bit of a professional look. After this, the assembly was complete.

Sanding the shelf
Sanding the shelf

Next it was time to sand everything. I used a random orbit sander up to 220 grit to get the shelf prepped for paint. There were many hard to reach places that the orbit sander could reach, so I used a block of wood with sandpaper glued to it and got in the smaller tough places and this proved to be a great method of accomplishing this.

Painting the shelf with two coats
Painting the shelf with two coats

After the shelf was sanded, it was time to paint. After using compressed air to clean the surface really well, I used two coats of furniture paint that I picked up at my local home center. I wasn’t crazy about painting plywood. I don’t feel like it accepted the paint too well. Maybe if I would have used more coats it would have been a little better but it was good enough for me so I just went with it.

Sanding the edges to get exposed plywood edge
Sanding the edges to get exposed plywood edge

After painting the shelf, I decided that I wanted the edge of the plywood exposed. I should have taped the edges before painting, but I didn’t think of it in time. I ended up sanding the paint off of the plywood edge and this worked really well. You could tell there were some places where the paint went deeper in the wood that I couldn’t get out, but for the most part it looked very nice. 

After sanding the edges, I put on two coats of polycrylic on just the exposed ply part. I have had very bad experience putting polycrylic over white paint in the past. After this the painting was complete.

Installing the shelf
Installing the shelf

After the shelf was complete, I could install it in the closet. I had to first tear out the old hanging bar and shelf. This was done with just a drill. I didn’t worry about covering up any formal holes because most of them would be covered up with the new shelf.

Cutting the trim to fit the shelf in
Cutting the trim to fit the shelf in

I had to cut out a small amount of trim for the shelf to fit flush against the wall. To do this, I used a dremel multi-max and it was perfect at cutting the trim in a precise location. I then pulled out the old trim using a hammer and pry bars along with the help of a chisel. The shelf now fit snug against the wall. I found a stud along the wall where the side of the shelf was and screwed the shelf to the wall so it wouldn’t move. I also screwed a piece of wood under one of the top shelves and screwed the shelf to the piece of wood to keep the top from falling forward. After bracing in these two places, the shelf was extremely solid and wasn’t moving anywhere.

Attaching the shelf into the wall stud
Attaching the shelf into the wall stud
Installing board that will hold the hang bar
Installing board that will hold the hang bar

Next I installed the bars for hanging clothes. To do this I first screwed a piece of 1x4 to the opposite wall to have something solid to attach the pole pockets into. I attached the pole pockets on each side. I had two hanging bars in this closet, but you could have as many as you want for yours. I bought one large piece of Closet hang bar from the home center. To cut it, I just used an angle grinder with a cutting wheel. After cutting, I used a grinding wheel to get rid of the sharp edges of the bar. After cutting these to size, I could hang the bars in the closet.

Cutting hang bar to fit the closet
Cutting hang bar to fit the closet
Finished closet
Finished closet

After this, the project was complete! This was a fairly simple project that could totally transform any storage space. Make sure to check out the video for the full how to experience and if you have any questions on the steps leave me a comment or send me a message. You can also find me around the web.

Instagram - @made_by_mitch

Website - madebymitch.net

Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
Hometalk may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page. More info

Top Hometalk Projects

15 Pieces Of Furniture That DIYers Built From Scratch
The Easiest Ways to Grow a Bumper Crop of Tomatoes
21 Totally Terrific Things You Can Do With Doilies
18 Adorable Container Garden Ideas To Copy This Spring
15 Genius Curtain Ideas To Instantly Upgrade Your Space
14 Cool Ways To Upholster Chairs That You Can DIY
30 Fun Ways To Keep Your Home Organized
15 Amazing Things You Can Make With Dollar Store Gems
These Herb Garden Ideas Will Make You Want To Start One Of Your Own
15 Things To Do With Scrap Material
30 Creative Painting Techniques & Ideas You MUST See!
22 Ideas To Make Your Terra Cotta Pots Look Oh-So-Pretty
11 Unexpected Ways to Use Spices in Your Home
Browse Through These Dream Bedrooms & Find Your Favorite!
23 Insanely Clever Ways To Eliminate Clutter
Made by Mitch

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

Go

Have a question about this project?

3 questions
  • George
    8 days ago

    Why use a Kreg? Running the screws in horizontally from the outside of the upright sides of the shelves has more threads engaged. Not that that much strength is required for this design but still...

  • Pat Tatro Lieb
    7 days ago

    How many of us could take on such a huge project, really?

    By the way, wonderful job!

    • Michele Morgan
      30 minutes ago

      You could always use a pre-made set of shelves then add the poles to hang clothing on. That would cut out some of the harder work.

  • Wendy
    3 days ago

    Do you use a door on this closet or is it left open as the picture shows?

Join the conversation

2 of 7 comments
Your comment...