So we live in this OLD house, right? And apparently 112 years ago, storage solutions weren’t on the forefront of home-builders’ minds. Because our old farm house is without a single coat closet, linen closet… and pantry (until we made our own).
But instead of complaining about our LACK of storage, I should just be grateful that we even have closets in our bedrooms! Because we’re pretty sure they were added some time after the house was built!
And yet, the bedroom closets have high ceilings and a ton of wasted space. Take our master closet for example:
I’m sort of obsessed with organization, (and would commute many miles to work at The Container Store just for the employee discount if there were one in our state), so the fact that all our towels have been piled on the floor in the hallway since we moved in 3 years ago is a serious problem, and the sheets/blankets have been stuffed into the guest bedroom closet… well to have all that wasted space in the bedroom closet started making us feel like there’s an obvious solution.
Knowing how EXPENSIVE custom closet shelving is, we decided to tackle it ourselves. We knew we could since we whipped out a few shelves in our ‘pantry’. And by we, I mean Nick.
I helped by first emptying the closet of all our clothing. Ya don’t realize how many clothes you have until you have to take every last piece out!
…And dumped it on the other side of the room. (Yes, those are Crocks. I was so fashionable 10 years ago.)
We started by removing that top shelf. Then, using 1×4’s cut to size, we put them up on the wall with drywall screws. These will act as ‘braces’ to hold up the shelf.
We ripped (cut in half the long way) the existing shelf. Who needs a shelf that’s 2 feet deep when it could be TWO shelves!
This was my view for much of the day. It was very scenic.
Take note that when you’re putting screws close to the edge of a board, you should first drill a hole just smaller than the screw… otherwise the board may very well split. Which is totally a no-bueno-situation. This is called a’ ‘pilot hole’. Look at you absorbing so much new carpentry vocabulary today!
This is what your joints will look like in the corners. Nothin’ fancy!
I’m ALL about maximizing space, and I talked Nick into putting shorter shelves all the way down either sides of the closet. OH YES.
Next, we applied Edge Banding to the edges of our shelf boards. Because we’re using Melamine as our building material of choice (it’s cheap, and already white!), we needed to cover up the exposed edges. The Edge Banding comes in a roll, and has excellent instructions with it.
Basically you just cut it to size, iron it on, and slice off the little edges with a razor blade. Like so, yo:
See how crisp it is with the edge banding, compared to the board without it?
The boards got cut to size, and we tested them out to make sure they were the right fit!
THEN, I myself was able to contribute by filling the holes where the screws were on all the braces. I just used drywall compound and a putty knife. This will make it smooth and seamless once these boards get painted!
After the drywall compound was dry, I sanded and painted! This went pretty fast, because only the braces needed painting since the Melamine shelves are already white! Score!
Since the loooong top two shelves will wrap around the edges, Nick used a 3/4” router bit to create “T’s” that will merge the side shelves to the long shelf. This makes everything more structurally secure, AND it creates a seamless transition from shelf to shelf.
So those “T’s” got pilot holes and then nailed on using little brad nails. You can just barely see the “T’s” where I added the arrows.
Then we could put the side shelves in place! “Like a glove” (in Jim Carey’s voice)
And because that long top shelf is SO long, we added an ‘L’ bracket in the center to help support things.
AND THAT’S IT! So now, having all the shelves in place, we had some leftover Melamine, so Nick whipped up a shoe-shelf! I’m a lucky lucky girl.
Here’s a pic of the “dado joint” so you can see how he made it all snug-like.
Would you look at this? Can you hear the angels singing?
Speaking of angels, my babes loved checking things out.
I mean, custom closet shelving like this would have cost us hundreds of dollars if we hadn’t done it ourselves. And I personally don’t think it would have looked this sleek and AWESOME.
And now look with all our clothes in it. ANNNND, notice all the sheets and towels on the very top shelf! Our very own linen closet! Oh the things we take for granted when we have them!
The FUNNEST part for me was loading ‘er up! Gotta love having a place.for.every.THING!
I just keep going upstairs to look at it. It’s callin’ mah name.
We were slightly worried that adding shelves on the sides would make the closet seem smaller, but after having cut the original shelf down to 1’ depth instead of 2’, it actually opens things up a LOT. I can actually walk into my closet now without getting clotheslined by an excessively deep shelf.
Not only did we get all our clothes, sheets, and towels in, we also completely emptied our 5 drawer dresser into the closet as well!
I feel like we’ve maximized the heck out of this closet! …And for a small fraction of what we would have paid for custom closet shelving units! Ugh, can you even imagine?
Here’s our cost breakdown:
- $29.99 ~ 4’x8’ sheet of melamine
- $13.74 ~ 1”x6” (ripped in half) (Qty 2)
- $1.49 ~ 1”x4” (side shelves afterthought)
- $10.88 ~ white melamine edge banding 25ft (Qty 2)
- $0.79 ~L-bracket
- Prime/paint ~ already had
- Labor ~ FREE! (well, that’s a lie… maybe it cost me a backrub or two)