How to Build a Closet to Give You More Storage

Posted by: on January 28th, 2014 | 25 Comments
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How to Build a Closet to Give You More Storage

The need to maximize storage space is a fact of life in the 21st century. That’s especially true for anyone living in a small home, where having enough closet space is a big part of staying sane.

Stacy Risenmay can attest to that based on personal experience. She writes about home improvement on her blog Not JUST a Housewife. She certainly knows a thing or two about storage and organization.

She built a whole new closet in her home recently, and here she shows the basic steps in how to build a closet. Read on for her closet building tips.

I live in a 1580-square-foot home that was built in 1938. And I share this home with five boys! My husband, four little guys and I not only share this small space but half of the basement is not even finished! To say that storage can be a problem is a bit of an understatement. So I built a new closet!

 

How to Build a Closet to Give You More Storage: The close before its makeover

 

THE PROBLEM: My husband and I currently have a closet that we share in our room that is 3 feet wide, with one bar for hanging clothes, and that is it. If all the laundry is clean (and let’s be honest, that isn’t very often), then our clothes don’t all fit in the closet and dresser. Luckily neither of us are a fashionista and do not have very many clothes, but I think we can all agree that 3 feet for two people is not exactly ideal.

THE SOLUTION: I recently finished a bathroom in our basement next to our bedroom and left a space just outside the bathroom with the intention of turning it into a closet. After stepping over piles of clean laundry at the foot of our bed one too many times, I decided it was high time to work on the new closet.

 

How to Build a Closet to Give You More Storage: The space where the closet will go

 

 

This used to be where the washer and dryer went before we moved them to another part of the basement.

The first thing I needed to do was frame out the face of the closet.

How to Build a Closet: Materials needed to frame the closet

 

 

 

Supplies needed to frame the closet:

 

How to Build a Closet: Framing the closet

 

I framed it with 2x4s. One wall was the outside wall (and pure concrete), so I used a Ramset .22 caliber single shot hammer to attach the 2x4s.

The rest was basic framing. I had left over drywall from the bathroom and used that. I taped and mudded the drywall. Then, since I didn’t have a ton of space to cover, I plastered the sheet rock using a plastic putty knife.

Since the back wall was wood planks (original to the house) I decided to add wood planks to the sides. I had some planks left over from the bathroom. I ended up going back to Home Depot and getting more to do the ceiling.

You don’t have to use planks. You can just sheet rock it if you want, but I thought the planks added an extra touch. I used Liquid Nails to adhere the planks to the wall that was cement.

Normally I would have furred out the wall (like I did in my laundry room) but I did not want to take away precious inches from the closet width. The other side of the closet was framed with sheet rock already so the planks got nailed with my brad nailer. I caulked the seams with paintable caulk.

How to Build a Closet: Repairing damage to the wall

I had some damage to the back wall I also needed to address. Since this is where the washer and dryer use to be there was an abandoned water line, electrical box, and some other holes that were cut for plumbing in the neighboring bathroom. I cut pieces of 1×4 boards (scraps I had on hand) and nailed them into place. I caulked around them and painted over it.

Since this closet is in our basement and our basement ceilings are less than 8 feet, normal off-the-shelf closet doors would not have worked or would have had to be modified. I decided I could just build them from scratch.

 

How to Build a Closet: Materials needed to build the closet doors

 

 

Supplies needed to build the closet doors

 

How to Build a Closet to Give You More Storage

 

 

Now I could give you the measurements for my door but chances are my door and your door size will not be the same. But you will need two sides, a top, bottom, and center piece.

 

How to Build a Closet: Drilling holes to build closet door

 

 

I used my Kreg Jig to drill holes in the ends of  longest boards and the center piece boards. Then I used 1 1/4 screws to attach the boards together. I flipped the door over to the front side and sanded it in preparation for painting.

 

How to Build a Closet: Sanding the frame of the closet door

 

 

I had the guy at Home Depot cut the plywood for me even though I have a table saw because that is the only way I could fit it in my vehicle to get it home.

You can do one of two things with this step.

A) You can use a router to cut out a space for the plywood to fit on the back (think of a picture frame), and then nail it into place or

B) You can just nail it onto the back. Since I was dealing with a deadline and you won’t see the backs of these doors, I chose this option.

My husband helped me attach to door track to the top of the closet doorway. The roller pieces screw onto the back of the doors. I don’t know why but I was the most worried about adding the track to the doors. But it was the easiest step!

So I had a closet and closet doors, but now I needed a way to organize everything.

I debated back and forth about building custom inserts or buying ready made. Since I had built the closet from scratch and the door no less, I opted to buy ClosetMaid shelving. This closet is a basic shape and not very big so it made a lot of sense.

 

How to Build a Closet: Materials needed to assemble closet shelves

 

Supplies needed to assemble the closet shelves

 

How to Build a Closet: Assembling the shelving

 

 

The ClosetMaid shelves were very easy to put together.

I thought it might be hard to try and lift the top piece onto the bottom one, but I was able to mange by myself. I actually enjoyed the process. I was so excited to have drawers for belts, ties, scarves, shoe polish, and other random things that didn’t have a home before.

I threw down a carpet remnant I had on hand until we get flooring in this corner of the basement. I cut it to fit with a utility knife. Since I do not have permanent flooring I did not add the piece of the door track set that keeps the closet doors in place on the bottom.

 

How to Build a Closet to Give You More Storage

 

But other than the door track on the floor, the closet is complete! Our clothes have a new home.

 

How to Build a Closet to Give You More Storage

 

 

I probably need to find bigger baskets that fill up more of the space, but I like these that I already had. They will work for now and are much better than the shoe boxed we had before!

I also realized I am sadly lacking in the dress department.

 

How to Build a Closet to Give You More Storage

 

I was working on this closet in my spare time (remember I have four boys!) over the course of a week and a half. No laundry was cleaned during this time.

Once I get caught up, the closet will get filled up more. I love that it will go in the closet and drawers instead of staying in the laundry baskets!

 

How to Build a Closet to Give You More Storage

 

 

It is hard to tell at this angle but the tower unit is lined up so that when you slide the doors over to the other side you can open the drawers.

 

How to Build a Closet to Give You More Storage

 

I love how it looks.

 

How to Build a Closet to Give You More Storage: Before and After

 

And here is a side by side of the before and the after.

We are so happy with our new closet. I actually look forward to getting caught up on laundry now!

See more Storage and Organization Ideas here on The Home Depot Blog. Follow our Storage and Organize board on Pinterest for more great storage ideas and DIY projects, too.

Browse our Storage and Organization Department for everything you need to get your home organized. 

Stacy did this project for The Home Depot’s Store More, Save More event. She received a Home Depot gift card, but the ideas and opinions she expressed are her own.

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  1. OKAY!!!! I Seriously need this in my life. I am afraid to even open my closet door. LOVE this! Pinning.
    xoxo

  2. Wow, that looks amazing. I think I like that better than my own closet. You did an awesome job.

  3. Leanne says:

    I am so impressed! You did an amazing job. I love everything you did in it and it gave you so much added space.

  4. What a beautifully organized closet! We’re just about ready to get our bedroom closet in order. Definitely will give the ClosetMaid collection at Home Depot a look when we pull the trigger!

  5. Britni says:

    Wow she did an incredible job. Maybe she wants to come to my house and create a closet for me!

  6. katie says:

    Amazing before and after!!! I’m ready to start doing this to all my closets now!!!

  7. This is AMAZING Stacy! You did a fabulous job! Come do my closets next :)

  8. Oh, wow! This is fantastic!! I’m so impressed…want to come do this at my house?!

  9. Condo Blues says:

    I’m trying to decide if I should built a closet organizer for my hall closet from scratch or to buy one. After seeing yours, I ‘my leaning toward prebuilt. I didn’t release they have nicer organizers than the white wire ones.

  10. WOW! This looks so fantastic!! You did such a great job… and inspired all of us to take control of our storage ‘issues’. Thanks, Stacy!

  11. kristin says:

    WOWZA, this is gorgeous! I want a closet like this :)

  12. Stacy Molter says:

    This is great! We’ve been struggling with our closet storage! Thanks for the ideas!

  13. I love it all! I have been struggling with poorly designed closets with tons of wasted space and now you have given me great ideas, insight, and motivation on how to maximize the storage space we have! Thanks Stacy.

  14. Very cute, and lots of work that paid off. But, let’s be honest. After the photo shoot, I’m sure the props came out and the clothes went in!!! :) Great work.

  15. SO awesome! Great use of the space. My husband and I are finishing up a closet of our own, now I’m motivated to get it done!!

  16. Amy Anderson says:

    This is great! I’m moving soon and these tips will definitely come in handy.

  17. Kimber says:

    Oh WOW! This is really stunning. It really inspires me that you built it from scratch. I would have never thought of that, but you make it seem so doable! Love the closetmaid too. I could use some of that!

  18. Wow! Stacy your closet turned out amazing! And what an incredible transformation! I love it!!

    Ashley
    http://www.simplydesigning.net

  19. Oh wow. That is some gorgeous after. I really like how light, bright and organized it it!! Plus being able to move the shelves around is awesome as well.

  20. Tara says:

    Stacy, this is fantastic! I can’t believe the transformation. And I know all about living without storage – what a clever idea to make the most of your space!

  21. colleen says:

    wow what a difference! I love closet maid I love closet maid I have used thier products for years and have never been disappointed. Now you have a pretty closet ;) .

  22. Cath says:

    Fantastic job. Thanks for the details on how to do everything. The tool list looks daunting, but the tutorial on making a door looks doable and really useful for different applications. Having doors that slide rather than swing open means a lot when your house is too small to swing a cat (although I don’t know why you’d want to swing cats).