Real closets with real shelves!

Hi everyone! I hope your weekend was as fantastic as ours. We had both ample worktime and playtime. We actually accomplished everything we set out to do this weekend! In the words of my husband, "That's only the second time that's ever happened. The first time was when we painted the living room, and that was almost the death of me." He's not exaggerating on either point.

Honestly, the main reason for this accomplishment was that we didn't set out to accomplish much. Keep your standards low, and you'll be amazed at how good you feel about yourself when you achieve your goals! ☺ What were our goals? 1) Mow the lawn. It was attracting attention both from wild animals and our neighbors and had to be tamed a bit... And 2) Finish the closets in both guest bedrooms. It has been tough trying to keep things organized around here without proper closet organization. We had no shelves, no nothing -- just a bunch of junk piled up behind a closed door.

At Lowe's, a standard Rubbermaid closet organization system with rails and shelving costs about $100 per closet. We wanted something nice that inspires us to be organized, but we also didn't want to break the bank getting it. So we devised our own plan to get organized and save a little money.

We bought thick dowels, some cheap pine lumber to support the shelves, hardware and 12" melamine (plastic-coated) shelving -- all for under $100 total for both closets. We thought about getting simple plywood to save even more on the shelves, but the melamine-coated material was much less work and hassle -- no sanding, painting or concerns about snagging your clothes necessary. Plus, a 96" length of melamine cost only $15, giving us two shelves, or one closet's worth. Not bad, all things considered.

I'd read on thisoldhouse.com that many closets have too much hanging space and not enough shelving/drawers. So, using my closet as the visual example (below), we ended up installing one high shelf for seldom-used items and one long rod for hanging clothes...

...as well as one low shelf 16" off the floor for shoes, boxes, drawer units, etc. to reside above and below.

It's not fancy, but I have to say: this one improvement has done more to make our house feel more homey and comfortable than almost anything else we've done. We finally have a decent place to hang our hats, so to speak. Our next step is to install some small bins/hooks on the back of the closet doors. That is prime real estate for stowing small items like belts, bags, etc. I just have to find the right thing. I'll keep you posted.

Both this room and my office (which has a duplicate closet where S keeps his clothes) will eventually belong to our kids, providing that we ever get around to having any. So these closets are really a temporary storage solution for our personal items until we get our master suite finished. At that point, we'll have a whole room dedicated to laundry and storage. Our master closet will be a mecca of organization -- the stuff that dreams are made of. I can't wait. Until then though, these closets will do nicely!

So now our yard looks good, our closets look good and we feel a little better about the state of things after this weekend. Oh, and BONUS: During Saturday's organization frenzy, I managed to part with two trash bags full of clothes to donate. It feels good to simplify a bit -- even if it takes a little extra work to get there.

What did you do this weekend? Was it good?


  1. Emily Kate:

    We can witness with you regarding closets. Won't it be nice to have master bedroom space? For closets Jane and I choose pine all the way, AND left them completly unfinished. But then, that's the nature of rustic. We were to have a large walk-in closet in the MB too. But, I made a huge error from near the very beginning and put the front door 36" too far to the left. then, after the logs were set, I figured it out and it was too late. So, we did some fast redrawing, moved ellements of the M Bath and ended up with a 6' closet with to 24" doors. I guess it's ok, we have the run of the whole house anyway and Jane likes pulling Summer clothes out and putting up Winter ones.
    So what's next with you and "S", Kitchen?

  2. Mel, we know what it's like to think of things too late... You learn to make it work! And like Jane, I just took my winter sweaters out of my dresser (they're in the plastic bin in the closet now) to make room for more summer stuff in the drawers.

    Yep, kitchen is pretty much next. I'm SO EXCITED (though slightly worried about having twice as much house to keep clean!) The first step is pouring the footer since the foundation was only partial, then pouring the floor itself and framing up the space. (The original framing isn't so good, so we are having our favorite carpenters reinforce it and install the upstairs floor joists.) I will likely be involved in very little of that whole structural process. And frankly, that makes me happy.

    We will also be caulking and painting the board & batten siding as soon as possible. We didn't have time last fall, but everything looks good still. It won't be fun, but we're eager to get that done.

    I'm not expecting to get much done until June though... S's sister is getting married in late May, and once again we will be helping with the preparations. Time is flying! We really need to have a productive summer.

  3. Jessey JsalyerDecember 03, 2013

    WOW, what a great job you did on that door. I can't believe that you made that wonderful custom cabinets out of the door and lumber. Your a terrific carpenter.


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