Building Your Own Closets

After you've taken inventory of what will be stored in your closet and carefully measured the closet space you have available, you can choose to purchase prefabricated closet organizers, shelves, drawers, rods, and other organizational accessories. Most of these accessories are designed to fit standard-sized closet spaces. The trick, however, is determining in advance what closet-organizing accessories you want to implement into your closet. This means deciding what types of shelves, drawers, shoe racks, hooks, specialty hangers, and lighting you require (see the preceding section).

Although building a custom closet organizer is ideal for those who are handy with tools, if you're a novice you might want to stick with prefabricated closet organizers so that you don't become overwhelmed. Keep in mind as well that if you have to purchase costly tools, you most likely won't save money with the build-it-yourself route.

If you're handy with tools, you can build your own closet organizers from scratch. This means you'll build your organizer directly into the closet space and attached to the floor, walls, and/or ceiling. It will be custom built to fit the exact dimensions of your closet. Custom-designing a closet is a time-consuming and risky project. A small error in measurement or calculation can cost you in terms of hours and dollars. If you've ever had to assemble a piece of furniture, you know how much longer these kinds of projects can take than you might originally anticipate.

If you're making the decision to embark on this project, you want to ensure that the end result is functional and creates the exact storage environment you need. As you begin planning what your closet will look like and how you will organize it, answer the following questions:

  • Based on the appearance and organization of your closet now, what can you change to make it more organized and functional?

  • Is the space currently being used efficiently?

  • Is there enough room to install drawers and/or cabinets with doors that open and close?

  • Do you need more shelf space, hanging space, and/or drawers in the closet? If so, how will you utilize this space?

  • Can you get by using specialty hangers as opposed to doing construction and installing a customized closet organizer?

  • Is the floor space and door space being utilized right now, or are shoes and other items stored inefficiently?

Hardware superstores sell do-it-yourself closet organizers, which include most of the materials you'll need to customize your closet. Just be sure that the kit you buy fits the closet you have in mind. In addition, some of the tools you'll need to install prefabricated closet organizers include a Phillips-head screwdriver (a power screwdriver is even better), hammer, stud finder, level, tape measure, circular saw or fine-tooth saw, and pipe cutter or hacksaw.

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