Behind Closet Door Storage

Submitted by Ana White on Mon, 08/23/2010 - 20:42
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Claim two extra square feet in your closet with this amazing easy plan!

Guess  what goes on behind closet doors in the Knock-Off Wood house?
Scary, eh?  What could be behind Grace's closet doors . . . .
I'll give you a sec to put junior football helmet on . . .
What can you expect out of a preschooler's closet?

It's taken me weeks to get the courage to share the closet of a three year old with the world, but it's taken me months to take what was just a clever idea and turn it into . . .

A closet with even more storage

Here's the bottom.  You can see how I simply built bookshelves, attached them to the inside of existing closet doors, put the doors on hinges, and added a couple extra square feet of storage to a tiny closet.  Oh, those hooks are Command hooks from 3M - So easy to use, I love them!

When open, the doors opens completely flush, giving you the most room to access the inside of the closet (as long as there is not a wall or something in the way).  No those are not my bookcases (the saggy white ones), they are the last of the flat pack particle board furniture that I have in my home.

When closed, the bookshelves sit in the door frame, taking up what used to be completely wasted space.  And in a house the size of mine, with exactly three closets, every square inch of a closet is prime real estate.

These are super easy to install.  Simply remove the bifold door hardware and attach the bifold doors with standard hinges as shown in the photo

The weight of the doors rests on wheels, so you can load the doors up.  In one closet door, I was able to store ALL of Grace's books.

That's alot of books!

Think of the possibilities - pantry items, toiletries, towels, accessories, and did anyone mention shoes?

And best of all?  I can close the doors live my dream of a simple, bare home, free of clutter.  No one (besides you, my friends) would ever know what's behind my closet doors.  All for around twenty bucks a door!

So wanna make your own?  Here's how I did.  You will need to alter your shelves to your own closet specifications.  So get your measuring tape out!

Measure to fit your closet doors.


Shopping List

1x6 Boards
Heavy duty hinges
four caster wheels
1x2 Boards
Anchoring bolts for hollow core doors

Common Materials
120 grit sandpaper
wood conditioner
paint brush
Cut List

Cut your boards to fit your closet and closet doors.

Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Circular Saw
Power Sander
Drill Bit Set
General Instructions

The success of this project greatly depends on building square, and installing level and square with a square closet opening.


Step 1

First, measure your closet doors. If they are a standard 24″ wide, you will need to subtract 5 1/2″ to get a total door shelf of 18 1/2″ wide. That means all of the shelves will need to be cut at 17″ wide.

Measure the overall height of the doors and subtract two inches. Cut two 1x6s to this length. You will also need to cut as many shelves as desired to the shelf width (in my example, 17″ wide). Also cut 1×2 shelf trim to the shelf width, one more than the number you cut for shelves.

Step 2

Basically, you just build a shelf, as shown above, out of 1x6s. You have to make the shelf 5 1/2″ narrower than the closet door so that it has room to swing when opening and closing.

Step 3

Then you attach the 1x2s as shelf trim and supports. I used my Kreg Jig™ to build Grace’s closet doors, but you could also simply use 2″ wood screws countersunk. Don’t forget the glue.

Step 4

Then you attach the caster wheels to the bottom. You only need two caster wheels per door. I use 1 1/4″ caster wheels. Those are the pocket holes I used to build the shelf with.


51 Swing Out Pantry (not verified)

Wed, 09/15/2010 - 14:14

[...] DIY Storage Closet Doors — Ana White I seriously love you. I just swapped the downstairs pantry and toy closet and added new shelves. I could totally use these shelves on both sets of bifolds. Did you just remove the hardware on top of the door to get them out of the track? Will this work if you have hollow core doors? Mine already swing out but they are not real wood. Log in to Reply. 39 Laura August 24, 2010 at 14:37 am. OMG, that's amazing! And exactly what I need for my sewing room closet! [...]

heavenlypennies (not verified)

Sat, 09/25/2010 - 15:11

OMG! This is so AWESOME! I can't wait to get started!! I'm literally going to the hardware store tonight - I can't wait! One question though - Do these doors remain bifold in anyway? That is, I see the hinges on the wall to door, but the two hinges in the middle of the door, do those move or remain stationary? Did you need to replace the hardware in the middle of the door? My guess is you let them be, but I figure it didn't hurt to ask. My closet doors are not standard dimensions so I guess I will be putting that measuring tape to good use! THANK YOU so much for this fantastic idea! I am sooo excited to get started over here! I'll make sure to email you pics when I'm done! :)

Deirdre (not verified)

Fri, 10/01/2010 - 13:29

Hello. Every thing looks great. I was curious what bookshelf(Ithink) did you use in the main part of the closet with the bins, blanket, and pillow. Thank you for everything you share with us.

Kristen (not verified)

Mon, 10/04/2010 - 06:14

Deirdre--Ana comments in the article:
"No those are not my bookcases (the saggy white ones), they are the last of the flat pack particle board furniture that I have in my home."
Hope that helps! I'm sure that any of the bookshelf plans that Ana has on here would work in the closet though, just be careful of the depth.

Kristen (not verified)

Mon, 10/04/2010 - 06:22

For all of you out there that have carpet in the room--I bought larger 2" casters because of the carpet pile (the room I have has a lower pile, not shag). These do not fit unless you modify the plan!!! Maybe that was intuitive for others, but this was my first project and it wasn't for me--I thought measurement had something to do with the size of the wheel, not the height of the caster. The 1 1/4" that the plan calls for were not big enough to work on carpet, so I bought 1 5/8". This worked without modifications, but I think there would be less drag on the carpet with the 2" casters. If I make this for the other door, I will plan accordingly.

Hope that helps some other beginner out there!

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