Master Closet System

Submitted by Ana White on Mon, 04/18/2011 - 22:36
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An entire closet system, for under $250 dollars.  


You have all been down the closet aisle to know what $200 can buy you for organization.  And I've been especially painfully aware of this over the last five years, sharing a four foot wide closet with the Ram, tucked behind the bedroom door, with a $200 closet organizer.  This closet to be specific.

And we STILL had to build it . . . if you know what I mean.
So we should know better than to budget a new closet for just $200.  Been there, done that, right?
Well, this one did run a tad over $200 - right at $230 using up some scrap 1/4" plywood for the drawer bottoms and we already had the screws, but we feel the extra $30 bucks - and the week of work - was definitely worth it.
Now SHE wants one too.
A few months back, our family sat down and decided to tackle projects that would make our personal home nicer and easier to keep clean.  So we made a list of all the problem areas in our home, and prioritized the list with the most painful at the top.  I thank you for being patient with me as we focus on our own home - already, I am feeling less overwhelmed and spending less time trying to figure out where I put something, or where to put something.
We've tackled the laundry room problem, the play table problem, the media center problem, the big girl room problem, and now the where to put our laundry problem (which has also solved our no entry closet and no linen closet problems because we've freed up space in our old closet) so next up is the kitchen/dining room problem.
So if you've also got a where to put laundry problem, this could be the post for you. This closet is highly customizable, and I would like to add several plans to the collection to help you get exactly what you need for your space.
Today we will tackle the towers, and I'll be adding plans for the drawers and cubbies and more shortly.
And real quick - here is a breakdown of the supplies
4 sheets of 3/4" cabinet grade plywood cut into strips 15 3/4" wide ($156)
(took the scraps, ripped in half, and made the drawers for free  :)  )
4 - Wood Rod Pockets ($6)
2 - 6' Wood Dowels ($8)
6 - 16" Drawer Slides ($24)
1 - Can of Paint with Primer ($25)
2 - 2x4 @ 12 feet long ($8)
2 - 2x2 @ 8 feet long ($4)
Total Spent: $131
16" deep x 75 1/2" tall - customizable width


Shopping List

3/4" plywood or MDF cut into 15 3/4" wide strips, 8 feet long (referred to as 1x16 boards)

1 1/4" Wood Dowels
1 3/8" Rod Pockets
2x4s for the footer
2x2s for shelf supports if desired
Common Materials
2 inch screws
2 inch finish nails
120 grit sandpaper
wood conditioner
paint brush
Cut List

Because this plan should be customized to fit your space, only cut lists for the tower is given.  Drawer and cubby plans will fit in this tower plan.

2 - 1x16 @ 72"
5 - 1x16 @ 14 1/2"
Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Kreg Jig
Circular Saw
Brad Nailer
Power Sander
Drill Bit Set
General Instructions

Please read through the entire plan and all comments before beginning this project. It is also advisable to review the Getting Started Section. Take all necessary precautions to build safely and smartly. Work on a clean level surface, free of imperfections or debris. Always use straight boards. Check for square after each step. Always predrill holes before attaching with screws. Use glue with finish nails for a stronger hold. Wipe excess glue off bare wood for stained projects, as dried glue will not take stain. Be safe, have fun, and ask for help if you need it. Good luck!


Step 1

Build your tower boxes as shown above. We used 2" finish nails and glue - but the Kreg Jig™ or 2" screws countersunk would work fine too. The main thing is (if you are using drawers or are building a large closet) that the towers need to be very square. You can make the top shelves adjustable with shelf pins, but it is important that the middle shelf be fixed, as something needs to keep the tower square in the center.

Step 2

Once you have your tower(s) built, use rod pocket holders (1 3/8" diameter openings) with wood dowels (1 1/4" diameter) cut to length. We choose not to paint the dowels, as the wear of hangers sliding along the dowels would surely remove the finish. Make sure to leave enough room for your clothing to hang smoothly - especially if you add shelves in the next step.

Step 3

The middle shelf is really not necessary, but the top and bottom shelves are - as we will be adding a footer in the next step and there is a TON of valueable storage space on the top :) Cut these to length. We used the Kreg Jig™ to fasten these shelves in place, and also added 2x2s as supports (good ole warped plywood really needed the extra bracing). Again, make sure that you are leaving enough room for your clothes to hang.

Step 4

The main reason we choose to add a footer was to elevate the closet above the baseboard. Also, you can inset the footer slightly for a toekick. We also liked the elevated height because that little bit of height separates the closet from the floor (and the majority of dust and dirt).

Finishing Instructions
Preparation Instructions
Fill all holes with wood filler and let dry. Apply additional coats of wood filler as needed. When wood filler is completely dry, sand the project in the direction of the wood grain with 120 grit sandpaper. Vacuum sanded project to remove sanding residue. Remove all sanding residue on work surfaces as well. Wipe project clean with damp cloth.

It is always recommended to apply a test coat on a hidden area or scrap piece to ensure color evenness and adhesion. Use primer or wood conditioner as needed.
Finish Used
Behr Swiss Coffee in Satin
Help Improve This Plan

We apologize if there was an error in this plan. Please help us out and report any errors here.


Debbie Christianson (not verified)

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 01:13

LOVE it!!!


Tue, 04/19/2011 - 04:42

This looks great! I'm hoping future plans include a solution for wrapping around a corner. My walk-in master closet needs a refresh -- this would be perfect, but I would need to modify for the corners. :) Just an idea.... LOL


Tue, 04/19/2011 - 05:15

Very Nice!

Apartment closets are T-I-N-Y! This is fabulous!
Hmm... this may need to bump a few things on the "to-do" list. :-)
Great plans, The finished work looks terrific!
Yet another project very nicely done, Ana!
Thank you! 

IAMSNWFLK (not verified)

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 06:40

Great job!  It couldn't have come at a better time.  Closet space is so limited in our apartment and we'd been going in circles about buying a vintage wardrobe (armoire) or a closet system.  Thanks for sharing

Anonymous Coward (not verified)

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 06:43

16" deep ???  Is that deep enough to hang men's clothing? Or are you letting the sleeves and stuff hang out side the tower boundaries?

In reply to by Anonymous Coward (not verified)

Ana White

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 09:38

Hi our hangers are 16" deep, and we have such a tight space there, so couldn't go 24".  If you wanted to go 24", simply rip your plywood into 24" widths instead of 16". The clothes sits flush in the closet with 16".

One thing to consider, if you did go 24" deep, you could put doors on the closet too, inset like the drawers.  Would be easy to do and give the closet a finished look.


Tue, 04/19/2011 - 07:05

This is beautiful!  And I bet you're so glad that it's done and you can use it! :)


Tue, 04/19/2011 - 07:23

This is the perfect closet system.  Love the plans and hope to do this soon in our new house (once it's done).

What color is the paint?  I love that too.