Behind Closet Door Storage

Submitted by Ana White on Mon, 08/23/2010 - 20:42
Difficulty
Intermediate
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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.

Preparation

Shopping List

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

Common Materials
120 grit sandpaper
primer
wood conditioner
paint
paint brush
Cut List

Cut your boards to fit your closet and closet doors.

Tools
Tape Measure
Speed Square
Pencil
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Drill
Circular Saw
Power Sander
Level
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.

Instructions

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.

Comments

kelli (not verified)

Tue, 08/24/2010 - 08:34

love your blog! thanks so much for sharing all your wonderful ideas and skills. very inspirataional!!!

Robin in Ks (not verified)

Tue, 08/24/2010 - 08:47

Thank you so much! This is just what I need in my small house. You are such a blessing.

Kpop82 (not verified)

Tue, 08/24/2010 - 08:53

Oh I understand your dilemma. I actually have smaller closets. I'm thinking of getting 1 bifold door (as they currently just have fabric as a cover) and then building these to store my daughters books inside and relieve of us overcrowding due to my daughters (our my) love of childrens books. Thank you for the great idea. I'm inspired even more now to do this for myself.

Marti (not verified)

Tue, 08/24/2010 - 08:58

This may be your best idea yet! I love it and my mind is whirling with ideas right now. Thank you!

Kai (not verified)

Tue, 08/24/2010 - 09:09

A-frickin'-MAZING!

I'm doing this in our master bedroom - which has been doorless for too long. LOVE the fact that I'll be able to stash all of hubby's shoes (he has way more than me) on the door.

bequi (not verified)

Tue, 08/24/2010 - 09:43

I'm literally drooling. Oh, I wish I didn't have stupid sliding closet doors! I would just switch them out for bifold or regular doors so I could do this, but the closets are also raised about 2 inches above the bedroom floors. DANGIT!

Oh well, I know a few people I'll be emailing this link to!

ScrappinAway (not verified)

Tue, 08/24/2010 - 09:51

Oh my, I have SEVERAL closets I want to do this to!!!! Thanks for sharing and hopefully one day I can share my finished closets!

Jen (not verified)

Tue, 08/24/2010 - 12:12

LOvE, lOVe, LOVE this!! What a fabulous idea. I am eyeballing all my doors trying to decide which to start with. Thanks for posting.

Loni (not verified)

Tue, 08/24/2010 - 12:46

GENIOUS! You just solved a major issue! I couldn't figure out how to make a new baby share a room with my hubby's 5yr old without over crowding the room and keeping our guest room. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!

Ana White (not verified)

Tue, 08/24/2010 - 14:10

You have made my day. Thank you so much for appreciating my crazy ideas.

If you have a hollow core door :( you can use an anchor system to attach the bookshelves to the door like done in this video http://www.associatedcontent.com/video/5477/how_to_hang_a_towel_bar_on_…

I used a plastic wheel, but a rubber wheel would probably do. As far as carpet goes, I would guess a low pile carpet would work, but probably not a shag carpet. Also, there should be no transitions, as the closet is fixed and will not have room to "give". If your doors are solid wood, you could leave the wheels off and add heavy duty hinges, but I can't guarantee a weight limit (shoes would probably be fine, a pantry full of canned goods . . . not so sure).

Can't wait to see your more efficient closets! Love ya for your kindness! Ana

Jessica (not verified)

Tue, 08/24/2010 - 15:40

I LOVE this idea... Our duplex is literally 816 sq ft for 4 people... Sooo I've been coming up with all kinds of quirky storage ideas (and purging lots of toys and useless items.) With a 3 year old and 1 year old we've got a lot of storage needs.. Guess what I'm building next!

Amanda G (not verified)

Tue, 08/24/2010 - 16:27

I ABSOLUTELY love this idea...what a great use of space. And...so many books. Love it. I think I may have to link back to this on my Eye Spy the Internet on Sunday.
Amanda (from: myramblings.ca)

MrsYokes (not verified)

Wed, 08/25/2010 - 02:48

We have the same closets and I HATE them! I just might learn to love them now! Only problem for me - our bifold doors are floor to ceiling - some serious height adjustment will be needed. This is a great idea!!!!!!

Megan (not verified)

Wed, 08/25/2010 - 04:12

YAY!!!! That is brilliant!! Of course this means my planned order of completion of knock-off wood projects just got modified again! :)

Maura (not verified)

Wed, 08/25/2010 - 07:02

Ana, this is pure genius. You got my hubby to start following your blog with this post!

Kirsten (not verified)

Wed, 08/25/2010 - 09:26

OH MY HEAVENS!!! OH MY HEAVENS!!! Are you kidding me??? thecraftingchicks.com chicks just can't get enough ANA over here. You AMAZE me with your inspiration and your ability to be innovative. WAY TO GO!!!

Lesley Chastain-Crum (not verified)

Wed, 08/25/2010 - 10:02

Thanks for the wonderful idea! We have a laundry closet with bi-fold doors, and after tiling the floor and painting, I couldn't bear to put the tacky wire shelves back up on the wall to hold the detergent, softener, Shout, etc. Now I know what to do!!! I'll have to modify it a bit to accommodate the machines, but I can already imagine how great it's going to be. Thank you!!!

pinksuedeshoe (not verified)

Wed, 08/25/2010 - 11:45

I don't think it is possible to be storage obsessed. This closet is absolutely FANTASTIC! I just love it. Any idea how the casters/wheels would work on a carpeted floor?

I have a closet in my craft room that I'd love to add some more storage too. Here is my closet now, ( http://www.flickr.com/photos/pinksuedeshoe/4631426962/ )but I am dying over the possiblity of what my after picture could look like!

Alberta Mama (not verified)

Thu, 08/26/2010 - 02:46

I was thinking of building something like this on the inside of my pantry door (just a regular door) to hold spices and oils, small goods etc. Now you have made a plan, I just may have to make it smaller! Thanks!

That Slipcover Girl (not verified)

Thu, 08/26/2010 - 04:18

amazing!

INSANITY ENJOYED (not verified)

Thu, 08/26/2010 - 07:08

We have sliding doors on both of my kids' closets. Im wondering if I can switch to bifold doors so I can do this. Im sure I could find doors at the Habitat for Humanity Restore. Hmmm, off to go check their rooms. By the way...you are brilliant! And awesome....and a whole bunch of other great words :)

Gnomeful Things (not verified)

Thu, 08/26/2010 - 09:52

Yet another of your posts has completely made my day. My younger daughter has a whole wall of these doors for a huge closet. Same thing in my own room. If we both weren't already married I think I'd propose LOL

Evelyn (not verified)

Thu, 08/26/2010 - 15:06

Completely brilliant. I'm saving it for sure! This would be a perfect solution for my home office/craft closet, too!

I have to ask, too...am I missing something? How do you open the doors? Not that attaching a small handle would be a problem, I was just curious!

p.s. I would wear an "Ana is my hero" t-shirt, too!

Jen (not verified)

Thu, 08/26/2010 - 15:11

This is SO fabulous! I'm curious what pocket-screw tool you used because I am totally coveting one!
What a fantastic job... I'm sending this post to my hubby so he can check it out too! Our house is FULL of bifolds - detest - and I'm dying for some beautiful and useful storage like this

Vicki Bennett (not verified)

Fri, 08/27/2010 - 16:24

storage obsessed? YES, in the best possible way! You, my dear, are brilliant, i'm felling the urge to call my sister and tell her to get ready to head to the Home Depot to buy wood, hinges and some castors. My nieces need a closet makeover like none other and i'm pretty sure i'd have done this in my spare bedroom if i had seen it. i'm still saving it for when we have more in our 'project fund' but i have a feeling those new white doors will be taken off their hinges sooner rather than later. Thanks so much for all of your great ideas!!

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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