If there is anything that I absolutely swoon over, it’s those master closets with organization for days. I don’t even own enough clothes to fit in most of them, but I still get googly-eyed at all the organization. And I know I am not the only one. Hubby can speed though an IKEA store like no other, until we come to the closet organization systems, that is. That man cannot resist some sexy closets. One day, our master closet will be a major project but we started with a test run in building our son’s custom closet organization first.
So here it is before. Pretty basic, huh? I don’t know about you but I am really over wire closet shelves. Yes, it is such a little thing but ever since we replaced the shelves in our laundry room makeover, I want to rip them all out. Besides that, the closet is just barely functional. Books and toy storage will forever be a problem. I think he could build a treehouse just out of books.
Building A Door Organizer with Shelves
Now, don’t get me wrong, I loooooove that he loves to read, but I don’t want to find him buried alive in the stacks of books he has lying around. We designed his bookshelf in a way that he could grow into. For instance, he could also use it as a shoe hanger or something when he is a teenager. And we are putting it on the back of the door to maximize space. We started by using 1 x 4 boards to build the base of the shelf. His door is standard size, so we got 5 shelves spaced 11 inches tall and 16 inches wide (total with the sides, 17 inches wide).
We used a spacer to make sure none of the board were wonky or angled, so it made it pretty quick. Each board is nailed in and screwed from the outside. I filled the nail holes with wood filler after it was all together. Then we nailed and glued a thin wood backer board on.
One of the downsides of having a bookshelf on a door is that, obviously, the door moves, closes, and probably gets slammed which could cause the books to go flying of the shelves. That’s definitely not something we want. So we added dowel rods 5 inches up from the bottom of each shelf. We made a little jig template to avoid all that measuring and keep the dowel rods all in the same place. Then we slid the dowel rods through the holes. We used a decent sized dowel rod but in case they ever break, we can just slide another one in and cut to size. We glued and nailed small pieces of trim (0.25 x 2.5) across the front as a lip as well.
Alright, here is the one part I am still skeptical about. We searched high and low for ideas about how to actually hang this door organizer. We couldn’t find any hooks that would work and needed to keep the profile of the bookcase low. That’s when things got creative. There is a display at our local Home Depot with 2 cement blocks suspended from a chain several feet above the floor. And the only thing holding those cement bricks was this construction adhesive. The staff at Home Depot said this would work and Hubby told me to trust him that it would. Ok….maybe this will work. Using a caulk gun, we used the entire tube of adhesive on this door (after lightly sanding). The entire tube. The door sat overnight to dry (actually 2 days because we were busy with other projects).
Like I said, I am still skeptical about gluing a bookshelf to a door, but I will definitely update if it ever does fail. Yes, the door won’t be salvageable but it’s a $30 builder grade door at Home Depot, so I’m ok with that.
Update: Even a year later and that door organizer is great! The bond really is strong and secure with no worries at all.
Building A Custom Closet
To put up the top shelves, we braced the wall with some molding. The melamine shelves lay on top of the molding and are attached together with dowel pins and glue. We don’t anticipate any large or heavy items up here, so we did not add any additional bracing beyond the top of the bookcase.
Then we added a metal rod for hanging clothes. This consisted of metal pockets and a pole we purchased separately. To cut to size, we used our multi-tool, although a pipe cutter is more ideal. The multi-tool is what I consider an essential DIY tool, and one that even a weekend handyman will wonder how they lived without, lol.
When we designed this closet, we wanted closet organization that would work well as he grows. For now, he only needs one bar for hanging clothes but we can easily add a second, lower bar when he has the need. We did not add it for now because it would be too enticing as a swinging bar, I think. Boys really keep us parents on their toes, don’t they?
We even added a built-in laundry hamper! To do this, we cut 4 pieces of plywood and attached them together with glue and pocket holes using a kreg jig. Then we added rails on either side to slide out and a handle on the front. The hamper is overall quite small since the billy bookcase is only 11 inches deep. The Hemnes Bookcase is 14 inches deeper and just as tall though.
So here it is today. Looks pretty good, huh?! Oh, but we aren’t done quite yet. I have some plans for making this a pretty snazzy closet, but you will have to stay tuned for that. Hint: I might get a bit starry eyed, lol. So what are your thoughts? Do you dream of custom closets like in the magazines too?
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