I'm back with some details on my closet makeover. This is kind of a nerdy post, but I'm hoping it will be at least a little helpful for those who are ready to tackle a similar project. I've always walked past the closet and organization aisles at Home Depot and Lowes with an overwhelmed sense of not knowing where to begin. I kind of get paralyzed by potential, if that makes any sense.
But when I saw that Lowes carried white melamine shelves in the exact depth I needed for my closets, the way forward started to make sense. I bought my shelf tracks and brackets from Home Depot and my shelves from Lowes. Each bracket was less than $5, and the tracks were about $10/each. I had to get a few shelves cut to custom sizes, but the guys at Lowes were happy to do it for me. I highly recommend these screw-in drywall anchors for attaching the tracks to the back of the closet.
It took me awhile to get around to gutting my pantry and closet—not exactly the most convenient job. As you can see, I had to remove the shelf, coat bar and wooden supports. I still have no idea why they put a coat bar in that closet... It's not like we don't have a coat closet down the hall. People did some strange things in the 80's. Maybe they liked coats.
Thankfully, the shelves and supports were not glued, so the damage to the drywall was really minimal. It just took a little elbow grease to pull out the old nails.
Next up was spackling, priming and painting. The white paint was not at all glossy, so I just primed over the spackling instead of doing the whole closet. I used some old primer from my living room, so that's what the light gray is. Being the impatient person that I am, I dove right into the painting. It felt so amazing to put such a dark color on the wall—Martha Stewart Seal matched to Benjamin Moore's Advance paint. It was leftover from my cabinets, though, so I didn't have to buy it this time around... The coverage was great and two coats did the trick.
Once that was done, I hung the bracket tracks. I used three along the back wall to make sure my shelves would be well supported. You'll need a level and, ideally, another person to help with this part. It's important to make sure all the tracks line up perfectly, or else the shelves will be wonky. You'll notice I hung the two outside brackets first, which seemed to make the most sense for keeping things level.
It also worked well to initially hang each track with only one anchor and screw, just to confirm the positioning and to hold things in place for easy marking for the rest of the holes. After marking, it's easy to just rotate the track to put the rest of the drywall anchors in. I was doing it alone, so it probably took me longer than if I had someone helping me, but even so, I don't think it took more than an hour to install all three tracks.
You'll notice in the picture that the track on the left is shorter than the others, to accommodate the Ikea cart, but I ended up replacing it with a long one, because I accidentally installed it too high.
After that, it was just a matter of attaching the brackets and placing the shelves. The amazing thing about this kind of system is that it's fully adjustable and the shelves can be as close together or as far apart as you want.
Moving on to the pantry next-door...
It seemed silly to rip out the existing shelf supports, so I decided to just remove the sagging shelves and add a middle bracket to support the new ones. I also wanted to create a nook for the garbage, so on the bottom shelf, I removed half of the supporting trim.
In order to install the middle brackets on each shelf, I had to screw in a small piece of wood underneath the trim. These weren't located on studs, so I used my drywall anchors. I just drilled straight through the small piece of wood to make a hole in the drywall and mark for the anchors. That way I made sure the screws would fit exactly where they should.
Next came the spackle and paint...
And finally, I put the shelves on the supports and attached the center brackets. I also screwed the shelves onto the old supports for added security.
And that's pretty much it... You'll noticed from the pics that I installed a smaller shelf on the bottom to accommodate the trash can. Having my trash can out of the kitchen walk-space makes me so very happy. As of right now, I am living with the doors off, but my longterm goal is to replace the current bi-folds with swinging double doors, so I can easily open just one door at a time and install handles to match my cabinet doors.
Thanks for putting up with such a long post... Hopefully its helpful in de-mystifying those confusing shelving aisles. Or maybe I am the only one who was mystified. Probably that.
Have a wonderful Thursday!