(n.) Cabindo: A condo on a lake, among tall old trees. Half cabin, half condo. My first home. This is a running journal of the renovations, projects, and general shoestring budget craziness.


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Monday, July 8, 2013

Creating custom adjustable shelving, ala the Container Store

Aside from painting top to bottom, built-in closet shelving was the first homeowner improvement project I tackled. I was giddy, I was broke, but I had a plan.

I may have mentioned it before, but my place is the condo-o-storage. It has more useful and plentiful storage than any ~1000 condo I've ever seen. Clearly, it was meant to be mine.
There are a remarkable FOUR hallway closets; a pantry, a linen closet, a coat closet, and a big empty space closet with a single upper shelf.
With a myriad of tools and materials for all my renovation projects, and no garage; I had to come up with a better storage solution than tossing everything in the big-empty-space closet.
I dreamed of Container Store Elfa shelving with vertical silver tracks and wooden shelves.

same size and # of shelves as I needed in the closet

Only $745 installed or $565 'DIY'........
Oh please to the %*#$ no.

I had a pile of fantastic old pine boards salvaged several years ago from a house I'd rented that was being torn down. They were the standard closet upper shelves, already finished in a pretty amber color.

comme ├ža

Using them for the shelves' surface was the linchpin in making this project possible, as I couldn't afford to buy all new hardwood boards, and saggy MDF was not gonna happen.
The hallway closet door doesn't run the full width of the closet, so I planned for 2 deep shelves on the bottom and 3 shallower ones above to get as much surface space as possible while allowing easy access to all shelves.

There were several different shelving systems at  my local Home Depot.
Pricey name brand ClosetMaid? Um, no thanks sister, I'll keep the $150 you would have cost and keep lookin.
Rubbermaid was the champ at $8 an upright, $3.75 for long brackets, and $3 for short ones.

upright
bracket


This broke out to:
$8 x 2 uprights =$16
$3.75 x 2 pairs of brackets = $15
$3 x 3 pairs of brackets = $18
    $4 x 1 box of anchors and screws = $4    
$53

Since $53 is about 9% of the high end $565 price tag: I was a proud, proud, thrifty gal.

Handy Dad and I ripped out the single upper shelf already in the closet to install the new tracks. The two holes we accidentally punched in the wall were just a bonus.
We hung the tracks starting about 6 inches down from the ceiling and ending about 8 inches up from the ground. This covered all the areas where I'd possibly want to have brackets for a shelf.
We then used the ripped out shelf as a guide to cut the pine boards to size. Something we learned here, that we keep re-learning; is that in a 40 year old building: nothing is square. Start with a pattern and then adjust for each instance of that item. That being said, unsuprisingly some shelves came out with a little wiggle room and others had to be trimmed down to fit. Between the track and the pine boards, we used scrap wood from Handy Dad's impressive garage collection to fill out the depth each shelf needed.
Each bracket has a hole for a screw, but I have neither done anything with that nor noticed the need to since construction.

hello there Garage Closet!

Not the prettiest girl at the dance, but heck, she's gonna be a glorified tool box. No worries princess.

Having gotten the hang of it, we went ahead and knocked out another set in the 2nd bedroom closet. There were two identical closets in there, each with a top shelf and hanging bar. Shelving was badly needed in one of them for office/sporting/random items, as all that hanging space would be wasted.



The wall came out unscathed on this one, but still no beauty queen in sight with those two franken-shelves on the bottom. Again though, its a closet. No one but the 5 people that read this blog (hi honey!) will see it; and inexpensive/functional/awesome always beats accumulating more debt. The mortgage alone is plenty!




-Lindsay


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