How to Build a DIY Closet Organizer

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Transform your messy closet into an organized space with a custom-made DIY closet organizer.

Closets can become a chaotic mess if not organized properly. An organizer not only helps you to store your belongings but also makes the most out of your available space. 

In this tutorial, we will go through the step-by-step process of building a simple but effective DIY closet organizer.

old closet with cupboards on top

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DIY Closet Organizer

MATERIALS:

TOOLS:

STEP 1: Remove Existing Closet System

Firstly, you’ll want to demo any existing closet system that won’t be part of your new setup. 

In my case, I removed the middle section and old doors to make room for the new organizer. 

STEP 2: Measure Your Closet Space

Before designing your closet organizer, measure the closet’s dimensions carefully. You’ll want to make sure that your new organizer will fit.

person using measuring tape to measure closet

STEP 3: Design the Closet Organizer

Based on your measurements, sketch out a design for your organizer. 

I created mine to fit my specific closet, and you should too! This way, it will meet all your storage needs.

If you want more detailed instructions or assistance, purchase my “Floating Closet Organizer Workbook” or “Drawer Closet Organizer Workbook”. You can create the whole closet system plan by adding the measurements from your closet to my pre-existing plans and cutting diagrams. 

STEP 4: Cut and Prepare Plywood

Once you have a design, cut your plywood sheets according to your specific dimensions.

Remember, it’s always better to measure twice and cut once.

hands pushing plywood on saw

STEP 5: Add Pocket Holes

Using a pocket hole jig, add pocket holes to your plywood. This will make assembling the pieces much easier and more stable.

wood with pocket hole jig

STEP 6: Sand and Paint

Sand down all the plywood pieces to remove any rough spots. 

hand using sander on plywood

I recommend priming and painting the plywood at this stage. It’s much easier to paint them now than after everything has been assembled. You can use a roller or a paint sprayer.

closet with painted wood pieces leaning out

STEP 7: Build the Organizer Frame

Begin building the frame of the organizer according to your plans.

bottom of closet organizer wood frame
person using tape measure to mark cut lines on wood

Ensure that you are using braces because the braces will not only support the shelves but also help to keep your organizer structurally sound.

closet organizer with wall brace

If you have any shelves that are a tight fit, like I did, I recommend using a 2×4 scrap board to hammer them into place, minimizing damaging the plywood.

SIDE NOTE: Watch my YouTube video and see examples of what I am talking about.

wood closet organizer with shelves placed and clamp leaning against wood

STEP 8: Attach the Organizer to the Wall

Place the organizer in the desired location (where it will be secured to two studs). 

Use your braces to secure the organizer frame to your wall. Pre-drill the braces with a 1/8″ drill bit where the organizer will be secured to a stud. 

TIP: I recommend securing the organizer to the wall with at least two braces.

Take the 2″ screws and secure the bracing to the wall.

TIP: Make sure the organizer is level vertically and horizontally.

This step ensures that your organizer won’t tip over and adds stability.

wood organizer with shelves and clamp leaning against shelves

STEP 9: Install the Shoe Shelf

In my design, I included a shoe shelf. Because my wall is made of plaster and brick, I used liquid nails to attach its side bracing securely to the wall. 

Then, I placed my plywood piece into place.

STEP 10: Add Front Trim

Now it’s time to add the 1″x2″ trim to the front of the organizer. Measure the sides of the organizer (each one could be different) and cut the trim at those measurements. Check the fit and adjust if needed.

saw being put into correct position

Then, nail the trim into place by placing the trim piece flush with the outside edge of the organizer. Starting on one end, nail the trim piece into place with 1-1/4″ finishing nails.

person using nail gun to place nail into front trim of wood organizer

Move about 8″ and place another nail. Adjust the trim piece if needed to make it flush with the organizer. Continue this process for the length of the board.Now, measure the distance of each shelf (remember, each piece could be different) and cut and install the same way.

close up of closet shelf with trim on each side
measuring tape on front part of shelf

STEP 11: Final Touches

Once you’ve installed all the trim, fill in the nail holes with spackling paste and seal all the seams with caulk.

bottom of shelf organizer with wood filler and wood filler tool

After everything dries, lightly sand the nail hole areas and touch up with paint.

STEP 12: Install the Closet Rods

Now, it’s time to add the closet rods. 

Measure the distance from the rod bracing to the organizer (three in total). Then, depending on your rod holders, you will subtract 1/8″-1/4″. 

Cut each dowel to this measurement. Then, lightly sand the dowel with sandpaper and wipe clean with a cloth. You could stain the wood or leave it as is.

Another important step is to measure the bracing to attach the rod holders to the wood. This is done by measuring 11″ from the back wall and 1-3/4″ down on the rod bracing (this will put the holder in the middle of the brace). Place a mark at this spot where the top of the rod holder will sit. Place the rod hanger, trace the screw holes, and pre-drill 1/8″ holes. Then, attach the holder using the screws provided.

For the other rod holder, mark the placement, trace the screw holes, and attach just like the last time. Complete this step for all rod holders.

Once all the rod holders are attached, insert the rods carefully. You can adjust the length of the dowel if needed.

Now, take a step back and admire your custom DIY closet organizer.

Finished closet organizer with clothes, shelves and hanging 
rods

FULL PROJECT VIDEO:

Are you someone who does better with visuals? Check out the full project video on How to build a DIY closet organizer below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube so you don’t miss out on future projects!

person working on white closet organizer with youtube overlay

And voila! You have successfully turned a disorganized space into a well-oiled machine for your clothes, shoes, and anything else you wish to store. Not too difficult, right? Feel free to share your experiences; I can’t wait to see your DIY closet organizers!

Don’t forget, if you want to see more tutorials like this, check out my other content here and on my YouTube channel.

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