With a new baby on the way and the plan being for two children to share a room, storage can be an issue. When a homeowner reached out to carpenter Nathan Gilbert for this exact issue, he knew what to do. With the help of the homeowner, Nathan builds a custom closet organizer system that provides plenty of storage while also being flexible.
How To Install a Closet Organizer in a Nursery Closet
Note: Measure the depth of the closet and determine how deep you’d like the shelves to be before buying materials. Cabinet-grade plywood is very heavy, but many home improvement stores will rip the sheets to your preferred width for easier transport and less work at home.
- Start by removing any existing shelves, poles, or organizers in the closet. This may require a pry bar, hammer, and screw gun. Remove any cleats attached to the walls that the old shelves sat on.
- Measure the width of the closet to determine the width of the storage bays. For a 9-foot closet, plan to divide the sections into 36-inch bays. To make sure they’re centered, measure the width of the closet, divide it in half, and mark the wall at that measurement. Use this measurement to mark the locations of the different bays, divided by marks used to locate the vertical shelving members.
- Transfer layout lines onto the wall. Use a level to draw plumb lines at each mark, and a horizontal line to represent the top shelf spanning the entire closet.
- Apply a bead of glue to the front edge of the plywood shelf boards, and attach the screen stops to the front edge with staples. Use sandpaper to smooth the joints between the surfaces.
- Prime all of the shelf boards before installation and allow them to dry.
- Cut the closet rods to length with a pole cutter, hand saw, or miter saw.
- Using the layout lines for guidance, cut the horizontal cleats so they’ll fall between the vertical shelving unit boards. Attach them to the studs behind the drywall using cabinet screws, which are stronger than trim head screws and provide more holding power.
- Cut the first vertical panel to length, using the horizontal shelf-board’s layout line for reference. Butt it up to the edge of the shelving cleat and use trim head screws to screw through the inside of the vertical board and into the end of the shelving cleat you just installed in step 7. Repeat with any of the other cleats and vertical shelving boards. There should be three vertical boards and 5 cleats attached to the back wall, and two cleats attached to the walls on either side. Note: Only attach the shelving boards at their tops.
- Cut and install the fixed shelving boards between one set of vertical boards. Predrill for accuracy and a cleaner installation, and utilize trim head screws.
- Install the closet pole using the installation instructions. This generally means installing a round bracket and a U-shaped bracket for each pole and using the hardware included in the kit.
- Attach the top shelf over the entire unit and screw down through the top and into the cleats and vertical boards with trim head screws.
- Using the hardware included in the adjustable shelving bracket kit, install the shelving brackets. Use a spacing block that you can hold to the edges of the boards for even, plumb installation. Install the clips and shelf boards.
- If desired, fill any screw holes with wood filler and paint the shelving unit.
Nathan uses some plywood and a shelving kit to customize a nursery closet.
After demoing the old closet, use a level or yard stick to pencil in the layout lines.
Use trim head screws to apply cleats to the wall.
- Wood glue
- Screen stops
- ¾-inch plywood
- Cabinet screws
- Trim head screws
- Closet poles
- Adjustable shelving brackets
- Paint roller sleeves