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How to Build Walk-in Closet Storage

This Old House general contractor Tom Silva shows how to maximize closet space with plywood shelves and boxes

In this video, This Old House general contractor Tom Silva and host Kevin O'Connor build a storage system for a walk-in closet.


1. Cut the plywood parts to size using a circular saw and clamp-in-place straightedge.

2. Use a clothes iron set to the cotton setting (no steam) to adhere 13/16-inch iron-on veneer onto the plywood edges.

3. Sand the veneer flush with the plywood using a sanding block and 120-grit sandpaper.

4. Use a router fitted with a ¾-inch straight bit to rout rabbets and stopped dadoes in the vertical sides of the cabinets.

5. Cut a small notch, called a haunch cut, in the front corner of the shelves using a jigsaw.

6. Install a counter-balanced, fold-down wardrobe lift to the inside surface of the upper sides.

7. Screw the cabinet parts together using a drill/driver and 2-inch drywall screws.

8. Attach a ½-inch plywood back to the rear of the cabinets using 1 ⅝-inch drywall screws.

9. Screw fixed closet rod hardware to the inside surface of the lower cabinets.

10. Set the assembled cabinets into the closet and fasten them together with 1¼-inch screws and then to the wall studs with 3-inch screws.

11. Mount the horizontal closet rods to the fold-down wardrobe lifts.

12. Install slide-out shoe racks in the lower cabinets, and slide-out pant racks at waist height.

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