Project Guide

DIY Closet Organizer

1
Measure the Closet Space
A diagram of how to measure your closet for your DIY closet system organizer.

Measure the back wall and two side walls of your closet space to determine the length of the shelf supports. You will install your finished organizer on these supports. 


Tip: Deduct 1 1/2-inches from the length of the back wall shelf support measurement to account for the 3/4-inch thickness of each side wall support.

2
Measure Pieces for Closet Organizer
Man measuring wood for the closet organizer.

You'll use 3/4-inch plywood to make this closet organizer. Measure out:


  • Six 1- x 3-inch boards with lengths based on the back and side wall measurements in Step 1.
  • Two 11 7 /8-inch wide long closet shelves to the length that fits the width of your closet in Step 1.
  • Six 11 7 /8-inch square shelves for the central unit.
  • Two 11 7 /8-inch side pieces for the central shelf unit.
3
Cut Shelf Supports
Man cutting support boards for the closet organizer.

Cut the six 1- x 3-inch shelf supports you measured out in Step 2 for the top and bottom of the closet walls.



4
Cut the Shelves
Man using a circular saw to cut a shelf for the closet organizer.

Use a circular saw to cut the following pieces you measured in Step 2. 


  • Six 11 7 / 8-inch square shelves for the central unit. 
  • Six 1- x 3-inch boards with lengths based on the back and side wall measurements in Step 1.
  • Two 11 7 /8-inch wide closet shelves with lengths based on the closet width measurement in Step 1. 
5
Attach Shelf Support to Wall
Man using a drill to screw a board to the closet wall.

Your shelf support pieces will bear most of the weight of the central shelf unit, so it’s important to attach them to the studs.


  • Attach the supports for the top shelf to the walls with their top edges 84 inches above the floor using wood screws. 
  • Attach the supports for the bottom shelf to the wall with their top edges 76 inches above the floor using wood screws.


Tip: Use a stud finder to find the studs in the back wall and the two side walls of your closet space. 

6
Assemble the Central Unit
Man nailing pieces together for the closet organizer.
  • Use wood screws or finishing nails to put the center of the organizer together.
  • Space the shelves evenly or according to the height of the items you plan to store.
  • Leave the top and bottom of the unit open.
7
Position the Central Unit in the Closet
Man positioning his DIY closet organizer against the wall.
  • Position the central shelf unit to be the middle of the DIY closet system.
  • Cut excess wood out with a hand saw so the unit fits into the support board.


8
Install Long Shelves
Man screwing in brackets for the closet organizer.
  • Lay one of the long shelves on the lower shelf supports and on top of the central shelf unit. 
  • Attach the shelf with wood screws or 6d finishing nails.
  • Add metal brackets in corners for extra support if necessary.
9
Alternatives to Screw-In Closet Shelving
A freestanding organizer with four wire baskets in a closet.

Ready-made and ready-to-assemble closet organizers are also available. Freestanding wire organizers come with one or more shelves. Freestanding organizers made of wood and wood products come with shelves or a combination of shelves and drawers. Freestanding plastic closet systems may have a hanging rod and shelves and storage baskets. 


You can also find wire closet drawers that have drawers and baskets. Some are freestanding, while others hang over a door.


Large organizers may need to be assembled, and should be anchored to a wall for stability. Read the instructions that come with your unit for details.


When you're shopping for freestanding closet shelving, simply measure your available space and look for a unit that will fit. 


Now that you've built your DIY closet organizer or added a ready-made storage unit, find more inspiring DIY closet ideas from The Home Depot. Shop over one million products and search by voice or image on The Home Depot app.