I’ve been dreaming of this closet forever and ever. It’s seriously been months and months of planning , saving collecting materials and waiting. But last week I did it. I’m still settling into it and making sure everything works in its spot but it’s one trillion times better than it was and I’m pretty proud of it.
I hesitate to even show you the before because it’s scary but we’re friends and it’s important to see how far it's come. Consider this a cautionary tale of when a space isn’t working… it can get out of control in a hurry. Are you ready for it? Well, you aren’t but I’m going to show it to you anyway. Most of us have "Monica Closets anyway, don’t we?
It was really bad. I know it. I would clean it up and clean it out here and there but that is the point: it didn't work as is. And when your home doesn’t work for you, it’s time for a change. There are a lot of things to consider here and as I always love a list, here are a few tips for you…
Measure 97 times: This is actually my biggest “carpentry tip for non-carpenters.” You all know the phrase, “measure twice, cut once,” right? My mottos is more like “Measure 97 times, cut 12. It works for me and some of the reasoning behind it can work for you too. As I was planning, I measured with everything in the closet to see what I could fit and what it would require. This is not exact, but it allowed me to not only get a visual but to estimate my materials.
Then when I had my materials and had the closet completely unloaded BUT BEFORE MAKING ANY CUTS, I measured again. You can’t possibly get it accurate with all the stuff so this is vital. Then, I marked my lines of shelves to get a visual. Painters tape works great too but this all needed to be painted so pencil it is. I marked the height and depth of each shelf. I actually got the design right on my plan but my measurements were just a little off so this step was super important. From there I cut and installed the braces, then cut and installed the shelves.
Now when I say I cut 12 times, that doesn’t mean I waste 12 pieces of wood. I tend to always cut on the long side because it’s much easier to shave off a bit than to add to it. The only thing I changed from my original plan was making the top shelves 1 inch deeper each. This gave me more storage real estate and eliminated some waste too.
Use what you have: I bought 2 sheets of MDF for this when I got the sheet for the headbaord . I’ll have pieces left over for another closet project in the near future but for everything else, I used leftover pieces from other projects. Building materials are astronomical right now and so many things are hard to find if not impossible. Using every, single sliver of materials is really important right now. If you’re working on any project, save all your scraps and you can turn them into something beautiful later.
You CAN do it. I put this one off for a long time because I really doubted I could tackle it myself. Now, I totally understand that not everyone wants to take on this kind of project. But for those of us who this excites and there is that little voice that says “I think I could do that” you can! You might not want to pick up a saw for the first time all alone and go at it solo, but find someone who can teach you a few things and do your homework. Here’s a little hint: nothing is ever perfect. Your house is not perfectly square, every cut is not exactly exact, things won’t always work… but you can keep at it and do something. You can do it!
I’ve got a few other little upgrades planned for the office but this project was the big game changer. It changed the function of the space and maybe even more importantly, made me love it again. And if you love a space, you enjoy it and take better care of it. It will be working space that does important jobs and might get a little messy (because that is how I work) but it will be easier and more fun to put back together.
Planning is a good thing. Waiting can also be a good thing. And when those things all line up, you find that progress is a very, very good thing.