Not every closet is best suited for storing hanging clothes; installing closet shelves can sometimes make better use of the space. If you’re turning a spare room into an office or craft room, closet shelving can provide storage for files or other materials. Installing closet shelves can also turn a little-used closet into a linen closet or a place to store holiday decorations when not in use.
First, you need to decide how many shelves you’ll need and how far apart they should be from each other. You can either measure the height of storage bins or other large items you’ll be storing. In linen closets, where height isn’t an issue, measure the height of the closet, subtract at least fifteen inches for the distance from the floor to the first shelf and divide the remainder evenly at heights of at least twelve inches.
Using the measuring tape, measure and mark off the distances in several spots on the walls of your closet. Draw a level horizontal line to connect the marks, using the level as a straight edge. Using the stud finder, mark the locations of the studs about an inch or so above the lines.
Measure the distance from side to side and cut as many 1x3s to this length as you have shelves. Then measure the closet from front to back and subtract one inch (for the back pieces) and cut 1x3s to this length. You’ll need two of these for every shelf you’re installing.
Using hammer or nail gun, nail up the 1x3s so that they’re even with the level line and so that nails are driven into studs. If you can’t nail into a stud, use plastic wall anchors and screws to secure 1x3s to the wall.
Measure the closet from side to side and cut shelving to fit. You may want to measure at each point, especially in older homes; closets aren’t always perfectly square. Place shelves on top of 1x3 braces. For longer shelves, install a bracket in the center for additional support.