January is Organization Month – Perfect Closet Remodel

With January considered by many to be organize yourself month, it is only appropriate that I share this one with you from Lowe’s Inman News from today 1/30/2012.  Minimizing clutter helps us minimize stress.  It also helps those who are considering buying or selling a home to get prepared for that next step. 

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10 tips for a perfect closet remodel

Think new shelving, new supports

By Bill and Kevin  Burnett Inman News®

Q: My husband and I  have a house that was built in the 1950s. One of the little remodeling jobs  that was done by a previous owner was to turn two built-in recessed cabinets  that were on top of each other into a closet.

Unfortunately, he just  cut off the horizontal strip of wood that divided the lower and upper cabinets  and took out the shelf. He then put in five shelves.

For three of the  shelves he used two pieces of wood for support on the left and right side. For  two other shelves, he used two different-size pieces of wood for side supports.  For back support, the same type of wood was used, only it doesn’t reach all the  way across the length of the shelves.

The paint in the  closet is peeling, so we need to repaint. I think this would be a good time to  make everything more uniform. Is just using 1-by-2-inch strips for side support  on all the shelves strong enough? Is using brackets an option?

A: Sounds to us as if the “remuddler” used  whatever wood that was on hand to rig the shelves and supports. We agree it’s a  good time to rebuild the shelves and make everything uniform. Forget the  brackets — they’re unnecessary.

This is a great do-it-yourself project. If we were doing the  job, we’d tackle it like this:

Take out the existing shelves and supports, leaving just a  bare box. You’ll get rid of the mismatched shelving, and you’ll eliminate a  good deal of scraping and sanding. Also, you’ll be using new materials, which  will make the final product a whole lot nicer.

After demolition, you’ll be left with prepping and painting  the inside of the cabinet, and installing new shelving.

Use a paint scraper to remove loose paint, then fill any  voids and level the surface with Spackle. Sand the interior smooth, then prime  and paint. This will be a three-coat job: one coat of primer, sand, then two  finish coats.

The next step is to install wood supports for the shelves.  No need to use brackets. One-by-2s will be plenty for the side and back  supports of shelves up to 32 inches. If we were planning on painting the whole  cabinet, we would use pine or fir rather than a harder wood such as oak or  poplar.

It’s a little easier to work with. Use construction adhesive and screw  these pieces into the studs for a solid installation. It’s a good idea to drill  pilot holes before setting the screws. That way you don’t risk splitting the  wood.

Don’t try to use the old shelving. New shelves are  inexpensive and will save you a lot of time and produce a better job than  trying to scrape, sand and reuse the old ones. The lumberyard or home center  will gladly cut them for you — sometimes for free, sometimes for a nominal  charge.

You have a number of choices for your shelves. They can be  natural wood, then stained or clear-coated. If you don’t want to paint you can  use melamine, a medium-density particleboard with a white factory-applied  finish.

Whatever shelving material you choose, be sure to beef up  the front edge so the shelves won’t sag. Drill pilot holes and use finishing  nails and construction adhesive to affix 1-by-3s to the front edge of the  shelves. This will stiffen the shelves and give them a nice, finished look. The  1-by-3 face trim will also hide the side supports.

If the shelves are painted, or if you use melamine, we  suggest that you use poplar for this reinforcement job. It paints extremely  well and is plenty strong. If natural wood is the choice, your face pieces  should match the shelving material: oak to oak, birch to birch, etc.

Follow these instructions, take your time, and the cob job  you’ve got now will morph into a handsomely finished shelving unit.

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