Solutions for Every Closet!


The pictures on these magazines crack me up.  You know, if my closet only had to store twelve items or less, it might look so picturesque too.  Yeah, all I need to store is a pair of antique tennis rackets, a cyan volleyball, the world’s cleanest baseball, and a basket that has no use and serves no purpose.

real closet

Sorry, but my closet is not a shallow set of cubbyholes designed to hold yellow galoshes in singles.  Mine is more like the Black Hole of Calcutta.  The area behind where those coats are hanging?  Astronomers call that the Event Horizon; beyond that point, nothing can escape, not even light.

bare light bulb

The bare bulb is actuated by a pull string so worn and frayed that it quietly sobs “kill me” whenever you grasp it.  No effort has been made to conceal those exposed wires, or insulate them, or even bring them up to code.  There is no code in the Closet of Doom, only a deep, eternal blackness that smells like dog pee and cigarette smoke.


The pitted backside of the paneling is what rubs up against whatever clothes you deem fit to hide in here.  You don’t store things in this oubliette as much as you just forget about them.


Definitely a tripping hazard.


Reluctantly, daylight creeps through the various cracks and holes from the outside, but the deeper down it goes, the darker it gets.  The unwritten horror stories of HP Lovecraft are down there somewhere.  I should seal it off for the safety of us all.

just before demo

I’ve been staring at these awful stairs for years now, and the time has finally come for a little remodeling.  Out with the paneling, in with new drywall.  This is going to be a lot of work in a small tight space and it may not turn out like the front cover of anyone’s magazine, but anything will be an improvement.

Hole in the Wall

You know that space in the way back of the closet that you can’t ever get to?  We have a space like that, and it’s really inconvenient.  It’s near the base of the stairs so the only way to get there is to crouch and crawl, and remove the boxes and baskets and whatever else got put in the way.  It was to the point that if I knew something was stored way back under there, I’d rather go buy a new one than crawl in there and retrieve it.

hole in the wall

I thought this would be a great place for some built-in cabinetry.

the plans

The logistics of this was actually a little tougher than I thought.  The little heating thing down there meant I couldn’t make these cabinets all the way to the floor, they’d need about a foot of clearance, so that right there eliminated 12 cubic feet of storage space that I’ll never get back.


But still I was determined to make this thing work.  The final cut list would consume exactly one sheet of plywood, which I took to be a sign that this was meant to be.


But once it started coming together full scale, it made me realize there were still problems to overcome.  Those small boxes seemed a lot bigger in my head, but now it was clear that I had to make these long, narrow drawers, or they’d be useless.

brush on a stick

Not to mention the problem of how to get polyurethane in there.  I should have finished everything before I assembled it.


I did find an unused electrical outlet in there, and it works and tested out okay, so I decided to move it to the front of the cabinet.  Make it a little more useful.  Please consider that it was 100% useless before, so anything would be more useful.


Once the carcass was assembled, it was time to make and fit the frame.  Nothing fancy, just a bit of hemlock I had lying around.

dry fit

The doors came out looking really good.  And they were flat this time too.  And square.  I’m getting better at making doors, I think.


I think the hinges cost about as much as the plywood and the hemlock put together.  I like good hinges, though.  Makes the install go a lot smoother.

fill the hole

And here it is stained and finished and hardware installed and fitted into its hole.  Still some adjustments to make before final install, but I think I’ll wait until I have the rest of that paneling knocked out and I’m ready to drywall.  I just pinned it in place so I don’t have to look at the hole in the wall anymore.


Not sure if that storage is anything good except for ninja throwing stars and nunchucks but I could make that work.


Saw this heron out fishing at low tide.  If he seems a little annoyed at all the tourists, well, he is, I assure you.