A Place for Everything. Woodworking ideas for your home.

A Place for Everything
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A walk-in closet works best when the storage suits your specific needs.

The ultimate closet is the one you can walk into, the one that gives you plenty of elbow room and all the space you need for your clothes and accessories. If you don't have one, maybe there's a spare bedroom or other space waiting to be converted or even divided in two (think of it: his-and-hers closets). But whether you want a new walk-in or already enjoy one -or you just want to make the most of any closet - there are ways to make it more efficient, more functional and more of a pleasure to use.

To upgrade your closet, you can always walk through the Yellow Pages and call one of the many closet companies that have sprung up in recent years. Their products and services are good, but their prices are high. And when you get right down to it, closet systems aren't rocket science. With some simple math and basic materials, you can create a walk-in to suit your every need, and you can do it for a fraction of what closet companies charge. To prove our point, we put together two walls' worth of classic, natural wood storage using modular cabinets, drawers and shelves bought from an unfinished furniture store. We saved a lot by skipping the closet company and doing it ourselves, and it was easy to arrange the modules in a way that was both good looking and space-efficient.

Before we assembled our system, we finished the pine with Minwax® PolyShades® Honey Pine Satin, a one-step formulation that combines rich stain color with a durable protective finish. For a project like this, with all its corners and edges, one-step PolyShades saved lots of time over separate staining and top coating. We applied two coats with a natural bristle brush, sanding lightly between coats with 220-grit paper. Then we fastened the modules to each other and to the wall and very quickly we had a great looking closet - one that was quite inexpensive compared to those from the closet companies.

FROM THE EXPERTS

To plan your storage system, find out what kinds of modules are available from your local unfinished furniture store. Then take an inventory of all the clothes, shoes and other things you want to store. Having enough hanging space is usually the top priority, so allow at least 2 to 3 inches of rod for every item, and then fill in the rest of the walls with the drawer and shelving modules.

For best results when applying Minwax® PolyShades®, be sure to give all wood surfaces, edges and corners a final sanding with 220-grit paper. Then to remove all traces of sanding, dust with a clean, dry cloth. Just before and occasionally during the application, thoroughly stir the PolyShades to keep the stain and the polyurethane evenly mixed. Apply it with a natural-bristle brush dipped just an inch or so into the can to ensure a thin, even coat.