Wednesday, November 18, 2009


We recently took on a few smaller projects which we've been putting off for months, mostly because we'd had bigger fish to fry. The nice thing about these is that they're what I like to call LEHI - Low Effort High Impact.

The first of these was a closet remodel for Kelly and myself. When we moved in, the closet configurations upstairs were a very inefficient use of space - each had a single shelf with a dowel under it stretching the length of the closet. Given that the closets have nine-foot ceilings, they had SO much more potential. I'm a big fan of utility and options, so I decided to go with the ClosetMaid system, which is available at all the big box hardware stores. It allows easy configuration, and is pretty straightforward to install. And, best of all, kits were on clearance at Lowe's, so I picked up everything I needed for about $85 per closet.

Step one - tear out the existing stuff so you have a blank canvas to work on.

Step 2 - Find the studs and set the hang strips. Finding the studs is pretty easy in a “normal” house (where they’re spaced 16” on center), but of course our 100-year-old house has them irregularly spaced, and we have plaster walls so a studfinder wouldn’t work. I ended up rapping my knuckles around to find them and drilling holes with a 1/16” bit to confirm. Grrr.

With the studs found, enter my Hilti PML line laser. I love working with lasers. So precise, so time-saving. The laser shoots a straight line right up the whole wall, which allows you to easily hang the strips straight and even/level with each other (which is important if you want your shelves level, and if you want to make sure that the sheer load on the shelves is evenly distributed across your anchors).

Step 3 – throw that sucker up. The kits are modular, so you can configure the whole closet system however you’d like. Given our high ceilings, I was able to create two rows of hanging space and several shelves, and still have room left to push my dresser in there. Finally, no more retrieving my clothes from piles in the basement. Not bad for a couple of hours of work!


  1. You two really crank out the home improvement- that makes for sweet blog material! Nice work on the trim!

  2. Thanks! There's so much room for improvement, we just can't hep ourselves sometimes...