Step 1: Find a likely candidate
We don't really wear coats here in the Bay Area, so our empty coat closet was a perfect candidate.
Step 2: Smash
Step 3: Spackle
Step 4: Sand and wash
Next wash the walls of the closet thoroughly to remove any residual dirt, and lightly sponge over the spackled areas to smooth them off and remove any residual sanding dust.
Step 5: Paint and shelf brackets
Install shelf brackets or other support system. These are functional if ugly; we plan to cover the shelves with enough food that they won't be visible anyway.
Step 6: Cut shelves
Measure twice, cut once, and all of that. Then give the shelves a light sanding.