No Closet Storage Solution




Introduction: No Closet Storage Solution

About: Made in Canada, I grew up crafting, making, and baking. Out of this love for designing and creating, I pursued a BFA in product design from Parsons School of Design in NYC. Since then I've done work for Martha…

Living in cities can often mean having to make do with spaces that are not optimal for their purpose - i.e.: a "bedroom" (read: study or large walk in closet) with no closet. My no closet storage solution has a tiny footprint and offers you a good looking way to keep your clothes organized in a spatially subtle way.

Using an existing cabinet and only four uprights with two cross bars, this project is simple to make considering how functional it is! Let's get started.

Step 1: Supplies

What you'll need for this project:


(x1) Ikea Stuva cabinet - 23 5/8" W x 19 5/8"D x 25 1/4" H (whatever combo of drawers/shelves you like or your own cabinet if you don't mind free styling with the directions)
(x2) 4' x 1 1/4" dowel
(x4) 1" x 3" x 8' kiln dried wood (I used poplar)
(x1) cotton clothes line rope
(x4) 1 1/4" wood screws
(x8) 1 3/4" wood screws
(x8) 3/4" steel washers
masking tape


hand drill
chop saw
belt sander
palm sanding block
sand paper
drill press
1" hole saw
measuring tape
bottle or cup with a 2 1/2" diameter

Step 2: Level Your Cabinet

Before you get started, find a level bit of ground in your workshop to place the cabinet. Adjust the feet of the cabinet to make sure that it is as level, on that level ground, as possible.

Step 3: Making Your Angle Guide

Print out the angle guide!

You'll be making angled cuts on one end of all your uprights. I've provided a PDF drawing that shows how I figured out the degree of angles to cut on the upright bottoms. If you're going to be modifying this project for a different drawer set, draw your own based on the one I've included.

Step 4: Get to Cuttin'!

Set the chop saw angle to 6 degrees, so the angle is slanting to the left.

Neatly stack the (x4) 1' x 3' x 8' pieces of poplar on the chop saw and cut one end of all four pieces at that 6 degree angle.

Step 5: Cutting to Length

Using a measuring tape and pencil, measure and mark 7' from the angle closest to you on the top board of the stack. Flip the boards around and cut the other ends at a 90 degree angle (perpendicular to the length).

Step 6: Getting Centered

Now we need to drill holes at the TOP* of all four boards for the 1 1/8" dowel to go through.

Step 1 - mark the center of the board top in from the sides, which should be 1 1/4" in (a 3" wide board is actually only 2 1/2")
Step 2 - draw a light line down the center of the board top
Step 3 - mark 1 1/4" in from the top along the center line you've drawn to find the center of your hole

You only need to do this to one board, because we will be setting up a jig for the rest.

*The TOP of each board is the end with the straight cut, NOT the angle cut.

Step 7: Get Hole-y

To ensure that the holes on each board line up with each other, it's helpful to set up a jig on your drill press. Line the first board's center mark up with the hole saw center and clamp two straight edged pieces of wood in place. (as pictured). This way you can just place and drill for the remaining 3 boards.

Using a 1" hole saw in a drill press (or freehand with a hand drill of you don't have a drill press), cut a hole in the TOP of each board.

Step 8: Making the Rounds

Using a bottle or cup with a 2 1/2" diameter, trace a half circle on the end of the board TOPs. (as pictured) This is the line you will sand down the TOPs to, rounding them out.

Step 9: Get the Motor Running

Fire up your belt sander* and sand down to the line, giving the ends a nice half round.

*In retrospect, using a band saw to cut the corners down first would have saved the sander extra work, so if you have one, I'd suggest adding that step in before getting started on sanding.

Repeat for the remaining three boards.

Step 10: Round Peg, Round Hole

It's important to have a 'just' snug fit when it's time to connect the dowel to the uprights. That's why I chose a hole saw that was slightly smaller than the dowel, so I could adjust the fit until it was just right.

Using sand paper and a smaller diameter dowel bit, or even better, a dremel with a drum sanding but on, gently sand down each hole until the cross bar dowel fits in with a bit of resistance.

Step 11: The Great Softening

Put some 320 grit sand paper into a palm sander and, going with the grain, soften all the edges of the four upright boards.

Step 12: Sizing the Top Bar

Using the chop saw, cut one of your dowels down to 32". This will be the top crossbar and will fit into the holes you just made in the uprights.

Step 13: Get It Together

Lay the uprights down on the floor parallel to each other, in pairs, with about 24" between the TOPs.

IMPORTANT: Make sure that the angled bottoms (feet) of the uprights are oriented so that if you lifted the bottom of inside uprights off the ground high enough to line up with the top of the outside upright, from the side the two bottoms would look like a fish tail. This ensures that when you open up the uprights to attach them to the cabinet, the bottoms of the uprights will be flush with the ground.

Slide the dowel through the holes in the tops of the uprights as pictured. There should be 23 5/8" between the tops of the two inside uprights.

NOTE: I wanted 2" of dowel sticking out on the right side (for a hat) and 3 " on the left side (for my robe). Feel free to have them stick out evenly at 2 1/2" on each side if you'd prefer.

Step 14: Stand Up!

Stand up your uprights and pull the bottoms apart so that the inside upright's bottoms line up with the front of the cabinet and the outside ones line up with the back of the cabinet.

The inside uprights should hug the cabinet. Meaning, there should be no space between inside uprights and the outside of the cabinet.

Step 15: Getting Attached

Now we're ready to attach the uprights to the cabinet.

As you can see in the first image above, there's plenty of room between the drawer and the inside wall of the cabinet for a screw head to stick out without getting in the way.

Here are the first steps of this process:

1. If you haven't already, remove the drawers.
2. Put a drill bit in your drill that is about half the diameter of the screws you'll be using
3. Using a piece of masking tape, mark on your drill bit how far you need to drill into the wooden upright, without going through.
4. Pre-drill into the first pre-existing hole that's above the drawer slide. (like pictured)
5. Swap out the drill bit for a screw bit (whichever one matches your screws).
6. Screw the upright to the cabinet with the 1 1/4" screws. Be careful not to screw it in too far, or it will break through the cabinet surface material.
7. Repeat on the other front side.

NOTE: Do not put any more screws into the front uprights yet. We'll do the back bottom screws next to ensure that all four upright 'feet' are flush to the floor.

Step 16: Doing the Shim-my

Because the back uprights are one board away from the sides of the cabinet, we need to make 4 little blocks (with parallel 6 degree angle end cuts) to 'shim' with (two for the bottoms / two that will be flush to the cabinet top) before we can screw in those back bottoms.

Starting with one of the angle cut offs, measure 4" and cut a parallel 6 degree cut (like pictured above). Cut 4 of these.

Step 17: Placing the Bottom Shims

Measure and mark 4" up from the floor on the back bottom upright.

Place the first shim in between the upright and the cabinet, with the angled ends oriented so that the top and bottom are parallel with the ground. The 4" mark should line up with the center of the shim.

Tape the shim in place with masking tape.

Repeat this on the other side.

Step 18: Get Connected

Move the cabinet/uprights so that the side you're drilling into is pushed up against a wall or a heavy workbench. You'll have to push harder to screw through the shim and into the upright - and that will be easier if you have something to push against.

In order for the shim to not spin, we're going to put two screws in, using the first two pre-existing holes above the drawer slide (as pictured).

Also because of the force necessary to solidly screw the materials together, it's important to use washers so the screws don't puncture the cabinet material.

Pre-drill both holes and then screw in the 1 3/4" screws/washer combos. Check to make sure that the shim and upright are sucked in tightly against each other and the cabinet. If not, tighten the screw even more.

Flip the cabinet around and repeat on the other side.

NOTE: This process can be mildly awkward/claustrophobic since your head and upper body are right in the cabinet at an odd angle, so just be mindful of your back and take air breaks if you need to. : )

Step 19: Placing the Top Screws

Measure the front upright and get an idea of where a good place to put the top screw would be. (I chose around 23").

Repeat this from the inside of the cabinet and put a soft pencil line where you think it would be best. (I decided to line my top screw up with the top pre-existing hole, as an easy marker)

Measure the distance from the front edge of the cabinet to the middle of the upright. This is how far in to pre-drill your hole.

Measure that same distance on the inside of the cabinet, lining the tape up with the top pre-existing hole for a hight reference. Mark your drill spot with a pencil.

Re-apply masking tape to your drill bit, as you did in step 15, as a depth guide.

Pre-drill a hole and then put in a screw.

Repeat the above steps for the other side.

Step 20: Placing the Top Shims

Now you're going to tape the top shims in place so that they line up with the seam between the top and side of the cabinet. (like pictured) Tape them in place.

Repeat the measuring from the previous step (19) to find the heights of the next two screws.

Then repeat step 18.

You're now ready to add the 2nd bar. This one will hang from the first.

Step 21: The Second Hanging Bar

Cut an 18" length of dowel.

Cut two 5' lengths of rope.

Tie one piece of rope to each end of the 18" dowel following the tying how-to in the photos above.

Step 22: Hanging Length

Using a measuring tape, measure 28.5" from the top of the 18" dowel up the rope and make a pencil mark. Repeat for the other rope/side.

Step 23: Tying Up the Hanging Bar

Loosely tie up the right side so you can work on tying the official knot on the left.

Take the left rope and put it over the top dowel/crossbar. Pull it until the pencil mark lines up with the bottom of the crossbar.

Follow the knot tying instructions from the previous step.

Untie the loose knot you made on the right side, and repeat the above steps.

Trim off the excess rope on both sides.

This hanging bar is intentionally shorter than the top bar so that when it is moved to one side, there's room for longer hanging pieces like dresses and coats.

Step 24: Get Hanging!

Your new clothes 'closet' is ready to use!

As always, I'd love to hear your feedback!

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    5 years ago


    c 'à l'air être sacrement solide, sympa comme tout.
    Si on aime le bois il serait peut-être même possible de faire le meuble bas en pin , je le verrait bien dans mon entrée.

    Cordialement, J-Michel.


    8 years ago

    Love this . I put wheels on an end Table I had used your plans and use it in my Laundry Room. I can hang right out of the dryer. I have my Ironing stuff stored in the end table


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Great job, Paige.

    Nice idea. Last night I was at Ikea and I saw this product. I remembered your project and I took a picture. This can be a slight different solution for people as lazy as me. ;-)

    It's Enudden. It's a bath towel rack. It can be used instead of the top shims. Of course it will not be so strong and smart, but it's almost ready and requires just minor fixing.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    This is lovely! Now, how do I get rid of clothes so they all fit in this space?

    Paige Russell
    Paige Russell

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    That was definitely the most difficult, but most rewarding part of this project!


    8 years ago on Introduction

    To get the "rounds" even, cut the corners as you suggested, then stack the four legs on top of each other & tape together.
    Insert a piece of dowel through the holes to align the legs & then use your belt sander to round-off the legs - All will be exact copies of each other!


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Clean and stylish design! Thanks for posting


    8 years ago

    Stylish and clear i'bles, thank you Paige Russell for sharing.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Nice design! I love your titles for each step--very fun. :)