Introduction: Reclaimed Pallet Bedroom Shelving

As a college student on winter break, I have some free time on my hands. I thought that I would take care of the clothes pile that always sits in my bedroom by making a shelving unit that was cheap and added a little character to my room. I first looked at using 4 ft by 8 ft sheet of laminated plywood but then figured it would be too much for me (roughly $60 a sheet). Then I looked through craigslist and found three free pallets that someone was going to throw away. With this being my first project ever using pallet wood, I took some time to figure out the dimensions I could work with and only use wood from the three pallets I picked up.

Goals on this project:

-Be very cost efficient

-Fill some free time

-Create something that will help me stay clean

-Add character to my bedroom

Step 1: Pallet Wood Selection

The first thing that came to my mind when in need of free pallets was to look on Craigslist to see if there are any around where I live. I was lucky enough to see an ad posted less that 24 hours before I saw it saying that a condominium had put 3 pallets next to the garbage dumpster and that anyone could come and claim them. Other options are from local business or factories that deal with a lot of shipping large items. I learned stores like Home Depot and Walmart reuse their pallets and will not give them to you no matter the condition. This may not be true for some places but at my local stores, that's what the store managers told me.

Things to keep in mind when choosing pallets:

-Watch out for ones that have to many broken boards

-Most are a standard width of 30 inches (if you need longer boards keep this in mind)

-Pallets are not meant to be taken apart and will take time to break apart

Step 2: Creating a Design

I tailored this simple and open design to what I need it for.

My design:

-Top shelf will hold eight pairs of shoes with two pairs being boots

-Large middle area will have hooks to hang my jackets and then place my backpack on the lower part of the shelf

-The base board and lowest shelf will hold my shoes and two pairs of boots. The lowest section is 8 inches tall which is perfect for my boots and the shelf directly above it is 6 inches tall.

Step 3: Assembly

I chose a very simple and open design due to the amount and type of material I used. I used the 2 by 4's from the pallets to create two frames (6 ft tall and 30 inches wide). I used "L" brackets and 3 inch lag bolts to connect at each corner (it was hard to make it completely square because I don't cut perfectly straight but it worked out in the end). To connect the two frames, I used pieces of pallets (3/4 inch by 3/4 inch) that I cut to 14 inches in length (which is the depth of the shelving unit) and placed them where I wanted each shelf to be.

The last two photos above shows a view from the back of the shelf where I put a piece of wood which will hold the hooks for my jackets and backpack.

Tools Used:

-Hand saw

-"Hyper Tough" brand Circular saw, Drill and Orbital Sander from Walmart that were $20 each (drill bits and sand paper separately)

-Hammer and flathead screwdriver for taking apart the pallets

Step 4: Finishing and Final Steps

I sanded all the boards, even the frame with 60, 100, 150 grit. I didn't put a finish on the boards because I wanted to leave the wood as is because a lot of the boards had cool grain.

The true final step was to put clothes, jackets and shoes on the shelves. Overall, this was a fun project that cost a total of roughly $30 (sand paper, box of screws, coat hooks) and took 12-14 hours including planning, searching for pallets, tearing down pallets and building the shelves.

Reuse Contest

Participated in the
Reuse Contest