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DIY Closet Shoe Organizer

Updated: Jan 11, 2023

There's something about the New Year that makes you crave organization, a clean slate perhaps? You start thinking about storage ideas for new toys, how to purge your old decor, or maybe you need to organize your laundry room? Or in my case, fresh closet organization.

You are definitely not alone in this feeling. Every January after all the holiday decor is put away, it feels like getting a giant breath of fresh air and I start looking for ways to clear more clutter.

That is exactly how I came up with the idea of building these closet built ins. I love shoes, but I didn't have a good storage system and ended up shoving them in a hanging shoe organizer or even worse, throwing them in a pile.

I came up with the idea of a big shelving unit, and as I thought about my plan, I realized I wanted something more than a shoe shelf.

I wanted drawers as part of the design but I didn't feel confident enough to build drawers at that time, so I bought an IKEA Pax unit for the drawers and built the rest around it.

Affiliate Links have been used in this post. The purchase of these products are at no additional cost to you and help me support my family and business.

I started by removing the builder grade shelving and the baseboards. I highly recommend this tool for any sort of trim puling paired with a mallet. It made my job a lot easier and I've used it many times since then.

For the shelf and rod brackets, I removed the screws using my drill and then followed the same process of scoring and using the trim pulling tool to remove the boards.

Once had removed all the trim and cleaned the caulking, I was ready for the building portion.

I built the IKEA Pax unit with drawers that would go in the middle and then built the base for the side units using 2x4s.

I made the shelving units using 3/4in plywood. Each sheet is 4ft x 8ft, so to maximize each sheet, I cut it lengthwise into 4 pieces (1ft wide each). I used two boards for the vertical pieces and cut the rest to size for the actual shelves. One sheet was enough to make a single unit.

I assembled it using my Kreg jig (latest model here) and pocket screws. I also used a 1/4in sheet of plywood for the back side and used my nail gun to attach it.

This is how the looked after assembling them.

I decided to prime and paint after this step since I knew the trim would make it bit trickier to paint. I used Sherwin Williams primer and their Emerald Urethane Trim Enamel (my very favorite when it comes to cabinets and trim). I color matched a piece of baseboard for continuity and painted everything using a foam roller and my favorite detail paint brush.

Once all the painting was done, it was time for the finishing touches. I cut 1x2 trim to size for all the edges and nailed it using my nail gun. I used shims when necessary and covered all the plywood edges with trim.

I filled all the nail holes and small spaces with wood filler (this is may favorite filler) and

sanded smooth. A great rule of thumb: sand until you can run you fingers over it with your eyes closed and you can't feel the filler.

I also caulked all the edges and waited for the caulk to dry before I primed and painted the trim.

The final step was hardware. I wanted drawer fronts that covered the entire drawer, so I cut MDF rectangles and used construction adhesive and screws to attach these cup pulls to the IKEA drawer fronts.

Here's how my DIY closet built ins turned out. Definitely one of my favorite projects so far!


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