Operation: Those F’n Shoe Racks and Operation: Greenie

And now for the third installment in Project March – and it’s a two-for!  There are a couple of difference with this one than the last two.  First of all, it didn’t require any 2×4’s – my project medium of choice.  Secondly, it required me to spend far less time on the design than on the implementation phase.  The reason for the latter difference is we actually bought this project to REPLACE an earlier project that I did design (and labored with blood sweat and tears to get through).  When we built out house about 7 years ago, we decided to go with a wire rack organizer for the master closets.  There was just too much going on then to spend a lot of time dealing with anything too fancy – beside the great room bookcases still needed to be built.  Instead, I quickly planned out a useful design that addressed the storage needs of Linda’s huge collection and my paltry set of clothes.  Apparently I failed to properly address the thousands of pairs of shoes Linda had, because soon after laboring for days with her walk in closet I had to add in more racks.  That lasted a couple of years until she bought another thousand pairs of shoes that easily overran the augmented design.  Unfortunately for me, Linda knows exactly how to motivate me to tackle a “Honey Do” list item.  What is that trick?  Continually bring it up until I relent and agree.  So, for the last couple of years, every time there was a gift giving event she responded to me request for ideas with “build me shoe racks”.  Christmas.. shoe racks, Valentine’s Day .. shoe racks, Wedding Anniversary … shoe racks, Dating Anniversary .. shoe racks, Birthday .. shoe racks.   This might have ended sooner, but every time she responded I looked up at the fireplace and reminded myself the bookshelves were STILL NOT DONE.  Somewhere she got the idea to look into options on the Internet.  A few days later she had found a company called Easy Closets that allowed you to design a system through an online application that was tailored to your closet dimensions.  Normally I would be offended by purchasing a system that I could likely tackle myself, but there were other projects in flight and another year of hearing about it from Linda would make my hair turn grey.   Instead, I was all for the idea and even helped her with the online design – caution is in the air when Linda has her purple tape measure out – she tends to follow the “close enough” rule of design and it looked like this was going to be configured to perfectly match whatever dimensions we gave it.   We did take them up on their free service to validate the design – they added a small connecting piece at the corners of the top shelves to make it one continuous shelf, but other than that, the design was fine.  Words of caution though… if you have ideas of doing this be prepared for the sticker shock ..eesh!

About three days later our UPS man was put to the test delivering something like 14 boxes:

Linda wasn’t about to let these sit around, so as soon as I got home Project Those F’n Shoe Racks was on.  For the record, she came up with the project title based on my standard response to her gift request.  I was going to go with Project Going INTO the Closet but her’s seemed more fitting in the end.. I crack myself up.

I think I was busy saving kids from burning houses or building homes for the less fortunate at the time, but the impatient one took it upon herself to move all her clothes out of the closet and completely dismantle the wire rack organizer.  Something tells me she enjoyed that a little too much.  Now there were no more excuses but to get started on the replacement organizer.  I have to give Easy Closets major kudos for their directions.  They were awesome!  Not only did they have a pretty clear process outlined for installing them, they even had them customized for our specific dimension making it very easy to see which pieces went where.  Par for course, there was a small glitch.  With the wire rack out of the way, we were reminded that we had outlets put in our master closets.  No, I can’t remember why anymore but I am sure it was for a damn good reason (can you tell, I designed all the electrical in our house).  The problem this posed is the outlet was going to be in the way of the drawer section.  The resolution was to push the top of the organizer up a few inches – not a big issue, we just needed to make sure we carried that across all the relevant parts of the installation.  With all the issues addressed, we could start hanging the core supports.  These were solid pieces of steel with the top half bent out at 45 degrees.  All we had to do was draw a level line a set number of inches from the top (plus the outlet modification) on both sides and back wall.  They provided three steel pieces that needed to be cut to fit the wall dimensions – being careful to end on studs.

Tool Count:

  • Utility knife – to attack the 14 boxes
  • Pencil
  • Long level
  • Stud finder
  • Cordless drill 1 for pilot holes
  • Cordless drill 2 for screws

With the steel bars in place, we could hang the end supports which had a matching 45 degree notch in them. Here is the left side.

here is the left side of the back wall

and the right side.

Hit the jump to see how this organizer project worked out

With those in place, it was just a matter of finding the right shelf lengths to attach between the end supports.  They attached at the top, bottom and one or two places in the middle with locking nuts.  In between those, there were shelf pins to fill up the remaining shelves and frame holders for the drawers.  The drawers were cleverly manufactured.  The consisted of a prebuilt wood frame you attached the drawer rails to.  Since  there were several styles you could choose when ordering they provided a face plate that you attached to the front of the box frame.  The handle locations were fixed, but they left bigger holes to fix the face plate from the inside – this allowed for slight adjustments to even out the gaps between the shelves once installed – well done.

Tool Count:

  • Screwdriver 1 – had to be long to reach the locking nuts
  • Screwdriver 2 – for the smaller drawer build
  • Rubber mallet (to hammer in the connecting locks)
  • Chop Saw (to cut the top joiner plates they added to the design – the walls must have been slightly out of square – no surprise there!)

The whole task took a night and one full day to complete – not bad at all.  Want to see the final product? No problem.

Here is the back wall which held the drawer units.

To the right and left held the double stack of rods  for her zillion shirts and slacks.

Here is the right wall which held the longer dresses and multitude of purses.

… and the MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THE PROJECT… the shoe racks for the quazillion shoes.

Trust me, we maximized the shoe space as far to the floor as possible.

There was another glitch that occurred thanks to that outlet again.  To help stabilize the organizer, they included a cleat that attached to the wall underneath the units.  This not only gave support to prevent it from falling, but allowed you to attach the bottom shelf so it didn’t come out from the wall.  That cleat ended up being slightly wider than the extra distance we accounted for the outlet – not a big issue, but it did require me to trim the outlet plate a bit.  And there you have it, Those F’n Shoe Racks project was in the books.  But more importantly.. Linda was very pleased.  So now Linda has a gorgeous closet but we still haven’t made it to the fireplace shelves.

So now every time I walked into the hallway I was forced to look to the right and see Linda’s new uber-closet before going left into my clearly inferior closet and now not just because it is only HALF the size of hers:

It wasn’t long before Operation Greenie was started.  Greenie being a polite way of saying I was jealous.  Linda jumped right back on the Easy Closets website and whipped up a plan for my (small) closet.  To her credit she pretty much nailed it – we ended up only adding one thing to the original design – turns out we missed an opportunity to add and extra shelf.   So it was time to say farewell to the rest of the wire racks – oh, and as you can tell from the shot above, the outlet had to be dealt with again.

I won’t bore you with the rest of the project details, but having done it once already made mine go significantly faster.  We did add a tie rack (just below the top bar and a belt rack below the second bar (you can’t see that one).  They slide out for easy access (yes, we added a belt rack in my order for Linda too)

You can see where we missed a shelf opportunity above the top rod.  This was ordered and arrived soon after.  Turns out we needed have another cleat board sent out anyway since it was broke into two pieces during shipping.   Since they had to ship the replacement part anyway, they didn’t add any additional shipping on the additional shelf – thankful for that, but based on the cost of these things was expecting they’d cut us a break.

So there you have it.  I no longer hear have that ringing in my ears about shoe racks and I finally have plenty of room to store my tiny collection of clothes (these shots were actually taken with my clothes already put back in them).  I can also see my closet floor for the first time in a couple of years!

So that should put a wrap on Project March.  Thanks for indulging me! … we’ll get back to regularly scheduled programming very soon – just need to get through another batch of shots from a past vacation…. although those fireplace bookshelves are still calling my name.

2 thoughts on “Operation: Those F’n Shoe Racks and Operation: Greenie”

  1. Nice job on the closets. You did great with the assembly and installation. I highly recommend this website to anyone considering a reorganization of their closets. Even a couple months after the installation, my closet is still organized. But beware of the sticker shock! Wow! But I must say, they are quality systems. But….. I need more shoe racks! Oh and I am thinking my linen closet could use a make over. Now where is that Easy Closets bookmark….


  2. I rock! AND NO MORE F’N SHOE RACKS! … I think she is bound and determined to rid this house of all my labor that went into the wire organizers – the linen closet is like my last hold out! In the meantime I’m going to sit back and relish the complement from my wife (and no, that doesn’t mean you get more shoe racks)


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