how to extreme

Build a Temporary Closet

Bedroom, Organize March 21, 2009 Sonia

By Mark Clement


Need to store stuff for a while, maybe longer? Here’s a quicky-tricky rolling rack that’ll hold everything—and then some.



So here’s an ironic situation:

As part of a master bedroom upgrade, one of my tasks was to increase its closet storage—from near-zero to total-hero. To do that, however, I needed … storage.

I mean, really. There’s already no storage but to complete the project I need more storage—while I build new storage. Um….AHRRGG!

Challenge. A big part of the challenge is that the home being remodeled is occupied and being upgraded one bedroom at a time. While each room is renovated, the home’s occupants hopscotch between finished and unfinished bedrooms, leaving me nowhere to hide anything out of the way while I build.

Solution. The solution was to hide the things that needed storing in plain sight—and to make the hiding place mobile.

To that end, I designed and built a big, beefy rolling storage center to temporarily house the clothes, shoes, hats, ties, and whatever else so the multi-week project could get underway.

Result. The result was an inexpensive, rock-solid solution that enabled the homeowners to access their things—from both sides of the rack if need be—and access lesser-used items stored on the “back side” of the rack, like plugs, vacuum cleaner, out-of-season clothes, etc. It also became clear while I was building the rack that a bedroom build-out isn’t the only place a system like this would work. It’s also ideal in a garage setting for storing all manner of items from hockey bags, to gardening supplies, to kids’ toys. And because it rolls, seasonal items that are less frequently used can be stored behind it without being trapped.


Materials & Tools

This customized rack is a simple structure made from 2-by-6s and ¾-inch sheet stock. It rolls on 2-1/2-inch swiveling, locking casters, and the entire thing is held together with 2-1/2-inch deck screws and 1-5/8-inch drywall screws.

I cut all the pieces on my slide compound miter saw, though they could also be sized using a circular saw. I fastened everything using my cordless impact driver. I used my Starrett ProSite protractor to map the one funky angle in the whole thing. I cut the steel conduit closet pole with a recip saw and metal cutting blade.


Layout & Design

The basic design is this: Two uprights (they look like an upside down Y) on each end form the vertical structure. The uprights are bridged by cleats and 2-by-6s (stretchers) on edge. The cleats and stretchers also form the shelf supports, which are then topped by sheet stock. I also ran a 2-inch electrical conduit to accept hangers.

While project is scaleable (i.e., you can make it longer, shorter, smaller than the one shown here), I needed this one to roll between rooms inside the house. That means the door openings governed height and width. And so I didn’t have to cut every board to a custom size, I made it 8 feet long and could still roll it around. This also had the added benefit of creating enough lineal space for the things that needed to be stored—and every inch of it was used!

The finished dimensions of this rack were 8 feet long, 28 inches wide and 77 inches high. It was also four-tiered—a lower shoe shelf, a closet pole at 48 inches, a mid-shelf shelf at 51 inches, and a top shelf at 76-3/4 inches.

Safety Note: I felt the height-to-width ratio was about maxed out here. In other words, we got maximum stability and maximum height. I would not build one much taller than 77 inches without adding commensurate width.