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How to Install Shelves in Your Closet

Installing shelves in a closet turns dead space into useful storage.


  • Step 1: Measure space Measure the space available for shelves.
  • Step 2: Identify wall substance Check if your walls are made of drywall, masonry, or concrete.
  • Step 3: Locate a stud If your walls are drywall, locate a stud – the frame behind the drywall. You can use a studfinder (available at hardware stores) or you can simply tap on the wall to determine which points sound less hollow.
  • TIP: If you can’t locate a stud, use drywall anchors. Just make sure that when you fill the shelves, you don’t exceed the maximum weight.
  • Step 4: Determine shelf location Decide where you want the shelf to be, and mark with a pencil. Use a leveler to make sure the line is straight.
  • Step 5: Position shelf brackets Using the line you just drew, determine where the shelf brackets will need to be mounted and mark the place where the brackets’ screw holes will go.
  • Step 6: Drill pilot holes Drill pilot holes at your markings.
  • TIP: If you’re using anchors, make the holes slightly bigger than the screws. If you’re screwing directly into a stud, use a drill bit slightly smaller than the screws.
  • Step 7: Insert anchors Insert the anchors into the holes you just drilled and hammer them into place.
  • Step 8: Screw in brackets Screw the brackets into the wall or the wall anchors.
  • Step 9: Mount the shelf Mount the shelf on top of the shelf brackets.
  • TIP: Some shelves need to be screwed into the brackets as well.
  • Step 10: Enjoy your space Enjoy the new space and try not to fill it up too quickly!
  • FACT: The U.S. Library of Congress has over 500 miles of shelving.

You Will Need

  • A tape measure
  • Shelving
  • Studfinder (optional)
  • A pencil (optional)
  • Leveler (optional)
  • Brackets (optional)
  • Drill and bits (optional)
  • Wall anchors (optional)
  • Screws (optional)

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