Sharing part one of my master closet makeover. Showing you how to prepare your closet for a makeover using IKEA Pax Wardrobes! This closet it going to be the closet of my dreams when I am done!
My closet dreams died a slow death and my heart ached a little when I realized that I would not be able to start my project right away. I was totally ready! I had budgeted and planned and all I needed to do was go to my local IKEA (or any IKEA) and get my supplies.
OUT OF STOCK!
Everything was OUT OF STOCK!
So I waited. For months. But I was ready because I had a project planner and was prepared for my closet makeover.
Should you have a project planner?
I spend a lot of time dreaming about projects and keep a notebook around to write down ideas and sketch out my dreams. Do you have a project planner?
It is so helpful to help me get my dreams and visions on paper. I have all kinds of projects sketched out and it helps me empty my brain of all of the possibilities of what our home could be a focus on what I am actually trying to accomplish.
My project planner is a dumping ground for my brain.
After years of living with a closet that didn’t really serve us, sketching out my thoughts, and writing down measurements, the time had come to tear apart the closet and begin this transformation.
I was so excited to start this project, but that quickly turned into more months of waiting.
It also seemed as though everyone else had decided to transform their closets and homes because it was really hard to get all of the supplies I needed.
I would go on a waiting list for an item that was out of stock at IKEA and if I got an email that the item was back in stock, then it was a race to be the first to run down and buy it!
My heart would pound because I needed to get the item before it went back out of stock!
It took me MONTHS to collect all of the items I needed and refused to start until I had everything in my home so I could just roll on this project.
There is nothing worse than being in the middle of a project where you tore things apart only to find out that you can’t get the supplies you need and the project has to be abandoned until a later, unknown date!
I had a pile behind our sofa that got bigger as the months went on and as I made numerous trips to IKEA.
This is where having a plan and using a project planner comes into play.
I planned the whole thing out down to the amount and size of screws I would need and then I was able to know exactly what I needed to begin this project.
ICYMI, you can see all the inconvenient details of what this closet is lacking and my plan to improve its overall function and take advantage of our 10′ ceilings in the space.
Could I leave it? Yes. I could live with it.
Do I want to? No way! If I have the ability, I always want to make things better.
I am disruptive for good.
But I don’t ask anyone to do it for me. I just go for it!
How to store items when remodeling a closet
I had to begin by emptying out the shared closet of allllll the things. It took me 2 hours to figure out where it was all going to go and stay for the duration of the remodel. There were all kinds of things stuffed into nooks and crannies so it was the perfect opportunity to go through things I had been avoiding.
I pulled out my favorite clothing rack from under the bed (which also comes in handy when planning your wardrobe for traveling) and loaded it with my favorite clothes I was going to be wearing over the next few weeks.
Shoes went into the bathtub. I needed somewhere for them all to go.
Sweaters, sweatshirts, sweats, and jeans were lined up in piles along the wall.
The chair had mounds of clothes on it.
Other closets in the home would be stuffed with stuff. I know. Insert eye roll here.
I couldn’t believe we had so much “stuff”.
Does that ever happen to you? Where you can’t believe all the things you have when you clean a space out like a closet or cabinet?
Just a small part of the frustration is due to the amount of our things.
The real frustration is a lack of organization and actual storage of those things. It could be better.
Once the closet was emptied I started by removing all of the cheap rods the builder had installed. They were very easy to unscrew and take off.
Creative ways to store your things:
- collapsible clothing rack
- storage bins
- temporary rods and brackets in a storage room (you could use the rods you remove and buy inexpensive brackets and screw into studs in a storage space for hanging items)
- Cardboard boxes (I am sure you have a few Amazon boxes around)
- under the beds in your home
- Tidy and organized piles of items by type
- Folding tables with stacks of items on them
How to remove trim on a wall without damaging it?
Because the closet had particle board shelving that was painted and actually installed beautifully I had to score and cut all of the caulking.
Every single piece of trim was caulked and I carefully used a box cutter to score it all.
It doesn’t matter what kind of trim it is. Door trim, baseboards, board and batten, etc. If it is done correctly and professionally, caulk will be applied between where the wood and the wall meet to pull it all together and eliminate gaps.
I recommend wearing safety glasses and gloves when using a box cutter and scoring the caulk.
Take the box cutter and press it deep into the caulk. Once it is in as far as you can get it, then press the blade and pull slowly along the caulk line.
Once the trim has a clear separation from the caulk, you can use a crowbar or this trim puller to gently pull the trim away from the wall.
If you are using a crowbar, place a putty knife between the wall and the crowbar to avoid pressing the bar into the drywall and creating a hole.
No need to ask how I know this (wink).
Why do you need to score caulk before removing trim?
The caulk is the connection between the trim and the wall and it fills any gaps that are there.
You need to cut the connection by cutting the caulk.
If you don’t, and you just start removing the trim from the wall, the caulk will stay attached to the trim and pull off the paper and the texture of your drywall. You will need to do repairs that could have simply been avoided and not caused a lot of extra work.
Once your trim is all removed, you can take a putty knife and scrape off the extra caulk left on the wall easily and it won’t cause any damage!
You can also save the trim or shelving without damage to reuse it on another project.
It took me hours to remove all of the trim off the walls but I was careful and caused as little damage as possible by cutting the caulk first. I removed the baseboards and all of the built-in wood shelving.
What is the best way to remove closet shelving?
All of our closet shelving was installed using a ton of large nails and caulk.
I used a mallet to knock out large sections with the intention of reusing the boards for later projects like shelving in my garage and in my storage room in the basement. A mallet is softer than a hammer so the damage to the shelves will be avoided.
After cutting the caulk I just hammered away with the mallet at the sections in a logical order.
As always, I recommend good ear protection like this. It is $13 on sale and will save your precious ears from damage.
See my post on ways to protect yourself during projects to avoid setbacks. I have had plenty of those and have learned a lot!
I started with the large sections that were on the top first.
Then I went to the vertical side pieces and hammered them out.
After that, I removed the support trim underneath the horizontal shelves with a crowbar and hammer. This trim puller is actually something I have ordered for my toolbox and is better than a crowbar because it doesn’t have the potential to damage your walls like the crowbar.
If your closet has the ever-dreaded wire shelving then you can remove the wire shelves, and pull out the pins in the support brackets one by one with needle-nosed pliers.
How to remove carpet for a cabinet base
Now that the shelving was completely out of the space it looked so much bigger! I could finally see the potential with my eyeballs instead of just the vision I had in my head.
I had four IKEA PAX wardrobe units that I wanted to use to take up as much vertical space as possible on my 10′ walls. Being about 8′ tall they would be the perfect addition to the space!
To give a little more height to allow for the 5″ baseboards in the closet I needed to build a cabinet base out of 2x4s.
When building a base for cabinets you have to decide how deep you want it.
Do you want it to go to the front of the cabinets? Or do you want a toe-kick and have the base set back a few inches from the front of the cabinets instead?
If you want it flush with your cabinets be sure to make the base 3/4″ deeper than your cabinets if you are building a faceframe. Which is what I was going to do.
In the closet I want my baseboard to be attached to the front of the cabinets so that they look built-in and custom.
Once you know how deep your cabinet base will be you can measure that distance from the wall and make a line in your carpet where you need to cut. I used a sharpie on the carpet along with a long level as a guide to make the line all the way across the room where I needed to cut.
I took a box cutter and a spare board to use as a guide and began to cut the carpet. You will want to be sure you’re cutting all the way through the carpet so don’t worry about going too deep.
Then you can remove the tack strip with a crowbar and a hammer and then remove the padding and expose the subfloor.
Be super careful with these and be sure to wear shoes while doing this. Those tack strips are REALLY sharp and have tons of little nails sticking out of them.
The padding will be stapled into the subfloor so you have two options: you can either pull them out one by one with pliers or hammer them deep back down into the subfloor making sure they don’t stick up and won’t cause any unevenness under the base.
How to build a base for your IKEA PAX units
Now that the area was free of carpet and padding it was time to build my base to set the IKEA PAX units on.
I built the base out of 2x4s and it was really easy! Because this is never seen and only needed for support you can buy the cheapest 2×4 studs available.
Also, be sure to buy the correct length of screws so that they can not only connect your studs together, but will reach through the drywall and you will be able to secure your base to the studs inside the wall.
You will want to measure the length of your space and buy double the number of boards that cover the length + enough studs to cut for the supportive boards across – about every foot. When measuring your cross-support boards, be sure to take into account the thickness of your 2x4s on either side (which is actually 1 1/2″ not 2″). You can deduct 3″ total from the depth you need your base to be and that will be the length of the cross-support boards.
I would build two rectangular bases that were each 8′ long. My space was 16′ so I laid (2) 8′ studs along the wall, then cut and laid out the support boards every 12 – 18″ and placed them perpendicular to those. Then I laid the other (2) 8′ boards in front of those.
I created the two rectangles by screwing the front 8′ boards to the shorter boards (that were perpendicular) from the front with 2 screws each, then I flipped it over and screwed the other 8′ boards to the open end of the support boards creating the two 8′ rectangles with cross-support boards.
Then I screwed the rectangles together and then screwed them into the wall wherever there was a stud.
I set aside all of the shelving and baseboards in the garage. I would repurpose the shelving and reattach the baseboards in the closet. If I can reuse or repurpose materials I always try to do that!
I wish you luck with your latest project! Stay tuned for the rest of this makeover of the closet of my dreams!!