How to Build a DIY Closet Organizer with Drawers

DIY Closet Organizer

When a closet is organized, it’s easy to find your favorite clothes. It streamlines your morning routine, and all that extra space gives you an excuse to expand your wardrobe. If you want to make the most of your space, build yourself a closet organizer. In this tutorial, I will show you how to build your own DIY Closet Organizer.

To make this closet organizer, you’ll just need a few sheets of cabinet grade plywood and some accessories for the drawers.

This DIY organizer is designed for the closet that has 30″ wide sliding doors. If you have a closet that has smaller doors, then you’ll need to adjust the measurements, otherwise the drawer doors will not close.

I’ve made this closet organizer for a new closet that I’ve build last week. We had one room without a closet, so to make it officially a bedroom; I had to build a DIY closet for it.

You also might be interested in another DIY closet organizer that I’ve made for our kid’s bedroom.

DIY closet organizer

Time to Complete

8 hours

Total Cost

$200

Skill Level

Intermediate


DIY Closet Organizer PDF

$6.00

This PDF download includes Cut Diagrams, a List of Supplies, and 3D illustrations with detailed steps to build the project. Measurements are in imperial and not metric. Does NOT include SketchUp/CAD files.

The plans are embedded on the webpage for free, but if you would like to support the website, you can pay a small fee to purchase the printable PDFs.

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DIY Closet Organizer

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Note: Lumber dimensions are listed as nominal size.  See lumber sizes for actual dimensions vs nominal.

Disclosure: Some of the links on this page as well as links in “tools for this project” and “material list” sections are affiliate links.


Dimensions

DIY Closet Organizer dimensions

Step 1 – Cut Back and Side Pieces of the Frame

Take ¾” plywood and cut one piece to 58″ x 26 1/2″ for the backboard, then cut two side pieces to 58″ x 18″. Use Kreg Jig to drill pocket holes on the side pieces as shown in the picture. Make sure the Kreg Jig is set to ¾” wood thickness.

cut back and side pieces of the DIY Closet Organizer

Step 2 – Attach Side Pieces to the Backboard

Place the backboard on the floor and attach the side pieces using wood glue and 1 ¼” pocket holes screws. 

attach side pieces to the back piece of the DIY Closet Organizer
attaching side plywood to the backboard of the DIY closet organizer
attaching side pieces to the DIY closet organizer

Step 3 – Cut and Install Bottom and Top Pieces

Again take ¾” plywood, cut two pieces to 25″ x 18″ using a table saw. Then drill pocket holes on three sides. Attach one piece at the bottom of the closet organizer and one piece at the top, with wood glue and 1 ¼” pocket hole screws. 

attaching bottom and top piece of the DIY Closet Organizer
attach bottom of the DIY closet organizer

Step 4 – Install the Drawer Slides

Now that the main frame of the closet organizer is complete, it’s time to install the drawer slides. Since the closet organizer will be placed against the right side of the wall, the drawers cannot be too close to the wall; otherwise, they will not open or scrape against the drywall. So on the right side of the closet organizer, I added 3″ x 18″ slider support boards before attaching the drawer sliders to move the drawers away from the wall. See picture.

Cut four 3”x 18” boards using ¾” plywood and attach them on the left side of the closet organizer frame. See picture for exact measurements of the drawer slides.  

To attach multiple drawer slides perfectly straight and parallel, use a spacer board for aligning the slides. You will need two spacer boards, so cut a 3” and a 6 ½” tall boards that are at least 18” long. First, place the 3” spacer board at the bottom of the organizer frame. Then place the drawer slide next to the spacer board and secure it to the slider support board with screws that came with the slider. Next, place the 6 1/2″ spacer board next to the first drawer slider and then place the second drawer slider. Repeat the step until you have all of the drawer sliders attached. Now do the same thing on the left side of the drawer frame, but without the slider support board. Just attach the sliders directly to the side of the closet organizer. This will make the drawer slide evenly spaced out on both sides. 

installing drawer slides in the closet organizer
attaching drawer slider supports to the side board
attaching drawer sliders in the DIY closet organizer

Step 5 – Cut ½” Plywood for the Drawer Boxes

This closet organizer has four drawers. Three of the lower drawers are 8” tall and the top drawer 7” tall, but the width and the depth are all the same. 

Take ½” plywood and cut four pieces to 22 1/4″ x 17″ for the bottom of the drawer. Then cut three 22 1/4″ x 8″ and one 22 1/4″ x 7″ for the backboards of the drawers. And finally cut six 17 1/2″ x 8″ and two 17 1/2″ x 7″ for the side pieces. The picture below shows pieces for only one drawer box. 

Before attaching the boxes, you need to decide whether you’re going to attach the front cover board with finish nails or with pocket hole screws. If you’re planning to stain the front boards then it’s a better option to use pocket holes screws because they are hidden inside the drawer box. But if you’re just painting the front covers, then you could use 1 ¼” brad nails with a nail gun. The nail makes a small hole in the board, but you could cover it with a wood filler and scrape it off with a putty knife. The wood filler will be painted over. 

Drilling pocket holes to attach front covers has a better appearance but it takes much longer to build. I’ve built another closet organizer with drawers previously and I used pocket holes to attach the front cover, you could see it here

cutting boards for the drawer boxes

Step 6 – Assemble the Drawer Boxes

Place the bottom piece of the drawer on your workbench. Apply wood glue on the back end and attach the backboard using a nail gun with 1 ¼” brad nails. Then attach the side pieces of the drawer box making sure the front is flush with the bottom piece. Assemble all four drawer boxes.

building drawer boxes for the DIY Closet Organizer
drawer boxes for the DIY closet organizer

Step 7 – Cut and Attach Front Boards to the Drawer Boxes

If you’re planning to stain the front covers then it might be a good idea to use solid wood, but if you’re painting, you could just use ¾” plywood. Cut three pieces to 24 3/4″ x 8″ and one piece to 24 3/4″ x 9″. 

Drawer 1, at the very top, is 7” tall and takes a 24 3/4″ x 8″ front cover. Drawer 2 and 3 are both 8” tall and take 24 3/4″ x 8″ front covers. The bottom drawer 4 is also 8” tall and takes a 24 3/4 x 9″ front cover. 

The cover boards are intentionally made wider than the box to align with the left side of the closet organizer frame. Attached the front covers to the box using wood glue and 1 ¼” brad nails. 

All four front drawer covers will need to be attached with 1 1/4″ space from the edge to the drawer box. 

attaching front cover to the drawers
using wood glue to attach drawer covers

Step 8 – Install Drawer Boxes  

Take ¼” plywood and place it at the bottom of the frame. Then place the bottom drawer over the ¼” plywood and screw in the drawer slide to the box. Once the drawer slide is firmly secured to the box, pull out the ¼” plywood from underneath the drawer. This allows the drawer to be ¼” from the bottom of the frame. The drawer front cover should be flush with the left side and the bottom of the closet organizer. 

Repeat the step for the next drawer box. Place the ¼” plywood over the bottom drawer box and then attach the slider and so on. 

installing drawers in DIY Closet Organizer
using 1/4" plywood for spacer before attaching drawers
attaching drawers to the DIY closet organizer
attaching drawers to the DIY closet organizer

Step 9 – Install a Shelf Board Over the Top Drawer 

Once all of the drawers are evenly adjusted, make a small mark on the frame where the top drawer front board ends. This will be the location where the shelf boards go. 

Next cut two 25×18 shelf pieces and drill pocket holes on three sides. The bottom shelf should be flushed with the top drawer cover. Make a small mark where to attach the shelf, and then pull out the top drawer. Attach the bottom shelf using 1 ¼” pocket hole screws from under the shelf board. Then attach the second shelf at any height that you want.  

The right side of the closet organizer needs to have a 1 ½” wide board that is full height of the frame. Cut and install 1 ½” x 80” piece using wood glue and a nail gun. 

installing shelves in the closet organizer
attaching shelves to the DIY closet organizer
attaching plywood board to the DIY closet organizer

Step 10 – Paint the Frame and the Drawers

Pull out the drawers so that it’s easier to paint, then use a small 6” roller to paint the closet organizer and the drawers. You might need to paint a few layers to completely cover the plywood. After the drawers and the closet organizer are dried, attach the drawer handles to the drawer front covers. 

painting DIY closet organizer
measuring where to drill holes for drawer handles
drilling hole for the drawer handles

Step 11 – Attach the Frame to the Wall Inside the Closet

Use a stud finder to locate the studs in the closet. This organizer is designed to be placed in a corner of the closet, so you need to locate studs on the backside and the right side of the organizer. Once the studs are located pull a measurement from the corner of the closet and then transfer those measurements to the closet organizer. From the inside of the organizer, use 2 ½” wood screws and drive them in so that the screws are slightly sticking out from the backside. 

Lift the closet organizer to the height you want and drive in the screws all the way. I used a 12” tall cooler box and set the organizer on before attaching it to the wall. This organizer is very heavy and drywall by itself will not be able to support the weight. Make sure you hit the studs when driving in screws. You are done with the installation of the DIY Closet Organizer.

attach closet DIY Closet Organizer to the walls inside the closet
DIY Closet Organizer
DIY closet organizer

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