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Add an easy-to-build bedroom closet

Dear Ms. Builder: My clothes seem to be reproducing and there is little room in the bedroom closet for my husband's things. He is threatening a trip to Goodwill. How can I build a simple second closet? - Joan L.

Dear Joan: Building a second closet eliminates the need for his trip to Goodwill, or at least delays it for a while. Although it might sound complicated, building a closet is a fairly simple do-it-yourself job.

Since time is apparently not on your side, build a partial wall design with seven-foot-high walls. You should be able to build this in about two days. This height will provide a shelf area on top of it for your husband to display some of his trophies or treasures and buy some extra time for you.

Before building your closet, determine exactly what type of items that you want to store in it. A shallow two-foot depth is usually adequate for most clothing items on standard hangers. You may want to build several lower shelves in one end for shoes. Hang shorter blouses above it.

Even if your room is small, there is probably a seldom-used corner area that will not be missed. If you have always wanted a built-in bookcase or TV stand, space the closet out from the corner to leave for it.

Select the style of doors that you prefer. Folding mirrored doors are great for a bedroom and they can make your room look bigger than it did before the closet was added. Make the width of the closet no more than two feet wider overall than the door for easy access to all your clothing.

What makes a partial wall design so simple is that you can build it flat on the floor and then tilt it up when it is done. Don't make the mistake of trying this with a full-height closet. There will not be clearance under the ceiling to tilt it up when the sides are completed.

The basic construction of a closet is simply a 2x4 framed box. The most difficult job will be the single drywall seam above the door. Even if you are not accomplished with drywall tape and compound, the small area will not be noticeable.

Use a level and plumb bob to get the walls as true as possible. Since the side walls are only two feet deep, a slightly out of square frame will not create a major problem when fitting it all together.

Unfortunately, this is not the case for the front door wall. This must be perfectly vertical and the top opening parallel to the floor. If not, you will have a devil of a time getting the door to fit and look right. Check and double check with a plum bob. Being an inexperienced closet builder, you are probably going to generate a lot of scrap lumber from improper cuts. Don't worry because you can put these scrap pieces to good use for blocking inside the walls.

Blocking is basically small pieces of 2x4 lumber nailed in place inside the wall before the drywall is attached. Although blocking adds a slight amount of rigidity, its primary purpose is to provide a solid nailing base of shelves, rods, hooks, etc.

The standard old pole and shelf storage method is no longer the most efficient use of closet space. Check the aisles of wire and plastic storage systems at your home center store. There are special types of hanger, compound hooks or racks for nearly every conceivable piece of clothing.

Tools and materials required: hand or circular saw, tape measure, drill, hammer, screwdriver, level, plumb bob, assorted drywall finishing tools, painting tools, 2x4 lumber, mirrored door, fasteners, drywall, paint

Send your questions to Ms. Builder, 6906 Royalgreen Dr., Cincinnati, OH 45244 or visit www.dulley.com/msbuilder.