DIY – Crawlspace to Closet Conversion



Change the crawlspace closet in the rental bathroom into a more usable space by adding some shelves and covering up the rest.


Wear shoes, goggles and be aware of the power tools around you. Don’t cut things at odd angles because you think it will save time. If you have a garage and a proper workbench, use it. Do as I say not as I do.


  • Chop saw
  • circular saw
  • hammer
  • screwdriver
  • hammer drill
  • level
  • T square
  • right angle
  • a smaller level
  • pad of paper
  • pencil
  • staple gun
  • patience


  • whiteboard
  • shelving
  • 1-inch hinges
  • 2 x 4 x 1 pine (5 pieces)
  • 1 x 2 strapping (4 pieces)
  • melamine tape

Job Plan (What I Did)

  1. Remove moulding from inside the closet.
  2. Ensure the door jamb hasn’t suddenly shifted because you took the moulding off. If so, put some shims in between the door jamb and the wall.
  3. Measure and measure where you want the shelves on the door jamb. I recommend marking one side, then using a level to determine where the second support should go
  4. Mark where the door closes. If you have door stops, these are a good indicator. If not, measure, test, measure again.
  5. Cut your 2 x 4 x 1 pine to the depth of your shelf and attach to the marks on the door jamb. Again, if you only placed one mark, you will need to use a level and a steady hand for the second support.
  6. Attach your pine to the very top and very bottom. This will be the top of the closet and the lowest shelf.
  7. Confirm that the closet door still closes where you have place the support. If it does not, take them off and try, try, try again.
  8. Complete attaching your supports.
  9. Cut your shelving to size and place on your support. Each shelf should be level front to back and side to side.
  10. Make adjustments as necessary.
  11. Take your whiteboard and cut it to the size sticking past the door jamb. Hopefully, each shelf support.
  12. Place strapping on top of the whiteboard and attach to the back side of your shelf support.
  13. Use the staple gun to and 3/4 inch to 1 inch staples to attach the whiteboard to the support.
  14. Repeat for both sides so that your closet has walls on either side.
  15. Attach a piece of whiteboard to the top of the door jamb
  16. Get a single piece of whiteboard that measures the length of your shelf and the height of your door jamb.
  17. Cut in half.
  18. Attach strapping to the back of the whiteboard roughly where the hinges will go on opposite sides of your cut whiteboard.
  19. Attach hinges to the strapping.
  20. Attach the other half of the hinge to the shelf support on either side.
  21. Confirm your backing hinges properly.If not, re-adjust.
  22. Apply melamine tape along the edge of one side of the backing to create a seamless look.

Job Plan (What I Should Have Done)

  1. Tear our the door jamb.
  2. Using white particle board construct a shelving unit with a split door at the back that fits into the door jamb space. The shelving unit should also be able to take the old closet door.
  3. Attach the closet door to the front of shelving unit.
  4. Place the shelving unit in the space vacated by the door jamb.
  5. Fasten the shelving unit to the wall supports.
  6. Attach trim to the shelving unit to give finished appearance of the other doors.

Our mistake was relying too much on the whiteboard to get the job done and trying to jerry-rig what was already there. A single cabinet in place of what was already there would have been the better option. Initially I had considered just buying a book shelf and attaching it to the door jamb, but I thought that too Mickey Mouse a solution. In the end I think I ended up with a Donald Duck. In the future we’ll revisit this.

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One thought on “DIY – Crawlspace to Closet Conversion”

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  1. Mystery woman at 8 min identified! Yessss

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