Can you help me 'design' a broom closet?

caroline94535January 29, 2013

Folks, I'm drowning here. We moved from an older house with large closets and a dry, safe basement, to a smaller house with a microscopic closets and a basement that has had two water issues, and feels damp. There's very little I'd feel confident storing there...if there was room to store anything.

I am going to share some horrible photos of when we first moved in, along with measurements of the 'broom closet' we're having built in a corner of the living room.

I'm going to try to focus on just this one closet for now, but trust me, the items I have earmarked for this closet have no place else to "live."

The closet's overall width can be 47 1/2 inches.

The depth maximum depth can be 28 inches.

The ceiling height is a couple inches short of 8 feet.

The closet will be on the south wall of the sitting room/TV room/family area just off the kitchen.

The wall has one-off center window that cannot be moved. It will eventually be replaced with a new, but same sized window.

From right to left, you see a 19" space from the right corner to the window, then the 57" window, the 19" marked off to the left of the window, and the 47 1/2" marked off for the closet.

I want the highest part inside the closet to hold the two leaves for our dining table. They are each 12" wide, 39" long, and 5" deep. I'd like to have full length shelves to either hold them side-by-side, or one narrow shelf for each leaf. I'll need to be able to get them in and out of the closet doors. Because of the apron sections on them, they cannot be stacked. Each will have to lay flat on the upper side.

Below those shelves, I'd like a deeper shelf for tableclothes with a hanging bar below it.

I want to store my pressure canner, pressure cooker, Food Saver, etc on this shelf. I also want to store an upright vacuum, broom, mop, cleaning tools and cloths, my stand mixer and food processor, and their attachments, and possibly serving trays in the closet.

If anyone can offer suggestions, rough sketches, any ideas at all, I'll be forever grateful.

I have painted the ceiling and removed the baseboards. I'm preparing to paint now and then touch up after the closet is built.

To the right of the closet will be a long storage bench that will go from the right of the closet to the left wall. There will be a cabinet unit that fits on either side of the window. They will be 18" wide and will go from the bench to the ceiling.

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I can't see any of the markings on the photo, but my suggestion is pretty simple. Build the closet and install the Rubbermaid FastTrack shelving system. It will give you the flexibility to configure the space as you want it. I have installed them in both utility closets and clothing closets.

If your storage space is as inadequate as it sounds, you might want to consider paring down. A FoodSaver that isn't readily available is unlikely to be used.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 9:55AM
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And since you do have some highly specific things to store there w/ unusual shapes, you might get someone to build you little space-conserving cubbies for just those things, and then install some sort of adjustable shelving setup that you can use in the rest.

I now store the table leaves under our bed (I'd store them under the sofa, but it's a sofabed and there isn't room). It works really well--the space is long and flat and skinny; so are the leaves. I find it pretty easy to get them out. (Of course, I do store them in their original shipping boxes, so they're protected and easy to vacuum off.)

I won't have time to doodle until this weekend, but I'll give it a shot.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 11:26AM
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Thanks ladies! I'm going to try to find time today to use masking tape to mark off the areas on this wall. That should make it easier to visualize.

I'm wondering what type of door(s) to have on the closet so I can get the leaves in and up into the shelves if I go that route. Will the door need a threshold or can I keep the floor smooth so I can simply pull the vacuum in an out? Also the front door is at a 90-degree angle to the closet so that has to be considered, too.

I had thought of bi-fold doors, but this area faces the TV room so I want it to look as nice as possible and still be serviceable.

I've been paring down, and am down to as basic as I can go. I've gotten 112 more items out since January 1. ( I use an iPod App to track the items! LOL )

The kitchen is a nightmare, although it looks large there is no useable storage. A new kitchen is planned, but it's going to be a while before we do it. I need storage now.

Part of the use of this broom closet is to hold the items that should be in the kitchen (a few steps away) but make them easier to access. Right now the large kitchen applicances are in bottom cabinets. I have to get down on my old knees and pull and tug to get them up. That takes some of the magic out of cooking! LOL I have a bread maker I'd like to bring up from the basement, too.

I appreciate any and all suggestions, hints, ideas, "dos and don'ts.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 12:29PM
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If you are going to redo the kitchen, do you want and need a permanent closet in the living room? I'm wondering if a furniture solution, like the Ikea Pax system, wouldn't work for you as a temporary solution. Then, when the kitchen is redone, you can move the Pax components to other parts of the house for more storage.

Google "Pax hacks" for some ideas. And there's a thread here right now, showing how someone used Pax for wardrobes.

The thing about the Pax system is that there are shelves and hanging rods and drawers, so that you can customize the interior to suit your needs.

My mother always stored the extra table leaves on end, leaning up against a closet wall, in flannel bags to protect them.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 6:02PM
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Caroline, if your table is valuable, I would store the leaves flat under the bed. If they are stored on end, they can warp.

We ended up getting rid of a lot of stuff after we moved, so I feel your pain. The Pax system sounds like a good idea until you finish your kitchen.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 9:00PM
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I hope this tape outline will make it eaiser to "see" what I'm trying to do.

I so appreciate all the ideas and am considering all of them.

ColorCrazy - the tables' manufacture (in the USA!) said the leaves must be stored flat. That was no problem in the old house. Here's it's been a major issue.

CamLan - I'm making my first visit to an Ikea (in Minneapolis) this Saturday. It's a five-hour drive but I'm looking forward to it.

Here's the south wall taped off to show the closet shelf placements and window seat area.

The table is pulled out as though it's placed in front of the window seat. I have two small chairs to place at the table, too.

The bookcase, of course, will go away; I've already begun emptying it.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 3:15PM
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The two top shelves will be 12" deep. They are 10" apart here. I will have to angle the leaves in vertically, then tip them up and slide them into the shelves.

The lower tape mark shows the height for the vacuum.

I don't know what those spots are. I just washed the walls and they look pristine.

They are made of a cement based concrete stucco like material. Since I've removed the baseboards you can see the dark staining that was under the baseboards. It's from the steel mesh behind the concrete.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 3:19PM
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DH holding the table leaf up to its shelf area.

I should have room to put several tablecloths on each leaf and boxes of Food Saver bags to the sides.

I have a a few tablecloths and I use constantly and love them all. I also have three vintage Quaker Lace tablecloths to store.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 3:24PM
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Corner for the flag and bird feeder pole.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 3:26PM
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My window is 57" wide so not as wide as this one appears. Still, this is the look I want. Window seat, storage cabinets, 19" wide, on each side of the window, and then the closet to the left of this left cabinet.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 3:29PM
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the threshold can indeed be flat, because you'll use the exact same flooring; thresholds are really only for a change in surface material on the floor, and you don't need one. Or, sometimes they're to help close a gap between floor and door if a door is cut shorter to accommodate carpeting on one side or the other.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 9:30AM
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Thanks Talley know you're my "Organizing Goddess of Inspiration." I loved the closet project you did.

GrayWings...I do plan on using the Fast Track system. I've installed it in four other closets here so I can adjust the shelves to use every available inch of space. They are great!

The top to shelves, for the leaves, will be made with 1x2 braces screws to the walls on each side and the back, with a loose board acting as the shelf. I wanted them to be extra sturdy. The Fast Track system will go under the lower wooden shelf so I can have a left and right side of adjustible shelves.

Unless --- I find the perfect solution at Ikea tomorrow!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 3:18PM
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Is the green tape marking the outside of the closet or the inside? If it is marking the outside, you need to consider the thickness of the walls. I am not sure you are actually going to be able to get those leaves in the closet, especially on to the top shelf

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 3:52PM
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Remember you also have to get those leaves out through the opening. So if you can't pull them straight out, you're going to need to be able to pull one end out.

I suppose you can pull them out and off the shelf, and then tip them in the space between the door and the shelf--if it isn't full of anything else.

(are you SURE you don't want to put them under the bed or the sofa?)

I was thinking maybe you could make a little box to go around the vacuum clean, creating a cubby for the vacuum cleaner to fit into.

Then you have a shelf on top of it, and walls on the side of it that you can put hooks or pegboard or shoe pockets on.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 7:43PM
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Not a big help, but I store my table leaves in a "bag" I sewed from a couple old, faded beach towels. This protects them from scratches, etc. I keep them stored under the sofa in my living room (which has a skirt, good for hiding things).

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 5:01PM
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