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07/25/2012 02:58 pm ET Updated Jul 09, 2015

DIY Projects: How I Turned An Alcove Closet Into A Walk-In Wardrobe

Earlier this month, I moved into a fabulous new apartment. But, this being New York City, where real estate always throws you some sort a curveball, there were a few areas that needed improvement.

After cleaning and removing all of the previous tenant's belongings, the first project I tackled was my closet. This was particularly important to me, as I am the Style News Editor on Stylelist, and I obviously love fashion. I have more clothes, shoes and accessories in my current closet than most people find acceptable (without even mentioning the completely full walk-in closet I have stuffed with my overflow and winter clothes in my parent's home).

While my room itself is gorgeous (think a large West-facing window, box wainscoting and a white-painted tin ceiling), it lacked any kind of closet. There was, however, the perfect place for one. Near my door was a 52" wide and 42" deep alcove. Perfect for a walk-in wardrobe! All I needed was a trip to Home Depot, some help from my dad and a free Sunday afternoon.

To get through the first week, I put an inexpensive garment rack in the space. Clearly, this didn't work out well. After only one day, the rack broke under the weight of my clothing, as you can see in the photo above. Having all my clothes hanging at a 45 degree angle was just not going to work for me. And keeping my shoes three or four rows deep was both messy-looking and extremely inconvenient.

My first step was to figure out what exactly I wanted from my closet. I already had a dresser to store my shirts, sweaters, pajamas and other foldable items, so my top priority for the closet was to have as much hanging space and shoe storage as possible. The next step was to do some online research. I started looking at sites that offer professional organization: RubberMaid, The Container Store, Ikea... While all of these options were great, they didn't provide me with exactly what I wanted (and they all cost more than what I wanted to spend).

With that in mind, I went to Home Depot to pick up some supplies with my dad (who is surprisingly handy), and we bought the following items:

- 1 piece of wood for a shelf (I purchased one that was 16" wide, 12' long piece, which they cut for me to the exact 52" measurement in store)
- 1 adjustable closet rod that fit anywhere from 48" - 72"
- 3 white heavy duty shelf and rod supports
- 1 4-tier wire shoe rack

All in all, this added up to well under $100, a fraction of the cost of having a professional organizer come in and build it for me. Using a drill, a level and some elbow grease, my dad first put the supports into the wall for the shelf. Then, he added the pole, drilling it into the wall for extra support, and we opened up the shoe rack underneath.

The next step was to see if all my clothes fit. And guess what? They did!

I have to say, I was very impressed with how successful this project was. My final touches were to put a free-standing Target shelf with my linens inside the closet, arrange my shoes in an appealing way and put all of my clothes in color order. And then have a beer.

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