Tiny House, Tiny Living, The Tiny Life.

Building My Closet

One thing I talk about a lot is taking care to design your storage in your tiny house very carefully.  Making your storage work for you is very important because in such a small space, to not have an ideal setup for you can make things tough.

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My initial drawing of my closet plan.

When I first approached designing my main closet, I knew that I’d be storing mainly clothing, a few containers of office items and toiletry items.  So with this in mind I knew that the bulk of the space should be dedicated to clothes.  Not only should it be dedicated to clothes, but designed to suit the way I store my clothes.

I have written about my dislike for clothes in general, obviously I need something to wear, but trends, fashions and shopping is something I could do without.  For me I don’t like anything that needs to be hung.  I basically have one jacket, one suit, and one button down dress shirt.  I measured how much this takes up and it only needed 4 inches of hanging rod, I added 2 inches for good measure and that’s all I dedicated to hanging items.  I much prefer to have things stacked or piled if it won’t wrinkle too bad.  So for that me that meant drawers.

I needed one drawer for socks and underwear, one drawer for shirts, one drawer for pants and shorts and another for other miscellaneous items.   I then needed a single drawer that was over sized for my dirty laundry until laundry day.  This totaled 5 drawers in total, with one being much larger than the others.

So here is a video which in the beginning shows of my closet space in its raw form.

From there I built the outside walls and the main interior wall out of 3/4″ birch ply.  Right now its in a raw form, I will later face it out with 1×2 trim parts.  After that I decided to take a crack at building the drawers.  This was also the most technical part of the closet because I wanted to make the drawers from scratch and to do that I wanted to use a technique called dove tail joints.  The exterior of the drawer unit was made of more birch ply, but the drawers themselves were made of poplar.  I should note, I am brand new at this stuff, I’ve never done it before, so its certainly not perfect; I just call the mistakes “charm”.

Here you can see the outside of the main drawer bank.  I used dados that would later become the drawer slides.  I opted for a wooden style drawer slide because I really liked the look compared to what it would look like with the metal slides.  Also quality drawer slides are very expensive, so all around I’m happy with my choice.

One thing to note is you’ll see on the top I used pocket screws made with a kreg jig (these are amazing, get them here), I opted to put these on the top side because I’m going to put a top piece of wood that will cover the holes completely.

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You can see the dado cuts on the inside for the drawer slides

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Better view of dados

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Top pocket screw holes will later be hidden by another piece of wood.

Next I tried my hand at making dove tails.  Technically I used “half blind” dovetails.  The jig I used was a dove tail jig from porter cable, which you can find by clicking here.  This jig made it pretty easy and was great for this project.

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Routing the dovetails in my jig

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The finished joint, I love the contrast.

Next up I cut the drawer bottoms, which I was going to seat in a internal dado of the drawer box, but then I decided to do the drawer slides like this.  So I made the drawer bottoms 1/4″ too big on each slide and they nested in the 3/8″ dados really well.  After tacking it all together, I dropped it in the dresser and then mounted the drawer pulls.  Here is the final drawers.  The gaps are not perfect, but I’m pretty happy with them none the less.

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8 Comments
  1. Well done. I’m dreading that detail work myself. I hope you show how you attach the shelves to the cabinet ~ I love seeing the little details of things.
    Parker

  2. Nice work. A kreg jig has been on my tool list for a while, not sure about a dovetail jig. From what I’ve read the kreg is more useful than a biscuit joiner or dowelling but I haven’t actually used one yet.

    • My Kreg pocket screw jig is one of my favourite, most used and most dependable tools.

      I actually came to the comments section specifically to tell everyone else about how great they are as well.

      I have the Kreg Mini (the entry level one), and the gate I built 7 years ago is still as strong as the day I put it up (no glue, only pocket screws).

      Buy one, you won’t be wasting your money.

  3. Beautiful work. It amazes me how clean a good jig can make something as complex as a good dovetail.

    The reverse slotted slide it a nice touch. Have you had any problems with it binding? I’m told a bit of candle wax goes a long at to make a wood on wood slide smoother.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Grant

  4. Nice job. Going to check out the kreg jig.
    Could you put a ‘recent posts’ widget on your page?

    Thanks, Kundan

  5. Nice work! I’m impressed! Gives me hope that my tiny closet will be even half as nice!

  6. Nice work, my friend! One might save space and time by using a 1 – 2 inch hole or a notch in the drawer front for a drawer pull. It would help to ventilate the drawers. Maybe you don’t want to ventilate the dirty clothes drawer.

  7. 40+ years as a custom cabinet maker, both residential and commercial…very nicely done. It is not the price of the materials, nor even the skills of the maker that state the quality of the piece. It is the lifetime of satisfaction that goes with creating a functional, carefully thought through piece while adding new skills to one’s hands and mind. Icing on the cake when a project, like yours, is beautiful as well. Am greatly looking forward to watching your wonderfully thought out home move toward completion. Thank you for sharing your project with us. Gus

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