In part 2 we are going inside the cabinet to make it more functional to store linens. Prior to us using this as a linen cabinet it was a TV cabinet with a pullout swivel tray, electric cords for TV accessories and all the punch outs in the back. I removed all the insides of the cabinet except for the shelves on the bottom and the back with punch outs and then stuffed a bunch of pillows and blankets in there that would topple out every time we opened it. But it’s fun putting it all back, like a game of Tetris! Something needed to be done for better organization.
Step 1: Remove any contents and structural components you no longer need to make a storage cabinet.
Step 2: Decide how many shelves you want and measure the size you need to cut. I store seasonal pillows, larger blankets and a full size body pillow in this cabinet. So I used my pillows as a guide and decided I only needed one shelf. On top I would store blankets and small pillows and on bottom I would store larger pillows and larger blankets, like the occasional sleeping bag we have for the kids if they get scared at night. When measuring for my shelf I needed to pay attention to the door hardware. The doors are made to slide back into the cabinet. I don’t need this to function that way anymore but I didn’t want my shelf to go over the hardware and I didn’t want to remove/replace the hardware.
Step 3: Choose your shelf material and cut it. I chose to use materials we already had on hand to save money and this cabinet isn’t opened often and it doesn’t have transparent doors, so I wasn’t concerned as much with the look. I used a low grade plywood for the shelf and a scrap piece of solid oak for the front apron. My husband cut the plywood with the table saw and attached the apron to the plywood with brad nails. Dry fit your shelf before installing to make sure it fits well. A slight gap at the edges is to be expected.
Step 4: Measure and cut cleets. Cleets are the wood that will attach to the interior walls of the cabinet and the shelf will sit on top of. They are the shelf structure and support. I again used scrap material for this, solid poplar. Pine would be an inexpensive wood to use for this part if you had to buy something.
Step 5: Install wood cleets on the interior walls of the cabinet. Measure from the bottom of the cabinet to your desired shelf height and make a mark in the front and back (Picture 1). Assuming your cleet is straight, use it to draw a straight line between each mark (picture 2). This is how you know your shelf will be level. Alternatively you could hold a level up to your cleet while nailing it in, but this doesn’t take into consideration that your cabinet could sit slightly un-level on the floor and cause your shelf to be a little wonky.
Install with brad nails. I used 1” brads. I figured out the size I needed by holding up my cleet to the outside of the cabinet and laying the different brad nail sizes against it. (Picture 3 below)
Step 6: Attach shelf to cleets. Use 1” brad nails to nail on top of the shelf into the cleet. Do this on both sides. I like to the give it a wiggle to make sure it’s solid. If there is any wiggle, shoot a few more nails in. Now you’re done. I had intended to paint the shelf but I actually like it as is. If I did paint it, I would have caulked the edges between the shelf and the cabinet and then painted.
All organized and done!