The Closet Begins

by Chris on February 12, 2012

Before I show you what you’re about to see, let’s just imagine that my linen/guestroom closet will soon look like this. Let’s also imagine that I have some clue what I’m doing, and this’ll only take a couple of days to finish.

     designing and organizing a linen closet How To Organize Your Linen Closet

I knew this closet was going to be a project of mine, but it’s been off to a slow start. Remember those goals? I started just piling things in there with total disregard for neatness.

closet before

Then my husband caught “Death 2012” as we call it, and I banished him to the guestroom. That meant I had to stay out of there until the death was gone.

closet before

The shelving unit put in place originally just didn’t function well. It’s always been intended as a guestroom, and the fact that it only had a few shelves has always been a nuisance. I found that putting this cheap dresser in there helped for the time being.


I also find that having a spoon in your closet works out well. You never know when you’ll need for…ya know…reading some Poe.

guest closet

So I spent a couple of hours gutting it, removing the dresser (SO glad that’s not on video), and removing all the wire shelving. I came up with two bags of trash and three bags of donations. (I did not donate the spoon.)

building closet shelves

So here’s where it is as of now. The project came to a halt because I couldn’t remove these little plastic thing-a-ma-jigs that were holding the shelving. They are STUCK in the wall, but they’re not screwed in. I should have taken a closer picture to explain. Anyone come across these before?


I’ll be back once I figure those things out. I drew a sketch of what I envision in this space, and you will quickly learn that I have no artistic abilities whatsoever.



ange February 13, 2012 at 12:13 am

This will be a fun project to see come together. We had those white things in our closet from wire shelving as well. Ours were those anchor screw things, I think we used pliers to pull ours out of the wall, maybe my hubby ended up doing it because I couldn’t get them out. Good luck and loved that you called it “death 2012.”

mamahousemouse February 13, 2012 at 12:40 am

I think I know what those things are! They look like the hollow-wall anchors that held our closet shelves out too. A pliers works, but be ready to patch some BIG holes because they come out all messy.

Good luck with your closet! My own closet is on the “chopping block” for this coming fall!

pendy February 13, 2012 at 10:07 pm

Yep, that’s what they are and you are right; pliers and patching are ahead. Good luck!

Mandy@Cre8iveMotives February 13, 2012 at 1:07 am

Funny that you mention this Chris, my hubby was just saying how much we need to redo and organize our closet. Don’t know when that will happen though. Ha!


Jennifer February 13, 2012 at 2:06 am

I can’t wait to see your finished product. I have 2 closets that could use a dose of organization. My husband used needle nose pliers to pull our mollies out of the wall. Good luck!

Hazel February 13, 2012 at 3:55 am

But did you donate the Edgar Allan Poe?

I’d love my linen cupboard to look like the inspiration pictures at the top, but the owners of those cupboards obviously don’t have in laws that insist on buying their children bright pink Disney duvet sets for Christmas which they then can’t ‘lose’…

Sorry, can’t help with the little white hooks.

marie February 13, 2012 at 6:47 am

i’m fairly certain we had those same plastic thingamajigs in the walls when we removed our wire shelving in the laundry room. they made such giant holes my husband gave up trying to patch them and covered the walls in bead board. so good luck with that. lol and on an aside, i have a pair lamps in my family room exactly like the one you have in the photos…however mine were NOT on clearance. :o)

laxsupermom February 13, 2012 at 7:51 am

Those plastic thingies are like expandable anchor thingies. You drilled a hole placed them in, then pounded a metal spike in that expanded the plastic and made it grab in the wall. The above commenter is right, they leave giant holes. Looking forward to seeing the rest of this organization project.

Elizabeth February 13, 2012 at 8:01 am

To get them out, use the pry end of a hammer to pull out the metal part and then the plastic part will pull out. But like everyone said, they leave a big hole.

Judy February 13, 2012 at 8:18 am

Those plastic things are anchors. You can pull them out with plyers, but they are going to leave a big hole. I push a little tissue into the hole before I spackle, that way it doesn’t keep sinking into the hole. I’m in the middle of a closet reorganization as well.

Julie @ PushingTwigs February 13, 2012 at 8:42 am

Above commenters are correct…had to deal with those in my laundry room…big holes…I liked Judy’s idea of pushing tissue in before you spackle (I should have done that), or if the holes are really big, you can get some mesh patches at Lowe’s or Home Depot to put over the hole first (I have done that – super easy) and then add your spackle.

Can’t wait to see what you come up with!

Brittny Hemphill February 13, 2012 at 9:59 am

Did you sneak in my old house and take pictures of my closets? I swear you did! I’d say it was my closets now, but half of our belongings are in boxes for a year, so we actually have less crap everywhere. Can’t wait to see what you do with the space!

Mary Catherine February 13, 2012 at 10:02 am

Thank you so much for sharing this! It’s a relief to see that I’m not the only one who has closets that get a bit… disheveled.

Also, your spoon and Poe made me laugh so much. My brother suggested that a knife and Poe would be more appropriate. *shudder* Don’t know how the mini lampshade fits into that scenario.

Meg February 13, 2012 at 10:39 am

I second (or fourth or fifth) what everyone’s been saying about pulling the anchors out. They make huge holes! You might be able to pound them in a bit with just a hammer or something like a screwdriver and a hammer and then just patch over it. I’ve done that before with varying degrees of success- to avoid the lump of just patching over the thing as is.

Amanda February 13, 2012 at 11:16 am

Had some of the little white things in our linen closet. I used needle nose pliers to get them out (one side in the hole, and the other making a mini hole right above it so I could pull it out). Just have lots of spackle handy – the lightweight stuff worked really well for me.

Jill Flory February 13, 2012 at 11:29 am

I know you are going to make this look amazing! When you get finished would you come do some for me too? PLEASE? Pretty please with whipped cream and a cherry on top??

Lauren H February 13, 2012 at 1:21 pm

The white hook/anchor thingies will definitely leave a hole in the wall but you can make a smaller hole by making sure to pull out the nails first. They cause the anchor to expand so removing them will help.

I had some heavy duty plastic anchors to remove so I used a carpet knife to separate the front from the back and just pop the back into the hole with a screwdriver and the hole is ready to repair. I’m not sure you can do it here (or if it’s worth it) as you may cause more damage to your wall or your fingers!

Barbara Grooms February 13, 2012 at 1:29 pm

Oh what an interesting project you picked. I love organizing things. Too bad about all those molly screw holes. Go to Lowes and get the mesh to cover up the hole then spackle and paint. I have the sames picture of MS’s closet in my idea book. You will be so pleased with yourself when it is done. Alot of work at first, but after everything gets a “Home” putting things away will be a breeze. Good luck! You have given me inspiration to do the closet in your old bedroom! Mom…

amber February 13, 2012 at 4:42 pm

We have those anchors in our walls too. You have to pull them out with pliers and they make a fairly large hole. But hey, at least they are out!

Gabbi February 16, 2012 at 2:58 pm

I can’t wait to see the progress! I just rented a dumpster because I am on a mission to clean out our house…all closets included! They are such a mess since we just moved in and threw everything in there.

Good luck! :)

Chris February 16, 2012 at 9:30 pm

If you haven’t already done so, don’t pull out the anchors! – like others have said, they leave a huge hole and it’s a big pain to fill them and smooth them out before painting. The best way I have found to deal with these (and I had close to 50 in a big walk-in closet!) is to lightly tap them INTO the wall with a nail setter and then fill them in. This leaves no big hole, and the resulting depression is easy to spackle and smooth before painting (just be sure to hit the spackle with some primer before you paint, but you probably know to do this already!)

Louise February 17, 2012 at 8:43 am

Could you hacksaw them off flush then poke them into the cavity then patch the small holes?

August February 18, 2012 at 12:43 am

I saw a blog where a woman just got some molding and put it on the outside of the wire rack. You still have the shelves, they just look really expensive. She literally just took them and hung them on the fronts of them. You could just lay some wood piece on top, if you had to, and no one would know the difference. They looked awesome, and it saves you TONS of time with dealing.

Lucy koch July 9, 2012 at 9:14 pm

Taking out the wire shelf clips shouldn’t leave a huge hole. Use a small flathead screwdriver. Slip it right beside the head of that fat nail and then tilt it back. The nail has a little lip and once you get the hang of it, they will fly across the room when you pop them out. If you have a lot to take out, it’s about the only fun part. Usually the anchors will pull out easily at that point but if not, just turn the little screwdriver sideways and put it where the wire was, it gives you a better pulling ability. Filling the holes is a pain but the smaller the better. Where we need wire shelf, i change them to track/bracket systems. Check the other end of the aisle. The closet end at lowes has double hole track and head rails but at the other end of the aisle is the “real organized” set. The brackets all work with each other but the real organized tracks and head rails are about half the price.

Lucy koch July 9, 2012 at 9:21 pm

Oh, and for regular wall anchors i keep a little bit fatter and longer screw handy. Just a couple of turns in the anchor isn’t enough to spread it on the other side but it lets you just pull it out cleany. Sanding spackle is a lot easier with a sanding screen. Its a metal sanding screen on a pad and attaches to a shop vac (drywall dust + house vac is a bad idea). You just run over the wall with it and the dust goes bye-bye at the same time. It covers a larger area than a block sander so its easier to get a larger space smooth. The screens are reversible too so they last a long time. It’s very fast and tidier as these things go.

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