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HELP! Just finished closet under stairs, need advise for storage / shelves

HELP! Just finished closet under stairs, need advise for storage / shelves


Old 01-23-09, 07:11 PM
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Talking HELP! Just finished closet under stairs, need advise for storage / shelves

HELP! Just finished closet under stairs, need advise for storage / shelves. Wife wants me to do this tomorrow, so I figured I'd post for some advise.

Below are some pictures. I just finished the closet, have some minor stuff to do but I want to put up storage tomorrow. Its under the stairs so the closet is deep. I would like to still have access to the back so we can store some boxes, vacuum, etc. I would like to put up some shelves but I am not sure what kind. I was thinking of ripping a few shelves I have down to about 8 inches so they don't stick out to far on the side to still allow access to back of closet.

Perhaps a bunch of small 4 inch shelves on the side to allow for storage of cans and kitchen spices / food?

Any idea's?

Thanks in advance!!

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Old 01-23-09, 08:03 PM
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Too bad the opening beneath the stairs is on the end, rather than the side. There is a 1/2 bath downstairs under my stairs. It's 36" wide. Toilet on one end. Sink on the other.

Your problem will be need for passage down this long space. You could shelve one side and put shelves across the back of the steps, so that shelves are 'L' shaped. 12" shelves would leave 24" for passage and setting the vacuum.

Keep in mind that whatever you put in the walkway will block traffic. Storing boxes seems to defeat the purpose of shelving across the back of stairs or extending shelves down the wall to the back under the under the stairs.

If you want to use the back under the stairs to stack boxes and set the vacuum, then determine what space you want to dedicate to stacking boxes and parking the vacuum. Then, run shelves down the walls.

If you shelve one side, you can have 12" shelves. 8" shelves are pretty useless, except to store small items and canned goods. If you put 8" on each side, that leaves only 20" for a walkway and too small shelves.

12" shelves on one side leaves 24" walkway with better access to boxes stored at rear of space beneath stairs. 12" shelves would allow for storage of seasonal dishes, the occasionally used small appliance, etc. Shelves across back of stairs would allow for even greater shelf space if boxes were not involved.

If you have boards, you can use the 'L' shaped metal shelf supports attached to studs. This would be less expensive than buying the wire shelving systems and mounts from the home center.

Since it is in the closet under the stairs, it does not have to be a decorator's delight. Do prime and paint the shelves white like the stairs and finish painting the wire to make it less obtrusive. Shelf paper (nonadhesive) can be used to line the shelves. If you shelve one side only, then you can hang a picture in the area for a big splash of color.

There is a need for proper shelving and organization in closets under stairs. The photo below demonstrates the need for multiple shelves as well as the need for an open and under cluttered walkway. As previously stated, 12" on one side will leave 24" for walkway.

Photo Credit: Jim Deitzel - Rubbermaid
Old 01-24-09, 05:31 AM
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Stair Closet

I would use the low area in the back of the closet for seldom used items such as Christmas decorations or other items only used once or twice a year. Build a couple of boxes on wheels to to fit the space so you can roll them out for easy access. I did this using swivel casters and we are very happy with the result. Good luck with your project.
Old 01-24-09, 06:10 AM
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It's a little more expensive, but I like using the slotted shelf standards instead of the L shaped brackets. Gives you more flexability and adjustability if your needs change. You can put wider shelves at the bottom and smaller ones at the top if you like.
Old 01-24-09, 07:53 AM
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If those are the back of the risers and the underside of the treads I'm seeing at the top of the pictures, code (R311.2.2) requires that they be covered with 1/2" gypsum board.
Old 01-24-09, 09:30 AM
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So, that's why I have never lived where I could see the back of the stairs! Learn something new every day.

R311.2.2 states, "Enclosed accessible space under stairs shall have walls, under stair surface and any soffits protected on the enclosed side with 1/2-inch gypsum board."
Old 01-24-09, 03:12 PM
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How about putting doors or drawers in the low back area that are accessed from outside the closet? That would be easier than moving stuff to get to the stuff stored there.
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