I wanted to make sure that the closet I designed was efficient, functional and most importantly, flexible. I wanted the ability to move shelves and rods around as our closet needs changed and evolved. To me, this meant that everything needs to be installed on standards. (standards are the vertical beams that brackets attach to). That would allow anything to moved up and down in approximately 1.5" increments.
Flexible. So, I started installing the standards I had purchased on every stud in the room. All told, I installed 22 seven-foot standards. When I was done, looked a bit like a prison, with white bars even spaced every 16 inches.
Next, I referenced my parts list and double checked some measurements. Then I started cutting my shelves to length. The shelves I purchased were heavy-duty ClosetMaid shelves that were 12 inches deep and had an integrated hanging rod for clothes on hangers. Even though they were available in 4, 6, and 8-foot lengths too, I purchased the 12-foot lengths to reduce cost. I had a cut sheet drawn before I shopped, so I knew exactly how many lengths to get and how much waste I would have. I pulled out my DeWalt sawzall (my favorite power tool) and got to cutting the shelves to the correct length.
As I cut them one-by-one, I wiped them down and installed the plastic end caps to cover the rough ends. Then I moved the upstairs and installed them on the brackets in the standards. Before long, everything was cut and installed. I made some minor adjustments to the shelf heights and lengths, and at the end I was left with a total of only 18" of scrap shelf, in three pieces. Not too bad.
We spent the rest of the day putting the clothes back in and sorting and re-organizing my wife's clothes. When we were finished, we had gained about 7 linear feet of hanging space and another 12 linear feet of shelf space. We were able to get all of her clothes and all of my clothes in, and still space left over. Efficiency is beautiful.
My wife was amazed. Not only was there more room, but everything was still easily reachable and organized. I was referred to as the "closet magician" the rest of the weekend.
All in all, it was a lot of work, but the wife is happy, the baby has a closet, and I don't have to trek to the basement to retrieve my khakis in the morning. Complete success.