As all of my friends and neighbors already know, I have quite a few dogs. By quite a few, I mean, I sometimes have more dogs than the people on Animal Hoarders. I’m not ashamed that I have so many pets, because a lot of them are rescues from animal shelters. And, since I’m in a position to afford so many pets – I rescue them. A majority of my larger dogs stay outside in a kenneled area I had built especially for them. They have a shed, complete with outdoor furniture, as their dog house. So, for those of you who think dogs shouldn’t be left outside, you’re probably judging me right now, but honestly, they enjoy being outside and I play with them every day. So they aren’t, by any stretch of the imagination, neglected.
As for my smaller dogs that I keep inside, I have struggled with finding the perfect spot for all of their kennels, toys, dog food, and yes, clothes. I have moved them from one room to the other, trying to find the perfect space for them. I have stacked their cages in my bedroom, in both of my extra bedrooms, and even my bathrooms, but no place ever seemed like the perfect space for them. Due to all of this moving around, I was forced to move my office into a not so logical place – my front closet. Yes, I had a “cloffice”, as I’ve heard it called before. Now this isn’t just any normal closet. All of the closets in my house are rather large, and this one is no different. I recently measured it, and it is 64” wide and 40” deep – in my opinion, that’s a pretty large closet.
So, I started thinking the other day – I don’t use my “cloffice” very much anymore, I should do something else with that space. So, I did. It is now the perfect space for all of my dogs and their belongings. And I’ll tell you how I did it for under $25.
These are the dimensions of my closet:
I had quite a few 2×4’s lying around in my shed outside from other projects, so I gathered these up. I measured how long they needed to be to fit inside the closet. I came up with the measurements of 64” for the long side, and two pieces needed to be 32” long for the sides.
These are the lengths I cut my boards for inside the closet:
By having the two sides measure 32”, that makes them approximately 34” long on the wall. Since the board on the back covers the entire wall and it is 2” thick. I then screwed these boards in the three walls of the closet, making a sort of frame. It is extremely important to make sure your frame is level, so get out that rarely used level when doing this step. (Always make sure you screw into a stud when screwing into a wall, especially if you plan on using this object to hold up something pretty heavy. And I consider my dogs and their cages to be pretty heavy.)
The frame looked like this:
(This is not my closet. I didn’t take pictures of the process, but this is basically how it looked. This picture is from http://designbuildlove.co/7-simple-steps-to-create-built-in-closet-storage/and it has very good information about building shelves.)
I then went to the local hardware store and bought a piece of middle grade plywood. I think it said it was used for floors or something. I had the man there cut it 64”x36”. I took this piece home, and laid it on top of my frame and screwed it in.
This made a very large and deep shelf.
(Optional: You can always add support in the middle by simply screwing in another leg in the middle-front of the plywood.)
And my project is finished! I put all of my dog kennels on top of this shelf, stored their food bins underneath it, and put their baskets of toys and clothes on the existing shelf above them. It is the perfect place for them, and they love it!
(Optional: You can always paint the shelf to make it look more uniform with the closet. I don’t know if I plan on keeping this shelf here forever, so I didn’t paint it. But if you do decide to paint your shelf, you should caulk around the edges on top and bottom first. Caulking also gives the shelf more support.)
Although this closet is the perfect place for me to house my dogs and their things, it does have a few drawbacks. First, the doors to the closet must stay open at all times while they’re in their cages so they can receive cool air from the living room. There is not an air vent inside the closet, however there is a power outlet. So, I have installed a fan that blows the cool air from the living room, directly into their closet area to keep them cool.
Not only am I concerned with the temperature inside their closet, I am also concerned with the air quality inside their little room. We, as people, are always concerned with the air quality inside air homes. We often even blame poor air quality on our pets and the amount of hair and pet dander they release into our living environment. But do we ever stop to think that maybe we should be concerned about the air they inhale daily? Having my dogs stay in this small area, I noticed very quickly that their air quality must be poor. So, to solve this issue, I also placed a small air purifier inside the closet with them. They are now receiving cool, clean air and they couldn’t be happier – except for when they are running around in the backyard!