By Brookelynn Morris
My closet is a disaster. It’s the only closet in my house, and it has been over capacity since the day I moved in. There’s space to hang coats and dresses, but my shoes, hats, scarves and belts were ending up trampled on the floor. I was dreaming of an extravagant custom built shelving unit when a friend suggested quick and dirty cinder block shelves. I instantly thought of stacking milk crate shelves, but realized I could maximize space if I hung them from the wall.
I picked up some drywall anchors and big fat washers at the hardware store, and was able to hang my crates up in 15 minutes. Using drywall anchors means you don’t have to find a stud in the wall, and these are removable too, so they can be taken down later without ruining the wall. The anchors are rated to hold 75 pounds each, and I easily installed them myself. The anchor “activates” by grabbing the flat end of the screw, so to provide is room for the crate and the washer to sit snugly, choose screws that are half an inch longer than the anchors. I’ve written about drywall anchors before, and I promise that after you get comfortable with them, you will feel empowered tackle all sorts of DIY projects that seemed out of reach.
Screws 1/2″ longer than the anchors
Step 1: Begin by marking the placement of your milk crate with a pencil on the wall. Just hold the crate up with one hand and use the pencil to mark in the corner. I chose to mount the crate in all four corners, and while I could have easily gotten away with only the top two, better safe than sorry.
Step 2: Set a drywall anchor into each mark. These anchors are easy as pie to set into the wall. Start by worrying the anchor back and forth into the soft plaster of the wall, gradually increasing pressure. When the tip of the anchor is in the plaster, give it a big push to pop the smooth edges in, then screw it down tightly until it is flush with the wall.
Step 3: Hold the milk crate up to the wall with one hand and add a washer and a screw with the other. The wide washer really helps to disperse the weight and hold the crate in place. Use your fingers to thread the screw into the anchor halfway, and then tighten it down with the screwdriver.
Step 4: Fill your new shelves up! I love how versatile the milk crates are for storage. Toss scarves and hats into the open bin. Loop the back of caps through the holes in the crate, or hang your stilettos from them. Organize belts and hang them from the crates on hangers. Ties can easily drape from them too.