I’m looking to install closet organizers in my closet. It’s not a walk-in. Do you suggest metal or wood shelving to hold up the longest? 

When measuring, how wide should the shelving go? If I decide to go with wood, I may make the shelving myself.

When it comes to supportive shelving in the closet, wood is usually the better choice of material for durability and supporting heavier loads. Closet organizers are usually a combination of metal brackets and wood shelving, which you can purchase as separate parts or as a kit to install yourself. You can also hire a carpenter to build custom shelving inside the closet.

In a small or square reach-in closet, a wooden board for the closet’s top shelf needs to be the same size as the interior perimeter of the closet, minus 1/8 inch on all sides. Then subtract 1 foot from the width (depth), so your shelf doesn’t extend all the way to the closet doors.

When measuring, use a level to make sure you’re not measuring at an angle, which will result in a board that’s too long for the inside of the closet. You can install of 2×4 boards lengthwise around the perimeter of the area where you want the shelf to rest, by screwing them into the wall. Set the wooden shelf on top of the supports you created, and it should fit snugly and securely inside the space.

Make sure you also measure the height of the closet from floor to ceiling, and install your shelf at a height that leaves plenty of room between the shelf and the ceiling for storing taller items. The standard height for a closet’s top shelf if 84”.

In a longer or rectangular shaped reach-in closet, you may need to subtract as much as two feet from the closet’s depth measurement to determine the correct width for the top shelf. Make sure you will be able to access the entire shelf area from the closet’s entryway, in order to determine if your top shelf is the correct width.

A pre-made closet shelf kit will come with brackets to support the board. If you build the shelf yourself, a longer shelf in a rectangular closet will also need a bracket support placed at two-foot intervals along the closet’s back wall. Use a stud finder to locate the best place to install the brackets, or install anchors in the drywall first.