Fort Birthday

Updating a 1980’s Reach-In hall closet Part 1 – Demolition

A problematic Hall closet offered few positives and so many negatives.

As my twins are getting older we are asking them to take more responsibility for their stuff. That’s a hard task when there is too much stuff. Decluttering and making room to put things away is part of my plan to teach my guys the life skills they need.

Infographic of closet problems including arrows showing lost space, overspray paint, and purgatory Hall closet

Despite some wire shelving, my front closet was a disorganized depository for all sorts of crap. And because it just got piled in it was useless as a coat closet. I was legitimately too embarrassed to show you a before with the contents.

Hall closet demolition
Because I wasn’t concerned about saving the trim, I just smashed at it with a chisel, pry bar and hammer. If you need to reuse the trim then start with a utility knife to cut at junction points. Then start prying from less visible places and work a few inches at a time.

Once I removed the molding I put down some cardboard to protect my hardwood floors and to contain some of the mess.

Use Ikea Giant cardboard boxes to protect flooring, tape down with painters tape. Hall Closet Demolition

Because there was tons of vertical room to maneuver, I decided to cut my opening and then assemble and insert the IKEA Pax cabinets. Based on my opening I measured a 61 inch opening, I used a 4 foot level to make a plumb line (straight up and down) and cut the drywall using an oscillating saw (fein multimaster – worth every penny).

Closet demolition showing plumb line and window to take a peek for potential problems. Hall closet DEMo
Before I went too far with the drywall smashy-smash I cut an easy to repair peep hole. You don’t want to start with the sawzal until you know you aren’t cutting into wiring or plumbing.

I carefully cut the drywall with the fein multitool so I would have less repair work to do once I was finished. Sometimes this doesn’t matter, but here I wanted to keep my edges as crisp as possible.

Demolition of closet showing careful removal of drywall.
Construction debris on the floor of demolished closet
Because I was working in my front hall I spent a lot of time cleaning as I worked. This minimized the dust and mess in the house.

Pro Tips

Large Garage trashcan partially filled with construction debris
A hard lesson to learn, when working with drywall, is that this is a FULL bag of trash.
Demo of closet getting ready for an uncluttered life.

Once you know what you are dealing with…

Go crazy with the reciprocating saw.

Removing 6 inches of wall means I needed to patch the hardwood floor
So cutting out 6 inches of wall means 25 square inches of missing flooring. While I maybe could have covered this with some molding, I’m an awesome DIYer who can do better.

Test fit wooden floor patch
Test fitting a cut. It is imperative when you are attempting this kind of patch you MUST make sure your cuts are 100% perpendicular. I used a carpenters triangle to make sure the cut I made was a perfect 90 degrees.
Hardwood floor patch Oak Gunstock diy fixup do it right.
I carefully pried out a few strips of hardwood and snuck them forward. I used a brad nailer to fasten them to the subflooring.
Finished floor board patch Oak gunstock
Part of the patch shows a defect in the floor finish from the original floor. Other than that, my patch looks awesome. The missing pieces are hidden by the cupboard.

Don’t do more work than you need to. The old shelf supports wouldn’t impinge on the installation so there was no reason to burn calories removing them.

Torn out closet
Final demolition results. Get ready because the finish product is going to BLOW YOUR MIND.

Buried Treasure

Whenever I DIY, I leave treasures behind, under, or on top. I always ‘sign’ my work, leaving notes behind. I also left a bottle of booze behind the new install. I figure whoever is in the midst of tearing out my work one day will enjoy a well aged drink. It’s the perfect thing to do with those rando bottle of booze you get as gifts that just gather dust on the back of a shelf in your liquor cabinet.

Up Next: Installing the Ikea Pax System.

Pinterest Pin New Blog Post Hall Closet Demolition reorganize declutter.
1980s hall closet demolition and renovation.

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