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I have a 23" deep reach-in closet that I want to install shelves on. I wanted to add 16" drilled melamine boards to both sides of it, and then add shelf pins and shelves to it (pretty ad-hoc, nothing fancy about it).

However, the closet is 108" high and the opening is only about 80" high, so I would be giving up quite a bit of storage space on the top.

My next thought was to use 16" deep shelf boards from the floor up to about 64" high, and then use narrower shelves (12") from there to the ceiling, but the narrower shelves would most likely not be deep enough to be supported by the front shelf pins on the pre-drilled sides.

What are my options here? I'm sure I could drill new, closer, holes for the higher shelves, but that would not be aesthetically pleasing, unless I use hole covers on every unused hole.

Is there any sort of shelf support that is a horizontal bracket running between the two pre-drilled holes on the side boards? I have the tools and I think I could DIY something like that, just wondering whether that's a good idea.

Anything else?

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  1. You'd be surprised at how many tall things you discover to store in this space once you have it available. Leave a large area at the top that you can get these tall things in under the top of the door, but are too tall for standard height shelving.
  2. An extra set of shelf-support pin holes are easy to drill if you have or make a spacing guide. After a week, you probably won't notice the unused set any more than you'll notice the unused holes between the lower shelves.
  3. I'm not aware of any brackets designed to go into standard pin-holes and support shorter shelves, but that doesn't mean someone doesn't make 'em.

You indicate that you've got some tools and you're willing to DIY something. Here's my suggestion for making your own "short shelf" supports:

  • Get some decent quality 2x2" lumber. Standard construction grade SPF will do, but dig through the piles looking for a piece that's straight and reasonably knot free
  • While you're at the store, pick up some steel rod that's the same diameter as your shelf pins
  • Cut your 2x2" into lengths about 22-1/2" long. This length will give you room to maneuver the pieces into place in your 23" deep closet.
  • Drill holes in the proper location in the 2x2" to match up with the pin holes in the shelf supports you're putting up.
    • Tip for getting the holes in the right place:
    1. Put the stock, short pins in the sides.
    2. Put the 2x2" against the short pins, firmly against the back of the closet.
    3. Get the 2x2" nice and level
    4. Give the 2x2" a good whack with your hammer right about where the pins are.
    • This will give you two indentations to show you exactly where to drill your holes. So long as your holes are nice & square to the face of the 2x2, everything should assemble easily.
  • Cut two pieces of steel rod roughly 1-3/4" long (you'll have to measure to get the right length).
  • Use these pieces of steel rod to pin the 2x2" to the pre-drilled shelf supports.
  • Put your shorter shelves on the 2x2" shelf support.

Possible concern:

With the significantly greater length of pin sticking out of the vertical panel, there's a possibility that uneven weight could cause the pin to come out of the hole. I think this would only be an issue during installation, as most shelf support pins can support a fully loaded shelf with no more pin sticking out than is in the hole. Really, though, the 2x2" should sit tight to the side of the closet which wouldn't allow the pin to tip at all.

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    1x2 along the sides, and a blocking brace along the back keeping the 1x2 pressed outwards, would work too
    – P2000
    Jan 27, 2022 at 17:42
  • I like both ideas! Thanks!
    – Viccari
    Jan 27, 2022 at 17:45
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    Happy this helped, @Viccari. I've made a bit of an update to the "build your own support" section. This just occurred to me.
    – FreeMan
    Jan 27, 2022 at 17:51

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