A few days ago I pulled a Houdini in the renovation of the office closet.
Here’s a view of the “Before” and “After” below. You can view this closet renovation project, IKEA Expedit for Closet Storage.
The Houdini part was getting an IKEA Expedit shelving unit, which measures 58 5/8 inches wide, into in a closet that is only about 1/2 to 3/4 inch wider than the Expedit itself. The closet only measures around 59 1/4 inches wide with the baseboard removed.
I didn’t buy the Expedit on my first trip down to IKEA but after I realized the side panel of the Expedit fit inside the unit itself once it was assembled, giving me a teeny bit of wiggle room with which to work, I was emboldened to give it a try. I considered the worse thing that could happen: I’d have to take it all apart and haul it back downstairs to either the garage or basement where it would become storage shelving for one of those areas. Not really what I wanted, but I could live with that if it came down to it.
As I drove back to IKEA a week later to purchase the Expedit, I was still thinking about how this wasn’t going to be a piece of cake. I would have to build the Expedit standing in the exact spot where it would ultimately live in the closet, because the closet wasn’t wide or deep enough to allow the Expedit to rotate into place if I built the Expedit outside the closet first.
I had downloaded all the building instructions online, so I knew what lay ahead. As you can see in the diagram below, an end/side panel is the last piece to go on (except for the top) and obviously some space or room is needed to hammer on that last panel. “Space” was something I didn’t have. I channeled Scarlett (Gone With the Wind) and thought, “I can’t think about that right now. If I do, I’ll go crazy. I’ll think about that tomorrow.”
Once back home, the very first thing I did was remove the quarter round and baseboard molding on both sides of the closet. I used the wood cutting tool on my Dremel for this and it worked very well. I so wanted to take a pic of that process, but I just couldn’t hold the camera, press the button and cut with the Dremel all at the same time.
I lifted out the big closet shelf that sat on the supports you see below. I then removed the supports because they were about 1/8 of inch too low on the wall and would have bumped the top of the Expedit. Yup, these tiny little fractions of an inch were killing me. It was all about increments, this Expedit quest. In the end I was glad I removed them because I decided to leave that shelf out of the closet entirely.
You can see I have some touch-up painting ahead of me. I hadn’t realized the shelf was merely sitting on the supports when I painted the closet a few months ago, or I would have removed it to paint. I should have stopped at this point and completed the painting but I was too impatient to get Mr. Expedit in place. Painting will come later…I’ll just cover everything up real well.
Now, this next part is a little tricky to explain. I brought the ottoman and the big box my Brother sewing machine came in, into the closet. And, guess what? I built the entire Expedit up in the air, on top of the ottoman and the box. Let me explain.
The building process started with placing the bottom outside piece of the Expedit on top of the ottoman and box. Then I placed/stood the right “side wall” of the Expedit on top of the bottom piece. There are these really loooong screws that go up through the bottom corner part of the Expedit into the side wall of the Expedit. That’s why I had to build it up in the air, so I could lay down on my back under the Expedit and screw those in. Normally the Expedit is built laying on its side, then it’s turned upright when completed. I didn’t have that luxury in this situation.
BTW, I do not recommend you build your Expedit this way. This post is just to show how I built mine. I recommend you build your Expedit following all the directions that came with your Expedit!
I continued to add rows of shelving to the Expedit. You can see the little pegs sticking up waiting for the next row of cubbie sidewalls.
Another view of the building progress…
Here’s a better view showing why I built the Expedit up in the air. I needed to be able to tighten these two screws once the last side wall (the left side) of the Expedit was added.
The Expedit is designed where four pegs extend from the sidewall for each shelf, and those go into the end of each shelf. Out of those 4 pegs that stick into each shelf, two are short and two are long. Actually, the pegs are all the same size…just two of the four holes in the sidewall of the Expedit are deeper in depth. So, out of the 4 pegs sticking out for each shelf, two were too long by about a quarter of an inch.
Enter Mr. Dremel, stage right…actually stage left in this scene. Dremel saved the day once again. I cut about 1/8-1/4 inch off the pegs that were too long…the ones that were preventing me from sliding the left side panel down along beside the Expedit. I wasn’t worried this would compromise the integrity or strength of the Expedit shelving because: 1. I wasn’t cutting off that much 2. There were 4 pegs for each shelf on each end and only two were being cut a tiny bit 3. Each shelf was already supported well by all the individual panels that make up all the side walls of the little cubbies of the Expedit. And 4. A very long screw goes through the top and bottom of the Expedit into the side wall of the unit, holding the sidewall tightly in place.
In this pic below, I had just cut through the tip of one of the pegs. You can see the tip hanging there beneath the peg.
A closer view…
Here are all the little tips. It’s kind of weird how the Dremel turns the wood brown as it cuts through. I guess it creates a lot of friction as it cuts through the wood.
I wish I had taken a pic of the side wall piece stuck down the side of the Expedit, before it was shoved into place, but I guess the heat of the moment took over and I forgot to take a photo. So here’s how it went down.
Once the pegs were snipped off a tad, I was just barely, barely able to get the side wall of the Expedit in place. Then the real fun began. I had planned to slide something skinny in behind the side wall of the Expedit and pry or wedge it against the shelving, pushing the pegs down into the holes of the shelving.
Well, so much for that idea. It wasn’t budging. I tugged and tugged on the side wall. Nothing. I got out a small mirror and held it over the side to see if a peg wasn’t lined up properly with a hole in the shelf. One appeared to be off and I adjusted it, but I still couldn’t pull or wedge that side wall (with pegs) against and into the shelving holes.
Then, not sure why I did it, but I rocked/banged the whole assembled Expedit in the direction of the sidewall and praise be, the pegs went a wee bit down into the holes on the shelving. What??? No way! So I did it again…and again. It only took me rocking that Expedite against the sidewall about 3-4 times and the whole thing was together, tight as could be. I was stunned…happy but stunned. As my father-in-law used to say, “Even a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and then.”
Next I got down on my back and slid up under the Expedit and screwed in the really long screws that hold the side wall to the bottom piece of the Expedit. I did the same with the screws on the top of the Expedit, too. I had to stand on a step ladder to reach those since the Expedit was still up in the air on the ottoman and box.
The next part was perhaps the hardest of all. I had to get that massively heavy Expedit off of the box and ottoman and down onto the floor. I had NO IDEA it was going to be that heavy once assembled, which was really dumb of me since I hadn’t been able to budge either of the two boxes that held the un-assembled Expedit. I had brought each piece of the Expedit upstairs by opening the boxes in my SUV, taking each section out and up the stairs one at a time. Now you know why I was so sore the next day…well that and what came next.
Here’s how I got it off the ottoman and the box. I first placed a wide sturdy footstool underneath the center of the Expedit and pulled out the box. Inch by inch I removed the ottoman until the Expedit collapsed down onto the foot stool, which was several inches shorter than the ottoman.
Next, I placed three books under one side of the Expedit and 3 books under the other side. I slowly pulled out the step stool. I had thought to place pads on all four feet of the step stool before placing it under the Expedit, so it wouldn’t scratch the floor when I pulled it out. It was not easy getting it out!
Once the foot stool was out, I pulled out one book at the time, gradually lowering the Expedit a few inches at the time. I used books that were not expensive just in case it ruined them. Fortunately, it did not. OH. MY. GOSH…was that thing heavy. It was soooo hard pulling those books out. Finally, I got them all out and the Expedit landed in the spot between the places where I had removed the molding. Hallelujah!
Here’s how the Expedit looks at the bottom…you can see why I had to remove the quarter round and baseboard to have space for it to fit once I lowered it down off the ottoman and box. I kind of gouged the wall behind the baseboard on this side. That can be repaired and will be hidden when baseboard is put back if/when I sell this house one day.
Here’s the other side. I did a better job over here. You know, if I added a bit of molding up the sides, the Expedit would have a built-in look, wouldn’t it? When I move one day, I may just have to take a saw to this thing to get it out of here so the next home owner will have a place to hang their clothes. Once again, I invoke the Scarlett clause. 😉
I love the height of the Expedit because I can now reach everything I keep on top where I could never do that with the shelf that used to be here in the closet. I know this photo makes them look about the same height, but the original shelf was actually a good bit higher.
So, that’s it! So happy to have it done.
I met a blog friend for lunch today and the restaurant where we met was only about 5 minutes from IKEA. So, after lunch I stopped by and purchased four more PJAS baskets. I’ll share a pic showing how they look in the Expedit for Met Monday. I do definitely like the look with 2 rows of baskets.
Pssst: If you’re new to BNOTP and haven’t seen the “Before and After” of the office, you’ll find that HERE.
You’ll find the post showing the Expedit with 8 PJAS baskets (instead of four) here: PJAS Baskets for the Closet Expedit
You’ll find a post sharing pictures of what I’m storing inside the baskets here: IKEA Expedit, Sneaking a Peek Inside
Once again, please build your Expedit according to the directions that came with your Expedit! This post is not a tutorial for building an Expedit!