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Our DIY Elfa Closet Upgrade (Review)

This post is a super throw-back as Hubs and I updated the closets in our condo in early 2016 (it is early/mid-2017 as I write this post). I wanted to wait on posting about our Elfa closets just because I wanted to thoroughly test our closets.

We decided to go with the Elfa system when re-doing our closets because the Container Store holds a yearly sale on the Elfa system. Based on what I could find, the Elfa closet system sale offers 30% off the entire product line. The sale starts after Christmas and ends around Valentine’s Day (sometimes they push the sale past V-Day).

Hubs and I ended up outfitting all of the bedrooms in our condo (3 bedrooms) with Elfa closets. I attempted to do some DIY shelving for our garage but ended up outfitting most of our garage with Elfa storage as well. The reason why we gravitated towards the Elfa system was through a recommendation by Hub’s coworker and the Elfa sale. Our closets held up for over a year now so I think its about time to share my thoughts in the system.

This is one of our smaller closets in our master. It’ll be used to store our dirty laundry, semi-clean clothes, and ironing supplies.

This is the closet in our guest bedroom. Currently it holds my crafting supplies. Eventually it’ll evolve into our children’s closet.

This is the main closet in our master bedroom. We had to use the standing feet for our closet because we couldn’t mount to the wall due to the ducting. I really appreciate how easy it was for Container Store to convert our closet from wall-mounted to stand-alone.

To give you an idea on how to install the shelving (after you install the track) you may checkout this timelapse clip video:


Reasons why I like the Elfa Shelving System:

  • Conceptually, it is pretty easy to install. Install the main track, the wall standards, then your shelves/drawers.
    • I’ll get to the shelf install in the latter section.
  • You can design your storage system online or in-store with a Elfa designer
    • Bonus points: the designers do not run off of commission so you have no pressure on buying.
    • The design process will generate the parts lists you need to complete your project. Container Store will gather the parts for you either while you shop (if they are not backlogged) or schedule a pickup time.
      • I attempted to build my own series of shelves and spent 2 hours at Home Depot just trying to figure out which parts to get. (Note, I am a total newbie at hardware and carpentry).
  • The parts are cut based on your measurements and design
    • Caveat: it appears their system runs in increments of 12″, 18″, 24″, and 36″
    • Container store will cut the parts to measure. I’ve heard Home Depot used to offer a cutting service for the Rubbermaid track-based closet system (or even Closet Maid system) but no longer do. You would need to rent the hardware to cut the tracks and shelving if you need to do so.
    • You will have exactly the parts you ned for the system you designed. You won’t have extra shelves laying around.
    • You can return your un-used parts.
  • They have one of the deepest wire-racked shelves
    • Deepest Elfa shelves offered are 36″. The deepest shelf I could find at Home Depot with the Rubbermaid brand is 20″.
  • Their hardware is quality
    • I attempted to use hardware bought from home-depot to create my own shelving system and would constantly strip the screws. Elfa screws are made out of really strong-graded steel. I actually have a small stockpile of Elfa wood screws for future shelving projects.
  • If you catch the year-end Elfa sale at the Container Store, you could get better quality for cheaper than the Rubbermaid brand shelving.
    • This is a comparison of buying just the parts you need for a basic shelf system
  • The system is modular and you can evolve the system overtime to meet your storage needs.
    • We actually found out we couldn’t mount our system to the wall for one of our closets due to the air ducting. We went back to the container store and they converted our design to be on stand-alone feet (similar to store displays).
  • You can actually use the Rubbermaid metal shelf system parts on this system
    • The spacings for the shelve brackets are the same, so you can buy shelve parts from Home Depot in case Container Store is too far.

Challenges regarding the Elfa System:

  • If you’re hardware and carpentry savvy, you may have produce a better shelving system at a cheaper cost.
    • Oh do I envy your skills.
  • The actual shelves can be a pain to install. Hopefully, you will get the hang of it; otherwise, prepared to be annoyed.
    • It requires gentle force to push the wire shelves into the shelving bracket. Too much force, you may have your shelf come crashing down along with yourself. Too little force and the shelf may pop out.
    • Make sure your wall standards are square. It is very easy to install them askew.
  • You may have to wait days (sometimes weeks) to have all your parts ready
    • This is pending the stock at your Container Store. The Elfa sale is really popular where we live and items were backlogged. Although, I’d rather wait to get an item at a discount than to pay full price.
  • Installation is a two-person job
    • Don’t expect to do this alone for safety reasons
  • The accessories can really rack up your total project cost
    • Things like wood-like fascia, solid shelves (for desks), and drawers are pretty costly and can quickly add up.
  • Wire shelving with liners can get annoying as small things can fall through the spaces.
    • You could use solid shelves, but that can get costly quickly.
  • You are not utilizing the entire space of your closet due to clearances created by the wall-standards and by the incremental shelf widths of 12″, 18″, 24″, 36″.

Have you set up your own storage system? What did you use and how was the experience? Share in the comments or point me to your social media, blog, or video post. I would love to know! And I am sure others who came to this post would love to know as well!

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