Granted, that probably sounds like the anti-present for most kids, but my daughter was EAGERLY looking forward to having her closet redone so she could organize her belongings more efficiently (she is, after all, MY daughter).
The pieces in my closet were mostly hand-built, from scratch, but I decided I draw the line at building drawers. Not that I can't, I just don't have the tools I thought I did (my husband apparently got rid of some of my saws, WTF, dude? Do you want me to HAND SAW everything now?), and also, they're super freaking annoying.
So my daughter's closet is part pre-fab, part custom-build, and all fabulous.
Wanna know how you remove drywall anchors? Pliers and deltoids and prayers.
And if you're lucky, massive gaping holes in your drywall are the worst of what happens. So yes, this looks bad, but it was pretty ideal as far as drywall anchors go. So before I could even start doing anything else, I needed to sand, patch, and repaint. YAY.
Total for this whole thing was $236.15, and that includes the oak dowels, paint, drywall compound, and hardware.
Tips to keep a project like this really really cheap, is to first try to use what you have. Even if you buy entirely prefabricated closet organization systems made of MDF, you are going to pay a surprisingly high amount. Every drawer and shelf is sold separately and it adds up. Trust me, I priced out how much something like this would cost if I just ordered it from Build.com or Wayfair. NOPE. I am way too cheap for to be dropping $500+ on my tween girl's closet system.
Things that you can use are, for example, drawers and/or the drawer hardware from a dresser that is basically no longer useful or just not your style anymore. You can easily put that in a different frame you build out. A bookcase can easily be turned into closet shelving, and depending on the measurements, you can add prefabricated drawers or reuse some of your own. And you can create your own built in shelves with some brackets and planks. It's really not hard at all.
You can also build out your own unit to fit the measurements you need. Pine is relatively cheap (though I prefer cedar), or just cut down a bookcase and make it what you need as well. I treat all of my furniture as potential building material for other furniture.
Another thing to do if you're building in a closet system, is to add some of your home's wall trim to the base of your unit, so it looks like it really was built in from the get go. Little details like that will make it look more expensive and custom than it is. (And what I did was take a piece of the wall trim and have the paint color matched, so I could paint the whole unit to match).
I recommend removing the back paneling of things like bookshelves that you are repurposing to go into your closet system. It makes it look more like a built-in part of the closet if there is no back paneling. Let that wall color peek through!
And if you don't have your own power tools, just make sure you plan out and measure exactly what you need and how much, and most hardware stores will cut your wood for you. Personally, I think everyone should have some basic power tools and know how to use them, because they more than pay for themselves.
The total amount of time it took from start to finish was a little over 5 hours, and about 40 minutes of that was searching for wherever the eff my husband put my power saw, and the horror that he threw out my safety eyewear because "pffffft, nobody wears that". It's like he's just joyfully prancing around the idea of traumatic accidental blindness. This is why I'm going to outlive his ass.
That was my day today, and now I'm going to go eat a whole cow.
Happy (Early) Birthday, Tracy Jr! <3