12 Storage Tote Shelving System $50.00





Introduction: 12 Storage Tote Shelving System $50.00

About: I'm a mother of two small boys (who are fantastic!!) and a wife who loves life and living! I am the luckiest person I know when it comes to the small and wonderful things in life! I had a rocky childhood tha...

Hello all! Today I wanted to share with you how I made my storage bin shelving system for my garage. It holds 12 totes! Here is a short story why I made this instead of purchasing one.

I have over 40 totes in my garage. I needed a sturdy shelving system to organize them so I could still get to one on the bottom without moving all the other totes off of it. I went online and priced them at all the hardware stores and garage centers I could manage to find and almost got sick because the cheapest I could find worth a darn was over $130.00!! No way could I afford 4 of them! They did hold 12 totes which I needed but for the price I was heartbroken.

I decided to make one for a lot less then the going price so I went to my home improvement store and did the measurements! My totes size was the first measurement. This should be your first step. Mine were around 12 inches high. Next tote width which were 17 inches wide, followed by the depth which runs about 22 inches. With that in hand I needed to factor in how tall I wanted the unit and how long. How many totes I wanted it to hold as well. Here is what I came up with. It’s a good starting point. It’s all in the pictures. I took a lot of pictures of this project with my husband’s camera and took 2 with my phone camera and my 5 year old son accidentally deleted ALL my pictures off my husband’s camera before I could down load them to my laptop so I am stuck with the 2 off my camera and the ones I took after the fact. I hope I explained it well enough in the photos and if you have any questions please ask. This is an easy project and for only around $50.00 a fantastic deal! If you like this project vote for it! Thanks again! Enjoy!

Step 1: What You Will Need.

  • 12 pieces of 2"X4"X10'
  • 20 feet of 1"X2" for supports

Step 2: Time to Do Some Measuring, Cutting and Screwing!

Measure out your totes. Find out how wide, tall and deep you will need your shelving unit to be and how many totes you will need it to hold. In the picture I have added to this step is a rough drawing of my measurements.

Look at all the pictures before you cut any of your wood to make sure you have the whole understanding of what I did. If you are unsure please ask me and I will try to explain it further.

After looking at the photos and measuring your totes, mark all your 10 foot pieces of wood to cut into 5 foot sections. Be safe and use goggles and any other protective gear you think you may need. (Your saw may come with instructions)

Do the rest of your cutting as you go. Measure twice cut once.

You will want to build this one side at a time. First start with the front, lying your project on the ground and screwing together all the 2”X4”X5’ boards horizontal and vertical as shown in the rough drawing.

Next, mirror what you just did to make the back side. If you do not understand how to mirror a project just grab a mirror out of your house and bring it to your project. Look through it at the finished piece and this is what the back side will look like. Also a quick google or bing search will walk you through that terminology.

Notice in the side view picture how the 2”X4”X5’ board is positioned so it looks like a shelf for the tote to rest on. Once all your supports are added then this will be perfect to support your totes.

Step 3: Stand It Up and Add Support

Time to stand up both pieces of your shelving unit. You should have the front piece out front and the back should be a mirror image of the front. Look to the pictures for the instructions on how to add it all together.

You may want an extra set of hands but it is not necessary. My husband was out of town when I put this idea to paper and made it! You can do it!

If you have questions after looking at all the photos please ask. I will do my best to answer them all. Keep in mind that you do not want to over do the first supports. If you do then you will not be able to slide your totes into it.

Please inspect the photos with the eye of a detective. You may find that you can figure a better way to do some of these steps but keep in mind you will need to fit the totes inside of the square cubby holes. I made several mistakes before I came to this picture. I am happy that I took at least two pictures with my phone camera!

Step 4: Second Supports

Unfortunately I do not have a picture of this step. I did add this picture with red rectangles where your supports will go. You will mirror this step onto the back side of your shelving unit. What you do the the front will be done to the back in a mirrored effect. You will also be adding some scrap pieces to the back to add more support.

I also added some previously viewed pictures as well to stress how you will need to put the supports in.

Do this long way. You will want to have the supports long way so your totes will slide into the cubby hole easily. If you put the supports in flat ways then you will not be able to slide your totes in.

Step 5: Enjoy Your Finished Project!

After you have added all your supports you should have come to a finished shelving unit. I hope that you were able to follow my photo instructable.

I am so sad that all of my pictures for this unit were lost but what can I do. He's only 5 so I can't ship him off... lol. He thought he was helping me out. He see's me do the tedious task of single picture deleting often and he wanted to give mommy a break.. cute.

If you have any questions or comments please let me have 'em!



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    I have always preferred to DIY my own furniture pieces as opposed to purchasing one as I can customize specifically the dimensions I require for my varying needs. Furthermore, I can also give them a coat of my favorite color so as to complement other furnishings around the house as well. As for this shelving system, it would be perfect to organize the stuff in my storage unit, so thanks for sharing.

    I just love finding out cheap ways of creating versatile storage. This cabinet idea is actually really awesome and easy to do and I'm definitely going to try it myself!!

    Great results! It is true that it is always more cost efficient to DIY our own storage needs rather than simply purchasing them off the stores. Furthermore, our own DIY works can be customized according to our needs such as specific dimensions to fit our belongings and can be painted according to our taste as well. Therefore, always try to DIY your own needs first before resorting to buying ready-made ones. Sometimes you do not know until you try that it actually only needs a few simple materials and tools to build your very own perfect storage solution.

    Working in the storage business, I have also been looking at various storage systems that I could use at home. Though I don’t actually work inside a storage facility as my work gets me to move across Australia, I like to find tips on finding storage systems that are cheap. This article just gave me the idea on what I can do inside my garage and it helped me organize my totes!

    I NEED one or eight of these! Could you just come over and make one for me?? lol! Great instructable! My boyfriend beware!

    2 replies

    Hey Babyruthless.......I've actually started a business doing just that. www.GarageDecker.com. If you are in the southern Ontario region, look me up

    I would but I'm busy that day! lol! Thank you. Enjoy your weekend! And thanks for the Vote! If I do win my husband and I will have the best Christmas EVER! lol

    I would put three stretchers even and in the middle between the long horizontal supports for each level. This would allow the totes to rest on the stretchers as the totes were pulled out and put in. This still keeps the costs down. The alternate would be to do as Nick.D suggested to use Plywood but the would raise the costs significantly.

    Looks good! One addition I would make would be to add plywood along the bottom of each shelf so that you can easily slide each tote in and out.

    Nice. I built something similar for my garage, with extended legs, so the tote shelving portion is raised up a little over 3 feet off the ground, and my table saw rolls underneath for storage.

    1 reply

    That's a fantastic idea! I may have to make another just to try that! Have you an 'ible for it yet? It's a must do! Thanks.

    amazing and very well done . i finally can store my totes instead of using them for tables. :)

    1 reply

    Thanks a bunch! I was using mine as seating! lol! Have a great week!

    I had a friend purchase a very similar unit from the 'SkyMall' magazine (that overpriced sales paper you can see on a lot of planes)... it was made from PVC pipe, and came with 12 matching storage tubs. He paid $200 plus shipping for the whole thing, and still had to assemble it himself.

    I duplicated it, with sturdier storage tubs and PVC, for a mere $100 including the tubs. I believe the tubs were larger than yours, at 18"x36"x18"; so a smaller unit would cost proportionately less and be closer to your cost.

    3 replies

    Well played! I just couldn't see paying that much especially when I needed several units to hold all my totes. Do you have a picture of your finished unit?

    Very Nice! I want to build one of these for my garage/workshop.

    Thank you very much! I love mine and it's the 1st thing that I ever really built! Now I'm hooked! Enjoy!