I've lived my entire life in the southeastern US, where a garage is not considered a necessity for most homes. So I'd never lived in a house with a garage until my wife and I bought our current home in 2009. Now, I love my garage. I LOVE IT. My garage and I have a good thing going. And then, out of nowhere, this small, female version of me shows up, and has somehow acquired a DOZEN or so vehicles that she wants to park in my garage! But yet somehow it's ME that's the jerk if I pull in and crush one of her cars! I KNOW, RIGHT?!
So what am I to do? The Mini-Me has grown on me to the point that eviction is off the table, but I cannot give up my sheltery, cavernous mistress, the Garage, so it's time to get creative.
I can get my car into the garage if I line up all the toddler toys along the wall, but then opening my car door is difficult, and walking between the car and the wall gets hazardous. So these things are going to have to find their way up on the wall. I brainstormed up a system using french cleats to make it adjustable, with long extenders so that I could hang the cleats up high on the wall to keep them out of the way.
-Plywood (at least 1/2" thickness)
-Wood to rip into long extenders (I used 1"x12" pine)
Step 1: Rip Your Cleats
***IMPORTANT NOTE*** Before you start ripping away, know the spacing of the studs you'll be mounting these to. Ideally, you'd have a multiple of that spacing, plus an extra 2-4". For example, if your studs are spaced at 16", and you want your cleat to span four studs, you'd multiply 16" by 3 (number of spaces between the 4 studs) to get 48", then add an inch or two to each end for a final length of 50-52", which will be enough to screw either end into the stud without screwing too close to the edge of the cleat.
I used 3/4" birch ply to make my cleats because it seemed pretty burly and didn't break the bank. Set your table saw blade to 45° and rip however many cleats you think you'll need from your plywood. You can probably be less wasteful with your wood if you cut strips into little parallelograms like in the picture; I started out ripping several wide strips with the blade at 90° and then ripping those in half with the blade at 45° to make the cleats. I realized towards the end that making all my cuts at 45° would definitely save some wood and probably wouldn't weaken my cleats at all. Remember to leave at least one strip that you will use to make the reverse cleat (that attaches to the hanging piece and fits into the cleat on the wall).
How wide should you make your cleats? Good question. I have no clue as to how much the width (or height, once the cleat is hanging on the wall) affects the strength, but I felt pretty safe with 1.5" or so of wood flush to the wall.