Introduction: Bin Storage Shelving (the Easy Way)

This instructible is for building easy cheap storage shelves for 18 gallon plastic storage bins. I estimate the cost is about $40-$45 for materials and roughly $70 for the bins.

For those of you interested in a bit of background I'll give it to you here. My wife and I just bought our first house and realized how much crap we had. I wanted an easy way to store things in the basment but currently it is a bit damp down there. I found an instructible for bin shelving and thought it was cool but over complicated. I simplified it and here it is.

I am not going to get into exacts with this instructible. I will throw out some basic dimensions but its just shelving not like building a house.

Step 1: The Plan (basic Layout and Dimensions)

I decided I want to fit 18 gallon bins which I found at Walmart for 5.50. I measured the bins and decided to make the slots 19"x19"x18.5". I then roughly figured using a length of 8' and the height of my basement I could fit 12 bins in my storage system. I decided to keep it off the floor just in case we got some water in the basement so I raised it by 4"

Step 2: Materials and Tools

I chose to use 2x4's because they are easy to get and cheap. My build required 19 8' 2x4's and some screws. Yes that is really all thats needed (I told you this was simple)

As far as tools go you'll need a drill, saw, and tape measure.

Step 3: Cut and Drill Your Supports

To achieve 4 storage areas per row and 3 storage areas per column I needed a total of 15 horizontal supports.

I cut them using a miter saw and then drilled holes for the screws so the ends didn't split. The placing of the screws doesn't matter as long as you will hit the vertical 2x4 support.

I needed to trim down my vertical supports which were 8' 2x4s to 6' so it would fit better in my basement.

Step 4: Assembling the Frames

I am not a skilled carpenter so I am not going to go into how to make things square. If you are unaware of how to do this make sure to look it up first.

I put my first horizontal support 4" from the bottom. You will want to screw in your next horizontal support 1.5" + the height of your bins. What I did to make life easier was cut a piece of scrap to the length needed. I could then just lay it in there instead of measuring each. This also helped with making the frames square.

This really is just rinse and repeat for all of them make sure to check them all against each other to make sure they are close so you wont have issues on the next step.

Step 5: Finishing Up and Assembling the Structure

Assuming everything is square (or close enough) this is the really easy part.

Take the 2x4's you have for your horizontal beams and screw them down.

The way I did it and found it quite easy was to stack all 5 of the frames together. I then threaded them with one of the 2x4's and screwed it to one end and then to the frame on the other end. I then measured the width I wanted and placed the other frames where they should be.

The rest is just sliding in the beams making sure everything is the correct distance and screwing it down.

Step 6: Final Thoughts and Comments

Just some final thoughts and comments. If you are really worried about stability you might want to put in a brace or two. it is plenty stable for my needs but it does have a tad bit of wiggle to it.

Some modifications to the project I thought about while doing it. If you are an apartment dweller, one who moves alot, or a college student you could use bolts instead of screws. Then you could take the thing apart and move much easier with basically no packing needed. This would take a bit of a redesign but this instructible was more about ideas than anything.

Thank you for reading and hope it helped.


mrmath made it!(author)2011-06-03

To make sure something is square, like a rectangle in this case---

WAIT! A rectangle square? In this case "square" means all right angles in the corners. Like the angles in a door frame are supposed to be. (Technically, btw, a square is a rectangle, but that's a whole other story.

--you simply measure the distance from one corner to the opposite corner, then do it again with the opposite pair. Make an X through your rectangle with your tape measure, if you will.

These two measurements should be equal, and that would make your rectangle square.

rlosiniecki made it!(author)2011-06-03

Thank you that is a excellent explanation.

ChristopherJames made it!(author)2016-06-22

I think that bin storage is actually pretty easy to do once you have your dimensions in! It's a pretty good idea to store documents at home too. Especially if you have a lot of them that you may or may not need to refer to once in a while. When you have a home office, you need a solution like this to make sure that all your reference data is in order!

NathanDavidson made it!(author)2016-04-25

I have always loved this bin storage concept. I think the idea is so simple yet it creates such a practical and ingenious storage solution yet. Whenever you think you might need even more space, you can simply build even higher racks and add more bins to the whole setup. If you have ran out of vertical space, there is still the horizontal spaces to conquer and the whole setup becomes an infinite storage solution.

speedygonzalez42 made it!(author)2013-07-07

This helped me so much with my Eagle Scout project. God Bless

russ_hensel made it!(author)2011-06-25

My experience is that 2 x 4's are much heavier than necessary, so I cut them in half lengthwise ( on a table saw ). This cuts the cost in half as well, and makes the installation more compact.

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