Introduction: Under Stairs Shelves

Picture of Under Stairs Shelves

I am entering this Instructable into the Organization Contest.  Please vote.  If not for this Instructable, then another entry.  Thanks

Step 1: Wasted Space

Picture of Wasted Space

Somewhere in your house, shed, barn, garage, or whatever, you may have wasted space under your stairs!  Spiders are the only occupants taking advantage of this space.  I had some stairs in my garage leading up to a bonus room that were perfect wasters of space....until I made my shelves.  It is easier to get organized if you have a place to store the stuff that you are trying to organize.

Step 2: Dive Right In

I had a very small window of time between work, sleep, and playing with the family so I did this quick and simple.  In the process, I didn't take as many pictures as I usually do so you will have to use your imagination.  The good news is that the shelves you make will be your own.

  I used some 3/4" thick plywood for the shelves (you might have some 1/2" plywood laying around, or some planking pulled from a pallet, or some really thick cardboard, or carbon fiber)  You get the idea.

For My shelf supports  I ripped some scrap 2x4's into 2x2's, and fastened them to the stringers with some #8 wood screws.

Along with the normal safety equipment...Safety glasses, gloves, hearing protection and proper clothing I used very few tools.

A circular saw (handsaw would work fine, but would take a bit longer)

Drill for drilling and countersinking holes and for driving the screws.

Sandpaper for smoothing the edges (power sander would be quicker but louder)

A measuring tape, carpenters square and pencil for marking.

I also had a workmate (clamping table) that made things easier.

Step 3: Measure

Picture of Measure

Measure to see what size to make your pieces.  I was able to make all the supports the same length, but my shelves varied by almost half an inch overall!  To make the shelves easier to keep track of, and to have a tight fit I measured and made each one, one-at-a-time.

Step 4: Mark Cut Drill and Sand

Picture of Mark Cut Drill and Sand

Time to get repetitive.  I cut all my shelf support pieces square on one end and cut at a 45 degree angle on the other (just to be a little fancy)  I then drilled and countersunk my screw holes and sanded them all down.

Step 5: Mount Your Shelves

Picture of Mount Your Shelves

I held the shelf supports in place and transfer drilled the screw holes into the stringers.  I then used wood glue and screws to hold them in place.  I then cut out and placed the shelves one-at-a-time.  I made the shelves so they fit just tight enough to hold themselves in but loose enough that I could take them out for easier cleaning.

Step 6: As Always Enjoy

Picture of As Always Enjoy

Now you will have shelves to organize some of your stuff.  Kind of haphazard in this photo.  I later made some sloped sided organizer boxes and put some like items in each box.  Now when I need something like safety equipment I just grab down the box that has my gloves, glasses, and ear plugs, take them out and put the box back.

I hope you have fun making and using your shelves and as always....Thanks for reading and Enjoy!

P.S.  Don't forget to vote!


ward173 made it! (author)2014-06-29

Fantastic idea! This worked great under the stairs in my storage building. Thanks for sharing.

CHARLESCRANFORD (author)ward1732017-01-21

Thank you. Looks good

CHARLESCRANFORD (author)ward1732014-06-30

Looks good. Thanks for sharing.

buck2217 (author)2015-06-24

Good use of space

Justa Jakobi (author)2015-02-06

If ever the need, I will definitely do this! Thanks for sharing.

phails808 (author)2014-01-30

This is a great idea. Does the vibration of going up and down the stairs cause items to vibrate off the shelves?

Vampyra65 (author)2014-01-29

Pretty smart idea for people who have very little space.

tesserae (author)2014-01-29

You got my vote, what a great idea and not too hard to do. I also agree with chuckyd to add a lip to prevent things from falling off.

curiouscreative (author)2014-01-26

many possibilities here

if you have space and wish and require

those battens you so deeply secured

could be extended out beyond stringers

to make some or all shelves deeper

for heavy objects an extended bottom few shelves could all protrude forward to meet a supporting vertical etc

great stuff


Great suggestions. Thanks.


thanks for the kind words

time out to reply

mmcl26554 (author)2014-01-26

Neat ideas like this is why I subscribe to instructables! Since I am retired and always looking for projects and after a lifetime of accumulating stuff (junk) we always run out of places to put it all. But will the additional storage space encourage my Wife to buy more?


Thanks. I am glad I have inspired you. You can have fun with a project and make the wife happy.

I will have to make some changes to your idea as my stair jacks are made in a way I have never seen. Instead of cutting steps into the stair jacks they dadoed deep groves in the jacks and slid the stair treads into them. It works well but there isn't as much space behind the stairs. However, your inspiration will still work with some small changes to the technique.

dlindstrom (author)2014-01-27

Super job! You could have even extended them out a bit for more space.

chabias (author)2014-01-26

I've been wanting to do something with the area under my stairs. Thanks for this! Voted and faved.

CHARLESCRANFORD (author)chabias2014-01-27

Thanks for the comment and for the vote.

abaneyone (author)2014-01-26

Space saver/utilizer.


danzo321 (author)2014-01-26

Not a thing wrong with how you did it but if I were going to, I'd extend the 2x2s farther out, especially down low, and put in deeper shelves.

CHARLESCRANFORD (author)danzo3212014-01-27

I was thinking of doing that, but I use the space underneath for the kids´ trikes and bikes.

I was also concerned about stuff being too heavy, but you could always extend supports down to the floor. So many different possibilities.

sarawelder (author)2014-01-26

Nice and basic instructions using easy to find stuff. Concise and well explained. thanks

Thank you. I tried to keep it simple. I appreciate the feedback.

zygomatic (author)2014-01-26

Great idea. I was just in the laundry room last weekend trying to think of a way to utilize that space. Voted!

Thanks and good luck with your laundry room shelves.

SlayerKat (author)2014-01-26

awesome. Voted

Thanks for the comment and the vote.

elking (author)2014-01-25

Very Clever idea. but since stairs are generally an exit route. In the interest of safety please contact your local planning department before adding storage under stairs, my jurisdiction forbids it, and requires 1 hour fire protection (5/8" drywall) underneath. At a minimum please don't store flammable material under stairs.

CHARLESCRANFORD (author)elking2014-01-27

Thanks for the advice.

patsheldon (author)2014-01-24

I just love this idea. If I ever have stairs in my new house, I know where to look for improving things! Thanks for sharing!


rimar2000 (author)2014-01-24



Penolopy Bulnick (author)2014-01-24

Awesome idea! I love when you are able to use the space you have to the best advantage!


diy_bloke (author)2014-01-24



Lectric Wizard (author)2014-01-24

Fantastic idea , I'm moving to a very small house in a couple of years & will use this idea, to great advantage THANKS!

Thanks. Good luck with your version.

chuckyd (author)2014-01-26

This is a great idea. I would just add a lip to the edge of the shelves to keep the shelves from emptying when the kids come bouncing down.

About This Instructable




Bio: Professionally I have been a summer camp counselor, a Draftsman/designer, salesperson, bicycle mechanic, laminate flooring machine mechanic, teacher, and designer of the OP Loftbed ... More »
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