Introduction: Stairwell Storage

A single story home with a basement, often leaves an open stairwell that is ripe for storage ideas. After hanging little shelves on the side walls I soon realized that if they were mounted low enough to reach, they were easy to bump into. So my goal was to keep the storage out of the way and still be useful. My basement access is in the kitchen. And what kitchen could not use a couple extra cabinets?

The idea was to have a trolley roll on two rails and have the cabinets hang down from the trolley.

Step 1:

The first order of business, was to gather some materials and build a sturdy platform to work from. A pair of 2x4's screwed into the walls, some cross supports and a plywood deck made a surprisingly solid work area.

I picked up some aluminum box tubing at a local scrap yard. All three pieces were 7 feet long and 1-1/2" square. Four 8 foot 1x4's, four 8 foot 2x4's, four lengths of 3/8-16 all-thread and several boxes of screws were procured from the local "big box" store. Also, sixteen bearings taken from an old pair of inline skates.

Step 2:

Two shelves were cut from 1x4's the length of the walls. They were screwed together in an inverted "L" shape and attached to the walls near the ceiling. A level was used to ensure the they were level end to end and from one side to the other. Blocks of wood were placed evenly along the length of the shelves and 8 gussets were screwed securely into the studs to accommodate the weight. Another length of wood was cut from a 2x4 to attach a channel of aluminum for each side. Extra care needed to be taken to make certain the tracks were parallel before screwing them on because the walls are not. The two aluminum channels were cut with a "wiz wheel" from a single length of box tubing and placed over each block forming the tracks for the trolley to ride on. It would have been easier to make the tracks without splitting the tube into two channels but, my aluminum supply was limited.

Step 3:

Next up is the trolley. Two, 2 foot lengths of box tube was cut to make the trucks. Holes were cut with a hole saw to make room for the bearings to protrude through the floor of the tube. A total of 8 bearings were used on each truck. Two in the front and back to support the weight, and one on each side at each end to keep the trucks even side to side. The side bearing were mounted with a section of angle aluminum with bolts. I cut the cross pieces to fit the width between the tracks and bolted them on top of the trucks. Two holes were drilled in each cross piece to allow the all-thread to hang through. The cabinets have holes drilled to match the cross pieces and were slid up onto the all-thread and nuts used to fasten them from the bottom.

Step 4:

Finally the fun part. I found an old motor used for motorized curtains at the flea market. $5 and it still had the string and switch. The motor was mounted over top of the door, a pulley on the back wall and the switch just inside the door. Limit switches stop the travel in both directions. A facade to cover the trolley, a little paint and now the basement door is also a closet.

Living Without Closets Contest

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