Garage Storage




Introduction: Garage Storage

I finally got tired of paying for a storage unit and having a disorganized garage so I decided it was time to build some shelving. I had considered buying some of the heavy duty shelves from Costco, $150ish; But I didn't think that one rack would be enough and I didn't feel like spending nearly $300 for just two racks.

Step 1: The Design

It took me about two weeks, between working two jobs and finally thinking of as much as I could to have a good functional design. I started by measuring out the length of the garage. and fingering out how many shelves I wanted and how to space them out. The garage is 17' 4", well if you know anything about lumber (or if you don't) some common lengths are 8, 10, 12, and 16 feet. So I decided that I would just do 16 feet and call it good. Doing a rough measurement floor to ceiling was 9'. Naturally I don't want a one foot gap from the top of the shelves and the ceiling so I want to get 10' 2x4s and cut them to length. As I look at the heights of my shelves it is my main goal to be able to store some of the totes that people have to keep things a little more organized. The ones I own are 17" tall so I want my shelves to be at least 18" to leave a little bit of a gap.

I also have a bunch of my outdoors gear (rock climbing stuff, Scuba Diving stuff, Camping stuff) and I want to be able to put all of that in there as well. So without piling everything on top of each other I think some small 1' shelves would be nice.

Now like any homeowner I have slowly collected things that are tall or long (rakes, shovels, snow board, wet suit) and I want some where to put all of those. So I want a 2-3 foot section where I can put in a few hooks and hang everything or just somewhere to store it all.

By now my tool collection has grown from a small red tool box to three tool boxes and a tool bag. So I want to build me a work bench so I can work on stuff in the garage and stay a bit warmer and dryer. Ideally it'll be five feet wide so I can have plenty of room to do work.

I also have a dog who loves to chew things up. So he has been confined to his own little corner of the garage and so I will be leaving the bottom left hand storage area for him to be able to in the garage and stay warm (he is just a little feller).

Step 2: Count Out What You Need

Once I finished drawing up the design, I needed to figure out how much lumber I was going to need.

I counted out 8- 2"x4"x16'

23- 2"x4"x10'

6 sheets of ply wood (either 3'x8' or 4'x8' [I soon learned while shopping that plywood only comes in 4' widths so thats what I went with])


Step 3: Getting Started

So the first thing I did, a few months earlier, was repaint the walls because the previous owners had pretty well made them look terrible. Once I patched up the walls and gave them a good fresh coat of paint it looked pretty good. Once I finally got started I quickly realized that I had not completely thought out where I wanted things or how I wanted them placed. I had a good idea but did not prepare well enough. I wanted to screw in my back supports into the studs, well I didn't know how to easily find them without buying a stud finder, luckily one of my neighbors had a stud finder that he let me borrow for the day. We first screwed in the three 2"x4"x16' one at the top of the ceiling, one at 3' and one at the base of the foundation. We then took the 2"x4"x10" that I had cut down to 9' then realized the ceiling was shorter, cut it down to 8'6" and still needed to take off about 1/2" to get it to fit snuggly. I cut all 10 of the vertical supports at the same time to make sure they are all the same length.

Step 4: Building the Outer Frame.

Once We got the inside frame all put together and screwed in place we took a few of the scrap 2"x4"s and used them as spacers as we built the out frame right up next to the inside from so that they were exactly in line with each other for when we moved it out.

Once the out frame was build we pulled it down and started to move it out when we learned that the ceiling was sagging just a bit. We wedged the frame in where we wanted it and used a hammer and sledge hammer to tap it into place, We put in the top 4' pieces to keep the top from moving back out. We then continued to tap in the rest of the bottom to get in perfectly vertical (using a level). As we did this the storage is acting like a header now since it raised the sagging roof back up to where it should have been.

Step 5: Shelf Support

Once the frame was vertical and the top supports were screwed in, we then finished screwing in the bottom then the middle supports(where we had the 2"x4"x16').

Now was the hard part. Taking my original design and making it reality. We needed up not making some of the smaller shelves simply because once you factor in the 2"x4" you lose 4 inches of space from the design.

I then decided that I didn't want small 12" shelfs on the top or on the bottom.

Once we got the supports in we cut notched out of the plywood to be able to have the plywood sit against the wall so that nothing can fall down the back.

Step 6: Future Addition

So now that everything is put together and I didn't want to spend any more money; I decided to not buy the doors that I wanted. The plan is to be able to put some swinging doors on the shelving so that when the garage is open the neighbors can't see all of my lovely collection of things.

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    16 Discussions

    Wow, that's some searious shelving space. Hope you got around to putting some doors on them!

    Great work! I recently built myself some similar shelves in my garage, and it's been so nice.

    Question: Perhaps I missed it, but is that tall open section for storing sheet materials as it appears you're doing in the last step? Because that's genius!

    3 replies

    Thanks for taking a look. I guess you are right that I could use it to store sheet materials, But the plan is to screw those in and make that more closet like. Put the shovels and rakes and wet suit in there so that they can be put away.

    Like what you did. One thing I noticed was you didn't put any protection on the concrete floor to seal the 2x4's from moisture. this is a must if you don't want rot and mold under the 2x4's. some 5ml plastic sheeting will do.

    Nice job.

    So, is your dog your shop foreman? Mine is, and he works for peanuts - er, dog treats.

    Looks great. I've done This kind of shelving a few times. The best part over factory made is that you get to customize it to your needs and space. Plus, in the future you can reclaim most of the stock for a different configuration.

    Good stuff. I am always a fan of built-in things. That way you can maximize the space by cutting it all to fit rather than trying to make some factory-built product work.

    Generally speaking, I would use pressure treated or cedar on anything that's touching concrete though to help deal with the moisture that will inevitably leach out of the concrete over time. Another tactic can be to place a piece of plastic between the wood and the floor. A few extra bucks up front can add significant life to the project.

    These look great. One note for others though, you don't need the verticals in the back. Just mount the horizontal cross beam to the wall.

    1 reply

    That is entirely dependent on supported weight for the shelves. You do not want all th weight to be held by a board in the back by itself because the fasteners are taking all of the load... it would truly suck if the back of the shelves collapsed because you did NOT put sufficient support with uprights... Better to cut supports to fit between the horizontal sections, in the back, at the very least.

    ---snip---By now my tool collection has grown from a small red tool box to three tool boxes and a tool bag. So I want to build me a work bench so I can work on stuff in the garage and stay a bit warmer and dryer. Ideally it'll be fish feet wide so I can have plenty of room to do work.---snip--- wide, exactly, are fish feet...just joking, but I found this quite amusing =)

    Shelves are great. I have a suggestion for you though. It appears that your shelves do not sit on anything but rather they hang by nails. IMO, it is always best to use nails and screws to hold stuff together but any weight must be supported by structure. You might want to put a vertical support behind each of your uprights, cut to length to match the spacing between your shelves. This way, your shelves are not hanging on fasteners but rather they are sitting on solid structure. As built, a little weight and the fasteners will fail and the shelves will collapse.

    Also, on the back, just screw the horizontals to the wall. Add the "blocking" described above for proper structural support though.

    Nicely done!! A suggestion; perhaps rather that swinging doors you could consider venetian blinds or make some tab curtains out of a heavy material. These items can be generally found in garage sales or recycle stores. I have done this with some of my storage shelves and it save me from always having to move the truck when I need to open the cabinet.


    3 years ago

    How much weight do you expect each of these shelves to hold up? I'd like to do something similar myself and not spend a bunch of money. I'm assuming since you're screwing them into the wall studs it's pretty sturdy.

    Awesome! I'll probably do something simillar once I move to my next house since Canada's Atlantic provinces are notorious for basement flooding. I'll be posting pics as soon as I'm done!