Under Stairs Shelves




About: 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. Personally I am a human...

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

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Step 1: 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

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

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

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

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 https://www.instructables.com/id/Sloped-Sided-Organizer-Box/ 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!

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37 Discussions


5 years ago on Introduction

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


5 years ago on Introduction

Pretty smart idea for people who have very little space.


5 years ago on Introduction

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.

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


2 replies

5 years ago on Introduction

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?


2 replies

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.


5 years ago on Step 6

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


5 years ago on Introduction

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

1 reply

5 years ago on Introduction

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.

1 reply

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.