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Build DIY Storage Shelves & Organize the Garage

Building shelving for your garage may actually help to create room for your car. Imagine parking your car in the garage – what a concept!

Before you can clean up your garage, you have to have some place to store stuff, or else you’ll just be moving the items around. Stacking and making piles is not storage. If you don’t have a garden shed for extra storage, make efficient use of  your garage to get that extra storage space.  When garages are built, they are big empty rectangular spaces primarily meant for parking cars, and not much else. If you what a storage system, you generally have to supply that yourself.

DIY storage options for garages can include wall shelving and overhead storage. You really can’t get this scale of storage with a shelving kit you buy at the home improvement store. Almost everyone in our family has built at least one of these storage systems in various sizes and styles – in both the garage and basement, and these are some examples.


Advantages of overhead and wall storage include:

  • Reducing clutter – it’s so easy for clutter to happen, even when you’re trying hard to prevent it, but having this type of storage system may give you the incentive to keep things organized
  • Making the area look tidy  and organized – getting things up off the floor can really improve the look of an area; and think about it, can you imagine what the inside of your house would look like if there were no cabinets, closets, or armoires?
  • Organize items into categories – shelving enables you to create and use categories that best serve you and your family such as storing things in labeled containers like toys, craft supplies, camping gear, holiday decorations, and so on.


Wall Storage

These shelves are built with 2 x 4 lumber, ½” plywood, lag screws and drywall screws. Each shelf is supported by a 2×4 frame. The frame was built using 3” drywall screws, 2 at each corner. The back and one side of the 2×4 frame act as ledger boards and were secured to the wall studs with 4” lag screws. This supported 3 corners of the storage unit and a 2×4 leg supports the remaining corner. Each shelf frame was connected to the 2×4 leg with two 3” drywall screws. Fasten the 1/2″ plywood to the shelf frame with one and a half inch screws.



We recommend using screws for secure connections, because nails can pull out over time. If you build a storage structure using four 2×4 support legs instead of the ledger board(s), you’ll need to secure the legs to the joists or rafters above for support to prevent lateral movement in any direction. Without any type of support, the storage structure would become unstable and can collapse overtime.

If you build storage shelves, a good tip is to leave enough space beneath the lowest shelf for storing larger and heavy items on the floor.


Overhead Storage


This garage is 12 feet from the floor to the bottom of the rafters. There is generous amount of space for an overhead storage area like this one off to the side. It is being used for storing DIY items like lumber all in one place and is easily accessible. Using half-inch plywood for a shelf surface is best for this type of storage area if smaller items are stored to help keep them from falling through the supports.

This overhead storage area was built with 1×6 dimensional lumber secured to the rafters and the side wall studs using two through bolts at each connection. This type of storage makes great use of space.


Use Common Sense

Care should be taken with overhead storage areas and upper shelf storage to help keep stored items from falling and causing injury and/or damage. Larger and heavier items should be place on the floor under the shelves – think ahead to determine what items will need to be stored before designing the look of your storage system. Over stacking can create an unsafe situation, also.


Frugal Friday!

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