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Utilize dead space
Install the system in the empty area above the garage door.
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The boxes slide into and out of the tracks easily
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Different depth boxes are available.
Are all those cardboard boxes in the corner
of your garage driving you crazy?
Holiday decorations, camping gear, seasonal
clothing and extra bedding take up valuable
space. And who can tell one brown box from
We've designed this system to get all that stuff
up and out of the way and into unclaimed space
near your garage ceiling. We built this handy system
around special reinforced plastic totes that
hang from carriages made from 2x4s and plywood
strips. In this article, we'll show you how to assemble
these simple carriages, align them perpendicular
to the ceiling joists, then anchor them into
place with lag screws. It's that easy. Add labels to
the sides of the totes and you can tell at a glance
where to find that long-term storage item. You can
build and install the carriages in an afternoon and
start organizing right away!
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Photo 1: Measure
Measure the top of the tote to determine the width
of the tote rims (3/4 in.) and the size of the bottom
flanges of the carriages (in our case, 3 in.).
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Photo 2: Bottom flanges
Cut 3-in.-wide strips of 3/4-in. plywood for the bottom
flange. Center them on 4-ft.-long 2x4s, then
glue and screw them. Use 2-in. screws every 10 in.
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Photo 3: Complete the carriages
Flip the carriage assemblies over. Center the 5-in.-
wide plywood top flanges and glue and screw
them to complete the carriage assemblies.
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Photo 4: Mark joists
Locate the ceiling joists with a stud finder and snap
chalk lines to mark them. Probe with a finish nail
to make sure the lines fall on joist centers.
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Photo 5: Screw in place
Mark each carriage 12 in. from the end and align
the mark with the joist location. Screw the carriage
temporarily to each joist on one side of the flange with
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Photo 6: Mark the carriage locations
Cut a 2x4 template from your tote dimensions and
mark the location of the top edge of the next carriage.
Mark the rear side as well, then screw it and the
other carriages in place on one side only.
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Photo 7: Test the fit
Check the fit of the totes and make sure the rims
have maximum bearing on the lower flanges. Make
any necessary adjustments.
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Photo 8: Drive lags at joists
Drill 3/16-in. pilot holes in the top flanges. Then
drive pairs of 3-1/2-in. lag screws into each joist,
removing the temporary screws as you go. Use a minimum
of four lag screws per carriage.
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Photo 9: Install stops
Mark the centers of the carriages and
screw a 1x2 stop along the marks.
The stop will keep the totes from sliding
too far into the carriages.
If you don't have unused space above the garage door,
you can install this system just about anywhere. However,
keep the totes at least 2 ft. from light fixtures, door
springs and garage door openers.
The special reinforced totes we used (available from internet suppliers like usplastic.com, simplastics.com and others) are a bit stronger than those you'll find at home centers or department stores. The reinforced rims on these containers will support weights of 35 lbs. or more,
which is perfect for lightweight storage. And the totes will
be easy enough to lift into place while you're standing on
a ladder. To be on the safe side, the total weight of all the
totes shouldn't exceed 210 lbs., so find a different place to
store books and heavy hardware. Custom plastic lids are
also available for dust-free storage.
If you use other types of containers, measure the rims
carefully and adjust the bottom flange width to assure
full support. And no matter what joist spacing you find
(24 in. or 16 in.), be sure to fasten the carriages with at
least four lag screws.
Before you order your totes, measure the
height above your garage door and find
totes that'll work. Our 13-in.-deep totes
required 18 in. of clearance, including the
carriages. For lower clearances, you can
buy totes that are 8 and 10 in. deep but
with the same top size.
Note: A Materials List and Cutting List are available in Additional Information below.