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Create a Sliding Storage System On the Garage Ceiling

If your garage is running out of space, try building this overhead storage system. The construction is simple and fast, and the whole system is made with standard materials.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

Out-of-the-way storage

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 another?

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!


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.

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Create a Sliding Storage System On the Garage Ceiling

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