Organize and reorganize in minutes: Garage storage system design
Rearrange, reorganize, add on, make room for
new stuff. It's as easy as lifting off the hangers
and putting them somewhere else. There's
nothing complicated about this storage
system. The matching bevels and gravity hold
the hangers securely until you want to move
them. And you can build the whole system with
just two power tools—a circular saw and a drill.
What could be simpler!
Customizable garage storage system
Customizable Garage Storage
Organize your clutter, tools and toys. Customize this system to fit any wall width and height. A variety of easy to assemble hangers will hold just about everything in your garage.
Garage storage design, materials and tools
The problem with organizing garages
is that there are so many different kinds of things to store that
it's overwhelming trying to decide how to do it. But with
this system, you don't have to worry about the ultimate
positioning of all your hooks and shelves because you
can rearrange them at will. And you don't have to plan
ahead for future storage needs either. You can easily
add on to the system just by assembling more hangers
and rearranging the existing ones. Once the beveled
strips are attached, you never have to locate a stud or
use drywall anchors to hang hooks or other hardware. Just
screw them to an appropriate-size wood-cleat hanger and
put them up wherever you want.
The system consists of beveled strips that are screwed to
the wall studs, and custom-made wooden hangers that lock
onto the strips. We built everything with utility plywood,
which costs about $45 a sheet. You can cut enough strips from
a 4 x 8-ft. sheet to cover a 12-ft.-long wall. And you can assemble
enough hangers, tool totes and other miscellaneous holders
from another 4 x 8 sheet to get a good start on organizing
your garage. See the Materials List in “Additional Information” below for other items you
may need. We used four sheets of plywood to build everything
you see in the photo.
Customizable garage storage system
Wood Strips, Hangers, Shelves and Bins
The system consists and wood strips screwed to the wall and a variety of hangers, shelves, bins and whatever containers you dream up to hold special items like our golf bag holder! Work with whatever sections of garage wall you have open.
Cut the beveled strips
Cut the strips from a sheet of plywood.
Photo 1 shows how. You
won't be able to cut the narrow beveled
strips from the last 10 or 12 in.
of the plywood sheet with this
guide. Instead, use the remaining
wide strip for the totes or other
Build a Saw Guide for Perfect Cuts
To make the saw guide, start by marking a line and cutting a 5-in.-wide
strip from the edge of an uncut sheet of plywood (photo “Cutting a straightedge”). It
doesn't matter if you don't saw perfectly straight
because you'll only use the factory edge. Draw arrows
toward the factory edge to identify it.
You could simply clamp this straightedge to the plywood as a saw
guide, but then you would have to compensate for the distance from
the guide to the saw blade every time. The photo “Building the saw guide” shows
how to build a guide that you can line up with the cutting mark, a technique
that is quicker and more accurate. Attach a 12-in.-wide
strip of 1/4-in.
plywood to the
short screws. Make
sure to face the
factory edge of the
the excess base
material. Then, with
the saw set to a
45-degree bevel, run
the saw's bed along
the straightedge to
cut off the excess
base. To see a video on how to build
this saw guide, download the September iPad edition.
Make another guide just like this one, except set the saw to cut 90
degrees when you cut off the excess 1/4-in. plywood. You can use the
opposite edge of the same sheet of plywood for the straight edge. Use
this guide for non-beveled cuts.
Mount the strips on the garage wall
To ensure that the strips are
straight and level and that all the
screws hit the center of the studs,
make a grid of chalk lines. Start by
drawing a level line to mark the
bottom of the lowest strip (Photo
2). Then make marks every 12 in.
above the line and connect the
marks with chalk lines (Photo 3).
Use special dust-off chalk—it's
Next, locate the center of a stud.
Use a stud finder or knock on the
wall until you feel and hear a solid
spot. Then zero in on the center by
probing with a nail (Photo 4). Do
this above the lines, where the nail
holes will be covered by the strips.
Find both edges of the stud with the
nail. Then mark the center. In most
cases, studs are 16 in. apart, and
you can measure from this first
center mark to find the remaining
studs. Whatever method you use,
probe with a nail at each stud to
make sure you hit solid wood. Make
marks for the center of the studs at
the top and bottom and connect
the marks with chalk lines. With the
grid done, it's easy to align and
attach the strips (Photo 5).
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Cut the hanger parts and assemble the hangers
With the saw guides, it's fast and easy to
make long, table saw–quality cuts in
plywood. But what about all those small
parts? One problem with cutting small
parts freehand is that it's hard to keep
the cuts square. Another is that the
cutoff pieces tend to fall away just
before the cut is finished, creating a little
torn-off section. You can solve both
these problems, and make marks for
repeatable cuts, by building two crosscut
guides (See “Build simple guides for cutting small parts” below). We bought a 2 x 4-ft.
piece of MDF at the home center, but
you can use any flat scraps of plywood.
Start by cutting two fence strips 1-3/8
in. wide by 3 or 4 ft. long. Then cut a
4-1/2-in.-wide strip and a 9-1/2-in.- wide
strip for the base pieces. Use your
straightedge saw guide to make these
cuts. Glue and clamp the fence parts to
the base pieces. Or you can glue and
screw them. If you use screws, remove
them after the glue sets.
“Build simple guides for cutting small parts” (below) shows how to
use the crosscut guides. When you make
the first cut, mark the location of the
square on the crosscut guide. To make
several parts that are the same length,
measure from the saw kerf in the work
support and make a mark. Line up the
end of the material with this mark and
align the clamp with the clamp mark.
With a little ingenuity, you can hang just
about anything from these beveled strips.
The golf bag holder and tote boxes are just a
few ideas. We haven't included detailed plans
because frankly, it doesn't really matter.
Anything you can attach to a beveled cleat is
fair game. Home centers, hardware stores
and sporting goods stores all have hooks and
brackets for hanging stuff. You just have to
build a wooden cleat to screw them to. Have
something to hang? Have fun inventing a
new hanging bracket. When you're finished,
your garage will be the envy of the
Build Simple Guides for Cutting Small Parts
Both of these crosscut guides are simple: All you need to do is glue a 1-3/8-in.-wide strip of plywood or MDF to a wider strip. Set
the work-piece on the guide, clamp on a rafter square and run your saw along the square to get straight, precise cuts. This works
for plain cuts or 45-degree bevels. It's best to have two widths and two sizes of rafter squares for different size parts.