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Customizable Garage Storage

Organize your garage and cut the clutter with this garage storage system that you can easily customize to fit any space and can hold just about anything. You can quickly move hooks, shelves and bins around to find the most efficient arrangement. And the entire system is inexpensive and easy to build. You only need two power tools—a circular saw and a drill.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

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    You'll need mostly patience to make repetitive cuts with a circular saw and to draw the level lines.

Customizable Garage Storage

Organize your garage and cut the clutter with this garage storage system that you can easily customize to fit any space and can hold just about anything. You can quickly move hooks, shelves and bins around to find the most efficient arrangement. And the entire system is inexpensive and easy to build. You only need two power tools—a circular saw and a drill.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

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 wider parts.

Cutting a straightedge

Building the saw guide

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 straightedge with short screws. Make sure to face the factory edge of the straightedge toward 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 easily erasable.

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).

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 neighborhood.

Narrow crosscut guide

Wide crosscut guide

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.

Additional Information

Back to Top

Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

    • Hammer
    • Clamps
    • Tape measure
    • Circular saw
    • Stud finder
    • Drill/driver, cordless
    • Chalk line
    • Level
    • Drill bit set
    • Speed square
    • Rafter square

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.

Comments from DIY Community Members

Share what's on your mind and see what other DIYers are thinking about.

1 - 18 of 18 comments
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September 15, 8:13 PM [GMT -5]

Does anyone have any pictures of your homemade holders, shelves, etc. for this project?

June 21, 12:47 PM [GMT -5]

To answer my own question about the copper tubing: It is for use in making handles for the tool boxes. I finally noticed the tubing in the pictures. I've already gotten some nice hardwood dowels to use for my boxes.

I hope to finish my project this weekend. When I do, I will post comments about my experience as well as a link to pictures of the finished project.

June 10, 8:20 PM [GMT -5]

RyanBeatty-
The bevel cuts on the top and bottom of the hanger strips are apparently just for looks. The bevel at the top of the strip has been problematic for me during gluing and screwing the cleat to the back. It forces you to locate the screws through the cleat "just so" in order to screw into the full 3/4" depth of the front strip. My future strips will not have the bevel at the top in order to simplify the process. Clamping the cleat squarely during the screwing/gluing process was difficult for me due to the front bevel, too.

Here is a photo showing the placement of the screws through the cleat on a hanger strip:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/rick-o/9012017496/in/photostream/

May 27, 2:24 PM [GMT -5]

The walls in my garage are open, will it still work?

May 23, 3:56 PM [GMT -5]

Maybe I missed it in the article but where is the copper tubing listed in the Materials List used in the project?

May 23, 3:19 PM [GMT -5]

Ramirej-
Thanks for the link for the hooks used. I spent 30 minutes searching and trying to guess how Home Depot had them listed on their website.

If anyone missed it, here it is again:

http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1v/R-202249703/h_d2/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10053&langId=-1&keyword=hook+assortment&storeId=10051#.UJq8ZIfBHTo

JVN

May 20, 4:34 PM [GMT -5]

Any suggestions as to how to hang on a concrete wall ?

Thanks , J V N

May 20, 1:48 PM [GMT -5]

I think I'll use this system and then build boxed cabinets with the cleats on the back. That way I can totally rearrange the garage on a whim...CLMINKATY

April 21, 10:50 PM [GMT -5]

Finishing up some of the hangers and whatnot. I combined this with the other garage storage system project they had to some extent. The other system on this site uses metal backings rather than the bevels strips - I thought that was silly and probably annoying to use, so I stuck with these beveled strips and they seem great. However, I liked the idea of sheathing the wall in plywood and trimming it out to make it have a more finished look - especially since I didn't feel like painting the walls in the garage beforehand :) So I bought bunch of 1/4" plywood and laminated it to the wall with it using construction adhesive and nails in the studs, then trimmed around the outside of it with an inch of the 3/4" plywood I used for the rails. This had an added benefit - like pretty much all walls mine aren't perfectly straight, so I was able to make the trim on the outside perfectly plumb and level which gave me a perfect fit to have the rails flush against the trim.

One big question I had though - it is clear to me from the pictures that he finished his wood with some something. I was thinking just putting on polyurethane - was wondering if anybody else recognized what he finished the wood with there, as a similar look would be nice. I don't think he stained it and I'm not really wanting to do that either I don't think.

April 20, 2:18 AM [GMT -5]

Why are there bevel cuts on both ends of the bracket and hook holders? It appears in the pictures that the bevel is reversed on the bottom from the top. Does this serve a purpose that I am not understanding or can I skip that part?

March 05, 11:47 AM [GMT -5]

Anybody know about how much weight this system will hold per strip? Thanks.

January 23, 9:04 AM [GMT -5]

I used 1 x 6 lumber for my project and was able to rip it in half and use one half to mount on the wall and then the other half cut to size to mount to hooks and shelves to hang on the wall.
I've hung small parts bins, pegboard, etc off of them. Picked up a couple of Ladder Hangers from the hardware store and mounted them the same way and have a place for the ladder now that is adjustable for any length of ladder.

January 22, 7:38 AM [GMT -5]

What if your garage walls are concrete? Any suggestions? Thanks!

November 11, 10:27 AM [GMT -5]

Great project. Not really a weekend project unless you have everything at your fingertips. several hours just to go get materials and such ( not to mention moving all the junk out of the way ). If you have a buddy that has a table saw then buy him a case of beer. Long rips for the wall strips and such are sloooow going with a circular saw. Also, I have a compound miter saw so I just ran the hardware mounting material from the plywood (using 45 deg bevels, of course) and put the 45's on the ends with the chop saw. That way you can cut any length you need. Much easier than making jigs. I also made shelf brackets from plywood. It's a lot cheaper as my home depot wanted around $7each for the brackets in photos. Thanks again for the project. My garage is awesome now.

November 07, 2:56 PM [GMT -5]

Here is the link to the hooks in the article.

http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1v/R-202249703/h_d2/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10053&langId=-1&keyword=hook+assortment&storeId=10051#.UJq8ZIfBHTo

TFR

September 21, 11:22 PM [GMT -5]

Tim
The only place to get the hangers (hooks) shown in this project is Home Depot. They have Everbilt as the manufacturer. They come in a package with two straight hangers and two curved hangers for 6.99. From the package, it looks as though Home Depot imports these and I could not find them anywhere else. If you look on the HD website they are hard to find. They appear on the very last page (5) when you browse for "hook assortment" . Very difficult to find. I bought 4 packages of these to start after driving out of town to Home Depot and just ordered 4 more packages of these to finish the wall.

September 15, 9:47 AM [GMT -5]

Can anyone share where they have found the storage hooks shown in this article? I can't find them at Home Depot, as suggested in the article, or anywhere else on the web. Help!

Thank you

Tim

August 30, 9:25 AM [GMT -5]

Question about material, I have lots of 1 x 6 tongue and groove left from sheathing the inside of a pole-barn and was wonder if that is usable for making the wall system to use in the barn?

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