Get more storage for less
You can drop a lot of cash on garage
storage systems. Shelves, tool racks,
special hooks, and other odds and
ends can really add up. Our homemade
system gives you the versatility
of those store-bought systems without
the big price tag. Our materials
cost for the whole system you see
here, covering 16 ft. of wall, was only a few hundred dollars. It’ll be even cheaper if you have scrap plywood and other
common materials lying around.
This system is so simple and fast
to build that even a beginning DIYer
can complete it in a weekend. You’ll
find everything you need at home
centers or hardware stores. And the
system is completely customizable to
your specific garage and gear—you
can easily move or add accessories
by driving in a few screws. Transform
your cluttered garage into one so
organized you’ll be the envy of the neighborhood.
Start with struts
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Screw 2x2 struts to each wall stud. Snap a chalk line to align the tops of the struts and mark the stud locations with masking tape. Drill pilot holes or use “self-drilling” screws to avoid splitting
Each of these storage accessories
hangs from a simple framework
of vertical struts, which are just 2x2s
screwed to the garage wall studs. If
you use struts, you can hang something
on the wall without hunting for
studs, and you can screw shelf brackets
and accessory hangers to the sides
of them. Of course, if you have bare
stud walls, you can skip the struts.
We used 2x2s rather than 2x4s
because they cost slightly less and
have fewer knots. Just be sure you
screw them in every 16 in. for extra
strength. Home centers sell 2x2s
in 8-ft. lengths.
Shorten or lengthen the struts to
suit your garage. If you go with
6-footers like we did, you can use
the leftover 2x2 scraps to build some
of the accessories described in this
article. It doesn’t matter if the struts
are centered 16 in. or 24 in. apart.
Just make sure they’re plumb by using a level.
Yard tool rack
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Create a rack to fit your tools, rather than trying to fit your tools to a standard rack.
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Cut basic slots in the top of the rack and test-fit the tool. Enlarge the slot or change its
shape until the tool hangs securely.
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Strong, low-cost hooks
Plumbing hooks are designed to support pipes, but they make great storage hooks too. We used them to hold ladders, sports gear and wheelbarrows. You can easily cut them to length if space is tight. They're sized for pipe ranging from 1/2 in. to 4 in.
and are very inexpensive.
Weed trimmers and leaf blowers
can slide around if you prop
them in a corner, and fall off the wall if
you try to hang them from a hook.
Solve the problem with this custom
storage rack, which uses 3/4-in. plywood
for the brackets, top and back.
Cut two 8-in. x 11-in. brackets to support
the top and back of the rack. Our
rack is 34 in. long and 12 in. deep—customize the dimensions to fit your
yard tools. To determine the best shape
for your slots, measure the diameter of
your tools and cut basic slots in the top
of the rack. Then play with the shape of your slots to get a snug fit.
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Free plywood brackets
These 1-1/2-in.-wide brackets are surprisingly strong and
will easily hold 100 lbs. or more.
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Cut rectangles first
Cut shelf brackets from scrap plywood. Cut the scraps into rectangles first, using a table
saw or circular saw. That keeps time-consuming jigsaw cuts to a minimum.
Metal shelf brackets seem inexpensive,
but the cost can add up quickly if
you’re installing several shelves. So
why not make free brackets from plywood
scraps? We created a simple,
flexible and inexpensive shelving system
using 3/4-in. plywood brackets
screwed to the vertical framework.
We used 3/4-in. plywood rather than
1/2-in. because it gives you a wider surface
to screw into when attaching the
shelves to the brackets.
For shelves, we used 3/4-in. birch
plywood, but you could use 1x12s or
melamine-coated particleboard, or you
could edge-band the plywood for a
more finished look. Screw a bracket at
each strut to support the shelves. You
can put shelving across the entire
length of the wall or stack shorter
shelves on top of each other (or do both, as we did).
Vinyl gutter storage bins
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Tough vinyl gutters are perfect for storing awkward odds and ends that don't really fit well anywhere else.
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Easy way to cut vinyl gutters
Cut vinyl gutter sections to length with a miter saw. You can use a handsaw, but you'll need to mark the cut carefully to get
Ten-foot lengths of vinyl gutter (sold at
home centers) screwed to the 2x2
framework are a perfect place to store
long items like hockey sticks, fishing
rods, dowels, wood trim and corner
bead. Items like these often end up
leaning against a wall or taking over an
entire corner only to tumble over or get
wrecked because they’re not really supposed
to be stored on end.
Shorter sections of vinyl gutter and
sturdy window box liners (sold at
home and garden centers) attached the
same way work well for storing hard-to-hang items like gloves, hose nozzles,
fertilizer spikes and sprayers. And people
who refuse to hang stuff back up on
the wall can just toss it into the bin. If
the gutter end caps don’t fit snugly,
apply PVC cement, silicone or gutter
adhesive and press firmly.
Vinyl gutters are surprisingly sturdy—you can even store a few sections of
rebar and metal pipe in them without a
problem. Metal gutter is also an option.
It’s the same price, but it’s harder to cut and too flimsy for heavier items.
Long-handled tool storage
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Hang several tools from one bracket.
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Make hanging holes in yard tools
Drill holes in your tool handles. Then taper the holes with a countersink bit so the
tools will slip easily on and off nails.
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Attach bracketsSlip the bracket over the strut and screw it into place. Be sure to drive nails into the bracket's
outside edge before you install it. Leave 1-1/2 in. of the nails exposed to hang tools.
Typical brackets for storing long-handled
tools stack the tools one on
top of another. This is definitely an efficient
use of wall space, but it’s frustrating
to move other tools out of the way
to reach the one you’re after. Or you
end up devoting an entire wall to hooks
that hang individual items.
Here’s a better solution. Screw a pair
of 3/4-in. plywood brackets to a chunk
of scrap 2x2. Attach several 16d finish
nails to the side of each bracket and
screw the bracket assembly to the 2x2
framework. Drill holes into each of
your tool handles, and you can easily
hang and retrieve individual rakes and
shovels without using up a lot of wall space.
Wheelbarrow storage hub
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Hang the wheelbarrow
Free up more floor space by hanging the wheelbarrow on the wall instead of leaving it on the floor.
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Versatile (and cheap) plumbing hooks catch the wheelbarrow lip.
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Screw hook catch
The screw hook locks the wheelbarrow to the wall. Turn it to release the wheelbarrow.
Here's a slick way to get your wheelbarrow off the garage floor: To start, screw two plumbing hooks to the wall (we used 1-1/2-in. hooks). Tilt the wheelbarrow onto the hooks and up against the wall. Drill a pilot hole and then drive in a screw hook to hold the wheelbarrow upright. To release
the wheelbarrow, just turn the hook.
Kid-friendly ball corral
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Sports stuff storage
Instead of kicking balls around the garage to get them out of the way, toss them into this soft-sided storage bin.
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Bungee cord slats
Cut the hooks off and knot the ends of the cords after threading them through the holes.
This sturdy ball corral holds a herd
of balls and lets kids easily grab the
balls at the bottom without unloading
all the ones on top. It’s built from
3/4-in. plywood and 2x2s. We made
our ball corral 24 in. wide x 33 in. high
x 12 in. deep.
The hooks on Bungee cords can be a
safety hazard for kids and adults alike.
So cut the hooks off the cords (or use
elastic cord available at camping,
sporting goods and hardware stores).
Thread the cord through predrilled
holes and secure with knots. Drill the
holes slightly larger than the cords to
make threading them easier.
We added plumbing hooks and short
gutter troughs on the outside of the corral
to make it easy for kids to stash smaller balls, helmets and mitts.
Hose and sprinkler bucket
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Better hose holder
Your hose will hold its shape better and last longer if you coil it over a large bucket for winter storage.
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Mount the bucket by driving screws through plywood. Without plywood, the screws will pull through the bottom of
Storing hoses and cords on thin hooks or nails can cause them to crack or lose their shape. Five-gallon buckets fitted with a scrap of 3/4-in. plywood in the bottom and then screwed to the wall make great multipurpose holders. The plywood can be any shape, but to give it a more finished look, cut a circle slightly smaller than the diameter of the
Sports gear rack
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Hard-hitting utility storage
Unlike commercial products, these racks cost almost nothing and can really be loaded up.
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Lag screws provide the muscle
Screw a scrap of 2x2 to the face of a vertical 2x2 to hold the hangers. Slip a 6-in. length of 1/2-in. CPVC or PVC pipe over an 8-in.-long, 3/8-in.-diameter lag screw. This
CPVC sleeve will prevent the lags from scratching the sports gear.
Specialty gear hooks and bat racks
are expensive, and while vinyl-covered
utility hooks only cost a few dollar, they
only hold single items. Each of these
inexpensive sports gear hangers will
hold several bats and racquets.
Each set of hangers is made from a
pair of lag screws covered with CPVC
sleeves to protect the gear. Customize
the hangers by spacing them closer or
wider apart depending on what you want to hang.