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Easy Garage Storage Solutions

4 quick and simple DIY storage projects

ladder storageFamily Handyman
Four simple DIY projects to help organize your garage. None of these DIY projects take more than four hours to complete. Complete instructions and photos for how to build suspended shelves, a bike lift, a ladder rack and a wheelbarrow holder.

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Time
One day
Complexity
Simple
Cost
$20 – $100

Suspended Shelving

Photo 1

Measure from the ceiling to the top of the raised garage door. Subtract 1 in. to determine the height of the side 2x4s.

Photo 2

Build three identical shelf supports, align the side supports, and predrill and lag-screw each into the center of the ceiling trusses/joists.

Photo 3

Cut 3/8-in. plywood for the shelf base and attach it to the 2×4 shelf supports with 1-in. wood screws.

Figure A

Shelf support detail

One shelf holds all this!

Each shelf holds eight containers 16 in. wide x 24 in. long x 12-1/2 in. high.

Don’t overload the bins

Don’t overload bins with heavy stuff. Limit the total weight to about 160 lbs.

 

Tuck medium and lightweight stuff onto shelves suspended from the ceiling. The shelves are designed to fit into that unused space above the garage doors (you need 16 in. of clearance to fit a shelf and standard 12-1/2 in. high plastic bins). However, you can adjust the shelf height and put them anywhere. The only limitation is weight. We designed this 4 x 6-ft. shelf to hold about 160 lbs., a load that typical ceiling framing can safely support. It’s best to save the shelf for “deep storage,” using labeled bins with lids, because you’ll need a stepladder to reach stuff. First, find which way the joists run, then plan to hang one shelf support from three adjacent joists (Photo 2). Our joists are 24 in. apart; if yours are spaced at 16 in., skip one intermediate joist. We built ours to hold plastic bins, but if you put loose stuff up there, add 1×4 sides to keep things from falling off. Assemble the 2x4s as shown (Figure A), using 5-in. corner braces ($2 each) and 1/4-in. x 1-in. hex head lag screws (drill pilot holes first).

Now attach the corner braces on both ends of a shelf support to the center of a joist/truss by drilling pilot holes and using 1/4-in. x 2-in. hex head lag screws (Photo 2). The only challenge is finding the center of joists through a drywall ceiling (if your ceiling is finished) to attach the shelf supports. Tap a small nail through the drywall until you locate both edges of the joist. Measure to find the center of the adjacent joists, and measure to keep the three supports in alignment with one another. Finish the shelf unit by attaching a 3/8-in. x 4-ft. x 6-ft. plywood floor (Photo 3).

Heavy-bicycle lift

diy garage storage lift

Photo 1

Attach the DIY garage storage lift assembly hardware to the center of the ceiling joists with the screws provided.

Photo 2

Mount the safety rope cleat to a garage wall stud, out of a child’s reach. Wrap the cord around the cleat to secure the bike.

garage pulley system

The Hoist DIY Garage Storage Lift

Garage Pulley System

Hanging bikes by one or both wheels on bicycle storage hooks is the quickest and cheapest way to get them off the floor and out of the way. But the hooks won’t always work if your bike is too heavy to lift easily. Then the best solution is a convenient garage pulley system that allows you to quickly and easily raise the bike out of the way. We couldn’t design a system much cheaper or better than a purchased system like the Hoist Monster from ProStor.

It can lift up to 100 lbs. with its quality mechanical system of pulleys and hooks, and its dual safety design (locking mechanism and rope tie-down cleat) keeps the bike secure. Attach the garage pulley system brackets to a ceiling joist with wood screws. Position the hooks the same distance apart as the distance from the handlebar to the seat rear. Choose a location that’s convenient yet doesn’t interfere with vehicles or people since the bike will hang down about 4 ft. from the ceiling. If the joists aren’t spaced just right, lag-screw 2x4s to them and then screw the brackets to the 2x4s.

Suspended extension ladder

Out-of-the-way ladder storage

Build two identical brackets, then screw them both to ceiling joists with 1/4 x 2-in. lag screws. Space the brackets so the ladder will extend at least 1 ft. beyond the end of each one.

Figure B

Ladder Support Detail

It’s always most convenient to hang an extension ladder on brackets on a wall. But unfortunately that wipes out all other storage potential for that wall. To save that valuable wall space, we designed a pair of 2×4 suspended brackets so a ladder can be stored flat along the ceiling. Simply slide one end of the ladder into one bracket, then lift and slide the other end into the other bracket. Most people will need to stand on something solid to reach the second bracket. The 2×4 bracket sides are 16 in. long with 5-in. corner braces lag-screwed (like the shelf unit) into the top for attachment to the ceiling joist (Figure B). The bracket base is a 1/2-in. x 24-in. threaded steel rod that extends through 5/8-in. drilled holes on the bracket sides. It’s held in place with flat/lock washers and a nut on each side of both 2×4 uprights. A 3/4-in. x 18-in. long piece of PVC conduit pipe surrounds the rod for smooth rolling action when you slide the ladder in and out.

CAUTION!

For extra security, wrap a Bungee cord around the ladder and one bracket.

Wheelbarrow on the wall

On-the-wall wheelbarrow storage

Two brackets are all it takes to store your wheelbarrow.

Photo 1

Mark the wall at the height of the front wheelbarrow lip, then screw the lower bracket into a stud 1 in. below that mark.

Photo 2

Swing the wheelbarrow up, mark the position of the upper bracket and screw it into place.

Bracket detail

Wheelbarrows are fairly heavy and awkward. The trick to storing them is to get them up off the floor but not so high that you can’t lift them down easily. We’ve designed simple wall storage brackets in the past, but it’s tough to beat the nifty wheelbarrow holder bracket we found at Home Depot. With this bracket, you simply set the front lip of the wheelbarrow into the lower bracket and swing the back up and into a latching upper bracket. To get the wheelbarrow down, just unlatch the upper bracket and swing it down. Keep in mind that the metal legs will stick out and can cause a nasty bump or bruise. Hang your wheelbarrow along a little traveled wall or cover the legs with something soft. Push the wheelbarrow next to a wall stud and mark its height (Photo 1). Attach the lower bracket to the stud with wood screws (provided), 1 in. below the mark. Next, push the wheelbarrow up so the front lip drops into the lower bracket, then raise the handles to the wall (Photo 2). Mark the upper bracket location, then attach the bracket to the stud.

Required Tools for this Project

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

  • Circular saw
  • Cordless drill
  • Socket/ratchet set
  • Stud finder
  • Tape measure

Required Materials for this Project

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

  • 1-in. x 5-in. Stanley corner brace
  • 1/2-in. x 24-in. threaded steel rod
  • 1/4-in. x 1-in. hex head lag screws
  • 1/4-in.x 2-in.hex head lag screws
  • 2x4
  • 3/4-in. x 18-in. long piece of PVC conduit pipe
  • 3/8-in. x 4-ft. x 6-ft. plywood 2x4
  • 5-in. corner braces
  • Bicycle hoist
  • Crawford No. WBH
  • Lag screws
  • Nuts and washers
  • ProStor PBH-1 Hoist Monster:
  • Shelf support corner brace (also called an L-bracket)
  • Suspended extension ladder
  • Suspended shelving
  • Wheelbarrow holder