3 Benefits of This Garage Storage System
Quick, simple construction. If you can make a few easy cuts (which don’t have to be perfect), drive some screws and brush on a little paint, you can build this system in a weekend. If you’re an experienced DIYer, you might even be done in a day.
Fits any space. The system is made up of separate units, so you can build just one, cover an entire wall with several units or leave spaces between units.
Versatile storage. Aside from wire shelves, the system includes optional hanging spaces for clothes and outdoor gear, plus oversize upper shelves for bulky stuff. As your needs change, you can easily remove or reconfigure the shelves
Step 1: Cut the sides
Photo 1: Cutting melamine board
Cut one melamine board at a 45-degree angle and use it as a pattern to mark the others for cutting. Mark your cutting line on a strip of painter’s tape-the tape reduces chipping as you cut.
To get started, cut all the parts (download the plans below to see Cutting List). The coating on melamine tends to chip when you cut it. For cleaner cuts, use a 60-tooth carbide circular saw blade and apply painter’s tape over the cut (Photo 1). Melamine is slippery stuff, so clamp it in place before cutting. Set the depth of your saw blade at 1 in. Chipping won’t be a problem when you cut the solid wood parts (B and D). When you cut the supports for the lowest shelves (B1), note that they’re shorter than the others. To avoid slow, fussy painting later, paint the wood parts before assembly.
Step 2: Position the shelf supports
Photo 2: Mark and drill
Mark where the edge of each shelf support is located and mark a centerline for screw locations. Drill three 9/64-in. screw holes for each support.
Photo 3: Fasten the shelf supports
Drive 1-1/4-in. screws through the sides and into the shelf supports. A clamp makes this step much easier.
Our shelf spacing is 12 in., but any spacing you choose is fine. Lay pairs of sides (A) next to each other when you mark shelf support locations. That way, you can be sure that the supports will match up after assembly. Drill screw holes (Photo 2) and then fasten the shelf supports (Photo 3).
Step 3: Assembly
Photo 4: Assemble the unit
Drill holes in the top, then drive cabinet screws to fasten the top to the sides.
Photo 5: Install the rails
Drill screw holes in the sides and fasten the three rails. You’ll need to raise the unit off the floor in order to screw the top and bottom rails.
Pick out a flat spot on the floor and attach the top (C) to the sides (Photo 4). Then tilt the assembly up a few inches and slide wood scraps beneath it so you can add the rails (D) with 2-in. screws (Photo 5).
Step 4: Sanding and painting
Photo 6: Paint the cut edges
For looks and moisture protection, apply two coats of paint. If you slop a little paint onto the melamine surface, just wipe it off with a damp rag.
Photo 7: Add glides
Nail plastic furniture glides to the bottom of the sides to keep them from resting directly on damp surfaces, especially concrete.
With the unit completely assembled, sand the exposed cut edges of the melamine using 150-grit sandpaper, then paint them (Photo 6). Finally, hammer on some furniture glides (Photo 7) and the unit is ready for installation.
Step 5: Install the units
Photo 8: Install the first unit
Mark the stud locations with painter’s tape and set the first unit in place. To ensure that the unit is level and square, check both the top and one side with a level.
Photo 9: Add as many units as you like
With the first unit installed square and level, you can simply butt the next unit against it. Screw all units to studs at the top and bottom rungs.
If you have finished walls, locate the wall studs with a stud finder and mark them with masking tape. Get some help to lift the assembly up to the wall and hold it in place (Photo 8). Our floor had a row of concrete blocks that protruded from the wall about 1-1/2 in., so we rested the glides on them. The blocks were level but the floor had a slight pitch toward the door, so this saved us the hassle of having to allow for the slope of the floor.
With the assembly against the wall, you can shim underneath to level it (if necessary) and then plumb the sides with a level. Screw it to the wall studs with 2-1/2-in. screws (Photo 9).
Step 6: Secure the shelves
Photo 10: Cut the shelves
A bolt cutter is the best tool for cutting wire shelving to length. A hacksaw or a metal-cutting blade in a jigsaw will also do the job.
Photo 11: Anchor the shelves
Fasten each shelf to the wall with at least two clips. When you want to fasten the clip to a stud, simply cut off the drywall anchor part of the clip and drive a screw through the clip.
Photo 12: Fasten the shelf fronts
Lock the shelves in place with coaxial cable staples. End caps give the shelves a finished look.
If you’re willing to spend $25 or so on a bolt cutter, cutting the wire shelves will be quick and easy (Photo 10). Bolt cutters are sized by length; 24 in. is a good choice. When the shelves are cut, set them in place and ‘clip’ them to the wall (Photo 11). Also secure the shelf fronts with coaxial cable staples (Photo 12), which are available in the electrical aisle at home centers. Remove the nails that come with the staples and use 4d nails instead. To store balls or other items that tend to roll off shelves, install a shelf or two upside-down. The lip on the front of the shelf keeps stuff in place.
Overall dimensions: 11-3/4′ deep x 37-1/2′ wide x 85-1/2′ tall (top shelf is 15-3/4′ deep)
We used No. 8 ‘cabinet’ screws throughout this project for three reasons:
- The large ‘washer’ heads design looks much neater than a bugle head countersunk into the melamine surface.
- The washer heads won’t pull through the particleboard.
- The coarse threads hold well in particleboard.
Cabinet screws are made by GRK, Spax and other manufacturers.
Required Tools for this Project
Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.
- Bolt cutter
- Circular saw or jigsaw
- Cordless drill
- Stud finder
Required Materials for this Project
Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here’s a list.
- 12" x 12' wire shelving (2)
- 150-grit sandpaper
- 3/4" x 11-3/4" x 8' melamine shelf board (2)
- 3/4" x 15-3/4" x 37-1/2" melamine shelf board (1)
- 3/4" x 2-1/2" x 8' pine boards (3)
- Cabinet screws (1-1/4", 2", 2-1/2"), 4d (1-1/2") nails (1 pkg. ea.)
- Coaxial cable staples (12)
- Furniture glides (2)
- White paint (1 qt.)
- Wire shelving end caps (12)
- Wire shelving wall clips (12)