How to Build a DIY Garage Storage Tower
IntroductionIf you store a lot of garage items in plastic storage bins, you know all about the hassle of finding that one thing that's inevitably in the bottom bin. A bin storage system can make organizing and access a lot simpler. These bin towers are simple to build, don't require expensive tools, and actually add wall space without losing a lot of floor space. They're designed to hold 16- to 18-gallon bins with a lid size of about 18 x 24 in.
- Air compressor
- Air hose
- Brad nail gun
- Caulk gun
- Drill/driver - cordless
- Extension cord
- Framing square
- Hearing protection
- Paint roller
- Paint tray
- Putty knife
- Roller sleeve
- Roller tray
- Safety glasses
- Screw gun
- 1-1/2-in. 18-gauge brad nails
- 1-in. 18-gauge brad nails
- 2 sheets 4' x 8' x 1/4" underlayment plywood
- 2-in. trim-head screws
- 5 sheets 4' x 8' x 3/4" BC sanded plywood
- Gallon of paint/primer
- Wood filler
- 1x2 x 8' pressure-treated board
If you store a lot of garage items in plastic storage bins, you know all about the hassle of finding that one thing that’s inevitably in the bottom bin. A bin storage system can make organizing and access a lot simpler. These bin towers are simple to build, don’t require expensive tools, and actually add wall space without losing a lot of floor space. They’re designed to hold 16- to 18-gallon bins with a lid size of about 18 x 24 in.
Project step-by-step (8)
Cut Up the Plywood
- Rip all the sheets down to 23-3/4 in.
- Note: If you don’t own a table saw, use a straightedge and make your cuts with a circular saw.
- Once all the sheets have been ripped down, cut the tops, bottoms and shelves to 18-in. lengths.
- Pro tip: If you’re using a circular saw, save time by clamping two 8-ft. strips together, and cut two at a time.
Fill Plywood Voids
- Figure out which edge will be exposed on each part, and fill any voids in the plywood.
- When the filler dries, sand the edge with 100-grit sandpaper.
Paint the Parts Before Assembly
- Figure out which edges need to be painted and mark them with an “X”.
- Make a couple of passes with 100-grit sandpaper before you paint.
- Note: We used a paint/primer in one. If you choose a traditional wood primer, have the store tint it close to the final color.
Assemble the Towers
- Tack the shelves into position with a brad nailer.
- Strengthen each connection with 2-in. trim head screws.
- Pro tip: A plywood spacer lets you position parts perfectly without measuring.
Install the Bottom Strips
- Prevent the plywood from sitting directly on the floor by installing pressure-treated strips on the bottom of the tower, made of 5/8-in. strips ripped from a 1×2 pressure-treated board.
- Inset the strips about 3/8 in. and nailed them on with 1-1/2-in. brads.
Fasten the Back
- Use the 1/4-in. plywood to square up the unit.
- Fasten the two factory-cut edges of the plywood to the back first using 1-in. brads.
- Nail the short side, and then the long side, aligning the edges as you go.
- Pro tip: Don’t install a whole bunch of brads until you know everything is square. Flip the piece over and check for square using a framing square or by measuring from inside corner to inside corner on a couple of different openings—if the measurements are the same, you should be good to go.
- Finish fastening the back with brads spaced every 8 in. or so, then reinforce it with one 2-in. trim head screw in the center of each shelf and five screws on each side.
Shim Up the Tower
- You’ll probably have to shim the bottom to get the bin tower to sit straight and tight up against the wall.
- Set the first tower against the wall and shim the front until it sits tight against the wall.
- Use a level to check for plumb while you shim the low side.
- Insert at least four shims on the side and three on the front.
- Go back and snug up the front shims.
Screw it to the Wall
- Screw the tower to the wall studs with 2-in. screws.
- Pro tip: Make sure each tower is fastened to at least one stud. Since tipping is a concern, install a few screws near the top; you’ll only need screws down low if you need to draw the tower tight to the wall.
- Mark all the shims, and pull them out one at a time.
- Cut them down to size and replace them.
- Pro tip: We ran a small bead of clear silicone around the bottom of mine to hold the shims in place. If the towers ever get moved, the silicone will be easy to scrape off the floor.
- Go get all sorts of caddies, hooks and hangers, and start organizing.