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Garage Organized with Shelving Units and Storage Containers.

5 Space Saving DIY Garage Storage Ideas

How to Maximize Garage Space from Top to Bottom

Whether you’re searching for a way to keep your power tools and yardwork supplies organized or you’re simply running out of ways to creatively stack sporting equipment, the garage is prime real estate for DIY storage projects. Chances are there is a wealth of room in your garage for additional storage solutions just waiting to be tapped.

We spoke with organization experts from the National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professionals and Simplify Experts for tips on how to get the most storage space out of your garage.

Depending on what you primarily use it for, adding space to an existing garage while leaving room for your vehicles can be a challenge. We’ll walk you through a few projects to optimize your wall space and go vertical with loft storage to increase utility without sacrificing parking space.

What to Know Before Building Storage in Your Garage

To safely tackle these DIY garage space saving ideas, it’s important to take time to review the weight tolerances of the structure. The roof and walls of any garage have specific thresholds of what weight they can support.

Keep in mind that newly constructed garage joists can generally support 50 pounds per square foot, while older structures could hold much less. If you didn’t build your garage yourself, you may want to contact the builder or reference blueprints, if available, for more specific information about ceiling and wall weight limits.

Logo for National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals."When installing storage, especially DIY storage, make sure the storage matches the environment. For example, if your area is prone to earthquakes, you’ll want to consider bolting storage to the wall. If your area is prone to humidity, you’ll want to ensure that what you store will not be negatively impacted." 

Lisa Mark | Certified Professional Organizer, NAPO

5 Simple Garage Storage Projects

Creating extra space for your belongings doesn’t have to be complicated. With the easy projects below, you’ll be on your way to a neater, more functional garage. Start out with what works best for your space.


Jump To:

Wall Shelving | Pegboard | Ceiling Storage | Loft Storage | Folding Workbench

 

Pro Tip: If you’re not comfortable building these storage solutions yourself, don’t be afraid to hire a contractor to put your project into action for you.

Cluttered Objects in a Garage Against Wall Beneath Shelf.

1. Add Shelving Units to The Garage Walls

Difficulty Level: Beginner

Shelves are a simple way to introduce additional organization and storage space to a garage. These shelves can take the shape of a standing unit bought from a department or hardware store or they can be custom-built to fit your space.

 Tools & Supplies Required

Hammer or Power Drill Shelf Anchors or Brackets
Tape Measure Common, 1-3 Inch Nails and Screws (Approx. 1 Box)
Level 2x4 Lumber or Scrap Wood (At Least 1 Plank Per Shelf)
Stud Finder Paint (Optional)
Wood Pencil or Marker Wood Sealant
Saw (Optional)  

 

Steps to Install Garage Shelves

  1. Measure the walls with your tape measure and use a pencil or market to mark lines where you want your shelves to go. 
  2. Use a saw to cut out wooden shelves from raw lumber in lengths matching the lines you’ve drawn out on your walls. Alternatively, you can buy pre-cut lengths of wood matching your shelf measurements.
  3. Locate the studs in your wall with a stud finder and draw lines to indicate where the brackets should go. Before screwing in your brackets, use a level to make sure they are parallel.
  4. Nail or screw in your anchors or brackets at the points you’ve pre-marked and pre-leveled.
  5. Attach your cut shelves to the brackets with screws or nails, with wood glue as a reinforcement.

Pro Tip: If you don’t plan to paint your custom wooden shelves, consider sealing them with weatherproof wood varnish before installing to protect from temperature changes.

Pegboard Mounted to Wall Behind Workbench Filled with Tools and Hardware.

2. Mount Pegboard to Garage Walls

Difficulty Level: Intermediate

Similar to shelves, pegboards are relatively simple to install to a garage wall, but provide hanging surfaces for smaller tools that you want kept at arm’s reach. Pegboard is also a space-efficient storage method that’s relatively easy to build and install.

 Tools & Supplies Required

Hammer or Power Drill Pre-Cut Pegboard
Tape Measure Common, 1-3 Inch Nails and Screws (Approx. 1 Box)
Level Long Scrap Wood or Pre-Made Furring Strips
Saw (Optional)  

 

Premade pegboard can be purchased from most hardware stores and cut to fit the space you have available on your wall. As with the shelves, make sure to take careful measurements of the intended installation spot. You may also want to paint and seal your pegboard before installing. A friend or partner could also help to make installation easier.

How to Mount Pegboard

  1. Cut your furring strips to match the size of the pegboard. These are slim lengths of wood, typically around 8 feet long, that anchor the peg board to the wall. 
  2. Use a power drill or hammer to attach the pegboard to the furring strips, creating a “frame” around the back of your pegboard.
  3. Use the level to ensure it is sitting straight on the wall. 
  4. Drill through the board and furring strips at all four corners while the board is held in place.
  5. Place anchor screws in these holes, then screw the board to the anchors.

After your pegboard is mounted, you’re free to customize. You can find hook and hanger sets at a hardware shop – these can be easily added to your pegboard to create a new home for your hand tools and other items.

Pro Tip: Magnetic strips can be a cost-effective way to create a home for ratchet sets, Allen wrenches and other small metal tools and accessories. Most hardware stores sell magnetic tool holders that can be readily mounted to most flat surfaces. They make a great complement to any pegboard or workbench.

Several Bicycles Hanging from Storage Hooks Mounted to Garage Ceiling.

3. Install Ceiling-Mounted Storage Systems

Difficulty Level: Beginner

If the walls don’t provide enough storage space in your garage, look upwards to put some other space saving garage storage ideas into action. With a ladder and a drill, ceiling hooks are quick to install and let you keep equipment out of the way.

Headshot of Lisa Mark.

 

"Large spaces like garages can serve multiple uses – as extra storage, a teen hangout, or a music room. Floor-to-ceiling storage options may increase the amount of space available for other uses."

Lisa Mark | Certified Professional Organizer, NAPO

 Tools & Supplies Required

Hammer, Screwdriver or Power Drill Storage Hooks or Hanging Shelves
Ladder Common, 1-3 Inch Nails and Screws (Approx. 1 Box)
Yardstick or Measuring Tape Plywood, Wire or Other Decking Material
Pencil or Marker  

 

Storage hooks are relatively modest tools that can suspend bicycles, tarps and other bulky items off the floor, provided they are installed securely. Hanging storage racks act as shelving units that are suspended from your garage’s ceiling. Both options can be bought ready to install from many retailers, but it’s recommended to measure the vertical clearance in your garage before making a purchase. Also, be aware of the load-bearing weight tolerance of your garage’s ceiling and the weight your overhead storage project would be adding.

Pro Tip: This project involves extensive use of a ladder. For safety, it’s a good idea to have a friend or partner hold the ladder steady while you’re installing overhead storage.

Guide for Installing Ceiling Storage

  1. Mark your intended installation points in the ceiling while standing on the ladder.
  2. Screw in anchor points with a power drill or hammer them in with nails. Screws are recommended as they allow the anchors to be more easily removed later. (At this point, storage hooks are installed and ready for use.)
  3. Create a storage platform for your hanging rack if it didn’t come complete with “decks,” or the surface that constitutes the storage surface. This can be down by laying plywood planks or wire mesh over the frame.

Angled Wooden Beams Forming an Upper Loft Area.

4. Take Advantage of Garage Loft Storage

Difficulty Level: Advanced

Some garages are built with open space near the ceiling, either at the back of the structure or above the garage door. These act as an “attic” for your garage and serve as an ideal place for containers and other large items. Like other garage space saving ideas, lofts can take many shapes. A garage loft can be as simple as a wooden platform near the roof of your garage, with ladder access.

Pro Tip: Before placing large, heavy storage containers in out-of-reach places, take into account how often you’ll need access to those items.

Simplify Experts Business Logo.

"If you fill a camping bin full of 40 pounds of gear in a tote way up high, you could really hurt yourself twisting on a ladder lowering it down or throw out your back pulling it off or pushing it on the shelf. More totes of less weight may be far better."

Denise Allan | Founder, Simplify Experts

 Tools & Supplies Required

Metal L-Joints 2x4s, Pre-Cut Lumber and Plywood (The Amount Depends on Your Space)
Power Drill Common, 1-3 Inch Nails and Screws
Level  
Ladder  
Wood Pencil or Marker  
Saw (Optional)  
Hammer  

 

If your garage wasn’t built with a loft, a frame can be built to create a customized storage area that is purpose-built for your garage.

How to Build a Garage Loft

  1. Measure the available space in the upper areas of your garage.
  2. Build a lumber frame by nailing or screwing together 2x4s to match your measurements.
  3. Add a storage surface to the frame with plywood or another flat material.
  4. Attach L-joints to the corners of the frame.
  5. Mark out where the L-joints will be attached to the garage walls using the frame as a reference.
  6. Have a partner or partners hold the frame in place while you screw the L-joints to the walls.
  7. Secure the platform with additional screws or nails through the sides of the frame.

Wooden Workbench Containing Various Hand Tools.

5. Set Up a Folding Workbench

Difficulty Level: Intermediate

If you plan to use your garage for future DIY projects, a folding workbench is a great way to create a designated working area without sacrificing permanent wall space.

 Tools & Supplies Required

Hammer 2x4s, Plywood and Assorted Lumber
Power Drill Common, 1-3 Inch Nails and Screws
Level Wood Sealant
Stud Finder Paint (Optional)
Wood Pencil or Marker  
Saw (Optional)  
Metal Hinges  

 

There are two approaches to a folding workbench – a bench with “legs” that hold the bench up and make contact with the ground, and another design that suspends the bench with folding slats instead of legs. In either case, you’ll need to take careful measurements of your intended bench width and length, as well as how high off the floor you want your workbench to be.

Tips for Building a Folding Workbench

  1. Cut or purchase the pieces of wood you’ll need for your bench based on your measurements. You’ll need one solid piece for the bench surface itself, smaller pieces to act as anchors for the hinges, and wide, thin slats to act as the “legs” of the bench. Make sure the legs aren’t longer than the width of your bench piece or they’ll poke out from underneath.
  2. Locate the studs in your garage walls and mark them. These are where you’ll hammer or screw the anchor pieces to the walls.
  3. Attach anchors to wall studs with your power drill or hammer.
  4. Secure the metal hinges to the anchor points.
  5. Install the bench and leg pieces to the anchored hinges.
  6. Consider sealing the wood parts of your folding workbench to protect from the elements and premature warping. After sealing, you’re free to paint as desired.

Pro Tip: The wall behind and above your folding workbench is a great spot for pegboard, magnetic hangers or other wall-mounted storage solutions.

Explore Other Ways to Maximize Garage Space

Now that you’ve equipped your garage with new storage spaces, it may be a good time to plan a thorough garage cleanout. Read our garage organization guide for tips on how to keep your newly-revitalized garage tidy and free of clutter. Also, consider adding your garage to your regular “spring cleaning” rotation to keep it organized year-round.

Is your garage crowded with things you don’t need? Check out our in-depth guide to plan a successful garage sale.