Restoring Your Classic Chevy

How To Build A Simple Garage Storage Shelf Unit

by Neil Craig

Space can become limited in a garage after you've lived in one place for a while. Old bikes, tools, mowers, camping gear, and other assorted items end up competing for limited space on the ground – not to mention the room you need to park your car inside on a wintry day. Here is how you can build and install shelving so you can organize your garage this spring.

Cut the Pieces

Determine how high and wide you want the shelf side walls. If you want a shelf 5 feet high with a width of 6 inches, grab a couple of wood boards that are 6" inches wide and at least five feet long. Cut the boards to the height you want the shelf to be with a circular saw. The next thing you should do is mark on the side walls where the support boards for the shelves are going to be located. The support boards are thin pieces of wood no more than a couple of inches wide that you are going to screw into the side walls of the shelf to rest the shelves on so they don't fall down.

Cut the shelf supports so they are the same length as the side boards are wide. So, if you are using 6" wide boards for the side walls, you'll want the strips to be 6" long. 

You also need to cut the boards you are using as shelves. The shelves should be cut a little shorter than the width of the shelf as a whole. If your shelf is going to be 48" inches wide and you're using ½" thick boards for the walls, you'll want to cut the shelves to be 47" inches long (total width – width of side boards) for the shelves to drop into place once you put the frame of the shelf together.

Mark Support Locations

Use a tape measure to measure down from the top of the wall boards to where you want to place your top shelf. Mark this spot on both boards with a pencil. Use a carpenter's angle tool to draw a straight line across each board at the marking. A carpenter angle tool has a raised edge that sits flush against the side of the piece of wood and another side that will lay straight across the boards so you can draw a straight line. Measure down to where you want to place the next shelf and repeat the process. Keep on going until you have marked all the places you want shelves.

Place the bottom of the support strips on the marked lines and screw them into the side walls.

Install Top and Rails

Cut a piece of wood to serve as the top of the shelf. Set the side walls and top on the floor so they all are standing up on an edge. Screw the top shelf into the top of each side wall.

Place rail boards about four to five inches wide across the backside of the shelf. The rails are used to keep the back part of the shelf together and to secure the shelf to a wall in the garage. Cut the boards so they are flush with the side boards, or 48" long in the above example. Screw the rails into the side wall boards. You should put one rail near the top, middle, and bottom of the shelf.

Install Shelf

Use a stud finder to locate where the studs are inside the garage wall. Mark the stud locations with pieces of painter's tape.  Place the shelf up against the garage wall and drill screws through the rails and into the studs. This will secure the shelf to the wall so it won't tip over once you put items on the shelves.

Remove the painter's tape from the wall; it should easily peel off the wall without causing damage, and set the shelf boards on top of the support strips inside the shelf. You are now ready to stock the shelf with things lying on the garage floor. Contact a company like Slide Out Shelves LLC for more information.