How to Build Shelving in a Garage - Three Ways

Submitted by Ana White on Wed, 10/12/2022 - 09:35

Do you want a cleaner, more organized home?  It all starts with an organized garage.

Here's three ways to build your own garage shelving.  These garage storage projects have been built hundreds of thousands of times by people all over the world.  

Question: Is it cheaper to buy or build garage shelves? Building is less expensive, and there are many other great reasons to build your own garage storage shelving, including custom sized for your totes, greater durability, and design flexibility.

How to build shelving in a garage - three ways.

So you are ready to build some garage shelving.  But which ones?  There's alot of garage storage ideas out there, here's the best three options.  All are great projects that can be customized in size, around garage doors, and fitted for your storage needs. Fill then up with bins, totes, small organizers, add some wall storage, and you are done!




MOST POPULAR:  Heavy-Duty Garage Shelves Attached to Walls

PLANS: Built-In Garage Shelves

Materials: 2x4 frame attached to wall, plywood topped shelves

If you have a wood framed garage wall, look no further, you won't find an easier or cheaper way to DIY garage storage than this. And it will be heavy-duty since it is wall-mounted.

This shelving system is so poplar because of the installation method. 

Just screw 2x4s to studs in the wall, wherever you want a shelf.  

Then screw a second layer of 2x4s over the first.

Then add legs.

Remove the second layer of 2x4s and pull appart.

Add in 2x4s between to get the desired depth of garage shelves.

Then just add plywood to the top.

Workbench Idea: This same system can be used to build workbenches, just build to the desired work height, and add a pegboard or other shelving on top. 

Question: How deep should garage shelves be? 24" deep is idea for totes, but 16" is an option for narrower spaces.

Question: How thick should plywood be for garage shelves? For the 24" depth, use 1/2".  For the 16" depth, you can use 3/8".  This type of shelving is fully supported on the front and back with 2x4s.

Testimonials - What real people are saying about the fixed shelf plans:

Thanks for fantastic plans Ana!! My 12yr old son and I knocked these out in an afternoon. - Guest submitted brag post

I'm so grateful for these plans! ... This project was so fast and easy -- I put them together one night after the kids went to bed. -Utility Room Shelves by Guest Brag Post

Wanted some easy storage shelving that didn't break the bank. These were perfect! ... Lumber was only $58.68 and I bought and extra 8 foot 2x4, so it could have been slightly cheaper!  -Very Easy Garage Shelving Brag Post by Guest

Personal testimony: I love how this project turned out, and went on to build it multiple times!

Bottom line: If you have a stud wall to anchor shelving to in your garage, this is THE must build project and will result in heavy-duty lifetime garage shelving that can store just about anything. The full tutorial is here, please do share if you build.



QUICK AND EASY: DIY Garage Storage - Freestanding, all 2x4s

PLANS: Freestanding Garage Shelving

Materials: 2x4 framed with 2x4 slats on top, shelves can have gaps in between

But what happens if you have concrete garage walls? Or are renting and can't build a permanent shelving system? Or maybe you just want storage shelves that are super quick and easy to diy.

Bottom line: If you need quick and easy shelving, this is the one.

This method, the freestanding garage shelving, is so easy to build, it's faster than assembling flat pack shelving.  Just build the leg sets, and thread 2x4s in between.

The benefits of this type of shelving is less wasted space of the shelving boards, economical design, easy to build, and you can build in just about any size. So you can make a unique storage system, quickly and easily!

What people are saying about Freestanding Garage Shelving Plans:

This was an easy project to complete in an afternoon that does not require any advance woodworking skills. Great Plan for Garage Shelf by edapina

Very easy garage shelving! - Great Shelving, easy to do by familymed_doc

I LOVE how these turned out! They are a strong as a ladder (we tested them... :)) and they hold everything I need them to, and a little bit more. It's a definite improvement on my previously messy, cluttered, saw-dust covered space ... :) - 2x4 Garage Shelves Built into Basement Storage by Noelleskaya

The project was actually pretty easy and really only took me about a days worth of work. - Loving These Shelves by woody311

Thank you for the plans! Love the shelves!  - Guest submitted brag post

This is my first project ever built. I can't thank you enough for this site. I already have several other projects I want to build around the house because of this site. Thank you so much! - Garage Shelves by Queequeg

Garage cabinets system with drawers: Thanks to Ana's 2x4 storage plan and a neighbor's discarded kitchen cabinets we now have a very clean and convenient storage area in our garage. It even features a work bench and sorting area. Estimated Cost: 40-50 dollars. Garage Storage by Smokeydog



BEST OF BOTH: The Space Saver

PLANS: 2x4 Storage Shelving

Materials: 2x4 framed, attached to wall, 1x6 boards for shelving (can also use plywood or 2x4s)

If you need maximum storage in a smaller space, put the time into creating a just right solution for garage organization. This fixed shelving system has thin shelves for maximum space, but uses an attached to the wall design for added durability and strength.  

Bottom line: If you have the time and not the space, this is the one.




FAQ About Garage Organization

How should I organize my garage storage? Put away largest, bulky items first.  Then hang on hooks frequently used items like shovels, extension cords, brooms, rakes, bungee cords, helmets and gear. Label each hook. Now organize everything else into storage containers that are labeled.  Smaller items should be placed in smaller containers.  When finished, all belongings will be put away and nothing should be stored on the garage floor.  

How do I store large things in my garage?  Build heavy-duty garage shelves in a deeper depth, but leave out the bottom shelf.  Heavier items can be rolled under, lighter items can be stored on shelves.  

What is the cheapest material for shelving? 2x4s.  

How high should shelves bin in a garage?  You can go floor to ceiling, but after 6 feet tall, it is very hard to access the shelving.  So only place very rarely used items, or lightweight items like sleeping bags, on high shelves.

How much space do you need between storage shelves?  For household items, 12" is a good height.  For garage shelving with totes, go for a 16" height.  



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How to Build Shelving in a Garage - Three Ways



Wed, 10/27/2021 - 10:29

Great and easy plan. One of the users has improvided and added Doors but the plan is not clear. How did she make the face flat as in your plan we have 2x4 legs. Will you be kind enough to develop a similar plan for us? Thanks!