Easy, Cheap DIY Garage Shelves and Organization

Garages, sheds and basements are almost a must-have. Where else do we store all of our stuff, we do not need everyday? Seasonal decoration, lawn and garden equipment besides all the tools and paint left overs – they all must go somewhere! When we first moved into our new house, we were excited to have a 3-door garage. The garage filled up quickly and ended up in an unorganized pile of chaos. A solution was needed asap and so my first DIY project in the new home was created: Garage Shelves.

There are plenty of cabinet options you can buy at the store, but I wanted something very solid and was looking for specific measurements to fit certain tools and storage containers. I also wanted to have solid shelves, no grates. And most important, I didn’t want to spend a fortune on just some garage shelves. I actually build the shelves all by myself without any additional helping hand. Gotta use those muscles for something ๐Ÿ˜‰

Building the Frames

First, I prepared the frames for the shelves using 2″x3″ studs. The plan was to build the long 8′ shelves along the long wall, merging in the corner with shorter 4′ shelves. I chose 8′ and 4′ length to maximize the material use of 8′ studs.

All shelves are 24″ wide which is plenty to store large boxes. It also allowed me to cut about two 8′ shelves out of one sheet of 4’x8′ plywood.

The frames will be drilled into the studs in the wall using long screws. I used the stud finder along with my laser level to mark the location of the studs.

Picture shows construction of the wood frame for the first shelf laying on the floor

Building the Garage Shelves

The first shelve is the most challenging as I was just by myself. I had to attach the frame to the wall and at the same time attach the studs to the frame which serve as the legs. I determined the height of the first shelve and attached one leg to the frame. This way it was holding up at the approximate height when I drilled the frame into the wall studs. Throughout the installation I used the laser level which made it so much easier.

The first shelf I installed at a height of 34″ so that I could place larger, heavier items underneath. The second shelf I installed at 29″ so that I could fit two of those storage bins. The last shelf I left a narrower space of 17″ to store one storage bin or smaller items.

Once the first frame was attached to the wall, I simply unscrew the legs and adjusted them to the exact height. Then I added just some more screws and supporting wood blocks at the bottom of the frame. Then I placed the 3/4″ plywood on top and attached it with smaller wood screws. Note: OSB sheets wood have been slightly cheaper but I decided to go with plywood for a smoother look and better durability. The cost difference was not too much at that time. If you don’t need solid shelves, the cheapest option probably would be to use cattle feedlot fence panels constructed from strong galvanized wire.

Picture shows first row of the garage shelves installed.
Picture shows Marie doing the work

I continued then with the 2nd and 3rd shelf. I sanded some of the edges with the orbital sanded and used some wood filler to fill some gaps. Then I painted the wood in Agreeable Gray to match the walls and a cleaner, “build-in” look.

Picture showing painted, simple garage shelves

Long-Handled Tool Storage

Shovels, racks, sledge hammer and other yard equipment we hang to the wall. I had some left-over 2″x6″ which I painted in Agreeable Gray and drilled into the wall studs. This way I was flexible with installing these heavy duty garage hooks from Amazon and also helps with protecting the drywall.

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