One of the Greatest Garage Storage Ideas — by Home Repair Tutor

One of the Greatest Garage Storage Ideas — by Home Repair Tutor

There are a ton of garage storage ideas on
the internet. If you Google that term, you’re going to come up with like a million and one
solutions, right? But they all seem to cost two, three, four hundred bucks. And it takes
you two whole days to assemble. Well I found one over the family handyman’s
site that I really think you’re going to enjoy because it takes all your junk that’s on your
garage floor, puts it in storage bins, and allows you to mount it on the garage ceiling.
So I’m going to share how I built that system so that you can do it, too. And before you
know it, you’ll be able to park your car in the garage. So let’s get to it!
The material list isn’t super huge. Essentially, you’re going to build some carriage racks
out of plywood, a sheet of plywood—this is a 2×4 foot sheet of birch plywood—and
some 2x4s. But first what you have to do is cut them to size.
If you don’t like using a circular saw or any kind of saw in general, you could probably
have this sheet of plywood cut at your local hardware store—Lowe’s, Home Depot—those
do it for you all day long. First things first, you got to get the dimensions
of the tote. So measure the width. In this case, it’s about 15 11/16. Second thing that
you need to do is measure the lip because this lip is going to rest on the carriage
that we’re building out of the plywood and the 2x4s. So put your measuring tape underneath
that lip. Measure how deep it is. In this case, it’s really about ½ inch deep. So each
lip is ½ inch deep. That means we’re going to use that measurement to make that bottom
portion of the carriage. So we’re going to explain how to make the
bottom rim. The tote lips are ½ inch wide. So you also know that a 2×4 is 1 ½ inches
wide. So if we add 1 ½ inches for the 2×4 and 1 inch for the total lip depth from your
tote, that means that this bottom rail for the carriage needs to be a total of 2 ½ inches.
Now I always like to have a little bit more space. So what I’m actually going to do is
make that bottom rail for the carriage be about 3 inches so that we have about ¾ inch
here on the rail for the tote to slide on. So I’m going to measure in 3 inches, make
a mark. Do the same thing on the other side. Then use a straight edge to draw a line.
Now for the fun part—using the circular saw. Ooh!
Whew! Easy enough, right? Well, since I have all five fingers, now I have to cut a 5-inch
piece of plywood for the top portion of the carriage.
And then finally, you have to cut a 4-foot section of 2×4.
Next thing that you want to do is find the center of both the 3-inch and the 5-inch rails.
Place a mark in the center every 10 inches. Then to make life a little bit easier, make
a mark 2 inches in from the edge of both ends of the 2×4 dead center—so at ¾ inch. Then
apply a nice, generous amount of wood glue to the bottom edge of the 2×4.
At this point, get your 2-inch screw started and drill it through the face of the 3-inch
board. Do the same thing on the opposite end. Then what you can do is take this edge of
the screw and line it up with the mark that you made right here on the 2×4. Now you can
screw the one end in place. And do the same thing for the other end.
And I always like to check to make sure that I did a halfway decent job. So take the measuring
tape and measure the distance between the 2×4 and the edge of the 3-inch rail. Close
enough. I get ¾ inch. Yup, that’s good! Then measure the other side. Close to ¾ inch.
That’s exactly what we wanted. Do the exact same thing for the 5-inch rail.
Then go ahead and put in the rest of the screws on both the 3-inch and the 5-inch rail.
The carriages are built, now what you need to do is find the joist in the ceiling. Super
simple. Use a stud finder. Mark the location of the joist on one end, the final location
of the joist on the other end of the ceiling. Then you can draw a line between the two marks
and connect the dots. And that’s the location of your joists across the span of your ceiling.
Do the same thing for the area where you’re going to hang the carriages. Now in my case,
whoever was working on the house before me was nice enough to mark the joist on this
2×6 that’s right above the I-beam. Woohoo! Now if you want to be really sure that you
found the joist, you can pound a penny nail right into the marks that you made on the
dry wall. Just make sure to go at least ¾ inch through the dry wall because the dry
wall’s probably going to be either ½ inch or ⅝ inch.
Because I promised this project wouldn’t take all day, here how you can find the rest of
the joist super quickly. Take your tape measure, put it on the penny nail or on the marks that
you made on the ceiling that indicates the first joist, measure over 16 inches, and that’ll
indicate your second joist. And you can do that for the remaining ones, too.
You may want a partner for this. Put the carriage up on the ceiling and then make a mark on
it on the 5-inch section of the plywood that corresponds with your joist location.
I wanted to show you something. Make the mark 1 inch in from the edge of the 5-inch rail.
So right about here. Now you can draw pilot holes into the carriage
where you made the marks. This is the part where you may want a hand.
So here’s the deal. You got to temporarily mount the carriage to the joist using 3-inch
deck screws. Cut a 2×4 template that matches the dimensions of your tote. Take your 2×4
template and stick it into the second carriage. What you’re going to do is make a mark on
the 2×4 that indicates the top position of the 5-inch rail. And we’re going to use this
mark to mount the carriage to the ceiling. Take your 2×4 template and stick it into the
carriage you mounted already to the ceiling. Find your mark that you made on the template
and place that mark on the ceiling. This is going to indicate the edge of the next carriage.
So you want the 5-inch rail to match up with this mark. Do the same thing with the template
at the end of the already mounted carriage. We’re getting so close! We’re almost done!
Take the second carriage and line it up with the marks that you made with that template.
And again, we’re going to temporarily mount the carriage to the joist with 3-inch deck
screws. Because I’m so excited, and because you want
to see if this railing system works, take one of your bins, take one of your totes,
and slide it in place. Woo!It works! Drill some bigger holes for the lag bolts
that are going to go in the 5-inch rail. And you want to put at least 4 lag bolts on each
carriage. So I’m going to put 2 on either end.
Check this out, baby! Woo! Yeah! That’s what I call some awesome garage storage, right?
Pretty sweet! I think this was an awesome project. A really
great way to get your garage storage under control. At least for me, I got to get all
the stuff off my side of the garage in order to park so this gives me one solution to that
problem. So anyhow, if you have a question, let me
know. If you’re new to my videos or you haven’t done so already, hit the subscribe button
because you’ll get a free video every single Friday with DIY tips galore. And you can also
visit and sign up for my email newsletter so that you don’t miss
any tips moving forward. So thanks again for joining me today. I really
appreciate it. And I hope you have a great day. I’ll talk to you soon.
Now I got a place to store all my 1980s baseball cards. Don’t tell my wife. She’ll kill me.
Oh by the way, these cards are worth absolutely nothing. The ’80s was a total bust with regard
to baseball cards. It’s all sentimental value. All right. Check out how strong these are.
Woohoo! Yeah! They can hold 160 lbs soaking wet.
I’m beat. I’m going to go take a shower. Bye bye!

82 thoughts on “One of the Greatest Garage Storage Ideas — by Home Repair Tutor

  1. love the overhead garage storage solutions. but this! looks super economical and easy enough. great solution, great tutorial Jeff.

  2. Great idea!  I just need to figure out how I'll be putting these up without interfering with the garage opener… where's there's a will there's a way  Small suggestion… Put labels on the bottom of the storage buckets so you can tell at a glance which is baseball cards, christmas lights, etc…

  3. Cool idea but I had an an idea that would make it better. Use transparent totes so you can exactly which tote your stuff is in making it easier to retrieve later.
    I would need a system to hold like 20 totes!

  4. The Family Handyman article intalled the storage rails in the space above the opened garage door. You didn't indicate that in your video, but then a person could mount these rails any where on the garage ceiling.

  5. Really good instructions!!  I'd usse clear totes tho—NOT a fan of things you can't see into……I tend to forget things that are 'outa sight, outa mind'………….

  6. Well Jeff this is a great idea.  There are a couple of drawbacks to these but they are minimal.  One, if you don't have a finished garage interior you have to get a little creative in slider placement.  Two, if you get the cheaper bins they have a tendency to flex when they entertain certain weight limits and could fall out of the slider rail when you least expect it.  Like I said minimal drawbacks to an excellent idea.  Great video Jeff!

  7. I did something like this.  The problem is if the boxes aren't labeled (especially if the boxes are not see through) you end up with a bunch of stuff in a box that is out of reach and out of mind, and it just stays in the boxes.  I think the idea is cool, and I like the video, but honestly, if you don't need something, just throw it away.  I have a friend that throws out everything he doesn't touch in a year.  No clutter.  The dude was fanatical.  If he got a new shirt, he discard an older one.  Anyway, it's all about getting rid of stuff.  Putting it away in a neat storage system misses the point if you never go back and open up those boxes…hmmm, what's in here?  LOL.

  8. I did this, but used a 2X3 instead of the 2×4, got rid of the plywood and used longer lag bolts I think 5/16 x 6.  Saves significant effort not to mention cheaper and pulls the bins up an inch higher.

  9. Good idea for things that you absolutely must keep but never use. The bins are not readily accessible without a ladder.  I have bins in my garage but they are all on shelves mounted on the walls. 

  10. Sure… because ceiling loads on joists/trusses ALWAYS include everything you're going to pack away and hang from them… /sarcasm

  11. The lag bolts into the ceiling of the garage are pointless overkill. The board that is bolted will stay bolted to the ceiling while the 2X4 will come off of it if there is too much weight. This is a good idea overall, I just think the whole thing should use larger hardware for more weight capacity, or stick with screws and lower weight.

  12. A friend is moving to Florida and said she only had the garage for storage.  I was looking at ceiling storage, but this is better and cheaper.   But, I'd suggest clear bins, so you could have an idea of what's inside.

  13. 1) They are lag SCREWS you fastened them to the ceiling with – not lag BOLTS (bolts need nuts)
    2) What size lag SCREWS did you use?  
    3) a flat washer on the lag screw would probably be a good idea too.

  14. This was really cool and informative, BUT…. the way you pronounced it "may-sure" instead of "meh-sure" nearly drove me crazy.

  15. Great idea Jeff. My Wife checked out the video and now guess who has a day project! Only one draw back, first I have to finish dry walling the garage!

  16. Love the idea, and was thinking of implementing in my garage, but started to worry about – what if the totes sag and flex a little? Their dimensions might narrow, and  the totes could fall on someone. But your idea looked so darn good! I think that I will use it, but with the totes bolted to 2 U-shaped carriages that slide in the track system. This would also allow for slight variations in the totes used, as long as they are close enough in size to bolt into the U-shaped carriages. Might come in handy if you find the clear totes to switch over to, you wouldn't have to re-do the tracks you've already made.

  17. Jeff, you don't need clear totes. You need to make a Word document or Excel spreadsheet and make sure you update the contents list as needed. Label each tote with a number or letter that corresponds to the inventory list. Maybe you could post a dry erase board instead of the print out. Also try not to pack rat things that will never truly get used and store infrequently used items. This concept would work well with storing garden hoses during winter.

  18. This is not a reasonable idea for a single mom or for most women who do not have the type of strength that men seem to have in lifting heavy totes above the head.  It seems like the majority of ideas are from a man's vantage point. 

  19. not saying its a bad thing but wow you really went to town with all the safety gear for just using a circular saw imagine what you would wear if you tried welding.

  20. A great idea, perhaps some labels fixed to the bottom would save you pulling them down every time you need to find something.

  21. For everyone mentioning clear totes. Here are some that I use and are really strong.

    If you want heavy duty bins, these have served me very well at a great

    I do not work for either retail vendor. Just an honest recommendation to fellow YouTubers.

  22. This is an excellent idea and a fun project, I did this on October 2014 and it works and looks wonderful, all my guests love them. I painted the wood parts black and they look nice, make sure to follow your measures to the millimeter, I had a problem where one of the gaps for the totes was too wide and it wouldn't hold the tote(s), it wasn't difficult to fix but I'd have preferred not to deal with that.

  23. Use longer lag screws and go all the way through the plywood/2×4/plywood/rafter or truss. Your design makes the smaller screws holding the carrier together the weak point, if you went all the way through the larger diameter (stronger) lag screws become the weak point.

  24. cool idea, just dont put more than about 15 pounds worth of , whatever in there. Otherwise its going to rip the lip off the toat. As you said the wood can handle 160 pounds. the plastic lip of a toat cannot handle anywhere near that.

  25. Just an idea, but if you paint a square on the bottom of each storage bin with chalkboard paint, you can then label the contents at the bottom so it shows when you look up at the storage bin from the garage floor. That would make it easy enough to remember what is in each bin so you don't have to pull them down to search through them. Also, if you decide to remove the contents and store something else inside, then it is easy to erase the chalk and rewrite the content list.

  26. Too difficult to use on a high garage ceiling. Heat could effect the weight capacity of the storage unit. Looks potentially dangerous idea.

  27. Seems like a pretty cool idea overall. But I think there's just far too many potential fail points to be hanging giant buckets of crap over my head, or worse, over my vehicle. Especially here in California.

  28. As seen in other comments I also have to give my props to Hyezmar. If you have the skills or want to learn easily, you might want to look him up on google.

  29. I do this professionally and I can tell you there are only two totes that should be used for this due to quality of plastic and design of the tote itself. If you want to know which ones they are let me know…

  30. I see no problem with this as long as the Tote Material is strong enough. Most plastics creep. That means they deform under tension over time, metals don't do this.

  31. Depends upon the age & construction of your house. Older homes may have 24" vertical studs (or otherwise) & also non-standard joists. ALWAYS use your stud finder to mark EVERY joist. Any else…it's your pain.

  32. It's not as good an idea as it first seems. For one, you can't see whats in what bucket and later on searching through them would mean taking them all down. Also you need to remove the outside one to get to the inner one and to me this is a pain.

  33. Nicely done! I read most of the comments regarding your storage idea. For those who have limited space for storage, I see this as a wonderful idea. As far as wondering, "Hmm, what's in those damn containers? Very simple, use that smarter then you are phone, take a picture of what is inside, print it out and tape to the outside of the container. Now, if you intend to store a "Hay Budden" in a plastic container hanging from the ceiling, you will get what you deserve and consequently thin out the gene pool for the good of humanity. Really good idea!

  34. One suggestion, use good quality clear totes, place a label on each tote listing the GENERAL contents of each tote.  This project requires a bit more cutting and fitting than making shelves suspended from the celling but you could store more totes with less wood than shelves.  Great alternative.

  35. Listening to you makes me cringe. Looking at what you built makes me cringe even more. Those cheap plastic bins will distort eventually if they have any weight in them. Wear a hard hat in your garage. But you look like you had fun making them AND the video so that's important !

    Rule of thumb get an idea and design it on your own.

    I just went down the road where the grocery store went out of business, (death by Walmart), and purchased 8 chrome wire shelving units at auction. Wood is nice and you can always sell it of make a chicken coop out of it later. But the 2' X 6' chrome four shelf units at $40 each did the trick for me.

  36. If the home has trusses instead of conventional framed rafters, then they will usually be spaced at 24 inches on center instead of 16 inch centers. Still a good tutorial and I may try this system on my garage.

  37. Home Repair Tutor
    What is the weight that you get in each bin?
    As a few already alerted to this issue that bothered me from the outset…

    This is a great solution – I may use it, but need to have an idea of the weight..


  38. Damn – that's pretty legit – your enthusiasm in this video seems very fake or pushed too hard – trying too hard! Not being mean! Your newer videos show a lot more confidence and are like watching a friend show how to do things instead of a really cheap infomercial trying to sell me on whatever haha. So I think I might use that tote idea in the garage attic!!! So everything isn't stacked on top of eachother. I wish I could just get rid of the garage ceiling – but it's sheet-rocked!

  39. this is a good idea only….you make me wanna take your lunch money and give you a atomic wedgie NERD!!! haha im jp good job dude!

  40. it is definitely a good idea and should compliment (not replace, as some folks commenting think it should) any storage management process. Thanks. Can you please take a wide angle picture of your final project, with your car inside.

  41. You also need to take into account that sometimes storage bins lose their shape when loaded up with heavy weight, so you need to make sure that they fit when loaded up

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