Have you ever wondered, if you were a werewolf what would you howl for into the pale moonlight? Love? Money? Fame or fortune? I’m pretty sure that I would run to the tallest mountain, watch for the full moon to appear from behind a creepy, wispy cloud, throw my head back and bellow into the night, “STORAGE!”
I love my house, but seriously I only have one little, wimpy linen closet. Clearly the house was not designed by an architect that had more than one extra blanket. Some days I walk around the house trying to find space to repurpose a nook or cranny… until one day I had the answer. Overhead storage in the garage, how hard can it be? Storage systems are hundreds (boo) and I had left over wood. I also wanted to maximize a custom space, so, I designed my own. Turns out you can get a smack load of storage in wasted space in your garage! The entire project cost me $74 and I added 164 cubic feet of storage. Yes, even a werewolf would howl over that!
Supplies : 2×4 wood, OSB or floor board, wood screws (lots of em!) quantity depends on your size of overhanging storage
Tool: Drill, saw, level, Stud finder (if your garage or storage room is painted/finished)
1. Measure thoroughly and determine the dimensions of your hanging storage. Remember doors and windows in the garage that need ample room to open, also plan for plenty of head clearance. I built mine 38″ of opening which allowed plenty of head clearance and so I could stack two of my storage bins on top of each other with a little of wiggle room. (Remember when measuring the OSB flooring will cut 1″ from the opening.)
2. Build the base. You will actually have to lift it and attach it to the wall, so don’t get too crazy in size. Mine was built in three sections. The dimensions of the first was 96×40 with horizontal support beams every 30 inches. You can also do support beams every 24″ for heavy things or complete assurance. (You have to attach it to the wall in a stud or have you ever heard that song, “london bridges coming down…” Studs are generally 16-24 inches apart, so consider the stud on your garage wall when building the supports for the base of the storage so you can shadow the stud location of the wall and you don’t end up with a support beam exactly where it should be connecting to the wall).
3. Attach 2×4 beams to the roof the length of the structure. I used three 4 inch wood screws in each stud.** Studs are generally 16 inches apart on the center. In my garage it’s easy to find the stud because the walls are unfinished and studs are along the white drywall lines. You will use this beam to hang horizontal 2×4 to connect to your base.
4. Predrill pilot holes and attach hangers along the roof beam with wood screws.I used three 4″ screws on each connection. My support beams were attached every 30ish inches, if you are holding a lot of weight (over 300 pounds) in your storage area you will need a support beam at least every 30 inches. Predrilling pilot holes on these beams saved us a lot of time and frustration– it’s easier to hold things level and drill straight on the ground than up on a ladder holding the weight! (If aesthetics are a concern, plan to paint the boards and/or make sure your screws are orderly.) Just a note, I totally went to town on the screws! I used five four inch screws at each junction… you could check with a real contractor on what she recommends. I was clearly going for the gold on this one!**
5. Attach a pilot support beam against the wall, make sure it is level. You can rest your base frame on this piece of wood while attaching it to both the wall and the overhead beams. I’m not sure if this is a real thing in the-professional-world-of-wood-building-stuff, but it saved me!
7. Attach the base to the wall and the hanging connectors. The base can rest on the cheater pilot beam while you drill screws to the studs and overhead hangers.
6. When the frame is attached to the wall and overhead beams, cut OSB board or floor board to the correct width and length and slide into place (don’t use a flimsy board or something that will break!) I used 1″ OSB board that was left over from a previous project, we had to piece it together, but did not sacrifice any integrity by using several OSB instead of one (but make sure your boards are meeting over a 2×4!)
7. Stand back and admire your work of art! Gorgeous!! Now go get all that stuff shoved under beds and behind couches and give it a final resting storage!
**I don’t do everything perfectly in the home improvement world. This project I really overloaded on wood screws. I was terrified that one day the whole thing would come crashing down on a car or worse… so I pummeled the poor structure with ginormous four inch screws everywhere I could. When I ran out of screws I returned to Home Depot for more wood screws and Hal happened to be working (yes, we are on a first name basis). I told him I needed more screws and he said, “Hm, really? Okay.” At the completion of the project my construction friend came over to make sure it was sturdy and when he saw all the screws he laughed, then commented, “Geez, Sarah what are you putting up there, an elephant?” Maybe. Maybe I will.