Choosing and installing one of the many garage shelving ideas is a popular way to create storage space in a garage. They make the most of the wasted vertical space on the walls and allow you to organize the clutter that is overrunning the place.

“The average garage has more than 150 sq. ft. of unused storage space. “

We’ve all been there with the tools, garden implements, sports equipment and general household long term storage that starts off on the edges but gradually creeps in so much that you can no longer squeeze the car in.

Eventually you get sick of knocking stuff over when you try to park your car and look for options that will make your garage safer, more efficient and pleasing to be in.

You wouldn’t have a kitchen without cabinets, so why put up with a garage without shelves? It’s time to get organized, but don’t rush. Consider the following questions to ensure you buy the right garage shelving for you.




Question 1 – What do I want to store on my garage shelves?

Garage shelving systems should be assessed based on what you intend to store on them. So before you look at any buying options, you should work your way through exactly what you have got currently cluttering up your garage floor.

Toss or donate anything that you no longer want or need and assess the rest in terms of size, weight and volume. This will tell you how deep your shelves need to be, how much height you need between shelves, the overall shelving space you require and how strong the shelves need to be.

Question 2 – Does my garage have any available floor space?

Start with the big things that need to be stored in your garage and allocate them a home in your new ‘organized garage’ plan. This would include your car (yes, a novel idea I know!), your lawnmower, wheelbarrow etc.

Do you have any floor space left?

If YES …

Then you can consider freestanding garage shelving units such as heavy duty plastic shelving units, or perhaps wire shelving systems on wheels.

Cabinets would be another good option if you want to fully enclose (and even lock) your items, in the case of dangerous substances for the car, the pool etc., or if you just want your garage to look more neat and tidy.

Look for units with adjustable shelves so you can reconfigure your storage as needed.

It is often a good idea to attach any freestanding units to the wall to stop them toppling over.

Best Buys

Garage Shelving Ideas

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Sterilite 4 Shelf Shelving Unit – heavy duty plastic, lightweight and affordable

Seville Classics Shelving System With Wheels

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Seville Classics Shelving System With Wheels – heavy duty adjustable wire shelving

If NO …

Then you are left with the walls and ceiling being your only viable storage spaces.

Garage Wall shelves

Wall mounted garage shelving can be fixed into studs at functional points around your garage at multiple levels creating tiered stacking space. You can even create your own garage organization system by adding in hooks and racks. Wall shelves are quite versatile in that you can choose a mixture of small ones (for things like spray paint cans), large ones (for large storage totes) and even solid ones (perhaps for potting plants in winter).

The simplest wall shelves can be achieved by just screwing brackets into studs and mounting a wooden board on top. Just make sure you buy brackets and fixings that are up to the job, ie, choose heavy duty brackets for heavy duty loads.

A similar but more adjustable wall shelving system can be achieved by fixing vertical tracks (or metal standards) onto the wall studs. Brackets are then locked into the various slots and can be moved up and down as desired. Mount your shelves on top.

Adjustable Garage Shelving Ideas

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Best Buys

Hyloft Wall Shelves

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Two large steel, wall shelves made by Hyloft – large, strong and attractive.

Overhead ceiling storage

Overhead ceiling storage is an often overlooked part of the usable space in your garage. It is ideal for long term out of the way storage but can also be made easily accessible by way of pulley driven storage lifts if this is your only storage option. Just make sure it is high enough so you don’t hit your head! A good rule of thumb is to check how much room you have between the ceiling and the top of the garage door.

Best Buys

Hyloft Ceiling Storage

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Large capacity suspended garage shelving from Hyloft – easy access and visibility, affordable

Question 3 – Should I choose plastic, metal or wooden garage shelving units?

Plastic garage shelving is lightweight, efficient, affordable and quick to install. It comes as shelving units that are easy to move over time as your needs change. They work well with plastic storage boxes and bins that can help to organize your smaller items on the shelves. They also do not need any maintenance such as painting.

Metal or steel garage shelving comes as either wire shelving or solid shelves. They are heavier and more expensive than plastic shelves. Wire shelves have the added advantage of allowing air to circulate more freely but are inherently weaker than solid shelves. Steel gives a clean and open look to your shelving but does need to be protected against moisture which will cause it to rust.

Wire Garage Shelving

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Wooden garage shelves are cheaper than metal and ideal if you want a customized garage shelving system. The possibilities with wood are endless although you do need some basic DIY skills to be able to work with it. 2×4″ supports combined with 3/4″ plywood are popular choices to work with, although you can purchase thicker wood for more sturdy shelves. Remember you will need to treat the wood to prevent rot. Custom wooden garage organization systems are obviously a permanent solution, so you should opt for kits or shelving units if you want something that can go with you when you move house.

Wooden Garage Shelving

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Best Buys


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ShelfLinks – just add wood to build custom wooden shelves easily

Question 4 – How much can I afford to spend?

In the end, the shelves you decide upon will largely be determined by your budget. If you cannot afford very much here are a few cheap garage shelving ideas:

  • The John Sterling range of metal standards and brackets are affordable but excellent quality shelving components, to give you an adjustable shelving system.
  • Check out Freecycle and Craigslist for second hand shelving units.
  • Use some old cinder blocks and wooden planks. Build two columns of blocks (don’t go too high) and in between every 2 blocks, put some wood connecting the two towers, creating a shelf.
  • Find a friend or family member who is remodeling their kitchen and ask if you can have their old kitchen cabinets to mount in your garage.
  • Create a large mobile garage shelving unit for under $30 – check it out here.

Cheap Garage Shelving

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Question 5 – What have I forgotten about?

The four main mistakes people make when selecting their garage shelving storage are:

  • lack of planning – you need to anticipate your future needs and ensure they can be met with the current system, either immediately or by expanding in the future.
  • buying the wrong kind – shelves that are not sturdy enough to support y.our items will be a waste of money at best and dangerous at worst. Sagging or collapsed shelves are not a good look.
  • not taking measurements – it is vital that you know the dimensions of the area of your garage that you are buying shelves for. This is even more important when you are customizing your own system from wood, where you will also need to consider how far your shelves can span without support.
  • fixing them incorrectly – the material your garage is built from, will determine which attachments you need to fix shelving to the walls. Be sure that whatever you buy can be securely fixed to the kind of wall you have.

If you avoid these mistakes you will be well on your way to choosing effective shelving for your garage.

You’re now ready to make your garage shelving choices.

The overriding criteria to consider when choosing your garage shelving are:

  • are they simple?
  • are they durable?
  • are they easy to assemble or install?

If so, you’re good to go!

Organizing Your New Shelves

When you’ve decided upon, purchased and installed your new garage shelving ideas, it’s time to store everything away.

Keep frequently used items at the most accessible level. Compartmentalize your space to keep groups of like items together, whether they are tools or old toys etc.

Anything that is bulky or is being stored for the long term should be stored up high out of the way.

I’d love to hear any unique ideas you have for garage shelving. Please leave me a comment.

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