So Much Storage

We moved to our new home back in late June. The irony of hav­ing so many projects to do at a new house is that there’s not quite as much time to write about them after­wards. And there have been a lot of projects. Most­ly around stor­age and orga­niz­ing. That means a lot of shelves need to be built.

Attic Shelves

We have non-insu­lat­ed attic space off of one of the bed­room clos­ets. While it’s not awe­some hav­ing to car­ry loads and loads through our son’s bed­room, it’s cer­tain­ly a lot more con­ve­nient than the attic over our old sep­a­rate garage space.

Sketchup Model of Attic Storage
Sketchup Mod­el of Attic Storage
Bottom View of Shelving Units
Bot­tom View of Shelv­ing Units

Since part of this area has no floor­ing (and those por­tions of the roof truss­es aren’t designed for stor­age loads), I want­ed to add some dry­wall. This would pre­vent us from push­ing any­thing off the back of the shelves and into this space where it could get lost or, worse, fall through the garage ceil­ing onto our vehi­cles! I did a rea­son­able job of hang­ing the dry­wall and mud­ding the joints and screw heads. I did­n’t real­ly do much in the way of sand­ing, as it’s going to all be cov­ered by the shelves (you have to pick your bat­tles, folks). I also replaced the ter­ri­ble light­ing with four LED strip lights, which is more than enough for this 24′ by 6′ space.

Attic Drywall
Dry­wall in the attic — the wet area was a small roof leak that was fixed

The design of the shelves is pret­ty sim­ple and mod­u­lar. The shelves are 15″ deep, sup­port­ed by the truss mem­bers (you can think of these as wall studs real­ly) along the back and then some 2x3 posts in the front. Those are spaced at 4′ on cen­ter. The shelves them­selves con­sist of 2x2 frames and 1/2″ OSB. The 2x2s are ripped down from 2x4s and screwed togeth­er. The OSB was ripped into 4′ long by 15″ wide strips using a track saw.

Breaking Down Sheet Goods
Break­ing down sheet goods with the track­saw on the trail­er. Note the 1 1/2″ foam insu­la­tion boards for support.

I built all the 2x2 frames in my shop and then car­ried them up to the attic space. There I could use the laser lev­el to set the bot­tom shelf height (at 18″ above the floor) and use 3″ screws to secure it to there truss members/studs. I then lev­eled the shelves front-to-back and secured them with the 2x3 front posts. Last­ly, I placed the OSB (smooth side up, which is real­ly upside-down for OSB) down. I screwed it down to the frames every 24″ or so using some 1–1/4″ deck screws.

Attic Storage System
Com­plet­ed attic stor­age sys­tem with full shelves

The mod­u­lar­i­ty of these 2x2 frames made it very easy to vary the lengths to form the “gal­ley” like design I had for this small area.

Last­ly, my dad was vis­it­ing when we were work­ing on some of our stor­age projects. He jumped right in an helped out with some of the attic shelves and it was real­ly great get­ting to do this project with him!

Garage Shelves

Suf­fice it to say, we have a lot of stuff. We’ve gone through and got­ten rid of loads and still have a lot of stuff. So, while the attic shelves were great we knew they’d be no where near enough. So I also had planned on mak­ing some “loft” style shelves for the our garage. We want­ed to have every­thing sup­port­ed from the ceil­ing to max­i­mize floor (aka, car) space. 

While there are some met­al frame kits avail­able, I real­ly liked the method that Jay Bates and John­ny Brooke used for their garages. So I adapt­ed it to our garage. Basi­cal­ly, these are 2x2 ledges along a wall and ceil­ing, with 2x4 hang­ers to sup­port ply­wood shelves. These shelves are about 30″ deep, again with sup­ports (in this case, the hang­ers) every 4′. The hang­ers are glued and screwed in place for added stiff­ness. The shelves them­selves are 1/2″ sand­ed poplar ply­wood from the home center.

These go up rel­a­tive­ly fast once all the dimen­sion­ing is in place. Locat­ing the wall studs and ceil­ing joists is crit­i­cal here, though. Our garage ceil­ing actu­al­ly has a fram­ing change so I had to accom­mo­date for that. Basi­cal­ly, this amount­ed to switch­ing the 2x2 ceil­ing ledge to the oppo­site side of the hang­er. I end­ed up still miss­ing the ceil­ing joist so I swapped it out for a 2x4 to make up the extra inch or so. It’s not very pret­ty, but what is is sol­id. I made the hang­ers and ledge at a height so that I could eas­i­ly stack two large bins. With 32 lin­ear feet of 30″ shelves so far, we have a ton of stor­age out here now. 

Still More to Go

The real­i­ty is that we’re still not done. Most of what we have left to sort through are box­es of books. Some we’ll keep and put on book­shelves inside but a lot of them are out-of-date ref­er­ence books or even tech­ni­cal books from col­lege that we just no longer need. 

I also want to add some of the garage loft stor­age over the shop area garage door. This will be for stor­ing paint­ing, tiling, dry­wall, etc. sup­plies and tools that we need less often. It’s easy to pull them down with a lad­der but there’s just no need for these to take up floor or shelf space in the shop or garage area.

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