Garage Ceiling Shelves

Tuck medium and lightweight stuff onto these DIY garage ceiling storage shelves. The shelves are designed to fit into that unused space above the garage doors (you need 16 inches of clearance to fit a shelf and standard 12-1/2 inch high plastic bins). However, you can adjust the shelf height and put them anywhere. The only limitation is weight. We designed this 4 x 6-foot shelf to hold about 160 lbs., a load that typical ceiling framing can safely support. It’s best to save the shelf for “deep storage,” using labeled bins with lids, because you’ll need a stepladder to reach stuff.

First, find which way the joists run, then plan to hang one shelf support from three adjacent joists. Our joists are 24-inches apart; if yours are spaced at 16-inches, skip one intermediate joist. We built ours to hold plastic bins, but if you put loose stuff up there, add 1×4 sides to keep things from falling off. Assemble the 2x4s as shown , using five-inch corner braces and 1/4-inch x 1-inch hex head lag screws (drill pilot holes first).

Now attach the corner braces on both ends of a shelf support to the center of a joist/truss by drilling pilot holes and using 1/4-inch x 2-inch hex head lag screws. The only challenge is finding the center of joists through a drywall ceiling (if your ceiling is finished) to attach the shelf supports. Tap a small nail through the drywall until you locate both edges of the joist. Measure to find the center of the adjacent joists, and measure to keep the three supports in alignment with one another. Finish the shelf unit by attaching a 3/8-inch x 4-foot x 6-foot plywood floor.

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