During one of my recent garage cleaning sessions, I stared at a pile of scrap wood and wondered what I could do about it. It was a real eye sore, but I frequently dug through the pile looking for scraps for various projects.
Eventually I came up with a solution – I would make a scrap wood storage bin in the corner of the garage.
Here is a picture of one of the wood piles (yes, there were multiple piles):
Planning the Scrap Wood Storage Bin
I didn’t put too much extra thinking into the wood pen design since I had a general idea of what I wanted it to look like. And, I had enough extra wood lying around to make it.
I always like to keep an inventory of 8ft 2x4s on hand, stashed away somewhere in the garage. They are very useful for all sorts of projects.
Even among random cutoffs, I almost always lean towards the 2×4 ones. The cutoffs are especially useful for building impromptu shelving mounts in the garage.
So for the wood pen, I had an idea of erecting an L-shaped fence in the corner of the garage. I used only 2x4s for the fence.
Constructing the Scrap Wood Storage Bin
Working within my available space of about 36” x 18”, I first attached some 2x4s to the wall studs. These were going to serve as the wall mounts for the fence.
Then branching out from those mounts, I just kept cutting and attaching more 2x4s (via deck screws) until I had a basic fence frame, with upper and lower railings.
Next I connected the railings with vertical 2x4s, approximately every 3 inches. This created a sort of picket-fence look.
Here’s a picture up close showing how the 2x4s were coming together:
Adding Storage Bin Sections
To get the most functional use out of the wood pen, I decided to divide it into 3 sections. The sections could be used for organizing various lengths of wood into small, medium and large.
At first, I thought I could get away with just running 2 pieces of wire at the top to make simple dividers. However, it turned out to be very ugly. Also the wood pieces started to mix together below the wire, making the wire useless.
So I looked around the garage for more effective dividers.
My eyes settled upon some scrap ¼” paneling sheets. They would be perfect. I quickly obtained some inside measurements of the pen and cut 2 rectangular panels using my table saw.
The panels fit perfectly into the pen to create 3 sections. To secure one end of the panel to the wall, I attached some scrap wood to some wall studs and screwed the panels onto these mounts. I did the same to attach the other end to the fence.
Here’s a picture showing the 3 compartments:
The divided sections via the scrap paneling really added a nice touch, and would prevent smaller wood pieces from getting mixed up with larger sizes.
Last, I have a folding table (soon to be replaced with a custom built organizing work bench) next to the wood pen where I tend to work on smaller projects.
The last thing I would want is pieces of wood leaning over too far and getting in my way. So to better accommodate the larger lengths of wood towards the rear, I extended the height of the pen at the back.
After a few hours of work, here is where the day led me:
Extra Scrap Wood Storage Shelving
All my scrap wood was now beautifully organized. I even got creative and added some shelving above to store the extra small scraps that would easily get lost in a pen:
The shelf was a last minute addition to the project. Looking at all the organized scrap wood had my mind racing with ideas, and so I freestyled a shelf.
I made the shelf mounts with two L-shaped shelving brackets, reinforced with 2×4 scraps. I then attached them to wall studs using some lag bolts. The shelf platform was just some particle board I had lying around.
To maximize the shelf potential, I even made a sub-shelf right below the main shelf. It would be great for containers of wood putty, stain, etc.
Garage Ceiling Storage
My scrap wood storage bin accommodated 90% of the scrap wood in my garage. The remaining 10% of wood was placed on two storage U bars attached to the ceiling, as shown in the picture below:
As you can see, the U bolts hold my valuable 8ft 2x4s, and other large pieces that either don’t fit in the pen or would be too awkward to store.
I’ve even got two doors up there – maybe I’ll turn them into a workbench!
Time & Cost
This project was very cheap to build – it cost me nothing. I used all scrap or surplus wood left over from previous projects. Even if I didn’t have any scraps, I estimate about $20 worth of 2x4s was used to make the scrap wood storage bin.
You can make your own scrap wood storage box too using scraps in your garage. It doesn’t have to be a picket-fence style like mine either. Depending on what you have lying around, maybe just erect a simple fence frame, and wrap it in paneling, or even chain link fence. The possibilities are endless.