Creative Garage DIYs to Increase Your Storage - French Cleat Boxes
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Creative Garage DIYs to Increase Storage Space

With our garage being my workshop and our primary storage area, it was filled to the brim with tools of all sizes, boxes and boxes of holiday decorations, yard tools and toys, and so much more.

We already did a lot of DIY projects that saved space and created more garage storage. I constructed a folding workbench, which was such an efficient workstation.

In a corner that formerly was a dumping ground of yard tools, I built a sliding shelf tower, which housed all of our holiday decorations. I also had a lot of creative shelves scattered around.

With so many things in our garage, any empty area was prime real estate, no matter how small.

Get More Garage Storage!A Hidden Gem

The other day, some wall space caught my eye – the gap between the two garage doors.

Right away I thought that it would be an excellent place for some narrow shelves. Strange that it took me a year to spot the little gem between my garage doors that could provide more garage storage.

Coincidentally, the project I was working on at the time (the built-in bookcase with window seat) produced a lot of scrap birch plywood.

This was expensive stuff – 4×8 sheets sell for $50 at Home Depot. So I wasn’t wasting any cut offs (I was quite inventive in the different ways I reused those scraps).

My shelving idea between the garage doors would be a perfect little project for some of the plywood scraps to get more garage storage.

Planning the Garage Storage Boxes

Simple flat shelves wouldn’t suffice though. With so little space, the shelves would be small, and things could fall off easily.

So instead of shelves, I started visualizing little boxes on the wall. How nice would it be to walk in wearing yard gloves, and have a box to toss them into as soon as I enter the garage?

I took the box idea a step further and considered using French cleats for them.

This would allow each box shelf to be removed by simply lifting it. It would lead to a very modular design where the boxes could be swapped with other ones on the fly.

Rather than digging through a box on the wall to find what I need, or make repeated trips to the wall, why not just take the box shelf with me? Not only would it create more garage storage – but it also would be very efficient.

​Now that’s some clever thinking, if I do say so myself.

I came up with this simple box design below:

Creative Garage DIYs to Increase Your Storage - French Cleat BoxesHere’s another view of the box design, resting on the wall via the French cleats:

Get More Garage Storage by Utilizing Wasted SpaceBuilding the French Cleat Storage Boxes

I was excited to get more garage storage from this wasted space – I couldn’t wait to start building. Here’s a TinkerCAD exploded diagram showing in detail how it was constructed:

Get More Garage Storage by Utilizing Wasted SpaceConstructing the First Garage Storage Box

In the diagram above, the orange piece on the far right is mounted to the wall (to allow the box shelf to drop into and secure to the wall). The rest of the pieces form the box itself.

The wall mounted piece and the other angled cut directly above it (attached to the box) form the French cleat system. I used scrap ¾” birch plywood for the box and French cleats.

For the floor of the box, I used ⅛” thick scrap plywood. I cut all the pieces to size quickly using my table saw, and then miter cut the side pieces for that nice angled profile.

For the French cleat 45 degree lengthwise cuts, I used the table saw again.

Then I used construction adhesive, some bar clamps and my 16 gauge finishing nail gun to assemble the wood pieces into a functional French cleat box shelf.

Technically, I built the first shelf without the nail gun. I just used regular finishing nails and a hammer.

Finishing Nail Gun for the Win

With these types of shelves, the strength comes mostly from the construction adhesive (that stuff is really strong when completely dry). The nails really just hold the pieces in place for the glue to set. So that’s why I used finishing nails.

Also, I didn’t want to risk splitting the plywood scraps, so finishing nails were a good choice due to their thin profile.

As I mentioned earlier, I was in the middle of a bookcase/window seat project at the time. Part of this project involved installing crown molding and baseboard.

I remembered installing crown molding in my previous home, and having an incredibly hard time doing it with finishing nails and a hammer. So, I ended up borrowing my neighbor’s cordless finishing nail gun, and the installation was such a breeze. I just held the crown molding in place, then tap tap tap, and the nails (technically brads) were countersunk, securing the molding to the wall.

So purchasing my own finishing nail gun had long been on my wish list.

I finally bit the bullet and purchased one for my birthday to use on the bookcase project. I also got some angled finishing nails to go along with it.

They arrived in the middle of these French cleat shelves. So the shelves were the perfect opportunity to hone my skills with the gun.

Here’s a picture of me using the finishing nail gun for one of the box shelves:

Building French Cleat Boxes to Get More Garage StorageI originally purchased an 18-gauge finishing nail gun (keep reading to see why I returned it).

Sidenote on Nail Guns

For those not familiar with finishing nail gun terminology, the gauge represents the thickness of the nail. I’m using the word ‘nail’ loosely because these nail guns actually fire brads, which are strips of thick wire with a very fine head.

They are great for finishing applications (like securing trim) because the heads make a very small hole and require little work to conceal. The thinness of the brads also reduce the likelihood of splitting the wood when they are driven in.

Finishing nail guns are not to be confused with framing nail guns, which fire actual nails and use substantially more power to drive them (hence also more dangerous). I used a gas powered framing nail gun in my shed project if you are interested.

Anyway, I was saying earlier how I purchased an 18-gauge finishing nail gun. Unfortunately, I was not having a good experience using it with the birch plywood. Most of the nails would fire in straight, but then bend half way and stick out the side of the wood. It was very annoying.

I did some research online and found out that 18-gauge nails don’t work well in hardwoods (like birch) and will do exactly what they were doing with me (changing direction as they are driven into the hardwood).

So I decided to return the nail gun and get a 16-gauge version instead.

The new nails were noticeablely thicker and worked perfectly for me. The gun is now a permanent addition to my top 12 list of must-have tools.

What’s the best nail gun for a DIYer?

Depending on the type of woodworking project you’re doing, sometimes you’ll need a thinner nail (higher gauge) and sometimes you’ll need a thicker nail (lower gauge).

Unfortunately finishing nail guns can only fire a single gauge, so you’d need multiple guns to accommodate different nail gauges. This is obviously very expensive, and may not make financial sense for you unless you’re a dedicated contractor.

So, 16-gauge is a good compromise because a majority of the projects a typical DIYer works on can be satisfied with that sized nail gauge.

This has held true for me ever since purchasing the nail gun too. I’ve used it for everything from crown molding to shelves to quickly tacking on temporary supports for concreting wooden posts. It’s also my favorite tool, and well-worth the investment.

Finishing Up the Boxes

With the finishing nail gun, construction of 5 box shelves went by very quickly. I only made 5 because I ran out of scrap wood large enough for box shelves. The remaining smaller scraps had another destiny.

​Five French cleat boxes were perfectly adequate for the space allocated though and would definitely create more garage storage and organization.

​Here’s a picture of the completed French cleat boxes resting on the wall (they are empty below, but filled today will all sorts of goodies):

Buildinging French Cleat Boxes to Get More Garage StorageHow to Get More Garage Storage and Organization with French Cleat BoxesAfter this was completed, some of the remaining birch plywood scraps got used for another project.

Get More Garage Storage with These Ideas

I was going finishing nail gun crazy and just wanted to keep tap-tap-tapping brads. So, I ended up making an incredibly useful battery charging station for my cordless tool batteries.

​The garage storage station consisted of four L shaped shelves fixed to the wall, with two triangular supports each.

Here’s a picture of the empty shelves on the walls so you can get an idea of the design:

Creative Garage DIYs to Increase Your Storage - Battery Charging Station

Here’s what the shelves look like actually being used. This little nook helped get more garage storage and organization.

Creative Garage DIYs to Increase Your Storage - Battery Charging StationThe shelves created more garage storage – enough space for 4+ battery chargers, extra batteries and a host of accessories.

I got creative and tacked on an empty plastic nail box to store stationary-like pencils, markers and scissors.

I’m most proud of my measuring tape holder though. I was always looking for my measuring tape and needed a dedicated location for it, so I mounted a metal strip to one of the shelves, and the measuring tape just clips onto it.

It’s in the perfect location too. Whenever I need a measuring tape, I just open the garage door and grab the tape off the holder. When done, I just snap it back on the holder and it’s there for future use.

Here’s a picture showing my measuring tape holder:

More Garage Storage - Creative, Space-Saving Garage DIYsA Lot of Storage for a Little Effort

So that’s it for this round of more garage storage shelving. I constructed five French cleat boxes in the lost space between the double garage doors and added some bonus shelving too. Not only did I create more garage storage but this storage added another level of efficiency to our garage.

I completed everything on a Saturday with no additional cost to me because I used all scrap wood. Although I benefited a great deal from the finishing nail gun I purchased around the same time, it could have been done with just regular finishing nails and a hammer.

​Stay tuned for future shelving ideas as inspiration strikes. I hope this article brought you some inspiration to get more garage storage too.

 

82 Comments

  1. I was greedily eyeing the same space in our garage earlier this week, trying to figure out how to turn it into usable storage. This is brilliant! I’m so glad I don’t have to figure this out for myself now. 🙂

    1. Yes, it’s a great lost space! I’m glad to hear you like the plan. The best part is the shelves are interchangeable. It’s simple to make but let me know if you have any questions!

  2. CASSEROLE GALS says:

    What a great idea! In between your garage doors is a great place for storage.

    1. Eileen @ Just Measuring Up says:

      Thanks Casserole Gals!! 🙂 Its super helpful!

  3. These are such clever ideas! Love that the first set of shelves/boxes are so versatile and modular. And that charging station is incredible. It makes me wish we had a real garage. Thanks so much for sharing at the #happynowlinkup!

    1. Eileen @ Just Measuring Up says:

      Thanks, Leslie! Ash is so creative!! We love the modular shelves – it’s the perfect spot for stuff like – work gloves, paint stirrers, garbage bags. It’s so easy to get to 🙂 Thanks for hosting 🙂

  4. jeremy@thirstydaddy says:

    clever. I’ve got way too much junk in my garage also #happynow

    1. Eileen @ Just Measuring Up says:

      Thank, Jeremy! We do too – I’m sure Ash will think of some new organization ideas soon 🙂

  5. Michele Morin says:

    Love the way you redeemed those little spaces. Just last night my husband and son built some shelves in our cellar stairway, making use of some wasted space! What a gift!

    1. Eileen @ Just Measuring Up says:

      Thanks, Michele!! Basement shelves are a great idea!! 🙂 I’ll have to remember that :)) Happy New Year!

    1. Eileen @ Just Measuring Up says:

      Thanks, Samantha!! 🙂

  6. I LOVE scrapwood projects – thanks for sharing!

    1. Eileen @ Just Measuring Up says:

      Thanks, Kate!! Me too :))

  7. Barrie Bismark says:

    Very clever! What a great way to use otherwise wasted space!
    #trafficjamweekend

    1. Eileen @ Just Measuring Up says:

      Thanks, Barrie!! Ash thinks of the best ideas:) I would have thrown it out 🙂 Happy New Year!

  8. Jean | DelightfulRepast.com says:

    Ash and Eileen, this is brilliant! I followed your link from Saucy Saturdays expecting something else entirely. “Storage” tips, like “organizing” tips, usually involve containerizing stuff nobody needs to keep anyway! But your between-door boxes (first I’ve ever heard of French cleats!) and your tool charging station are perfectly practical and things of beauty!

    1. Eileen @ Just Measuring Up says:

      Thank you so much, Jean! Ahh perhaps I should change the title 🙂 I first heard of French cleats with Ash too – he LOVES them, and they are pretty awesome!! Happy New Year!

  9. Mother of 3 says:

    That’s a great idea! We have a small wall- mounted shop vac that sits in between our two garage doors. I think we’ve just about used our wall space to it’s max!

    1. Eileen @ Just Measuring Up says:

      Thanks, Mother of 3! Haha us too… ceiling?! 🙂

  10. Helen at the Pleasures of the NW says:

    Great idea and perfect instructions!! Thanks for sharing on the DIY link party!

    1. Eileen @ Just Measuring Up says:

      Thanks so much, Helen! Happy New Year to you!

  11. Kimm at Reinvented says:

    what a genius idea! I love extra storage, and scrap wood projects are my fave. Thanks for linking up to Funtastic Friday!

    1. Eileen @ Just Measuring Up says:

      Thanks, Kimm!! Ash thinks of the best ideas :))

    1. Eileen @ Just Measuring Up says:

      Thanks so much, Angie!! 🙂 French cleat shelves are pretty awesome:)

    1. Eileen @ Just Measuring Up says:

      Thanks, Carol!

  12. Marie from The Interior Frugalista says:

    What a great idea and I don’t even have a garage!!! Pinning to share 🙂

    1. Eileen @ Just Measuring Up says:

      Aww thanks so much, Marie!! 🙂

  13. Sharon@bluewillowhouse says:

    Great storage tips. Thank you for sharing with Vintage Charm.

    1. Eileen @ Just Measuring Up says:

      Thanks, Sharon :)) Thanks for hosting, too!

  14. Jennifer A Stewart says:

    Thanks for such a great idea! I never would have thought to use that tiny bit of space!! Great for all those tiny little bits and bobs that never have a spot! Thanks for sharing with Saucy Saturdays

  15. Charlotte Burkholder says:

    Way to utilize all the space you can. My husband wishes for a garage. All he has is a small shed. Which I think he should organize.

  16. What a brilliant use of space! I need to look around my own place with fresh eyes and see what I can utilise! #TriumphantTales

    1. Yes, Siobhan! You’ll be amazed what you find:)

  17. That’s a great way to take advantage of small unused paces. The shelves are nice, but I love the boxes, there’s so much storage space there. Thank you for joining The Really Crafty Link Party this week,. Pinned!

    1. Thanks Teresa! Yes we love those French cleat boxes. So efficient for garage organization:)

  18. Will be showing hubby these ideas, awesome. Found you on Party in Your PJ’s Link Party.

    1. Thanks Candy! Hope you can use some of them:)

    1. Thanks Nikki! We love extra storage:)

  19. Those boxes are a great idea! I’m going to have my kids make them, looks like a useful project and will hold their gardening gloves and tennis balls!

    1. Thanks Carissa! So glad you liked them!!

  20. These little shelves and boxes are a great idea. Thanks for the advice on the 18 vs. 16 gauge nail gun, too.

    1. Glad to have helped Susan!:)

    1. Thanks Barbara! Maybe you could incorporate some of the ideas into a basement?

  21. Jann Olson says:

    We have some great purchased storage items in our garage. This is a great DIY! Thanks for sharing with SYC.
    hugs,
    Jann

  22. Hi, thank you for sharing this helpful post I need to make more effective use of our so I shall bookmark ShareTheBlogLove

    1. Thanks Chloe! Glad you liked it:)

  23. Mine currently has a car taking up the s entire gagare. So good luck with doing much in there ?

    1. Oh man… we can get both our cars in with the storage though:)

  24. ColleenB.~ Tx. says:

    Clever idea in using up unused space in my ‘she’ shed.
    Thank U, Thank U, thank U

    1. Thanks Colleen! I love that you have a “she shed!”

  25. Kathleen Rupp says:

    WOW what a fantastic idea to use that little nook of space!! I am totally pinning this idea……Oh honey! HA Now I just need to find my own little spot for something like that since we don’t have a garage. Thanks so much for the idea!

    1. Thanks Kathleen! Even though Ash is messy, he lovvves storage haha!

  26. I’ll be sending this link to my husband…. he now has a project for this spring! Thanks for sharing! – Bloggers Pitstop

    1. Hahaa you’re welcome, Denise!

  27. I love this idea! You can never have enough storage space! It’s always nice to have extra storage space and especially in the garage!

    1. Thanks Natalie! I agree! We have filled up every corner of our house – so the more storage the better!

  28. What great way to gain space great tips Thank you for linking to #Thatfridaylinky please come back next week

    1. Thanks Nige! Will do 🙂

  29. These are genius, space saving ideas! Thanks for sharing this with us at #TriumphantTales. I hope to see you back next week!

    1. Thanks so much! Have a lovely week:)

  30. We are so short on storage space too! I’d kill for a garage 🙂 I love how you’ve used such a small space so well though – we’ve actually done something very similar with the space under our stairs – lots of little shelves and similar storage boxes, and it works so well for us. Vertical storage is the way to go! Thanks for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

    1. Wow that sounds awesome Katy! I would love to see a pic. Yes vertical storage is the best:)

  31. That really is an amazing use of space, and your storage unit looks good too! Thank you so much for sharing this great tutorial with us at the Hearth and Soul Link Party. Hope to ‘see’ you again this week!

    1. Thanks so much April! Have a lovely week:)

  32. Nancy Wolff says:

    Love your ideas, my husband and I are always making good use of space for storage! Thank you for sharing your post on the Simple Homestead Hop, as one of the co-hosts I will be featuring your post this week!
    -Nancy ( Nancy On The Home Front )

    1. Thanks so much for your compliments and for featuring our post, Nancy! 🙂

  33. Very clever idea for using all these spaces we think they are useless! Thank you for sharing at Sweet Inspiration Link Party 🙂

    1. Thanks Christina! We are always trying to use every inch:)

  34. What a brilliant use of otherwise wasted space. You can never have too much organizing in the garage. Congrats, you’re featured at the This Is How We Roll Link Party.

    1. Yay! Thanks Susan! We love being featured:)

  35. Just found your site. I love these space savers ideas. Nicely done.

  36. I’ve completed a bunch of long standing projects lately and their aftermath has left me with the conclusion that it is time to really knuckle down and get the shop organized. So I have put everything on hold while I make some much needed organizational improvements to my work space.

    I have come to a few conclusions that I am using to guide me process.

    1. If I use it a lot, I need to make it easy to get to and easy to put away. This may sound obvious, but I find that things like my angle grinder, which I typically keep in the factory case on a shelf above my workbench, is seemingly easy to get too but once I get it out the case and all the discs are left sitting on some horizontal surface, usually my work bench, taking up valuable work space until I am done with my project. I’m going to ditch the case and try to locate it and all it’s related accessories in a drawer or tool box so as to eliminate the wasted space a case takes up while not in storage.

    2. Vertical storage is the only effective way to keep your benches clear. This one I think is key. Stacking things on flat surfaces is a waste of work space and invites the addition of more crap. It also makes it harder to get at things. Ideally things should be stored on a wall or shelf 1 item deep and 1 item tall. If you have to stack things, you need more shelves.

    3. Organize like things together. This one also sounds obvious, but things like boxes of bolts, screws and nails seem to get strewn around my work benches to no end. I have tackled this by buying one of the Harbor Freight rolling hardware carts. It has a ton of space to store loose hardware of all kinds and since it’s mobile, I can roll it right next to the project I am working on saving trips too and from the workbench. I have also bought some cheap tool boxes to store things like electrical parts and pieces. I have one box devoted to things like breakers, wire crimps, switches, cable ends, plugs, etc. I have done the same for plumbing parts and fittings.

    4. When you’re finished with a project take some time to clean up and put stuff back where it belongs. We’d all rather be wrenching, but it is important to take a short break after any project and simply clean up. I have been lax in this and it has shown. Before I started cleaning, I had 3 benches full of crap now only 2 are full of crap and I hope to have that down to 1 before the end of the week.

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