We haven’t been in our house for a full year yet and I’m already looking for alternative storage options. When we were looking for houses my wife and I agreed that I get to do what I want to the garage and she can have the rest of the house. And because I know that everything my wife doesn’t want in the house will magically migrate into my shop space I built my over the garage door storage shelves shortly after setting up shop. When I made those I actually said in the video I didn’t have an immediate need for them. Well…life happens and now they are full.
When I finalized my miter saw station design in SketchUp I actually included a full length of up high storage shelves on the same wall above the miter saw station. Most everyone who has a garage has a ton of wasted space high on the walls that probably isn’t utilized like it can be. I thought it might be a better reference to make an illustration of how the final shelves will look on an image of the back wall itself than just show a SketchUp model. So here’s what the final shelves will look like. The gray lines represent 2×2 boards. The orange lines represent 2×4 boards. And the green areas represent 3/4” plywood panels. There will be a left and a right shelf as I have to make a gap where the garage attic door is. Keep in mind that not all living structures and garages are created equal. Before starting something like this always make sure that your structure can indeed handle the weight.
For me it’s much cheaper to buy 2×4 boards and rip them in half to get two approximate 2×2 boards. These are actually a little wider than a 2×2 but for this application those dimensions do not matter.
One of the cool things about my miter saw station is that I can use the work surface as a platform to stand on for this project. My original intention of the very top of the miter saw station was to store my ladders but due to me storing other shop stuff on that area I had to stack my ladders in the back.
Measuring the exact distance needed left to right wasn’t too critical. I just held the boards in the air and eyeballed where they should be cut. Being short on my measuring is actually desired so I don’t have to make multiple trips up and down to make more cuts.
The shelf to the left of my attic door was close to 8 feet so I could use my miter saw station to make those cuts. The shelf to the right of my attic space was about 11 feet so I had to make those cuts with a hand saw.
To make installing the wall 2×2 boards super easy I wanted to install a few cleats for reference. To make installing those cleats easy I cut a scrap board to the appropriate length and cut a notch on one end to fit around the moulding on the ceiling. This will give me a repeatable spacing for the cleats. I used a few per side.
The cleats were installed with 3” decking screws making sure to go into every wall stud behind the drywall. Then the cleats could be removed.
After both wall boards were installed the ceiling boards could be installed. This was really easy due to the way the ceiling was made. My ceiling joists run the same direction as the back wall and the screws that were used to hold the ceiling panels in place were visible. This made locating the appropriate joist really easy. With one screw secured near the middle I measured to make sure it was parallel with the back wall and then finished driving the screws.
And the same thing on the right side. My garage has 10′ ceilings and even with standing on my miter saw station I was still reaching pretty far. Using a 6” driver bit really helped here.
Next came the vertical 2×4 boards. Each board was cut to length, predrilled for two screws on each end , and secured to the ceiling 2×2 with wood glue and two 3” decking screws. The left shelf has three of these and the right shelf has four. I used a 12” speed square to make sure these were perpendicular to the ceiling.
To make the floating 2×2 easier to install I first screwed a scrap block to the bottom of one of the vertical 2×4 boards to act as a shelf or a second hand. Before driving the screws in I clamped the boards together to make the job a little easier. With the 2×2 board secured the scrap block could be removed.
The actual shelves are plywood. I used PureBond hardwood plywood for a few reasons. It’s made from hardwood so it should withstand more weight than pine plywood. It’s also made in the USA and formaldehyde free which are two things I really like.
I trimmed the plywood to length on my sliding miter saw by flipping the board and making two passes. This was actually about an inch or so too short from cutting the piece all the way through so I used my hand saw to finish the cut.
The easiest way to get these shelves in place is to slide the panels vertically along the back wall and then pull the bottom edge forward to the floating 2×2 support. If you got the shelf high enough it should fall right into place.
Slide the shelves to where they need to be and secure them with a few screws along the back edge and front edge. It’s not necessary to go crazy with the screws here as all you are doing is holding them from sliding around. The rest of the structure is what is actually holding the weight against gravity.
And that’s it! Time to store seldom used items up and out of the way. This conveniently worked out for me as I can stand sideways on top of the top of the miter saw station and use the left shelf as a step into the attic space above.
Even if this isn’t the perfect solution for your situation I hope you are at least able to get some inspiration or a few ideas out of it. If you liked this project than perhaps you will like some of the other 400+ articles on this site. Feel free to browse around and sign up for my email newsletters so you don’t miss a thing. Stay productive folks and I’ll talk to you in a few days on my vlog channel.