There are a ton of garage storage ideas on the internet. If you Google that term, you’re going to come up with like a million and one solutions, right? But they all seem to cost two, three, four hundred bucks. And it takes you two whole days to assemble. Well I found one over the family handyman’s site that I really think you’re going to enjoy because it takes all your junk that’s on your garage floor, puts it in storage bins, and allows you to mount it on the garage ceiling. So I’m going to share how I built that system so that you can do it, too. And before you know it, you’ll be able to park your car in the garage. So let’s get to it! The material list isn’t super huge. Essentially, you’re going to build some carriage racks out of plywood, a sheet of plywood—this is a 2×4 foot sheet of birch plywood—and some 2x4s. But first what you have to do is cut them to size. If you don’t like using a circular saw or any kind of saw in general, you could probably have this sheet of plywood cut at your local hardware store—Lowe’s, Home Depot—those do it for you all day long. First things first, you got to get the dimensions of the tote. So measure the width. In this case, it’s about 15 11/16. Second thing that you need to do is measure the lip because this lip is going to rest on the carriage that we’re building out of the plywood and the 2x4s. So put your measuring tape underneath that lip. Measure how deep it is. In this case, it’s really about ½ inch deep. So each lip is ½ inch deep. That means we’re going to use that measurement to make that bottom portion of the carriage. So we’re going to explain how to make the bottom rim. The tote lips are ½ inch wide. So you also know that a 2×4 is 1 ½ inches wide. So if we add 1 ½ inches for the 2×4 and 1 inch for the total lip depth from your tote, that means that this bottom rail for the carriage needs to be a total of 2 ½ inches. Now I always like to have a little bit more space. So what I’m actually going to do is make that bottom rail for the carriage be about 3 inches so that we have about ¾ inch here on the rail for the tote to slide on. So I’m going to measure in 3 inches, make a mark. Do the same thing on the other side. Then use a straight edge to draw a line. Now for the fun part—using the circular saw. Ooh! Whew! Easy enough, right? Well, since I have all five fingers, now I have to cut a 5-inch piece of plywood for the top portion of the carriage. And then finally, you have to cut a 4-foot section of 2×4. Next thing that you want to do is find the center of both the 3-inch and the 5-inch rails. Place a mark in the center every 10 inches. Then to make life a little bit easier, make a mark 2 inches in from the edge of both ends of the 2×4 dead center—so at ¾ inch. Then apply a nice, generous amount of wood glue to the bottom edge of the 2×4. At this point, get your 2-inch screw started and drill it through the face of the 3-inch board. Do the same thing on the opposite end. Then what you can do is take this edge of the screw and line it up with the mark that you made right here on the 2×4. Now you can screw the one end in place. And do the same thing for the other end. And I always like to check to make sure that I did a halfway decent job. So take the measuring tape and measure the distance between the 2×4 and the edge of the 3-inch rail. Close enough. I get ¾ inch. Yup, that’s good! Then measure the other side. Close to ¾ inch. That’s exactly what we wanted. Do the exact same thing for the 5-inch rail. Then go ahead and put in the rest of the screws on both the 3-inch and the 5-inch rail. The carriages are built, now what you need to do is find the joist in the ceiling. Super simple. Use a stud finder. Mark the location of the joist on one end, the final location of the joist on the other end of the ceiling. Then you can draw a line between the two marks and connect the dots. And that’s the location of your joists across the span of your ceiling. Do the same thing for the area where you’re going to hang the carriages. Now in my case, whoever was working on the house before me was nice enough to mark the joist on this 2×6 that’s right above the I-beam. Now if you want to be really sure that you found the joist, you can pound a penny nail right into the marks that you made on the dry wall. Just make sure to go at least ¾ inch through the dry wall because the dry wall’s probably going to be either ½ inch or ⅝ inch. Because I promised this project wouldn’t take all day, here how you can find the rest of the joist super quickly. Take your tape measure, put it on the penny nail or on the marks that you made on the ceiling that indicates the first joist, measure over 16 inches, and that’ll indicate your second joist. And you can do that for the remaining ones, too. You may want a partner for this. Put the carriage up on the ceiling and then make a mark on it on the 5-inch section of the plywood that corresponds with your joist location. I wanted to show you something. Make the mark 1 inch in from the edge of the 5-inch rail. So right about here. Now you can draw pilot holes into the carriage where you made the marks. This is the part where you may want a hand. So here’s the deal. You got to temporarily mount the carriage to the joist using 3-inch deck screws. Cut a 2×4 template that matches the dimensions of your tote. Take your 2×4 template and stick it into the second carriage. What you’re going to do is make a mark on the 2×4 that indicates the top position of the 5-inch rail. And we’re going to use this mark to mount the carriage to the ceiling. Take your 2×4 template and stick it into the carriage you mounted already to the ceiling. Find your mark that you made on the template and place that mark on the ceiling. This is going to indicate the edge of the next carriage. So you want the 5-inch rail to match up with this mark. Do the same thing with the template at the end of the already mounted carriage. We’re getting so close! We’re almost done! Take the second carriage and line it up with the marks that you made with that template. And again, we’re going to temporarily mount the carriage to the joist with 3-inch deck screws. Because I’m so excited, and because you want to see if this railing system works, take one of your bins, take one of your totes, and slide it in place. Drill some bigger holes for the lag bolts that are going to go in the 5-inch rail. And you want to put at least 4 lag bolts on each carriage. So I’m going to put 2 on either end. I think this was an awesome project. A really great way to get your garage storage under control. At least for me, I got to get all the stuff off my side of the garage in order to park so this gives me one solution to that problem. As found on Youtube
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