DIY: overhead storage for a garage

Updated April 17, 2017

Create storage room in the open space under your garage roof using basic carpentry skills and available building materials or manufactured garage storage racks. Use overhead garage storage to make room for your cars and avoid having to rent a storage unit or put up a shed on your property to store those things you use less often. You'll appreciate the neat organisation, convenience and time saved by utilising all your garage space.

Evaluate your needs

Consider what you need to store in the extra garage space to help evaluate overhead storage options. Items you need to store come in all sizes and shapes, from boxes to bicycles. Long items, such as ladders or lumber, require open space, such as on ceiling joists, while other things, such as heavy tools or equipment, will need a hoist or lifting system to raise them overhead. Make an itemised list of items to be stored and their approximate sizes. Start with the largest or heaviest down to the smallest so you can estimate the overhead storage area you'll need. This list will help you see different ways of arranging items to use overhead garage space efficiently.

Assess the garage

Look at how your garage is constructed to see the best way to add more storage. Garage roof structures and ceilings can be very spacious, as with scissors truss roof framing or open ceiling joists or beams that can offer support for flooring, platforms, storage racks or hoists. A completely finished garage ceiling has more complex requirements. You'll be restricted to allowing height clearance for people and cars in the parking area of the garage. Examine the space above the ceiling to determine if it's sufficiently open to be used as a storage area, and consider other necessary criteria, such as flooring and access. Be creative with unused peripheral areas, such as over the garage doors and above sides and the rear wall of the garage. These can be possible overhead storage areas.

Create basic storage

Create basic overhead garage storage based on your budget, storage needs and garage structure. Use simple strategies, such as assembling 5 cm x 10 cm (2 x 4 inch) "U" shaped racks hung from the ceiling joists to hold long items such as fishing rods, hanging a pulley to hoist your bike or hooks on the roof rafters for hanging winter clothes. Lay plywood or salvaged panelling across open ceiling joists, accessing the area with a stepladder when you need to store light boxes or clothing bags.

Build a complete storage solutions

Add complete overhead garage storage space by installing flooring and an attic pulldown stair unit for easy access if there's open ceiling joists or a finished garage ceiling with open framing above it. Reinforce the ceiling framing if you wish to store heavy items there. Install adequate lighting fixtures controlled by a switch near the stairs. Buy metal storage rack kits for DIY garage installation. Measure the height clearance for your garage ceiling and the dimensions of usable areas to specify rack sizes and capacities. Manufactured garage storage racks give you a turnkey solution to adding overhead garage storage space.

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About the Author

Since 1985, Jack Brooks has written about construction, electronics, business, the Internet and online marketing, among other topics. His work has appeared in "Inland Empire" newspapers, feature supplements, website content and online articles. He attended Northern Virginia Community College for two years, then worked as a professional musician/songwriter for 30 years.