One of the first things you will do when building a garage is chosen what type of garage cabinets you want.
There are many great options available for your home, including more traditional and modern styles.
Clutter can be your garage’s worst enemy, and garage storage cabinets are the best way to defend against it.
Choosing the right storage cabinet can be a difficult task, though, so we’ve put together a list of expert tips to help you make the best decision possible.
Cabinets are certainly not required in a garage.
Open shelving is less expensive, solid, easy to install and reconfigure, and keeps stored items visible.
But cabinets with doors offer a more finished look; the ability to store potentially dangerous items, such as chemicals or sharp garden tools, behind closed and locked doors is a safety feature appreciated by parents of young children. Garage Storage Solutions features an innovative wall system with heavy-duty sliding wall components such as hooks, garage shelving and stylish, durable steel cabinets designed to hold your gear securely and neatly in place.
Setting Up A Garage Storage System
Full-scale integrated garage storage systems look appealing but are advised that they typically cost several thousand dollars.
If you decide to opt for one of these, don’t be fooled by promotional photos that showcase neatly organised, nearly empty garages.
Think about what you need to store immediately and in the future, especially if you’ve just cleaned out your garage.
Adjustable shelves can add flexibility if your needs change. However, be aware that adding extra accessories like baskets and racks can quickly make a reasonably priced system very expensive.
What Materials Should My Garage Cabinet Be Made Of?
The choice you make in materials will determine how much weight your cabinet can hold and how long you can expect your wardrobe to withstand the test of time. Let’s take a look at the most common choices.
Steel storage cabinets typically have incredible shelving weight capacity, with some models holding over 300 lbs spread across their shelves.
As strong as steel shelving can be, it can fall victim to rust over time. Luckily, a regular application of rust prevention aerosol sprays or solutions can prevent this.
Steel cabinets also tend to lack a variety of options when it comes to finishes and style. Most cabinets made of steel will be finished in a simple black or silver finish, with more emphasis placed on function than style.
Plastic storage cabinets are sturdier than you’re probably assuming.
Many modern models have a shelf weight capacity of over 100 lbs and come with various styles and combination options.
Plastic has the additional benefit of being naturally resistant to water and can withstand a wide range of temperature fluctuations.
Lower quality plastic shelving can become brittle in cold weather, so you’ll have to be mindful to verify the quality of your cabinets with the manufacturer beforehand.
You can also consider using the search function to quickly sift through online reviews to double-check for this specific issue.
Unlike steel and plastic, wood has several “natural enemies” that already exist within your home, namely, humidity and temperature fluctuations.
Manufactured wood can be especially vulnerable to these things, given the way it is typically constructed.
Manufactured wood panels are typically made from plywood or MDF cores, then covered with veneers for appearance.
Manufactured wood cabinets offer more than both plastic and steel as far as aesthetic options go.
Manufactured wood can be finished with natural wood grains, hardwood veneers or simply black, white and grey tones, making them a good option if you have a décor you’re hoping to maintain.
What Size Of A Garage Cabinet Should I Choose?
When choosing appropriate garage storage cabinets, it can be easy to overlook the need to size your cabinets properly.
Unfortunately, getting some storage space means giving up floor space, so you’ll need to know exactly how much space you have available and how much you’re willing to sacrifice.
When ordering your new storage cabinet, try marking out spots on your garage floor that you think would be good spots for your wardrobe.
Once you have a couple of ideas, use a measuring tape and some masking tape to map out the space your cabinet will take in 3-D.
Of course, your aim isn’t to construct a 3-D model but to measure out width and depth on your floor and height along the nearest wall.
Having a 3-D estimate can help clarify your decision-making since it will be obvious which cabinets will work and which won’t.
What Type Of Garage Cabinet Is Best For Me?
If you’ve completed the measurements recommended in the previous tip, you may have discovered that floor space could be a tricky situation.
Mapping things out tends to reveal areas of potential conflict, like a wall socket or door being blocked.
Maybe you were never interested in having a cabinet take up floor space in the first place.
Either way, it’s the perfect time to start considering whether you’ll be ordering a wall-mounted or freestanding cabinet.
Wall-mounted cabinets are an ideal choice if you expect your toolset to grow over time.
Most wall-mounted cabinets come with a mounting system that allows for additional cabinets as time goes by.
The process can be as simple as sliding one cabinet to the side to make room for another, with the only considerations being how much room is left on your mount and how much wall space you’re willing to surrender.
Wall-mounted cabinets avoid the issue of sacrificing much floor space, so you won’t have to worry about obstructing electrical outlets or needing to shift objects to make working space regularly.
Of course, you’ll still have to consider clearance around head height, but installing wall-mounted cabinets over countertops or workbenches eliminates the need for any head height measurements.
The biggest drawback to wall-mounted cabinets is their relative permanence.
Wall mounts can be inconvenient to move from wall to wall, should you decide to relocate your cabinets.
Wall-mounted cabinets are also somewhat limited in terms of vertical expansion. Given how close they can be to most ceilings, more extensive cabinets tend to stick “out” rather than go “up”.
This can lead to feelings of being cramped and head clearance issues.
Free Standing Cabinets
Free Standing cabinets allow for a far greater deal of freedom as far as location goes, but they also inevitably sacrifice floor space.
Where wall-mounted cabinet systems allow for expansion over time, freestanding cabinets usually do not.
Free Standing cabinets tend to come as a single unit with several compartments designed for storing a large volume of tools.
What Features Should My Garage Cabinet Have?
Now that we’ve covered the absolute essentials, here are a few extra features worth considering in your new storage cabinet.
Default shelving options in your cabinets can be a hassle; having too much space for some things and not enough room for others is not an issue you should have to deal with.
This is why we recommend purchasing a cabinet with customisable shelving so that you can create the ideal storage for your circumstances.
Locking And Child Security Options
Theft of tools and other hardware from your garage is an unlikely threat in your home, but keeping young children away from dangerous power tools can be of unbelievable value.
If you live in a home with curious kids, having a simple built-in lock or childproofing mechanism is an easy way to keep your peace of mind intact.
Sometimes simple things can make a world of difference in the quality of our lives.
If you’ve ever spent any length of time working with power tools, you’ll know how frustrating it can be to walk back and forth between your workstation and cabinet, lugging heavy tools the whole way there.
Having wheels on your freestanding cabinet can be a simple solution to this problem.
Instead of going back and forth, a simple cabinet movement before starting your work can save you a lot of walking.
Tip-Over Restraint Device
Also known as a furniture anchor, a tip-over restraint device is intended to keep your shelf upright and prevent falls that can be dangerous or deadly.
If you’ve ever had an entire garage storage cabinet, you know just how heavy they can get.
Freestanding models usually are well balanced, but it’s not entirely uncommon for us to misjudge just how full our top drawers can be, which can lead to dangerous falls.
A tip-over restraint device is an accessory that prevents your cabinet from tipping over by anchoring it to a wall or the floor, eliminating the need for you to worry about overfilling your storage space.
Of course, we strongly recommend expanding or upgrading your cabinet once you begin nearing your storage capacity.
Options For Garage Cabinets
Recycled Kitchen Cabinets
Standard kitchen cabinets are not going to be as rugged as cabinets explicitly built for garage use.
But because kitchen remodelling is so common, used kitchen cabinets can be easy to find at attractive prices.
Check local classified ads, post a request on a neighbourhood online chat forum, or seek some advice from a remodelling contractor who may be willing to sell you some used cabinets from a project he’s currently working on.
If you plan a kitchen remodel yourself, think about putting the old cabinets in the garage.
Ugly kitchen cabinets can be improved significantly with a coat of paint and some new hardware.
You can, of course, buy new economy kitchen cabinets to use in a garage.
If you go this route, buying low-end kitchen cabinets off the shelf at a big-box home improvement centre makes the most sense.
Moulded Plastic Cabinets
If you look for new cabinets explicitly built for the garage, plastic units will usually be the most affordable.
Several manufacturers specialise in plastic units, offering product lines designed especially for garage use.
Ranging from small, narrow cabinets to hold lawn rakes and other garden tools to shed-sized units, plastic cabinets are easy to clean and are waterproof and rust-proof.
Most plastic cabinets come disassembled and are easily constructed by snapping the parts together.
You can find units with lockable doors and adjustable shelves, both in styles mounted to walls or set on the floor.
Major manufacturers offer a variety of accessories to make your plastic garage cabinets more functional. Complete your garage organisation plan by getting your gear off the floor with Garage Storage Solutions’ smart shelving and basket storage.
Plastic garage cabinets are available at home centres and big-box retail stores, both off-the-shelf and special orders. You can also buy cabinets that fit into slot-wall systems.
Several manufacturers offer sturdy garage cabinets with plywood, medium-density fiberboard (MDF) or particleboard cores covered with durable melamine or similar plastic laminate surfaces.
The most extensive selection will be found online, where you can find a wide selection of styles, sizes, and colours. However, some assembly will be required.
These product lines are often offered by the same companies that make kitchen cabinets or closet organisers.
Their garage cabinets are often sized in dimensions that are best suited for use in the garage.
Many dream garages are filled with heavy-duty steel or stainless-steel cabinets.
At the top of the line, these are the most durable—and the most expensive—cabinets you can get for your garage.
Some manufacturers also make more lightweight and affordable consumer-grade metal cabinets made from a lighter-gauge metal, often powder-coated in various colour choices.
Fully assembled and ready-to-assemble units are available; the ready-to-assemble units generally cost less.
Don’t Forget Overhead Storage.
Garages often have a great deal of wasted space overhead—either above the rafters or in the space below a finished ceiling but above your head.
The space above the hood of your car is a prime place to put overhead storage units.
These units are usually wire racks rather than traditional cabinets, but when integrated with conventional cabinets, they let you maximise the available storage in your garage.
It is also possible to hang traditional wall cabinets from the ceiling of your garage, much the way that upper kitchen cabinets are sometimes suspended from a soffit above an island or peninsula.
All that’s necessary is access to ceiling joists to anchor the hanging cabinets firmly.
Garage Storage Cabinets
Cabinet systems are made of plywood, particleboard, plastic, or—more expensive—metal. The least costly option is standard particleboard, but industrial particleboard is firmer and smoother.
Cabinets made from plywood or particleboard are typically coated with thin melamine or high-pressure laminate.
Although it’s more expensive than melamine, high-pressure laminate is thicker, more rigid, and water-resistant.
Particleboard shelves with high-pressure laminate can bear three times the weight of uncoated or melamine-coated particle boards.
Another advantage of high-pressure laminate is the wide variety of colours and patterns available; melamine only comes in a few shades.
A good depth for lower cabinets is 24 inches, especially if you plan on putting a workbench on top of them.
A 12-inch-deep upper cabinet can keep items more accessible, but consider adding just a few inches, which can increase storage space considerably.
If you’re planning on storing bins or boxes behind closed doors, keep their dimensions in mind when choosing cabinets.
Adjustable shelves, upper and lower cabinets, and sturdy drawers give you lots of enclosed space to keep items organised and dust-free.
Water ruins particleboard, so it’s essential to isolate particle board cabinets from moisture.
Many manufacturers include hardware to mount cabinets to the wall, but be aware that mounting cabinets on the wall may decrease the amount of weight they can store.
Short legs beneath cabinets are a good solution.
Garage Storage Shelving
When it comes to maximising storage, shelving gives you the biggest bang for your buck.
If shelves are part of your organisation’s solution, be sure they are sturdy enough to handle the weight you intend to put on them.
The shelf material makes a big difference. A typical ¾-inch shelf made of plywood or pine will span 34 inches between supports for average loads.
The same shelf made of particleboard will span 19 inches, and medium-density fiberboard will span 21 inches. For sturdier frames, choose metal systems with adjustable vertical standards.
Open shelving should be deep enough to accommodate bulky items easily. Hanging from the garage tie-joists, this top-mounted rack holds containers and a ladder.
Although manufacturers sometimes suggest installing the top rail and then hanging the standards, a shelving system will support more weight if you attach the bars directly to wall studs.
Doing so can increase the system’s weight tolerance by up to 600 pounds per standard.
Overhead shelves are a great idea for storing lightweight items that would otherwise take up considerable space, such as sleeping bags.
Garage Wall Storage Systems
When it comes to organising tools, equipment, and other paraphernalia in your garage, a variety of wall-mounted systems are affordable, effective, and excellent at saving space.
Following is a closer look at some of the most popular options:
Pegboard Storage Systems
Pegboard is an old favourite for garage storage, and it continues to be a simple, economical, and versatile choice.
A pegboard system is also easy to install, making it an excellent project for do-it-yourselfers.
Standard pegboard is a manufactured hardboard product that comes drilled with rows and columns of holes meant to hold hooks and racks that, in turn, hold tools.
Pegboards can be painted or left natural. Light colours are usually best because they contrast with dark tools, allowing you to see your gear without difficulty.
Some people like to outline the shapes of tools onto the pegboard to take organisation a step further, so they always know where to place each item after use.
Choose 1/4-inch-thick pegboard—lesser thicknesses are more easily warped and damaged. A standard sheet is four by 8 feet.
To install a pegboard, glue one by 2s around the backside’s edges and horizontally every 16 inches.
Attach the panel to the wall by driving long screws through the board and 1-by-2 strips and into wall studs.
Metal pegboard, powder-coated in various colours, is a more expensive and durable choice for those seeking a sturdier option for weighty tools.
These come with mounting screws and utilise their hook and hanger accessories.
Metal Wall Storage Grids
Metal wall storage grids are an attractive, sturdy way to keep your garage organised.
Their durable construction can support a variety of hooks, baskets, shelves, and other accessories.
For a grid that needs to hold lots of heavy items, choose one with 1/4-inch-thick rods with welded intersections.
Use 5/16-inch lag bolts to attach them securely to wall studs. These heavy-duty grids can also be attached to the ceiling.
Depending on the weight of the items you intend to hang from them, you may want to attach them to rafters or joists.
Lighter grids made with metal wire are ideal for organising a wall over a workbench or space next to a door.
Wire shelves can be used with grid systems. To hold heavy items, use shelves that come with a support bracket that attaches to the grid.
Slatwall Garage Storage
“Slatwall” storage systems have been used in-store displays for years to hang racks and shelves for merchandise; now, you can use them to organise your garage.
Also called “Slatwall” storage, a system consists of grooved wall panels that shelves, hooks, baskets, and cabinets clip onto or slide into for flexible, coordinated storage.
Manufacturers of plastic systems often caution that humid climates can damage MDF systems. MDF is less expensive, but it is vulnerable to water and insects, so choose the material based on your garage’s environment.
Plastic systems are easy to handle, lightweight, and available in smaller pieces than MDF systems (strips 12 or 15 inches wide by 8 or 10 feet long compared to 4-by-8-foot sheets weighing 100 pounds). Either way, you’ll need 3 inches between slots for the most versatility. A storage solution from Garage Storage Solutions can transform your garage into a social focal point for visitors with a modern look.