A heavy-duty garage shelving unit can help to keep your garage tidy, organized and accessible. Many people use their garages as workspaces or for garden storage – but they are also often the place where little-used household ‘stuff’ gets dumped, out of the way. Without proper storage, garages can quickly become cluttered, and difficult to access.
A shelving unit is a great solution, as it allows you to stack items, and takes up minimal space. Shelving units designed for garage use are usually made primarily from metal, and can accommodate heavyweights, making them suitable for storing tools and garden equipment.
A messy garage makes it difficult to complete home improvement projects in your workspace and find the tools needed for those projects. Keep reading to learn about a few garage shelving solutions that will help declutter your garage. The products included in this article are available at various home improvement stores, local home centers, and online retailers.
Garage shelving can help you remove clutter from your floors by providing loose items with dedicated storage space. Garage shelves typically come as wall-mounted, ceiling-mounted, or freestanding units. Depending on the unit’s size and material, they can hold anywhere from a few hundred pounds to a few thousand pounds.
How To Choose A Garage Shelving
Our garage testing team has built and maintained everything from cheap two-by-four shelves in farm sheds to pallet racks at an audio-video rental warehouse. So we spent a long time narrowing down the available options. Of course, if you’ve got a particular shelving need, there’s someone out there who makes a product or has a DIY plan. But to find out specifically what most garage enthusiasts are installing, we scoured forums like garagejournal.com, grassrootsmotorsports.com and survivalistboards.com for garage storage ideas. We also checked garage and workshop storage system reviews on YouTube and Reddit.
After considering industrial pallet racks shelving that’s designed to hold loaded freight pallets, we decided to eliminate anything that costs above $200 per shelf. The weight capacity of more expensive shelves is better if you want to store a spare engine for your muscle car, but pallet racks are tricky to assemble and not as efficient when you just need a place for your collection of heavy-duty storage tubs. If you leave out industrial and DIY options, the obvious choice is tool-free shelving kits. The components are simple, but when you slide them all together, the resulting shelf is strong.
If you want to install drawers or cabinet doors on your shelves, there are purpose-built systems available, but freestanding shelves are far more versatile and a better buy in most cases. Cabinets are nice if you do painting work or make a lot of dust in your garage, but most of the time, the doors are just in the way.
We compared all the tool-free assembly shelves we could find locally with popular models online and bought a less expensive and more expensive option in both wire-rack shelving and boltless shelving. Except for one, these designs all turned out to be generic. Edsal makes most of the boltless shelving that’s sold in hardware stores, and wire rack shelving is even harder to tell apart.
Important Features Of Garage Shelving
Shelf material – If you need water or mildew resistance because you’re wet parking vehicles right next to your storage, wire shelving is your best bet. However, chipboard shelves are stiff and fairly attractive in less demanding conditions and can be painted to protect them.
True weight capacity – A shelf’s maximum load rating (often in hundreds of pounds) assumes evenly spread weight and is determined by the frame’s strength. If you weigh down the middle of an unsupported chipboard shelf with even half that much weight, it will bow or even break. Of the boltless clip-together shelving units we tested, only the Gladiator comes with a centre support bracket, though you can sometimes buy aftermarket supports. Wire rack shelving is more rigid because the shelves have truss-reinforced welded side support.
Shelf dimensions – Check carefully for how much space you have in your garage, and remember that you’ll need room to stand in front of the shelves. The most common shelf depth is 18 inches, which holds most of the best storage containers in smaller and medium sizes. If you want to load up a 21-inch lawn mower for the winter, you’ll need to pick a deeper 24-inch version of these shelves.
Tool-free assembly – Screwing or bolting together shelves is tedious work. Tool-free shelves, like the models we tested, will save you some time and frustration. The first shelf is always tricky if you’re assembling by yourself, though.
Wheels or anchors – Some shelving comes with holes in the bottom of the shelf uprights so you can anchor it to a floor; boltless shelves aren’t solid enough that you can move them around. Wire racks, on the other hand, are fairly stiff and rigid, so you can order them with casters that let you move your parts shelf around the garage as you work.
11 Shelving Ideas That’ll Put Your Garage in Order
The garage becomes the dumping ground for everything that doesn’t fit in my house — especially when I’m doing that quick someone-is-coming-over-right-now speed cleaning. Plus, it holds all the things that belong in the garage, such as lawn equipment, tools, bikes and a deep freezer.
We recently tackled the chaos — cleaning out everything we no longer need, trashing broken or expired items and sorting what was left into labelled bins and cabinets. Now, we’re working on the final step: getting the right shelving to get our containers off the ground and make them easy to access. Keep scrolling to see the shelving ideas we’re eyeing for instant garage organization.
Plastic Freestanding Shelving Unit
Get your garage under control with this simple but oh-so-useful shelving unit. Holding up to 200 pounds, the four shelves won’t dent, rust or peel and are ideal for corralling garage clutter. For just $25, this unit is a great bang for your buck.
Boot and Shoe Rack
Say goodbye to the days of a messy pile of shoes blocking the garage entrance into the house. Instead, grab this handy boot and shoe rack for instant organization at the door. It has two shelves for cleats and sneakers and looped inserts for holding tall work or rain boots. Bonus: The flat surface at the top is perfect for beach bags, keys or other items.
Heavy-Duty Garage Wall Shelves
Keep bins and boxes off the floor with this pair of heavy-duty wall shelves. Whether you mount them side-by-side or stack them, these steel shelves will be your new best friend when it comes to garage storage.
Extra-Deep Steel Shelf
The key to making the most of your garage is using every square inch you have available. Take a look at the space above the garage door, and hang these extra-deep hammered granite shelves for out-of-the-way storage.
Corner Garage Shelving Unit
Take advantage of those corners with a shelf designed specifically for them. Durable and sturdy, the industrial-grade wire shelves on this unit each hold 1,000 pounds, making it ideal for storing tools, supplies and equipment.
Shelf Rack With Caster Wheels
Take your storage mobile with a shelving unit on wheels. Heavy-duty casters allow this steel rack to be moved around any space with ease, so you can keep equipment and tools close while working on a project and neatly tucked away when you’re finished.
Overhead Garage Storage Rack
This clever solution takes your storage overhead, freeing up the floor space below. This ceiling-mounted rack gets them out of the way for items you don’t need to access all the time — Christmas decorations and seasonal equipment. Additionally, the height can be adjusted from 22 to 40 inches, so you can make it work for your space.
Welded Steel Garage Shelving
Every garage needs a true shelving workhorse that can handle most of your storage needs, especially the heavy stuff. Each shelf on this steel unit supports up to 1,500 pounds, is adjustable and comes with a lifetime guarantee.
Closed doors help keep an orderly façade (even if the contents inside might not be uber tidy). This heavy-duty cabinet is a smart addition to any garage with four interior shelves to help stay organized, and a built-in lock allows you to store harmful products safely away from kids and pets.
Adjustable Garage Organizer Kit
Tackle garage organization once and for all with this industrial-strength wall shelving kit. The kit is completely customizable to fit your space and needs with multiple design configurations and adjustable shelving.
Utility Garage & Planting Storage Solution
Gather all your gardening supplies in one spot with this useful all-in-one storage solution. The system mounts to the wall to keep everything off the floor and includes shelves, drawers and utility boards with tons of hooks for hanging tools and gloves. It even includes a handy work surface that’s ideal for potting plants.
Do You Really Need A Garage Cabinet System?
Many homeowners might think a garage cabinet system just isn’t for them. Perhaps you don’t spend enough free time in the garage to believe such a purchase would be worth it.
You might be under the impression that storage cabinetry is meant solely for garages that are owned by people with a big tool collection who love working with their hands.
While a garage cabinet system is ideal for garages where vehicle maintenance and carpentry projects occur on a regular basis, the fact is that every garage can benefit from having one.
Here are seven common-sense reasons to consider a garage cabinet system for your home, regardless of how handy you are with a hammer.
A Garage Cabinet System Eliminates Clutter
One of the unquestionable benefits of having a cabinet system installed in your garage is that it will significantly cut down on your floor clutter.
Even if you have a larger two or three-car garage and available storage space isn’t a pressing concern, that garage floor clutter can still be a persistent nuisance.
Whether you’re tripping over clutter or finding it hard to locate tools when they’re needed, there’s a real practicality to removing things from your garage floor and keeping them neatly stored in a garage cabinet system.
When cabinetry is partnered with some of those aforementioned garage storage systems like slatwall panels, you’ll be amazed at how much nicer your garage looks and feels when it’s clutter-free.
Keep your garage floor clutter-free by storing items like recycling bins and garbage cans out of sight behind cabinet doors.
Upgrade Your Garage’s Appearance
Garage cabinetry might seem like a product that’s purely functional and something that’s only providing room for storage.
A garage cabinet system has a lot more value and use for your home than as merely a dedicated storage space, however.
Storage cabinets can add a huge aesthetic upgrade to your garage’s interior, which is not something to be taken lightly.
You’ll have to buy the right type of cabinet system, of course. Well-crafted, higher-quality, professionally installed cabinets instantly upgrade a garage’s interior with a more modern and finished look.
Stylish cabinet systems like Garage Living’s GL NEOS Elite or GL Custom Steel models infuse a garage with clean lines and a sleek, high-end appearance.
Choosing a garage cabinet system that allows for customization can really take your garage’s design to the next level. Adding custom options like a sink, backsplash, or an enclosure for a TV enhance your garage with stylish and functional touches that stand out.
Make Your Garage Safer
More often than not, a messy garage is also an unsafe garage.
With items spread out all over the garage floor and tools leaning up against the walls, tripping and leaking hazards abound.
A garage floor littered with items also poses the risk of damage to those items from your vehicles, not to mention the vehicles themselves potentially being dented, scratched, and scuffed.
Corralling that clutter with better storage systems like garage cabinets will reduce that safety risk.
Your garage also contains many types of dangerous chemicals and hazardous materials that can be stored in a cabinet system with optional locking doors and drawers. Examples include:
- paints and solvents
- fertilizers and pesticides
- cleaning products
- containers of automotive fluids
To further childproof your garage, use locking cabinet drawers and doors to keep sharp tools safely tucked away.
Add Value To Your Home
Because a garage cabinet system helps to minimize or eliminate floor clutter, you’ll be able to easily park your vehicles inside, where they belong.
That means your garage is serving its primary function and providing full value to your family year after year, not merely being used to store useless junk.
A garage that’s easy to maintain and allows for effortless vehicle parking is a strong selling point for any buyer whenever you decide to move. That means added value to your home.
Any garage with a high quality garage cabinet system will also project a more impressive, professional appearance. When compared to the unsightly look a cluttered garage with an outdated décor and cheap storage systems projects, prospective buyers will take notice.
A Garage Cabinet System Keeps Tools Organized
The larger your tool collection gets, the harder it is to keep organized if you don’t have a decent storage system in place. After awhile, that big toolbox just won’t cut it anymore.
Invest in a well-designed garage cabinet system to enjoy the following benefits that come with keeping your tools organized:
- you’ll spend less time searching for tools (leaving more time to actually work)
- your workspace will be less cluttered
- set up your workspace to have the tools you use most close at hand
A garage cabinet system that keeps your screwdrivers, wrenches, hammers, and other tools stored in drawers and behind doors also helps to extend their life. They’ll be less exposed to dust, grime, and rust-causing moisture.
garage cabinet system tool storage
A garage cabinet system keeps your tools organized and protected from moisture, dust, and grime.
Keep Valuable Tools Locked Up
Some of your pricier tools will no doubt include cordless power tools and pneumatic tools (which are driven by compressed air).
An expensive air compressor, power generator, and even many higher quality hand tools (which can cost hundreds of dollars each) are also best stored in a secure space, to protect your significant investment.
A garage cabinet system with locking doors and drawers provides such a storage option.
The comforting peace of mind you’ll get knowing your expensive tools are securely stored will be worth the extra expense for this custom feature.
Create A Garage Workshop
While most homeowners have no interest in setting up a garage workshop, some gearheads and hobbyists will salivate at the opportunity to do so.
Turning the garage into a multi-functional space by creating a special area that provides room to work with your hands will be a motivating factor for some to invest in garage cabinetry.
The fact that you can customize your workspace’s cabinet system to fit your working needs will be even more of an incentive for these homeowners to buy garage cabinets.
Our rugged GL Rally cabinets are ideal for a garage workshop. This system features sturdy 16 gauge steel construction, a galvanized stainless steel countertop, and speciality options that allow for locks and a sink unit to be added.