It’s that time of year again. There are numerous boxes of ornaments, tinsel, and knick knacks that designate the season’s spirit. Each year it seems that we collect more and more until the shelf in the back hall closet is no longer a big enough space in which to store them all. Perhaps your annual ski trip is over and you won’t go again until next winter. You have lots of equipment that needs a home out of the way. What can you do short of renting storage space in the local self storage just for your Christmas lights?
If you have a garage with a peaked or raised roof, there is a simple solution. A tall ceiling will work, too, as long as you have open beams or rafters to suspend your storage from. You will be getting the seasonal items out of your way until you need them again next year. You’ll also be making good use of space that goes otherwise unused and is wasted. The project is fairly easy and you can use any lumber that you have access to. It does not have to be pretty, as you may be the only one that ever sees it and the purpose is functional only.
Step into your garage or storage shed and look up. There are most likely at least a few feet of open dead space up there. You can turn that into a terrific place to put things you need out of the way. Even if you don’t use the storage space for holiday décor, you can use it for other seasonal and little used items. Store your water skis in the winter and your snow skis in the summer. Your bulky inflatable life raft and even your bicycles can find a home here where they will remain untouched and out of the way until the next season rolls around again.
What you’ll need to do is build a semi solid open shelf area overhead that you can place your things on. Don’t put anything up there that you need to access on a regular basis. Now that you’ll have alternative space for storing bulky items, those more often needed things can be placed in a more convenient location where you can easily grab them and go.
- When planning, remember that you will need room for the ladder and to maneuver the boxes or equipment around.
- Don’t make the shelves too deep or you will have trouble reaching what you store up there.
- Consider how much you can lift at once and what you can safely lift while on the ladder. If your ladder isn’t tall enough, borrow a bigger one.
- This project is only intended for boxes and items that can easily be carried up the ladder and placed on the shelving.
Overhead Open Storage Space
You will need:
- Lumber for bracing across the rafters– 2×4’s, 1×6’s, or 2×6’s
Lumber or material for shelving– Plywood, fence boards, old doors, pallets, corrugated shed roofing or flat metal shelves
- Fasteners to secure lumber or metal–Nails or wood screws for wood, self tapping screws for metal
- Large Hooks for bicycles–No need to purchase expensive bicycle racks or pulley systems. Buy 2 common large rubber coated hooks per bike that you want to store. Each hook should have a sturdy wood screw in the end.
- Tools for the Job
Hammer, wrench, or screwdriver for fasteners
Partner to help
Drill to tap hole for bike hook
Put it all together:
- Where there is dead space overhead and trusses or cross beams that hold up the roof of your garage or shed, you will create braces that span the beams. For example, if there are 8 feet between 2 beams, you’ll need to place the bracing lumber at a 90 degree angle across two beams and at least 8 feet in length. Place as many braces as you have that will hold up the flat shelving material that you were able to gather.
- Secure each of the braces to the beams being careful not to make the span too wide for the shelves you’ll be using. A piece of scrap 4×4 plywood, for example, will require that the braces be no wider apart than 4 feet. Continue securing braces to the beams until you have enough for your new overhead shelving.
- Place the shelves across the new bracing starting closest to the wall and working outward toward the middle of the building, thus creating overhead shelves for storage. Configure it any way it works for you.
- Create shelving along the walls, at either end of the garage or overhead in the middle of the work area. Make sure as long as there are rafters or beams to support the shelves and you aren’t interfering with the automatic garage door opening, lighting, heating ducts, or plumbing that may be in the area.
Placing the items you want to store:
- Gather what you want to store and, with a friend or helper, carefully ascend the ladder and place the items or boxes on your new storage space where they will be safely out of the way until next season.
- Use many smaller boxes for storage instead of larger boxes. Remember when packing the items that you will be carrying them up and down the ladder.
- For bicycle storage, screw two hooks for each into the beams where you would like to have them hang to get them off the floor. Use a drill to start each hole if necessary, but use a bit much smaller than the screw itself.
Carefully lift each bike up and hang it on a pair of hooks. This can also be done on the wall if that works out better for you. Either way the idea is to get them up off the floor space and out of the way in the off season.
- Don’t reach out while on the ladder. Get down and move it close to your work.
- Always have someone to help you with this type project. When you work overhead it’s good to have someone to steady the ladder. That way someone will also be there for you if you should take a tumble.
- It is not safe to climb up the ladder and crawl or walk on the shelving or beams.
- Wear safety glasses when working overhead to avoid debris falling into your eyes.
- Plan your storage area carefully and consider your lifting and carrying limits when doing so. If you aren’t able to lift your bike overhead, for example, you’ll want to consider installing an easier lift system that won’t cause you to strain your back.
Using the rafter space in your garage or shed will help you to get more organized and provide you with more space to do those home improvement projects you have been putting off. Remember safety first when using a ladder and storing your items.
November 6, 2012 //
You’ve seen them wherever you go: those rows and rows of garage doors in straight lines offering t
November 1, 2012 //
It is inevitable that you will need to store your wool items for part of the year. There isn’t muc
October 8, 2012 //
Drinking wine is a great pastime and a pleasurable hobby for many. There may be a bit of guilt invol
October 2, 2012 //
Coupon clipping, as it was called generations ago, brings visions of the full-time wife and mother s
September 17, 2012 //
Your little bundle of joy arrived months ago, and you’ve all settled into a nice rhythm. You know
September 10, 2012 //
Organizing a party for neighbors and friends is a perfect way to enjoy the fall. It’ll bring the
August 28, 2012 //
Whether the kids have started school or not, there will be times when you want to take them on erran
August 20, 2012 //
What are the most common excuses for not doing what you should? Your busy schedule. Working while ra
August 13, 2012 //
Another summer is coming to a close, and for most, the new school year will soon begin. Many childre
August 3, 2012 //
We are a society that is mobile and always on the go. It even feels sometimes as though we live in o
July 23, 2012 //
One of the best ways to incentivize cooking is to have everything you need within accessible range.