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Garage Shelving

Photo: The Container Store

Shelves will likely be the bulk of your garage storage, so it’s important to make sure you have the right ones for your needs. Buying shelving that is too weak to bear the weight of the items to be stored will only defeat your organizational efforts.

Make sure you’re providing enough support for the materials used in your system’s construction. For example, if your shelving is made from 3/4-inch-thick particleboard, it should not span more than 19 inches without support. Medium-density fiberboard shelves of the same thickness need support every 21 inches. Plywood or pine boards can span up to 34 inches.

For sturdier shelves, choose metal systems with two rows of holes in the vertical standards- they support about twice as much weight as single-track racks, and brackets mount to them more securely.

Photo: HyLoft

Although manufacturers sometimes suggest installing the top rail and then hanging the standards from it, a shelving system will support more weight if you attach the standards 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 a lot of space, such as sleeping bags. With ladder brackets installed for extra support, the shelving itself can be very lightweight.

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About Don Vandervort
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Don Vandervort developed his expertise more than 30 years ago as Building Editor for both Sunset Books and Home Magazine. He has written more than 30 home improvement books and countless magazine articles. He appeared regularly on HGTV’s “The Fix,” and served as MSN’s home expert. Don founded HomeTips in 1996.

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