Storage Shelf for the Basement

A few months ago i built a wood shelf in the garage.  It turned out so well that i decided to build one in the basement as well.  Here's how the garage shelf turned out.
how to make build a garage shelf, wood 2x4 shelf, easy simple

To keep it simple i decided to build it exactly the same as before, no need to reinvent the wheel.  So i went upstairs to find my old set of plans i drew on Google SketchUp. 
wood shelf plans, dimensions, how to make, build, easy, simple, diy

 And here's the Google Sketch up files i used.
So i was using the same plans, the same wood, at the same price, the same tools and the left-over screws from the last time.  The ONLY difference is that i wouldn't be able to make the shelf as tall.  Out in the garage a 7 foot high shelf was fine, but in my basement that wouldn't work.  The location i was thinking of putting the shelf would only allow for the top shelf to be 6 feet high.  That also meant that i had to shorten the gap between each shelf.  But this time i got to build it in the comfort of the basement.

Material List:
Description     Height     Width     Length     Quantity    Price         Total
2x4                 2"            4"          8ft           15         $2.50        $37.50
OSB               1/2"          4ft         8ft            2          $13.00      $26.00

    Here's what one half of the basement looked like before i started.  It's mostly PVC and metal pipe, then long pieces and scraps of wood.  The new shelf would go right behind the three plastic shelves.  You can see the metal heating duct attached to the ceiling, the reason why i had to lower the measurements.
    basement hoarders, junk, woodshop in basement, work, shelf

    This is the wood i bought, same as before.
    wood needed for shelf, to build, how to, make, cost, price

    Then the first thing i did was to remake the cardboard templates.  Because of course i immediately threw out the old ones after building the garage shelf, thinking i'll never need these again.
    cardboard templates for wood shelf, screw location, cut out

    This is what it looks like just after i started working.  I cut 4 of the 2x4's to the 6 foot height i needed and was just beginning to attach the side supports.
    working in the basement, build shelving for totes, storage, clean

    You can see the four 2x4 side supports in the middle.  To try and keep it all square i would measure and mark the heights on the vertical boards.
    storage totes, shelf, how to build, make, plans, wood

    Again this is after i attached the bottom shelf, then had to force in the middle two OSB boards.  I had to do it in that order because otherwise they wouldn't have fit.
    making a wood shelf, easy, plans, instructions, directions, how to

    This is the shelf laying on it's side.  The process is, i attach the three 2x4's for the two middle shelves and the top.  Then i flip it over and do the other side.  You might notice the long 2x4 sticking out of the side near the top.  That's one big tip i learned from the first time.  It's a 10 foot board that i use to pick the shelf up and flip it over.  It works great when you are by yourself trying to maneuver an 8 foot long wobbly shelf.
    2x4 shelf design, how to build, strongest joint, screw, deck screws

    Here's the shelf all done and pushed into place.  It's the perfect size for the basement and you'll also notice that the plastic shelves align at the same height.
    basement shelf, storage, organize, how to make, wood shelf, build, plans

    This is the view from the side.  Obviously i built it with the same corner joints as before.  John and i drew them up and felt that they were the strongest way to connect the boards.
    easy wood shelf design, plans, build, 2x4, cheap, cost, money, strong

    It's amazing how fast the shelf filled up.  I put the long flat boards on top, scrap wood on the second, miscellaneous stuff on the third, pipe on the bottom shelf and all the boxes on the floor below.
    organize your my basement with shelf, how to make, easy, build tools

    This is what the basement looks like now.  A lot cleaner and organized with room to walk.  Before the one side of the basement looked like a scene from hoarders.
    clean basement after building shelf, storage, organize

    The best part of the whole thing is that the shelf i built in the garage took about 3 days to make, while this time i built the entire thing on a Monday night after getting home from work.  All together it took just 4 hours.  And that included me loading the shelf up with all the junk.

    Here's a summary video of the storage shelf being built


    Thumperlane Homestead said...

    awesome post!! thank you, I needed to build shelves in our garage and this is perfect!!

    Dave said...

    A great set of shelves, thanks for sharing. I made 2 sets using your plan, took 7.5 hours including picking up the wood from the store! They are built solid. I took a shortcut cutting out the notches in the OSB by just cutting the whole corner. I also made the spacing between the shelves larger, putting one shelf right near the bottom, the next 24" up, the next 22 and the final 20" up - these height were determined by what I'm storing and the height of my ceiling, but it meant the openings were large enough at the side to put the shelves in after the frame was screwed together. For anyone new to woodwork, I would advise when screwing the frame together, just put one screw in each piece first, then square the whole thing up and then screw in the second screw. My in-laws have already put in their request for a set!

    Anonymous said...

    Haha! I thought you were joking when you showed the shelving in the garage because it covers the door. I guess you have a window to get out in case of a fire?
    Good job on the shelf though!

    Steve Bossio said...


    Just built 2 8' sections per your plans and design. Love them. It took me about 5 hours for both. I pre-cut and pre-drilled everything and then just screwed it all together. Total cost was $115.00 including $3 to have the lumber yard rip the OSB into two pieces.

    Perfect and thanks for taking your time to post for all of us to use.

    I'll be making more for my rental unit, I'm sure the renters will be so pleased to have them and for $110., well its cheap good will.

    Notitlerequired said...

    I'm glad you like them. So far i've built 3 shelves and i somehow am able to completely fill them up. Just like a garage, no matter how big of one you have, you'll find stuff to fill it up with.

    And by the third one you make it will probably take you half the time.

    Jean Pant said...

    Finished my shelves today. Not only do they look great, but they are super strong and sturdy. Thanks again for sharing. I'm expecting a few orders from family close by...

    Laurie said...

    Hi Dave!

    Thank you so much for sharing your plans. Since this was my first build ever (I'm a fairly new homeowner with a 3 year old son and 1 year old daughter), I enlisted the help of my husband and dad. I watched your video several times, measured carefully and still managed to run into a little trouble! When we lowered the first OSB into place, there was a 3" gap! The notches didn't line up right and it wasn't flush against the 8 footers. After watching your video a few more times, and sleeping on it, I realized that all we had to do was shorten the 2 footers to 21" and that would account for the gap. So my husband disassembled the frame, and we made a trip back to my brother-in-law's to use his skill saw (again we're fairly new homeowners which also means we're fairly broke and don't have a lot of our own power tools!) to cut of the excess 3 inches. After that minor setback, the construction was a breeze. The shelves are so handy and sturdy, that we're planning to make 3 more. I really appreciate the time you took to share your work! Thanks again!

    From, A Greenhorn Builder!

    Notitlerequired said...


    Ya sorry about that, they are suppose to be 21". I know i said 2' end pieces but i was wrong. The total distance is 2' after the 8' 2x4's are screwed onto the front.

    I should have made that more clear, or posted a better picture of the dimensions. I will try to fix that.

    Glad you figured it out in the end.


    JJ said...

    Hi Dave,

    Great shelf. I was wondering why you choose to put the side support brace on the inside of the vertical 8' 2x4 instead of the outside?

    Notitlerequired said...


    I guess it doesn't make a huge difference, just added support for the OSB shelf board. If it were on the outside it really wouldn't provide any support. Also you would have to rethink how to make that 3-board joint.

    Anonymous said...

    Thank you for posting these plans. Great value and easy to build.

    Vlad said...

    Thank you! I enjoy looking your videos, it really helps.

    Unknown said...

    How do you think it would work to build one say 4 feet high using the same technic for a work bench Dave?

    Unknown said...

    Could I build one say 4 feet high as a work bench?

    Notitlerequired said...

    Ya the 2 work benches i have are just 2x4 frames with a piece of melamine for the surface. Here's a post i did a while back about building the 2nd one:
    2x4 Work Bench

    Imran said...

    Great shelves. Thanks for taking the time to share. It was easy to put together and now I can finally see the floor of my garage. Now I need a couple more units and everything will have a place to sit. I changed the shelf dimensions because garages in the UK are generally a bit smaller but I just made them taller. A simple design where form follows function. Thanks Dave.

    Anonymous said...

    I just built these and they came out great. I did a few things different for space and connivence. I used 1/2" plywood instead of OSB. I built mine 6' long, you end up with some extra 2'X4' pieces of plywood, but I had a use for these. If you buy 8' 2x4s use the ends for the 1'9" pieces. With these dimensions you need 12 2x4s and 2 sheets of 8' plywood. I used 3" nails instead of screws for the whole thing, same joints (framing nailer). I fastened mine to the wall. I have small children who will climb any thing and if one of these these tipped it may be fatal. Thanks for your time.

    Anonymous said...

    Ron says hello;
    I like your shelves. I have been making them like this, very similar for about 6 years. I needed to move some stuff from a house to a storage unit to live in an apartment for awhile. I moved the four I had and have built 5 more. Everything somewhat organized and a lot of stuff in a small space. Thanks for sharing. 23/32 plywood is cheaper than OSB, so I started using that. And the lumber yard cuts the width for free. Nice big panel saw.

    Denton Family said...

    I have been building shelves like this for about a decade, and love your comment about the interlocking screw placement and the template for the cutouts of osb.
    A few notes from my experience.
    - find a kind of storage bin you like and build with the bin height in mind. And bin depth. The clear plastic flip tops from depot/lowes are the same height
    - build shelf space for 2 bins high and stack the bins. For lighter stuff this saves 4" of space (2x4 +1/2" plywood)
    - bring a friend, two pairs of hands way better.
    - consider shelf depth. From a standard 4x8 sheet, you get 2 cuts of 23.875; 3 cuts of 15.875, or 4 cuts at 11.875 (give or take)
    - find bins on Craigslist/kijiji etc. shippers often will sell them for cheap instead of pay to return them to Asia.

    Brendan said...

    On your video about cleaning the home's ducting for heat and cooling, what about the dirt that adheres to the inside of the ducts? Is that ever done or are new ducts installed? Do the rip-off advertisements scrub the insides of ducts?

    Anonymous said...

    Hi, Dave; found your page because I'm trying to put together my first set of garage shelves. Thanks for the help. Had to chuckle: the comment re how easy it is to fill up the garage/shelves/basement/attic if you provide more room struck home. Also: the picture showing your distribution of supplies on the newly-built shelves reminded me of more organizing tips. If you add lengthwise dividers, you can double or triple the long materials on each shelf, and have room on the now-empty shelcesfor your baskets of goods that are still on the floor. Or, of course, just build another set of shelves for the baskets! :')

    Christopher.g.knight18@gmail.com said...

    I am not able to download the google sketch up plans for the basement shelves. Is there any way you can email them to me?