Controlling Clutter in a Garage

Garages make for great storage space, but they can quickly become cluttered.

Russ and Raelyn Watkins have a spacious two-car garage, but the space has filled up over time. Walking from their car to the door has become an obstacle.

The garage is the most-used entrance in their home, so making sure the pathway is clear for the family and visitors is a top priority.


The space between the two garage doors is perfect for stacking storage totes.

Build Storage Shelf for Plastic Totes

The space between the two garage doors is perfect for a shelf to hold some plastic storage totes.

We start designing the shelf to custom fit the space, which is about two feet wide between the doors. We measure out the shelves to fit the height of the storage totes. The shelf is long enough to fit five storage totes long and two stacks high. This two-tote height is perfect for adding a counter on top to provide a surface for extra workspace.

To build this storage shelf, it’s essentially just building a frame to fit the totes and then putting the plywood on top of it. We measure the legs to space it up properly, so the totes can easily be taken in and out. 

After it’s assembled, we give it a nice coat of paint with a paint sprayer.


We place the wall shelf at just the right height to fit an extra tote on top of the fridge.

Build Shelf Above Fridge

Next, we add some storage space up high with a wall shelf. We mark on the wall how high we need our shelf to be so we can accommodate some storage space on top of the fridge.

Next, we mark our studs for attaching the shelf. Almost every wall on a home has 16-inch centers — so the 2-by-4 studs are spaced 16 inches apart. 

We find the first stud and use this formula as a guide to mark the rest of the studs. This speeds up the process because we don’t have to use a stud finder to find each one.

These custom corbels are easy to make and look better than standard metal shelf brackets.

Instead of using metal shelf brackets to install our shelf, we take a 1×12 and cut it at a 45-degree where the grain is vertical to make a triangle corbel. We use Titebond Original Wood Glue to keep the corbel and cleat in place. 

To give the shelf and corbels extra support, we add a 1×4 cleat. We leave some space at the top of the corbels so the cleat will slide under the trim beneath the shelf.

The corbels slide neatly into the trim underneath the shelf.

After the shelf is assembled, we paint it to match the plastic storage tote shelf. Then, we apply some Titebond Heavy Duty Construction Adhesive to the back of the shelf before we nail it to the wall.


Although these J-hooks are meant for plumbing, they’re a perfect fit for storing tailgating chairs and brooms!

Utilize Wall Space

The hooks on the walls came with the house when the Watkins family bought it. They don’t work with their family’s storage needs, so we create a new system that’s perfectly tailored for them.

Use a level to make sure the J-hooks are even.

Our solution for storing the Watkins’ tailgating chairs is hanging them on the wall with J-hooks. These hooks are actually meant for hanging pipes, and you can find them on the plumbing aisle.

To get more chairs on the wall and also add some visual variety, we staggered them on the wall.

We also:

  • Painted the walls
  • Changed the opening direction of the door
  • Moved the refrigerator
  • Restored garage floor
  • Removed blinds and installed window film

Post-Production Thoughts

Russ and Raelyn’s garage was like many people’s — a place where things got dropped when there was nowhere else for them. Without adequate shelving, the floor filled up fast, and walking through the garage was a little like an obstacle course. And, the dingy walls and cobweb-covered windows didn’t make the chore any easier.

Now, the garage is light and bright thanks to the great new color on the walls and the crisp, clean window film on the windows.

The freestanding shelf between the doors holds tons of smaller items, thanks to the transparent storage bins, while the long shelf on the wall is ready to handle lots of long-term storage.

The camping chairs now have their own designated spot, off the floor so there’s no more obstacle course.

In fact, the new arrangement freed up so much space that Raelyn can park closer to the door to the house and still leave room for the mower.


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Products Featured in This Episode


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