Installing Overhead Shelving in a Garage or Workshop

When looking for extra storage in a garage or workshop, don’t forget to look up.

Standard wire shelving from the home center makes great overhead shelving between ceiling joists. Fasten the shelves to the underside of the joists using plastic hooks.

Use two hooks facing in opposite directions for extra strength. Fasten each hook with a 1-5/8” screw.

One of the great things about using wire shelves is that you can see right through them to see what is stored, and they don’t collect dust like solid shelves. Using clear plastic containers for storage allows you to easily see what is stored.

You can also use wire shelves to hang tools from hooks made out of wire coat hangers.


  1. I must confess that I like you idea for a couple of reasons. Normally, we at Gorgeous Garage of East Texas, do not recommend garage ceiling storage due to the tendency of customers to install the products without centering the bolts or screws in the ceiling joist and because they usually overload the garage ceiling baskets over time and end up with sagging joists and cracked ceilings. However, your idea alleviates our concerns. The smaller shelf and the reduced space above it helps to prevent overloading, and of course, if the garage studs and joists are exposed, then attachment should be done properly since one can see through the wire rack readily.

  2. Hey Shain, Glad you liked our overhead shelving idea. As I’m sure you’ve discovered, people are always looking for ways to utilize every square inch of garage space, and we’re just trying to help them out. Thanks for writing and be sure to stay tuned to the tv show and website because we’ve got many more storage ideas to come. Best wishes, Joe T.

  3. Well, there are many ways to attach overhead shelves to a drywall garage ceiling, but here’s one technique that works great: Buy two lengths of perforated angle iron, the kind used to install garage-door openers to the ceiling. It’s basically a long piece of metal bent lengthwise at 90 degrees and perforated along both flanges with holes or slots. Securely screw each angle iron to the ceiling with lag screws, making sure to drive them into joists. Now suspend vertical lengths of wood or metal strapping from the angle irons, and bolt on horizontal supports. You can then attach plywood shelving to the supports.

  4. I had wire shelving in my previous kitchen and absolutely hated them! Everything that was not wide enough to simply span 3 wires had a tendency to tumble over if not based properly. And, when something did spill, it went all the way to the ground…making everything underneath it dirty and sticky on the way down! When we built our overflow kitchen in the cellar, we set up wood shelving…I Love them and, when we get to it, our new corner pantry will probably also have wood shelving.

  5. Hi Jonah, I love that term, “overflow kitchen.” My mom had three of them. In any case, I know exactly what you’re talking about re: wire shelving. Stored items always tip over or fall through, and clothing gets imprinted with the wire pattern. The best solution is to simply cover the shelving with thin plywood, Plexiglas, or even cardboard. That not only creates a flat, hard surface, but it also keeps dust and dirt from falling through. Thanks for writing and good luck!–Joe T.


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