Overhead storage saves garage space
Credit: author

Even people who have one- or two-car garages often end up parking cars in the driveway because the space is just plain full of stuff. It may be tools or kid's toys, but "stuff" can easily take over your garage. You could always shell out hundreds of dollars for cabinets and shelf systems, but what do you do with the bulkiest stuff? Garage organization articles go on and on about storage along the walls, but how about the empty space near the ceiling? With a few dollars in materials and some common tools, you can build a ceiling rack to hold those bulky items that won't fit on ordinary shelves. 

This handy design can easily support large, rarely-used items such as oversized tools, extra lumber, skis and other sporting goods. 

Supply list

  • 2 each 8-foot 2-by-4s
  • 4 or 6 each 3-inch lag bolts and washers
  • 1 each ½-inch plywood scrap at least 24" x 24"
  • 32 each #8 x 1½" screws

Tool list

  • glue
  • drill and bits
  • circular, jig or table saw
  • screwdriver
  • wrench (for lag bolts)
  • measuring tape
  • framing square
  • stud finder (optional) 

Constructing the storage unit

1      Cut eight strips of ½-inch plywood three inches wide by 24 inches long.

2      Saw each 2"x4"x8' in half to make four pieces, each four feet long.

Parts cut to size
Credit: author

3      Assemble the parts using carpenter's glue and two wood screws at each joint. For reference, the shank hole of a #8 screw is 11/64" and the pilot hole is 5/64". Attach four strips to the outside ends of each pair of 2x4s (see photo below). Use a framing square to align everything correctly.

Using a square
Credit: author

4      Repeat with the other pair of 2x4s and remaining plywood strips. You now have two hangers.

Assembled hangers
Credit: author

5      Attach the hangers to the ceiling joists. If your garage has a finished ceiling, use a stud finder, magnet, or the old "tap until you find a solid spot" method to locate the joists. You'll need three joists so that you can mount the hangers across them - do not mount parallel to the joists, mount across them. Mark the locations to mount the hangers four feet apart.

6      Mount the hangers securely to the joists using a lag bolt into each ceiling joist through each hanger. Your ceiling storage is now ready to use.


  • You may think that your ceiling joists are a constant sixteen inches apart. They're supposed to be, but they probably aren't.
  • To store smaller articles, slide a "floor" of one-inch boards or other inexpensive lumber like dog-ear fence pickets onto the bottom of the hangers.
  • The stated two-foot height, four-foot length, and four-foot spacing are just guidelines. Feel free to customize.
  • You can add a second level to your storage by inserting a pair of 1x4s partway down both brackets (see photo at top of article).


  • Make certain to locate your hanger where it doesn't interfere with the garage door.
  • Get help to mount the hangers to the ceiling.
  • Wear safety glasses whenever using power tools.
  • Make certain to securely lag both hangers to the ceiling joists.