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Garage Organization - DIY - Cantilever Shelves

This post is sponsored by The Home Depot.
learn how to build a strong and economical lumber storage for your shop

A big garage ready to get a lumber rack
Well, hello to another edition of this garage makeover!

It seems like I spent an entire month cleaning the area you see in the above picture. Yep. It was though, but I finally got to work on a set of cantilever shelves or a wall lumber storage rack, right there on that wall.

The two biggest troubles I had in my garage/workshop were, first, I didn't have a set space/station for my big tools and second, there was no set space either, for storing long pieces of lumber. And let me tell you, there were small and big pieces of wood scattered all around... Beneath the working table, all along the left and right walls and even on the shelves and corners of the garage!🤦‍♀️

You can check my previous post right HERE, where I had plenty of shameful pictures of that mess.
This next picture looked 50% better when I could get to the items on that wall... 

My husband was the genius who stored those chairs and a couple tires up there. He made sure nobody could grab those precious items! :D
A messy garage ready to be transformed
Anyway, the lumber cart that you see behind that dresser holding those pieces of wood was sent to the other side of the garage. Then, I got rid of everything I had on that wall - until reaching the main pegboard, which is staying.
garage being organized - emptying a wall in garage
The next step was to give that wall two coats of paint before starting working on the shelves.
Cristina Garay painting garage wall
*This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

This project was totally inspired by my friend Julie's work in her shop right HERE.
Sandra - SawDust Girl also tackled a similar garage shelf project right HERE.

The materials you'll need:

Tools you might need:
Tape Measure - Stud Finder - Level - Circular Saw - Milwaukee Impact Driver
- 5/16 Drill bit to pre-drill holes for lag screws - Milwaukee 1/2" Impact Wrench - #14 SocketClamps

Let's build this lumber rack!

Here's a quick video of the entire project:


The most important step is to find and mark the studs on the wall where you want the shelf supports mounted. After all, they're the ones carrying all the load on those shelves.
How to find the studs on the wall


I don't know about your garage situation, but in mine, the floor has a big slant and the walls a very high - 12'. That's why I decided to start the shelving unit way above three feet from the ground.
A level line was set, and a temporary 2x4 was mounted, using regular 3" screws.
This support comes in very handy when mounting the vertical 2x4s.
level supports on wall installation


I cut the 2 x 4's at 9' and marked the screw location - four in each support. It probably doesn't matter where you put those screws since they are going to be mounted all along the stud on the wall.
I made a pre-drill 4" from each end.
Milwaukee impact driver and Cobalt drill bit
| Milwaukee Cordless Hammer Drill & Impact Driver Combo Kit | Milwaukee Cobalt Drill Bit |

Milwaukee Cobalt Drill Bit set
Milwaukee Cobalt Drill Bit Set (15-Piece) |


Even though I installed horizontal support, it was difficult for me to hold and install the vertical 2 x 4's. I had to ask my husband for help during this step. I made sure the support was in the same line as the stud inside the wall while he drove the bottom and top lag screws.
man driving lag screws through 2x4's for cantilever shelf installation
Then, I continued driving the remaining hex lag screws. Without a doubt, this Milwaukee Impact Wrench made this job so easy to accomplish! This is a heavy-duty tool, what you want to use during a though job where you want the machine to do the work for you!
Cantilever shelf garage install

  • This Milwaukee Brushless, cordless 1/2 in. Impact Wrench eliminates the need to use a pneumatic tool for those stubborn and rusted bolts by delivering 1,000 ft/lbs of fastening torque and 1400 ft/lbs of nut-busting torque.
  • It features a friction ring design to ensure quick and easy socket changes.
  • Most compact cordless high torque impact wrench in its class at 8.39 in. L
  • REDLINK plus intelligence prevents damage to the tool and battery due to overloading or overheating.
  • REDLITHIUM 5.0 Ah batteries deliver more work per charge and more work over the life of the battery

Milwaukee 1/2 in. Impact wrench with friction ring kit
| Milwaukee 1/2 in. Impact Wrench with Friction Ring Kit with TWO 5.0 Ah Batteries |

lumber storage solution with 2x4s

Now, the other tool needed for this project was a #14 socket and that's the time when you're more than happy to have in your arsenal a wonderful Mechanics Tool Set like this from Milwaukee.
I used to think that mechanics toolsets were used exclusively for automotive work, how wrong was I! Mechanics toolsets are also used all around the house and every time you need to fasten bolts, nuts, etc. Like when assembling furniture pieces, fixing a garage door, or like in this case, installing shelves.

Milwaukee 1/2 in. drive SAE/Metric rachet ad socket Mechanics tool set
Milwaukee 1/2 in. Drive SAE/Metric Ratchet and SocketMechanics Tool Set (47-Piece) |


I used scrap pieces of 3/4" plywood to create the brackets. Ten - 15" x 12" rectangles were cut out.
A diagonal line was drawn 1-1/2" from each opposite end of the short sides.
How to build cantilever shelf brackets
Using a circular saw, I made the cuts. For a faster approach, you can use a table saw or miter saw.
How to build cantilever shelf brackets
Sandwich the 2x4 in between the plywood sides, making them flush towards the front or small side of the bracket. Add a temporary 2x4 on the back and clamp the three pieces for easier assembling.
Use three 1-5/8" screws on each side to attach sides to the 2 x 4.
How to make cantilever shelf brackets
Firm Grip Gloves | Portable Workbench |
All assembled!
Cantilever brackets

Decide at what height you want the brackets to be mounted. Attach them to the vertical 2 x 4 supports with three 1-5/8" screws on each side.
Continue with the following support, making sure the brackets are all level.
How to build a wall lumber shelf solution

My day turned into night, building and installing the brackets. This was a picture I snapped at the end of the day.
Garage with diy - cantilever shelves installed

And here, the following day.
learn how to build a strong and economical lumber storage for your shop

learn how to build a strong and economical lumber storage for your shop

Now I need to sort all the lumber and clean up all the mess I have in the center of the garage.

UPDATE -  The wood was finally organized. 2X4s and lumber that I use the most were stored on the lower shelf. On the upper shelves are thin moldings and trim that I rarely use. 
Cantilever shelves - garage organization

And here's how it looks after building a miter station and setting it below the shelves.
Garage organization

Oh, and how do you like that new spot for the long ladder? It's so precise and so much better than storing it on the horizontal!

I'm so happy to see an almost empty garage! 🤞

Here again, the three main tools that rocked this project:

1/2 in. Impact Wrench Kit | Cobalt Drill Bit Set | 1/2 in. Mechanics Tool Set |

I acknowledge that The Home Depot is partnering with me to participate in the promotional program described above (the “Program”). As a part of the Program, I am receiving compensation in the form of products and services, for the purpose of promoting The Home Depot. All expressed opinions and experiences are my own words. My post complies with the Word Of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) Ethics Code and applicable Federal Trade Commission guidelines.

*This post contains affiliate links.

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  1. Awesome looking! I don't have a garage, but will keep in mind for basement once it's cleaned out!

    1. Thanks Guerrina! This would work in the basement too. I also built a nice storage shelf for my basement that has worked really nicely there, you can see that project right here:

  2. Thank you for the post! You've inspired my next garage remodeling project!

  3. Really cool projects. I need to make some cantilever shelves too. My garage is a mess. Well done!

  4. I don't understand these ????? How do you use them?

    1. Ron, I just went and updated this post with the final pictures of those brackets serving their purpose: Holding lumber!
      Thanks for your comment. Yep. All empty it's hard to figure it out.

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