Create custom wall storage

In the garage, wall space equals storage space. Check out these creative systems for organizing your walls.

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  • Metal gridwork

    Sturdy metal grids screw into wall studs and provide attachment points across the entire surface (hangers snap onto the wire grid). Panels range in size from 1 x 5' to 4 x 8'; with the 2 x 4' panel being the most popular.

  • Metal panels

    For these panels, versatility reigns. The 1/4" holes in this system accept standard hooks and fixtures like the ones designed for perforated hardboard (commonly known by the Peg-Board brand). The slots accept a wide selection of shelves, bins, and other organizational aids. Black and white vinyl tape shown at left make it easy to create tool silhouettes. Panels come in eight color options, and prices range from $16 to $32.

  • Long-time favorite

    It's inexpensive ($17 for a 4x8' sheet) and available everywhere, so no wonder perforated hardboard still has fans. Look for new versions of tool hangers that lock into the 1/4" holes. This bench combines hardboard with a track system.

  • Shelf-and-rack combo

    For garages with 9' or taller walls, a shelf-and-rack combo could be the ticket to family organization. The brackets, anchored to studs, carry a 2,000-pound rating. Seldom-used and seasonal items stay organized and dust-free in storage bins stacked above the shelf.

  • Utility shelves and shelf standards

    Support an entire wall of tools and supplies when you hang your wall system off a securely mounted top track. (See details next slide) Because shelf standards hang freely from the horizontal top track, spacing of shelf standards is entirely flexible --an installation plus. Designers at The Container Store (containerstore.com) created the 100x96" Elfa system at left, based on the homeowner's tool list. Installation required just 60 minutes.

    The flexible rubber contours of Elfa's large tool hanger grip tools from 1 1/8" to 1 5/8" in diameter. The hanger snaps into a utility track locked between two shelf standards as shown in the inset photo in lower right corner.

  • Incredible drywall fasteners

    When it's not practical to fasten the top track to a wall stud, the Danish-designed Elfa system, shown on previous slide, relies on sturdy drywall anchors as shown at left. The threading action compresses the plastic barrel behind the drywall.

  • Slatwall

    Slatwall makes it easy to rearrange storage as you acquire new equipment or interests. You'll find a wide range of specialty hangers, hook-on baskets, and shelves that fit the T-slots of slatwall panels. Most, but not all, manufacturers produce interchangeable hangers; basic hooks retail for about $2. Costs vary for panels; the most popular homeowner choices include plastic (about $6/sq. ft.) and MDF (about $2.50/sq. ft).

    Can't find exactly the hanger you need? Make your own. Cross-country skis rest on 5"-deep slatwall shelf material cut 12" wide.

  • Right-height tub storage

    Storage tubs rest on 15"-wide shelf supports; about $15 each.

  • Good for a variety of balls

    Cam locks secure a 12"D x 24"W x 9 1/2"H basket.

  • Better boat storage

    Never worry about your kayak crashing down on you or the car. Lake Manufacturing's 24"-wide padded hook integrates with any generic slatwall panel.

  • Easy access for painting supplies

    A tidy spot for painting supplies requires only a few square feet of slatwall. Cut 5"-deep shelves from 12"- or 24"-long material.

  • Hooks slide but don't fall off

    There are now at least a half dozen track systems on the market. Most systems feature 48"-long strips and proprietary hooks, shelves, and baskets that fit in 5-6"-wide track channels. Hooks slide and then lock in place to get the tool location just right. Best news: The hooks stay in place when you remove items.

  • Craftsman VersaTrack work great in corners

    Photos of the same garage corner demonstrate the versatility of a track system and hooks that work for family toys or yard and garden tools. Craftsman VersaTrack, about $8; hooks, about $6.

  • Good for fishing gear

    Standard hangers keep fishing rods from flopping around; a nearby ventilated shelf is ideal for a tackle box.

  • A place for helmets

    Standard hangers keep fishing rods from flopping around; a nearby ventilated shelf is ideal for a tackle box.

    Garage Tip: Get it right the first time

    Professional organizer Barry Izsak suggests that before you start drilling holes in the wall, have a helper hold up items you want to hang (tools, bikes, bags) to determine the optimum wall bracket height and placement.

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