Building an overhead storage shelf

Build An Overhead Storage Shelf

One of the easiest ways to occupy spaces that have open floor joists is by building an overhead storage. The overhead space between the joist and your head could benefit you to make extra storage shelves. Here are some easy steps on how to make the storage.

You will need:

  1. 7\’ of 1″x14″ wood per support (multiply 7\’ by the number of supports you need)
  2. Cordless drill
  3. 1/16″ drill bit
  4. Saw
  5. Adjustable clamps
  6. 2 of 8\’ 2″x6″ planks (the length varies according to situation)
  7. 2″ and 1 1/2 ” wood screws
  8. Step ladder
  9. Measuring tape


  1. First, determine the spacing of your ceiling joists. Usually, the ceiling joists are 16″ center to center. The weight of stored items will influence the spacing of the supports so if they are very heavy, place a support at every other joist. If you have the space, you can use 4 supports to create 8\’ of shelving.
  2. Then, determine the size of the shelf based on the things that you want to store. The supports look like a U-shape with two vertical 1×4\’s and a horizontal 1×4 on the bottom will be screwed to the joists. Consider how much head room you have to work with and the size of boxes and bins you want to store on the shelves.
  3. Next, cut the 1×4\’s for the sides and bottom of the supports with a circular saw. For example, if you want to store 18″ high bins so your two side 1×4\’s should be; 4″ for overlap connection to joists plus 18″ for bins plus 1.5″ for 2×6 supports plus 3.5″ for bottom 1×4 support will equal to 27″ as the length for the two vertical legs for each support “U”. The bottom support should be cut to desirable storage depth plus 7″ of overlap on vertical legs which is 3.5″ on each side.
  4. Use the 1×4\’s to build the supports. Pre drill the holes when using 1×4 boards and screwing them together so the ends don\’t split when the screws are attached. Place at least 3 screws through the vertical and horizontal end pieces to make the U shape supports. The tip is to lay the vertical 1×4\’s flat against the ceiling joists when they are connected and the horizontal piece should lay flat against the vertical legs. At this point, pre drill where the vertical legs will overlap and attach to the joists.
  5. Next, clamp the vertical pieces to the joists and make sure they are overlapped correctly and in the correct position to align all the supports. Pre drill through the supports to the joists to make a good hole for your screws to follow.
  6. Screw the support to the joist and continue with the next support. You still have to slide two of the 2×6\’s along the horizontal piece to make the base of the shelf. Slide 2×6\’ onto horizontal supports and lay flat. You may need more than 2×6\’s depending on the depth of the shelf desired.
  7. Finally, you can begin to decluttering.

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