Super-Sized Storage in a Tiny Space

As part of the garage-to-Chics With Tools Makery transformation, we are trying to use every hidden nook for storage, especially for the less than lovely things that every garage holds. We have tile that we may need to do repairs someday and tiling supplies that we actually really don’t want to use again but may need to. Then there are the bags of charcoal and wood chips, old paint, kids’ toys, and small power tools. This time around, we focused on building boxes for the space under the stairs and also one of the low shelves. For these to work there was a key component: WHEELS!

A WORD ABOUT WHEELS

So before we get into the weeds, let’s talk a little about wheels, aka: casters. There are several options. I prefer the surface mount variety but even with them, there are some decisions you need to make. Do you want them to swivel or just go straight? Do you need them to lock or does that matter? The answer to all of these questions needs to be based on where and how you will be using your wheeled apparatus.

In the image below, the box to the right will eventually be difficult to access because I would love to have a paint sink on the wall to the right. That means that the box on the left will need to slide out in order to maneuver the other box out. So the latter has swiveling casters to make that easier. The former has fixed wheels on the back and swiveling on the front. I wanted the triangular box under the stairs to really act like a drawer, sliding in and out straight with ease, so this has four fixed casters. So far it is working pretty well. Now I just need the kids to put their stuff away in it, but I digress.

If you would like to do this project, read on.

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Materials

3/4” plywood

pocket screws

Kreg Jig

Casters

Rectangular Boxes

Measure the space. Be sure to take any baseboards or obstacles into account, as well as the height of the wheels. For the sake of example, let’s make a box that is 30” tall, 36’ deep, and 24” wide.

Cut the front and back of the boxes. (24” x 30”)

Cut the sides 1 1/2” shorter than the desired depth of your box. (34 1/2 x 30”)

Cut the bottom the same depth as the sides and 1 1/2” narrower than the front and back. (34 1/2 x 22 1/2)

Lay them down on the floor to be sure everything is cut correctly.

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Using the Kreg jig, cut pocket screw holes.

Attach two sides together followed by the other two.

Attach the bottom.

Flip the boxes over and attach the wheels. If your screws are too small for the holes on the wheels, just add some washers.


TRIANGULAR BOX

Even though building a triangular box may look difficult and intimidating, it is not a big deal at all. The two differences between this and the rectangular boxes are that the front and back are triangles vs rectangles. (Thank you, Captain Obvious.) Secondly, because it is so big, I put in a divider to strengthen the structure and help keep items like helmets and balls from falling out.

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The final step is to stain, paint, or seal the boxes. I used the same deck stain that I have used on all the raw wood in the Makery. It is a one coat process and that makes me happy.

I am still debating on whether I want to attach handles but that can wait. For now I am just thrilled that we have useful storage that utilizes the dusty, cobweb-filled recesses of the stairway that also looks pretty good.