So here’s the deal – the kids got a ton of toys for Christmas, plus we already had way too many toys in this house. There was just nowhere to put them all. So after an impromptu trip to Menards (their lumber is decent and their prices are good) and an evening of work, we finally have a place to put them. Here’s how to make a basement storage shelf.
- Power Drill
- Circular Saw
- Jig Saw (hacksaw would work)
- Tape Measure
- 17 – 8ft long 2x4s
- 3 – 4ft x 8ft sheets of plywood
- 1 – Box of 2.5” drywall screws
- 1 – Box of 1” drywall screws
Total Estimated Cost – $60
Total Estimated Time – One Evening
To start, lay out 2×4’s as shown below:
First, you lay out boards “1” and “2”. These will need to be cut to 6½ feet lengths. Then you lay boards “3” and “4” on top. Before drilling them together, you will need to make sure they are square.
To make it square, you measure diagonally from one corner to the next. It should measure the same diagonally each way. In this case it is 123.69” (~10ft 3 11/16in).
You can also pull out a formula from 8th grade algebra to determine the appropriate diagonal length:
a = 8’ = 96”
b = 6.5’ = 78”
c = 123.69” = ~10ft 3 11/16in
If you skip making it square, you will have issues with your shelf not being level. I didn’t use an actual level when making this; I just made sure everything was square. This was the best method for us since our basement floor is not level to begin with.
Drill boards “1”, “2”, “3”, & “4” together in the corners using the 2.5” screws. Be sure to stagger the screws as shown below so to help prevent the wood from splitting. Then drill boards “5” and “6” to the frame using the same stagger method. You can use the spacing I used, or make up your own spacing. The spacing of the boards will end up as the height of the shelves. Since we have some larger toys to store, I made some larger shelves.
Once completed, this is half of the frame for your shelf. You will need to make another of these; only boards “1” and “2” will need to be on top this time.
Now you will need to do a bit of cutting. You need to cut most of the remaining 2×4’s into 19.5” pieces. You will need 16 of these in total. You will drill 4 of them to the frame (as shown on left); then attach the other part of the frame (as shown on right).
Then you add the 19.5” supports at the remaining 3 levels and add an additional vertical support in the back:
Now you add the plywood shelves at each level. If you used my dimensions, it should be very easy – just cut the plywood in half, and nook out a few spots for the vertical supports beams (see picture on right).
The reason I used 8 feet wide is because the plywood is 8 feet long (no cuts). The reason I used 2 feet deep, is because the plywood is 4 feet wide (only one cut). If you would like to add plywood on the top, you will need to purchase another sheet (I chose not to because we’re already at our ceiling height).
Screw the plywood down using the 1” screws. I used 8 screws per shelf.
At this time you should have 1.5 sheets of plywood remaining. Screw them to the back using the 1” screws and you have this:
You might think that I’m the bad dad because I store their toys in the basement, but trust me, there is no possible way they can play with every toy at one time. This has worked out great for us so far and keeps the mess upstairs to a minimum.
Update 3/14: The shelves are still working great. Check out the shelves in our basement playroom on this post on how to keep the toys from taking over.
What do you think?
Where do you store your kids’ toys? Do you have a system? I’d love to hear what works for you!