How To Construct A Sliding Storage System On The Garage Ceiling

Anyone who owns a house with a garage knows that within just a few years that garage is cluttered with all sorts of miscellaneous items from the cars to the lawn mower and garden tools and God

Totes used on this sliding storage system will support 35-lbs. or more and are 13-inches deep.

Totes used on this sliding storage system will support 35-lbs. or more and are 13-inches deep.

knows what else. There is little if any room to store anything else.

There is another place in the garage that has plenty of space even if the floor and walls are cluttered. Look up! It’s the garage ceiling.

Even if you are not a really skilled do-it-yourself builder, you can construct a sliding storage system that accommodates storage boxes on the garage ceiling. The system includes frames made from wood 2×4 planks and plywood strips. The construction takes about one afternoon and the whole structure can cost you from $100 to $500.

Tools And Materials

Tools you will need to perform the construction of the sliding storage system includes:

• Circular saw
• Cordless drill
• Drill bit set
• Hammer
• Level
• Miter saw
• Safety glasses
• Socket/ratchet set

This sliding storage system utilizes the ceiling of a garage as storage space.

This sliding storage system permits you to store items on the ceiling.

• Step ladder
• Stud finder
• Chalk
• Finish nail
• Ruler or tape measure

Materials you need for the sliding storage system include:

• Two 2×4 x 8”
• Half 4’x8’ sheet of ¾” plywood
• One 1×2 x 8 pine stop strip
• One pint carpenter’s glue
• Sixteen ¼” x 3-1/2” lag screws and washers
• One box of 2” wood screws
• One box of 3” wood screws
• Six 23-1/2” x 19-1/2” x 13” plastic totes


Nine steps are all it takes to construct and install the sliding storage system.

1. Measure the top of the tote. This step determines the width of the tote rims (3/4-inches if tote is same used in this project) and the size of the bottom flanges of the carriages (3-inches per case in this project)

Photo 1

2. Cut 3-inch-wide strips of the ¾-inch plywood for the bottom flange. Center them on 4-feet-long 2x4s, then glue and screw together. Use 2-inch screws every 10-inches.

Photo 2

3. Flip the carriage assemblies over. Center the 5-inch-wide plywood top flanges and glue and screw them. This completes the carriage frame.

Photo 3

4. Use the stud finder to locate the ceiling joists. Mark them with chalk lines. Use a finish nail to probe to ensure that the lines fall on the joist centers.

Photo 4

5. Mark each carriage 12-inches from the end and align it with the joist location. Screw the carriage temporarily to each joist on one side of the flange with 3-inch screws.

Photo 5

6. Cut a 2×4 template from your tote dimensions and mark the location of the top edge of the next carriage. Mark the rear side too. Screw it and the other carriages in place on one side only.

Photo 6

7. Check the fit of a tote and ensure that the rim has maximum bearing on the lower flanges. Perform any necessary adjustments.

Photo 7

8. Drill 3/16-inch pilot holes in the top flanges. Drive pairs of 3-1/2-inch lag screws into each joist, removing the temporary screws as you go. Use a minimum of four lag screws per carriage.

Photo 8

9. Mark the centers of the carriages and screw a 1×2 stop along the marks. The stop will prevent the totes from sliding too far into the carriages.

Photo 9

Keep the totes at least 2-feet from light fixtures, door springs and garage door opener.

The reinforced totes used in the installation described here are available from suppliers on the Internet including, The totes are a little stronger than the totes you may find at home centers or department stores. The reinforced rims of the totes will support 35-pounds or more. This is ideal for lightweight storing. Don’t worry; the totes can easily be lifted into place while standing on a ladder. Don’t exceed more than 210-pounds of total weight on each tote.

If you use other style containers, be sure to measure the rims carefully and adjust the bottom flange as necessary.

Joist spacing on the ceiling of the garage should be 24-inches or 16-inches. Be sure to fasten the carriages with at least four lag screws.

Of course, you want the totes to clear the garage door when it is open. So measure the height above the garage door and find totes that fit. The 13-inch deep totes used in this demonstration need 18-inches of space including the carriages to clear the garage door.

If lower clearances are available, use totes that are 8-inches or 10-inches deep. However, they need to be the same top size as the totes used here.


About Robert Janis

Written by Robert Janis for LawnEq - Your specialists for Lawn Mower Parts and Small Engine Parts. We offer genuine premium OEM parts for Land Pride, Toro and many more dependable manufacturers.