Frugal Garage Shelving: How To Build Sturdy Shelves In The Garage For Mere Pennies

My wife purchased a set of Gorilla z-beam shelving for $60 recently. We assembled this shelving unit and found it to be quite sturdy and able to hold a lot of stuff, but I couldn’t help but think that I could do a very similar job for much cheaper. So I set out to do just that!

What I wanted was a five shelf storage unit for the garage that would hold plenty of weight. I also wanted the shelves to be adjustable so that I could change the relative height of the shelves. I wasn’t too worried about appearance – they’re shelving units for the garage, after all – but I did want them to be sturdy.

First, I subscribed to my local Freecycle and to my local Craigslist posted several items I didn’t want. This was an ongoing thing, but it enabled me to get the connection to resources that I need.

Next, I jumped on the first opportunity for free cinder blocks. A person about an hour away had twenty cinder blocks that they wanted to get rid of, so I took him up on them. I stopped by that weekend in conjunction with other businesses and picked up the shelves.

I also asked around for wooden planks. I eventually found what I was looking for at a lumber liquidation sale, purchasing ten flat pieces of wood, about six inches wide, five feet long, and a half inch thick. Perfect shelves for pennies!

Construction was simple: two columns of cinder blocks, each ten blocks tall. Every two blocks, I would place two of the pieces of wood connecting the two towers, leaving a shelf in between. The final product was a five shelf storage unit that looks fine against the wall in the garage. It holds plenty of weight and cost about $55 less than the Gorilla shelves – even better, it was quicker to assemble.

Are they sturdy? Incredibly so. For a period, these shelves held nothing but books and held up just fine; in fact, the tools and other items I have on them now are much lighter than the books that were weighing it down.

Doesn’t it look tacky? It’s currently covered in tools and cans of WD-40 and such things – in other words, it fits right in in a garage intended to hold tools and other such materials. It actually fits right in. Even better, I’ve put nails into some of the boards to provide places for hammers and other tools to hang around the edges – highly utilitarian.

The next time you look at paying significant money for a utility item like this one, step back and see if you can’t find ways to assemble it yourself using free or very inexpensive items. You can sometimes save yourself a ton of money.

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