Easy basement storage shelving from 2x4s

Completed basement storage shelving
Completed basement storage shelving

The unfinished portion of our basement has a remarkable amount of storage for a century home. One of the previous owners put up some walls to create specific storage rooms which is really nice. The problem with having a lot of storage, however, is that it tends to fill up very quickly. Stuff you might otherwise donate, throw away, or otherwise address gets put into storage- where it accumulates incredibly fast. That is why I asked Brian to construct some easy basement storage shelving.

Our basement storage room before shelving was added

In our storage room, we had piles and piles of ‘stuff.’ Some of it is meaningless and should be dealt with appropriately. Some of it is useful (if only for specific occasions or holidays) but we end up not using it. We either forget we have it or decide it isn’t worth excavating piles of stuff to find what we are looking for. I would avoid getting stuff out of the room because it was so hard to find what I wanted and it often required me to move countless other items out of the way.

Project description

So Brian and I decided to build some simple shelving to custom fit the space. It was constructed using only 2x4s because we wanted to keep the costs down. Making it from scratch also allowed us to determine the exact size of the shelves to best fit our needs and our space. 

Brian came up with a simple design based on the size of the room and the typical height of our plastic storage bins. We made the bottom opening about 22″ tall to accommodate our larger and heavier items. The other two shelves were approximately 18.5″ tall. This meant the overall structure was about 63″ tall. Once we had determined the appropriate measurements, we were able to calculate how much wood was needed for this project. After doing some research, we found that Menards was the cheapest place to purchase the 2x4s, so we purchased our lumber there. We spent about $150 on wood and an additional $20 on screws.

When then used the 2×4 boards to create frames for either end of the shelving (with an extra frame for the longer section). Brian cut the pieces to size using his miter saw and then we used the impact drill to insert 3″ construction screws to secure the shelving pieces. We stood up the frames and then screwed the shelf pieces directly into the frames. We weren’t too worried about the shelving being precise because it was in the basement. The design resulted in some really sturdy shelves.

Tools needed

This project requires only the most basic tools and could be completed successfully by even the most amateur DIY-er.

  1. 2×4 boards (the amount to be determined based on the size of your space)
  2. Impact drill
  3. 3″ construction screws
  4. Miter saw
  5. Wood clamps (to help hold frame pieces in place while fastening)
  6. Pencil (to mark height of shelves on frame pieces)

Project outcome

Although we did a little bit of purging, most of the items that were in the storage room stayed in the storage room. We moved some items out of oddly shaped plastic bins into more standard ones and focused on making sure everything was clearly labeled. As a result of this project, we gained a lot more usable storage space because we are able to use the full height of the room. In our 100-year-old home, the basement ceilings are barely seven feet tall and there are numerous pipes suspended from the ceiling. If you have taller ceilings, you might be able to add an additional level of shelving.

The finished project

I am so happy with the finished product. Everything is clearly organized and so much easier to find. We were even able to move in the Christmas trees and garland that were previously stored in the garage. 

Do you have an area that needs shelving/organization? Would you consider doing a project like this instead of buying pre-made shelving?

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