Thursday, January 7, 2016

DIY Shed Shelves and Organization

This is a tale of a store bought shed and a DIYer.  It's no love story for sure.  Take a store bought anything, cross paths with a DIYer and sparks are bound to fly.

Yeah, I can hear the question...

"Why did you buy it then?"

Lots of reasons really.  My wife and I had just bought our new home and their was no shortage of DIY projects to do before we moved in.  I was short on time and lacked the space to do even the most basic of projects to help fix the situation.  We had stuff piled everywhere and I was ready to pull my hair out.

So it was off to the home improvement store to see what I could get on a budget to help clear some clutter.

This composite shed was on sale.  I had a 10% off coupon and it was in stock.  Just what I was looking for I thought.

Putting it together was an easy enough chore.  3 or 4 hours after opening the box I had a shed where their had been none.

"Awesome", I thought.

Then, over the course of a few weeks to months I began to realize the short comings I had been blinded too when I bought it.

In my defense I was never a fan of the sheds assembly method.  3 panels make up each of the three side walls.  Each panel is placed into a grove on the floor and connected to each other via plastic retainer clips.

When I was putting it together I grabbed the instructions and promptly started reading through them thinking I was missing something.  It didn't seem right to just have the individual panels held to each other by a few retainer clips.

Turns out, I wasn't missing anything.

After clipping the panels together you then screw the wall panels to the floor panels.  The same happens for the roof.

Store Bought Organization -- Not a Chance!


A quick internet search for composite shed shelving showed a system that the manufacturer was selling so you could add vertical storage to your new shed.

I quickly realized I was not comfortable with this option.  As I showed in the video, the retainer clips used to hold each panel together can and will pop loose if too much pressure is applied to the inside of the walls.

I had put our bicycles in the shed and one of them got pushed over and it lent up against the side wall popping out one of the clips in the process.  Needless to say the clip doesn't quite sit in it's groove the way that it once did.

Time to Put DIY into Action!!


So here is the dilemma.  I need to design shelves that are free standing. (for the most part)

The problem that I run into is the floor panels have a bit of bounce to them.  Yes the floor panels are simply molded plastic and there is a void between the bottom of the floor panel and the subfloor of the foundation giving it a bit of spring.

That makes anything that I set inside inherently unstable.

In the case of my DIY shed shelves, they are only 12" deep.  The shed is 72" wide.  I want 2 shelving units on either side.  72 minus 24 gives me a middle area between the two units wide enough for me to get two shop cabinets hung as well.

Make sense?  Good, on with the project.

Ok, so the basic design of the shelving units are fairly basic.  We have four vertical pieces that are the legs.  Then we have a number of horizontal pieces that we will cut our shelf material to fit.  I will not go into detail here as you can watch the video for the exact procedure that I used.

One thing to note is the top horizontal pieces are cut long enough to stretch across the top of the two vertical leg pieces.

However, the horizontal shelf pieces are cut three inches shorter and will fit between the two leg pieces.

I normally like to avoid setting screws from the side like this in order to prevent potential excessive sheer forces from sheering my screws and causing failure of the shelf in question.

However, I decided to allow the use of this type of joint without further reinforcement because of the type of items these shelves will hold.

Chicken wire, hardware cloth, a bottle of this or that.  Nothing to heavy.  I figured 20 to 30 pounds max.

Plus the depth at 12 inches inherently limits the amount of weight that could be placed on each shelf anyway.

Would a joint like this without reinforcement work for you in your situation?  Only you can truly answer that question.  However, a good rule of thumb that I would go by would be if I planed to store more than 50 pounds on any one shelf I would think about reinforcing the joints.

One More Thing!

Oh by the way.  In the video you see me driving screws to attach my shop cabinets to the back wall frame.  It is noteworthy that the cabinets are built with a hanger board behind them.  It is built into the structure of the cabinets and it is meant to take the weight of the cabinets and anything I may place inside them.

Want a cut list?  Here you go!

Shelf Unit

 2 Top horizontal cross pieces @ 1.5" x 1.5" x 48"
6 Horizontal cross shelf pieces @ 1.5" x 1.5" x 45"
8 Horizontal cross pieces @ 1.5" x 1.5" x 9"
1 Half Sheet of .5" OSB Board (this will be 4' x 4')
1 Box of 3" screws
A few brad nails (Optional)

If you want two shelving units to set yourself up with something like what I have done then double all of the lumber cuts required.  One box of screws will still suffice.

For the back wall unit I used 2x3s instead of 2x4s to save money.  I used eight 2x3s and spaced the studs every 16" on center.  The only thing it is attached to in the shed is the two shelving units.

Together they create a U shape and brace each other.

If you like this project be sure to subscribe for email updates by using the form to the right.  Also be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel and never miss a new project video.  I try to post new videos every week usually on Thursdays.  Check me out on Facebook and Pinterest and until then.

Happy DIY'ing.


  1. Ain't it the pits to have to lock up everything? although it does keep the padlock companies in business. They probably love thieves.

  2. How tall is the shelves?..i cant figure out how tall the shelves are..thanks

  3. Hi,

    Great blog and YouTube - thanks!

    How would I re-enforce the joints if I'm going to put more than 50lbs on a shelf?



    1. Use more 2X2 segments, and cut them to fit against the inside of the outer frame, positioned vertically between the shelves at their corners. For this shelf design, you would need a total of 12 segments (that's 4 per shelf) if you wanted to provide the additional support for all the shelves, minus the top shelf since it's runners are attached over the top of the upright frame boards, and not tacked to the sides like the others, and is not prone to the same potential failure of only being supported by screws or nails from the side. This provides vertical support underneath all the 4 foot shelf runners at their ends where they meet the vertical frame boards. And if your wanting to support really heavy stuff, consider building the frame from 2X4's instead, still using the additional 2X2 vertical supports described above.


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