The garage may, at times be disorganized due to the presence of tools and items on the floor. This, at times, may cause the damage of some items. In order to keep all the garage tools and items safely whenever not in use, you have to find the best overhead garage storage rack that can hold more weight and keep a wide range of items. There are different storage racks that you will find on the market though not all are recommended. You should, therefore, check out for key features like; maximum weight capacity, durability, size, and ease of installation, among others.

Ah, the extra boxes and bins. I’m sure you have them too. They lurk in the corners of your closets and garages, waiting for that perfect season or month to become relevant again. The bin is full of foam pumpkins and fall leaves, and the box is bursting with tinsel and ornaments. The one size of outgrown clothes that the next kid isn’t quite big enough for. Or maybe it’s the grass seed and fertilizer, the paint cans and brushes, or the yard games and camping equipment. All things that in due time, have a glorious purpose. But when they are tagged out for the season, where do you put them? With my closet space limited, and taller ceilings in our garage, we decided to look into some overhead storage.  

When choosing the best overhead garage storage system for your space, there are a few things that you need to consider. Carefully plan how, where, and what size system you are going to be installing to maximize storage space. The style and brand of the system are important to look at as well, to determine safety options and durability. Determine what you would like to store, and if it can be done safely, given the dimensions and weight the unit can hold. Also, consider the load your ceiling can hold, and if the proper installation is something that you can DIY or will need a professional for.  

What Is Overhead Garage Storage?

Although it’s common to only think of racks that hang from your garage ceiling, overhead storage refers to any kind rack, shelf, pulley or hooks that suspend the item above the roof-line of your car. 

Overhead storage comes in a variety of materials and sizes. They’re perfect for storing anything from kayaks to gardening tools to old clothing.

In most cases, they’re attached to the ceiling along the ceiling joists and can support up to 600 pounds.

How Is Safe Overhead Garage Storage?

Is Overhead Garage Storage Safe 2

One of my biggest fears about overhead garage storage is whether or not it’s safe to park my car underneath.

As long as they’re installed properly, and your garage ceiling can support the weight, overhead storage is extremely safe.  

Storage manufacturers put their products through rigorous testing and rate them up to a specific weight limit. That limit is almost always less than the product can withstand, but they want to be safe and limit their liability.

That means testing how much weight the storage rack has support before the metal bends or the bolts tear out of the ceiling joists.

Additionally, you want to be sure that your garage ceiling can support the weight you’re trying to hang from it. Often, your ceiling can support far less weight than the overhead storage rack is rated for.

When I was researching overhead storage, I did a lot of research to figure out how much weight different types of ceiling joists and trusses could support. Before you commit to storage racks or shelves, I recommend checking that article out. Hanging more weight than your ceiling can support is a sure-fire way to have it all come crashing down.

Garage Overhead Storage Tips That Help You Use Your Space Wisely

Using your garage’s overhead space as a storage area is a great way to minimize garage clutter. The vertical space of a garage is commonly not used to its full potential.

But what are the best garage overhead storage systems to use and how should you use this space wisely? These seven garage overhead storage tips will help you get the most out of this valuable storage space in your home.

Choose the right garage overhead storage system

The most important of our garage overhead storage tips is rather simple – start by choosing the right garage overhead storage system. Determine what you’ll be using the overhead storage space for and choose a storage solution that will satisfy your requirements. From there, everything related to overhead garage storage becomes much easier.

Garage overhead storage is frequently used for heavier, bulkier items. Therefore, you’ll need heavy-duty storage racks that can handle the job and are well-made and able to last for many years in a demanding garage environment. For tire storage, Garage Living carries wall-mounted tire racks. Tires and other heavier items can also be stored in our overhead storage racks, which have the following features:

  • available in 2×8, 3×6, 3×8, 4×4, 4×6, and 4×8 foot sizes
  • up to 600 lbs are safely supported with the racking’s heavy-gauge steel construction
  • powder-coated paint finish improving the durability of the racking
  • rack adjustability up to 45″ in height for improved storage flexibility

Store the right items in your garage overhead storage

Along with tires, garage overhead storage is ideal for storing a wide range of items that are better off up in the air than on your garage floor, which can prevent you from parking. One of the best uses for overhead racking is to use it for storing out-of-season items that have no usefulness for a significant portion of the year.

This includes property maintenance tools and equipment like lawnmowers, snowblowers, grass trimmers, hedge trimmers, shovels, and rakes.

Other out-of-season items like patio furniture, car roof racks, sporting and camping equipment, and holiday decorations are perfect for overhead garage storage. Storage bins can also be kept in your overhead storage racks, but it’s advisable not to store any clothing and textiles in them.

Group like items together

The third of our garage overhead storage tips follows a practical, common-sense guideline that can be applied to any storage situation – group like items together.

Strategically storing items greatly reduces the chances of misplacing them, and you’ll find things much easier. Following this simple guideline will be particularly beneficial when it comes to finding smaller items.

garage overhead storage tips tire rack

Label your stored items

In addition to keeping your items grouped, using labels is another one of the garage overhead storage tips that can save you time. For storage bins, labels should be considered essential, especially when you’re using bins that all look the same.

Labels will help you find small, harder-to-find items stored in containers a lot quicker. Be sure that your labels are easy to read and won’t peel off under extreme hot or cold temperature conditions.

Prepare your items properly for overhead garage storage

Wash and dry any items destined for overhead garage storage that can corrode like bikes, lawnmowers, and snowblowers. For motorized equipment, follow the manufacturer’s storage maintenance guidelines, such as making oil changes.

Taking the time to do this when storing your belongings at season’s end will result in longer lifespans for them.

Don’t waste garage overhead storage space with clutter you don’t need

Determine how useful each item being stored will be when needed again. Is that old tent that’s seen better days going to hold together for another camping trip? Does that rake with mangled tines truly warrant further use?

Follow this guideline in the spring and fall. A biannual process of weeding out items that have outlived their usefulness will help keep garage clutter at a minimum. That makes your garage overhead storage space more functional.

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Let a trusted professional handle the addition of garage overhead storage racks

Installing garage overhead storage racks that are meant to handle heavy weight loads requires expertise. Suspended overhead racks need to be properly attached to your rafter or ceiling joists, while a wall-mounted tire rack also needs a stable anchoring foundation.

That’s why one of the garage overhead storage tips worth heeding is to leave the installation of specialty racking in the garage to a professional.

Garage Living will capably install your specialty storage racking so it’s 100% safe and able to withstand the heavy loads that will be placed on it. We also know what sizes and types of specialty racking will work best within your garage space.

What Are the Benefits of Overhead Garage Storage?

The benefits of SafeRacks overhead garage storage are numerous and include:

  • freeing up garage space for other uses, e.g., parking, hobby work, home business, pet area
  • safer than stepping around clutter or other potential hazards on the garage floor (thousands of garage accidents happen every year in the U.S.)
  • saving money over outside-storage fees
  • organizing all the belongings that have been randomly filling up your garage space and creating a mess (and possible fire hazard)
  • putting items out of the reach of children and pets
  • providing a significantly larger amount of storage space compared to other shelving options, e.g., one 8’ x 4’ rack from SafeRacks adjusted to 46” from the ceiling provides almost 128 cubic feet of storage space (more than the average coat-closet)
  • easy and quickly installed; it takes an authorized SafeRacks installer about 1 hour per rack to install
  • strong and secure 14-gauge industrial-grade steel shelves with redundant connections keep your belongings safely above

Is Overhead Garage Storage Systems Safe? 

Okay, the nightmare seems real – rigging up some sort of shelving, piling all the decore and yard equipment in neat rows, only to have Mayhem’s younger brother visit in the middle of the night via shoddy workmanship. A couple of shattered car windshields and a heap of once-tidy bins later . . . most people skip the worst-case scenarios and just buy floor shelving. But before you count out this option entirely, know that with a few considerations, these can be an excellent addition to your garage. With proper planning, a trusted build for the system, careful choices of what to store overhead, and proper installation, overhead storage systems for your garage are a very viable option.  

How to Plan for Overhead Storage 

Is Overhead Garage Storage Safe

First, you will need to properly plan out where you are going to install your overhead garage storage units. Here are some questions you will need to answer, with your tape measure in hand, as you navigate the decision-making process.   

  • Assess what you plan to store – What are the dimensions and combined weight of your boxes and items?   
  • How low would you like the shelves to hang in the garage?  
  • Will they interfere with anything else in the garage? (Water heater? Standing shelving? Vehicles?) 
  • Will they block or limit access to the garage attic entrance?  
  • Which way are the trusses running for when you install the system?  

This isn’t an exhaustive list, but at least it will get you started as you begin looking at purchasing options.  

What Should I Consider When Choosing an Overhead Garage Storage System? 

After you have a general idea about the logistics of your space and items, choosing the storage racks themselves is your next step. Here are some things to look for:  

Size 

From my research, most overhead storage size options are either 4 ft x 8 ft, or 4 ft x 4 ft. I did find some other manufacturers that had smaller options, typically being 3 ft x 3ft, but these typically had a much smaller weight capacity than the larger options. This is the unit that I am considering (Amazon link). Some more “shelf-like” options can be suspended from the ceiling that gives you some other size variables. These other variables generally ranged in 2 ft x 8 ft, 2 ft x 4 ft, and the already mentioned 4 ft x 8 ft, or 4 ft x 4 ft if you want to see if this is a better option for your situation, (Amazon Link). 

Placement 

You want to optimize your storage options when it comes to purchasing the correct unit for your garage. In my situation, I have an entry door, a side access door, the main garage door, and a tankless water unit all approaching the ceiling in my garage, along with my attic entrance. A careful plan is needed to maximize my overhead storage options best, so everything will fit and still be functional. Because of this new version of Tetris, I am using a combination of both the suspending overhead storage system options and the type that bolts to the sidewall and is suspended from the ceiling. You may need to consider a similar hybrid if you have several essential things (like doors) to dance around when measuring out your garage. 

How Does the Unit Secure to the Ceiling? 

When looking at overhead storage units, pay special attention to the feet and how they secure to the ceiling. Most options will have a foot that you can use lags to secure to the ceiling truss. I am personally of the opinion that it might be better to drill and use a grade 8 bolt with a washer to eliminate the possibility of the lag stripping the wood. Still, I would say follow the manufacturer’s instruction manual. 

The part that I like about some of these brands available is the ones that have the 24-inch piece of angle iron at the foot. This allows for the overhead storage system to span across two trusses per foot to help disperse the weight of the overall unit and the items you are storing on it. 

What Material Should the Shelving Be Made of? 

In our article on How to Choose Garage Storage Cabinets, I discuss floor shelving and how to choose the right kind for your garage. While wood and plastic may be viable options for cabinets, I strongly recommend choosing a unit that is made of steel, rather than DIYing a set of ceiling-hanging shelves yourself out of something else. The durability alone adds a level of safety for yourself and your things, as well as tested installation practices for attaching to the ceiling.  

Does it Have a Safety Lip? 

When looking at overhead shelving options, it is wise to look at one that has a lip to catch items you are storing from sliding off the back or the front of the unit. If you already have chosen the shelving system you are going to use, maybe look at adding a piece of slotted angle iron to create a makeshift lip. This protects the people and things under the unit when you are shifting things around.  

How Much Can Overhead Garage Storage Hold? 

After you have determined which unit will work best for your space, it a good idea to revisit your storage needs when looking at the different options for overhead garage storage, it looked like the maximum weight capacity in most cases was 600 lbs. However, depending on the manufacturer, the overall size of the product you purchased, and how heavy duty the system is, will factor into the overall weight that that specific overhead storage system can support. Look at the manufacturer guide to determine what capacity that specific product is able to withstand.  

One last tip here: it doesn’t hurt to over-guestimate the weight of the items you want to store overhead. The pricing difference for one that has a higher capacity is not drastically higher than a base model, and it is better to purchase something with a higher duty rating rather than going over the weight capacity and threatening the integrity of the unit. 

If you need easier access to the products you are storing, are opposed to using a ladder, or are limited to being able to hoist boxes and other items onto the overhead storage racks, not all is lost. It is a more expensive option, but a pretty cool option. You can install a motorized overhead garage storage system so you can take advantage of your ceiling space, while also making it ground level accessible.  

These units typically work off a pull system that one, or multiple, hoist motors to lift and lower the rack. This type of storage rack will typically run off a downloadable app, or a controller mounted to the wall. These units provide easy access to the items being stored, while also making it easy and safe to use your ceiling as a storage opportunity. After looking at the options available for this type of unit, Racor is what we would highly recommend.

Your clear floors and organized seasonal bins are closer than you think! With careful planning, some excellent purchasing options, and a little organizational confidence, your garage will take on a whole new look with just a weekend project. 

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