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On Monday, I shared some “before” and “progress” photos of turning my cramped one-car garage into an organized workshop. I have a bunch of plans for different sections in this space, but two of the items already crossed off the list are the DIY lumber rack on the right side, and my brand new pegboard storage wall on the left.

Warning you now: there are a LOT of photos in this post!

But let’s go over some backstory for why I chose a narrow pegboard wall in the first place: I’d love to trick out every inch of floor space with what I want to use this garage for (building, painting, etc.), but this is also not my forever home. So when it comes to home improvements in general, I also want to keep in mind that this home will need to sell to a new owner someday… who might not want to lose the ability to actually house a car in here.

Even though the garage is long enough to have a small nook in the back near the water heater, I have less than 10 feet in total width, which means anything I install on the sides has to either be very narrow or movable (like my DIY work table on wheels). If I were to install anything fixed along the wall that was too wide (like cabinets), I might have to rip it back out again before putting the house up for sale. And while there could be the argument that I should customize the house to my needs, I don’t want to create that kind of work for myself when I know I could be moving out in just a few years.

I’ve been searching for narrow organization plans for a while now, but haven’t had a lot of luck until I stumbled onto this amazingly simple idea from The Creativity Exchange. I tweaked the design plans slightly for my space so that it only required the use of 8-foot boards for the entire wall… and without needing to make a single cut.

What you need:
  • 1 – 4′ x 8′ pre-primed white pegboard
  • 5 – 1″ x 6″ x 8′ pine boards
  • 6 – 1″ x 2″ x 8′ furring strips

Total cost: $62.94!

The entire structure is supported by a series of 1×2 furring strips. For those that aren’t familiar with the term, “furring strips” are simply inexpensive 1×2 boards that are usually sold in a separate area from project boards at the home improvement store (in almost every store I’ve ever been to, it’s the next aisle over and toward the back). Where nicer pine boards of the same dimensions may cost a few dollars apiece, an 8-foot 1×2 furring strip is considerably cheaper (only 98 cents). I usually have to look through the entire pile just to find boards that are straight enough for my project, but the savings is totally worth the effort. And in the end, you can’t even see them in the finished look.

In these plans, there are two usable shelves that support various building supplies (like spray bottles, spray cans, and caulk tubes) and paint cans underneath, and one additional shelf up top for tools and hardware cases I use less often.

To determine spacing, I simply measured the height of the tallest items and made sure they fit (so two gallons or three quarts of paint high on the floor, then caulk tube height for the shelf).

In truth, I actually got started on this project a couple of weeks ago when the garage still looked like this (which, thankfully, is not at all the case anymore!):

After the furring strips were screwed into studs, I then added 1×6 boards on top so that the furring strips supported the weight. The sides are also 1×6 boards screwed and nailed into place as well (screw them into the horizontal 1×6’s and they’ll stay perfectly secure). Cyndy did a great job in her tutorial for explaining how she created the original plans, so you’ll need to check those out first and then read the modifications I made below:

  1. Install the first furring strip that will support the first shelf under the pegboard (screw into studs). In my garage, this came out to around 30 inches from the floor (there was another reason for this height as well, but I’ll reveal that at a future date when the project is finished).
  2. Install a 1×6 board on top of the furring strip.
  3. Install two 1×6 boards vertically on both sides with screws (like an H). Check for level, but do not secure the top… this will allow for adjustment when you add the top shelf and pegboard.
  4. Install furring strips in a 4′ by 8′ rectangular grid with two strips evenly spaced toward the middle (see pic above) to support the pegboard. Try to screw into studs whenever possible (your tool-laden wall would probably qualify for America’s Funniest Home Videos if it all fell right out of the drywall… and slice off a toe).
  5. Install another furring strip toward the bottom, about 12 inches down from the first one you put on the wall (about the height of a caulk tube + a couple inches of space). This will create the support for the lower shelf.
  6. Add a 1×6 on the top for the top shelf, and a 1×6 to the bottom furring strip support for the lower shelf.
  7. Screw the pegboard into the furring strip 4×8 grid (screwing through the holes makes them virtually disappear).
  8. Secure the sides with screws and a nail gun.

Done!

Prime, then paint. I used leftover paint from the office (a custom white paint match and Hale Navy by Benjamin Moore). For fun, I taped off the division between the two colors at an angle on each side. I thought it looked a little nicer than a straight line between the top and bottom.

And then, the fun part: loading ‘er up with all of the tools I’ve misplaced and found again during the garage cleanup project. Cans of paint sit on the floor, but everything else goes on a shelf or on the pegboard with hooks.

Unlike the inspiration pegboard wall, I kept the top shelf without a lip so that I could stack various tool cases and boxes out of the way. Since the height of this shelf is above the usual height of a car, there’s really no interference if I were to try to still park a car in here.

As for the other organizational items, I recently found these gray bins as part of a stackable container at Harbor Freight ($9.99), but broke them up for additional storage along the shelf along the pegboard.

The bins have a small lip along the back that hooks into a plastic rail mount, so once the rail was screwed in, the bins easily hook into place and don’t slide around.

It isn’t as organized as I’d like to have it eventually (which is also why the bins are currently label-less), but it was great to have while I cleaned up the garage and could put miscellaneous screws, bits, nails, spacers, and other tiny items in an accessible spot.

I’ve been figuring out placement as I go, but one idea I wanted to share are my eye protection hooks: I’ve placed one at either end of the wall, both because I have a lot of eyewear (I have picked up at least 2 free ones each year from going to the Haven conference) and because this way, I can easily reach a pair whether I’m heading out the garage door or heading back into the house. It’s come in handy a lot already!

The pegboard shelves also helped me to quickly convert the back nook to a useful space for gardening supplies and spray paint — snowball-effect organization at its finest.

I haven’t yet installed anything on the sides, but I plan to add some larger hooks later to hang other items like extension cords and my grandfather’s old wooden level (you can spy it in a few of these photos).

Now, I have even less to trip over in the UDH workshop, can find what I need with ease, and have a place to put things when I’m done. There are still more projects yet to be finished in the garage, but thanks to these last few weeks of effort, I feel like the entire house has room to breathe again.

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10 Comments

  1. This is fantastic and a such a great inspiration. I need something like this to get my basement workspace under control.

  2. I’ve seen a friend who has this type of wall with their tools hanging on it in their garage. I really love the way it looks! Thanks for sharing.

  3. In a word: FABULOSO!!! Wow! imagine how much time you will save looking for stuff. Not sure if it gets damp in there…consider putting a wood board under the cans of paint to keep from rusting out. Or you could wait like I did and lets just say it looked like a crime scene with lots of footprints! Nice job.

  4. Love love love it! I’m definitely going to be referring back to this when I sort out my garage. Unfortunately peg board is ridiculously difficult to get in the UK :( Not available in DIY stores, just a handful of online places which means delivery charges. Crazy!! It’s such great stuff :)

  5. This is FANTASTIC. I adore it. I so want to create a pegboard wall when my husband and I finally get to cleaning out and organizing our basement. It will be the most perfect way to organize tools — each and every one with their own little space. Hopefully that will mean we never have an issue with a missing screwdriver again!

  6. This looks awesome! I’ve been thinking we’ve been needing a new way to store a bunch of our tools – this might just be what we do, too!

  7. Sarah, Once again a terrific project. I happened to be building a very similar project the same weekend for my husband. I bought all the pieces for him for Christmas and FINALLY decided I needed to build it before NEXT Christmas. Of course hubby offered a hand and I was adamant that I could do it all myself – which I did, minus some skin on one arm, a couple bloody fingers and a whole lot of sweat. Now i wish I’d waited a week and could have saved a whole lot of skin on my arms trying to hold pegboard up with one arm while drilling with the other!! I still may end up revising and copying part of yours since I’m about 3/8 of an inch off on top with one of the 3 sheets of pegboard and my with OCD tendencies on projects every time I look at it I see it off by about a FOOT!!! Also love the organizers from Harbor Freight – in my top 4 fav stores (Home Depot, Lowes, Tractor Supply & Harbor Freight oh and as the icing I like a spin or two through Hobby Lobby.

    Another Great job and great inspiration to those of us out here who either have to, or want to do it ourselves :) Thanks to you and the Diva I’ve installed a laminate diningroom floor, tile kitchen floor, tile countertop, mini glass tile blacksplash and going into painting a wood bathrom vanity system and installing the “wood look” ceramic tiling in our master bath that we’re wrapping up now. Loving it and doing it by myself. Oh yes and at 58 I seem to have a “tool, right equipment for the job” fetish :-)

  8. Definitely a great idea for any garage. It frees up space and clutter without compromising room. Love your blog!