How Deep Should Garage Shelves Be?

Sometimes garage shelving isn’t done for looks – it’s more about the space. Have you ever wondered how deep garage shelves should be? The answer is pretty simple.

Garage shelves should be as deep as possible. Whether you’re worried about aesthetics or functional space, extended, deep garage storage shelves are the answer to all your storage problems.

How Deep Should Garage Shelves Be

This article will go into more detail about how deep your garage shelves should actually be, why it’s better to have deeper shelves, and everything else you might need to know about garage shelves. Keep reading to learn more.

How Much Space Do You Need Between Garage Shelves?

The amount of space you need between shelves depends on what you’re storing in them. If the shelves are for small items like tools, you can get away with narrower spacing. It will give you more shelves and make the whole thing look less cluttered. For large items, wider spacing is a must.

Something like 12-18 inches (30.48-45.72 cm) is a good starting point.

From there, go as wide as needed based on what you want to store on the shelves.

How Wide Should Each Shelf Be?

The width of your shelves can make a big difference in how well your garage storage system works out.

There are two main ways to determine shelf width:

Build each shelf wide enough to hold several large plastic totes side by side; these are handy because they have handles built into the sides that make it easy to carry them around.

Each shelf should be at least 24″ (60.96 cm) wide by 16″ (40.64 cm) deep, but depending on how many totes you plan to put on each shelf, it could be broader than that.

However, at least 12 inches (30.48 cm) between the shelves is recommended for most items.

This will give you enough space for a large number of items and will also leave room for moving your tools around.

It is important to note that if you are storing small items, you should also consider adding a back to your shelves so that they do not fall off the back of them.

Basic Types of Shelving To Use for Garage Shelving

These are the basic types of shelving that you can use in your garage:

1. Wooden Shelves

Wooden shelves are boards on some support.

This type of shelving should have space between the back of the shelf and the wall for support; otherwise, it will sag in time.

For durable wood, opt for oak or maple.

As a general rule, the amount of space is determined by how long your boards are (longer = more space needed)— six inches (15.24 cm) between board and wall.

If you’re worried about dust collecting behind them, it’s no big deal to vacuum back there once in a while.

2. Freestanding

Freestanding shelves are the simplest, most basic shelves.

A freestanding rack is a rectangular frame with horizontal shelves inside it.

You can put these anywhere you have room for them, and they can hold a fantastic amount of items.

They’re also easy to move, which is a plus if you’re constantly rearranging your workspace.

3. Wall-Mounted

These are similar to freestanding shelves, but they’re mounted directly to the wall, as the name implies.

They have less depth than freestanding shelves because they have to fit between wall studs, but you can get extra depth by installing studs that aren’t lined up with the ones above and below.

If your garage has walls made of drywall or masonry, you can use wall-mounted garage shelves.

You can use them to store paint cans, sports equipment, tools, and more.

4. Wire Shelving Units

Wire shelves are a common choice for garages because they offer versatility at a low price point.

Wire shelves have a few different styles — some have clips that you snap into place, and others use metal rods to hold the shelves in place.

Some have four legs, while others have six legs for added stability.

They are great for storing non-standard items because they can be arranged on the shelves however you like.

Precautions When Installing Garage Shelves

The main goal is to avoid injuries that you could have prevented with a little bit of planning and preparation.

Apart from following the manufacturer’s guidelines, here are some precautions to take while installing garage shelves:

Do a Safety Check

Make sure that the shelves you choose will be sturdy enough to carry the items you want to store on them.

The most important thing is to ensure that the studs in your wall are strong enough to handle the strain of the shelving system.

Otherwise, it will sag or collapse in time.

Safety Glasses & Gloves

When installing garage shelves, you need to wear safety glasses or goggles to protect your eyes from flying wood chips.

All it takes is one chip from a saw blade or drill bit to ruin your day.

There is a reason the professionals wear them, so snag a pair before you start any project.

Additionally, you should use gloves when handling wood or metal with sharp edges, splinters, or rough surfaces.

That way, you can protect yourself and make the whole process more comfortable.

Lifting Towels

Lifting heavy objects is another aspect of installing garage shelves that could cause injury if not done correctly.

When lifting something like a garage door or large piece of furniture that you will be sliding across the floor, grab an old towel or cardboard and slide the object along the surface instead of lifting it continuously.

Lifting towels will save you from having to pick up those heavy items more than once.


Trying to determine how deep your garage shelves should be is easy when you have the proper and necessary equipment.

Whether you want to buy or build shelves yourself, safety precautions such as following the manufacturer’s guidelines will make setting up garage shelves seamless.

Cheers, tools owners!

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Hi there! My name is Jack and I write for ToolsOwner. I have a passion for everything related to tools and DIY projects around the house. You often find me in my workshop working on new projects.