18 Quart Tub Garage Storage Rack

As a part of my ongoing quest to organize the garage, I built a storage rack/cabinet that holds 10 18-quart Sterilite tubs.  They are just the right size to hold one type of material: small electronics, sandpaper, home wiring, etc.  Since I tend to do a variety of jobs, this will help me keep each project type better separated.

As floor space is at a premium, I wanted to mount it high on the wall to keep it out of the way.  If this isn’t an issue for you, it could easily be mounted on castors and used as a cart.

Building the Case

Most of the case is 3/4″ Birch plywood.  I cut out the sides, top, and bottom and used 2 1/2″ pocket screws to assemble the case.

The back is a piece of 1/4″ plywood underlayment that I had laying around.  If I was building this again, I would cut a channel for the underlayment to slide in, but since I wasn’t planning ahead, it is screwed into the center support and then the three 3/4″ horizontal rails are screwed on top of it.

Case assembled with pocket screws
1/4″ underlayment sandwiched by the three horizontal rails

The tubs are 12 1/4″ wide at the top, but the majority of the body is only 10 1/4″.  Gluing two 1″ wide strips of 1/2″ plywood together on each side makes rails that the tubs can sit on.  This was a little tedious to put together and attach, but each tub can be removed independent of the others which is very convenient.

The rails are glued and screwed to the sides 7 1/4″ apart to give each tub 1/4″ clearance on the top and bottom.

18 quart Sterilite tubs
Rails installed with glue and screws


The top horizontal rail is a french cleat and with the case width being a little over 24″ I used 3″ screws to attach its mate to two studs on the wall.  Once the case was mounted with the french cleat, I used more 3″ screws to attach the two lowers rails to the studs.

I did a little reading on french cleat strength and it probably didn’t need the extra screws, but I figured it would give me a little extra security.

Mounted with the french cleat
The depth of the case will allow a door to be attached if I decide to later
Screw going through the back, the middle rail, and into the stud for extra stability
Installed and stocked

Future Changes

I toyed with finishing the cabinet but decided against it for now.  It’s deep enough that a door can be attached to the front.  If it gets too much dust inside and I’m not using it frequently I might add one, but I don’t know just yet.


I was able to find a few similar projects out there.  Most tend to be larger for full-size bins (see DIY Design Fanatic and Bin storage shelving (the easy way)) or smaller carts and cabinets for Sortimo-like storage products (see Inside Adam Savage’s Cave: The Tool Boxes and DIY Sortimo Storage Rack with Tool Station).

After looking at what folks have made, I used some of these ideas to design a hybrid-it functions like the Sortimo racks, but is installed like the larger bin racks.

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