How to Build Shelves in the Basement

Your basement can be a place to store household items, food, tools or a variety of other goods, but your storage space will always be limited and your organization chaotic without some way to arrange your items. A set of shelves is just what you need to get organized, and you can make a solid set of freestanding shelves with some simple materials and tools.

  • 9 6-foot 2-by-4 boards
  • Saw
  • Medium sandpaper
  • Hammer
  • 10d common nails
  • 3 6-foot 1-by-12-inch boards
Cut nine pieces of 2-by-4-inch board, each piece measuring 16 inches. Use a hand saw or a power saw to make the cuts, and sand the edges with medium sandpaper when you're done cutting.

Lay two 6-foot long 2-by-4 inch boards onto the floor, 4-inch sides down, parallel to each other and with the inside edges separated by 12 inches. Measure at both ends of the boards to make sure they're spaced evenly.

Lay three 16-inch boards across the two 6-foot boards at right angles, like the rungs in a ladder. Start at one end, and space the boards 2 feet apart.

Nail the boards together where they overlap, using a hammer and two 10d common nails at each junction. You've built the first of two supports that will provide the vertical elements and the crosspieces that hold the shelving boards.

Repeat Steps 2 through 4 to build two more supports identical to the first one in their dimensions.

Sit the supports upright and position them so that they're spaced 2 feet apart and parallel to each other, with the open squares lined up. Slide a 6-foot long piece of 1-by-12 board into the supports so it rests on the lowest crosspieces. Position the middle support exactly in the middle of the shelving unit and the outside supports flush with the ends of the board. Nail the board in place with 10d common nails and a hammer.

Slide the other two boards onto the crosspieces and nail them into place. Position the shelving unit in the location you desire.

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