Garage Gym Storage Solution from the Hardware Store
I’m currently working on Garage Gym 2.0. My first garage gym took me several months to construct, then add on to as I picked up more and more equipment. I bought as I went so most of my gear were Amazon storage shelves. Decent in a pinch, but not great as you build out a gym full of functional training equipment. I needed something to hold 700+ lbs of kettlebells, 200 lbs of sandbags, and every Muay Thai pad known to man. All in one spot. That would fit well in the corner or in front of a garage door. So I started checking out what was available at my neighborhood hardware store and found something that would meet all my needs.
The DEWALT 4-Tier Steel Shelf
This thing holds everything I want it to (as seen in the photo above.) It has a massive useable footprint at a little over 6 feet wide by 6 feet tall but doesn’t take up too much room (while also having a great amount of depth to store things like sandbags.)
Building isn’t too hard, you can do it yourself (I did), but it would be easier with a second person to help get those crossbars lined up then malleted into place. Dedicate a day during the weekend to build this thing and get it loaded with the gear you want on it.
- Get 2 people, you’ll be happy to have a hand to line things up on
- Do it somewhere warm or wear gloves. You’re playing with metal and metal gets cold
- Grab a mallet, it’ll help you line up the little grooves that the support bars go into more easily (which then allows an easier time pushing the little DEWALT stoppers into place)
- There are little rubber protectors you need to put on the cross supports. Do that early otherwise its impossible to put on later
Measure as you go. I put what I thought was where I wanted the bottom post and top post in first. I then removed the bottom post (I was working alone so this actually worked out easier for me [which is where having a buddy would come in handy]) and moved it down 1 rung. I then carried over my kettlebells and tested reaching in and trying to grab the bell I wanted, then looked at which rung my shoulder was on.
Comfort is why I wanted this thing, and ease of getting my hands on what I wanted when I wanted, so I measured the kettlebells and put the second rung on. I then carried over my sandbags and did the same test.
When it came to putting on the third rung, I’ll admit, I was a bit cramped for space. But I was able to put all the boxing gloves & essential training gear on the same shelf. I then put non immediate needs, hang wraps (which are immediate need, but hey, they were still accessible….) and random moving straps for my truck on the top shelf.
Remember, you’re in a garage
No matter how nice you want to make your garage gym, if you have garage hobbies you’ll eventually have to plan your garage storage and gym storage as one in the same. Do you garden? Does your spouse garden? Then you probably need somewhere to put gardening stuff. Depending on how much gear you have you could have a spot for your gardening stuff and gym stuff all in one place.
I have moving things on and off my truck stuff. I don’t want to get myself hurt outside the gym trying to lift heavy things into the back of my truck. I have tracks (which store under my DEWALT storage rack) and dolly to move things up and down from the ground to the bed of my truck. Those moving straps (also on the storage rack) help me move heaving things safely.
Garages are cool spots. But they also have a vibe. They don’t have to be polished. People expect to see things like storage shelves filled to the brim with paint cans or computer wire or whatever the family hobbies are. The storage rack looks less out of place in the garage gym than a commercial gym storage rack would. The storage rack feels like it belongs in the garage. It gives the correct vibe you want.
Cost Analysis of why to shop big
I have storage racks for medicine balls, bulgarian bags, and my 1″ and 2″ plates. At some point these things add up and the more you buy, the more floorspace they take up. A dedicated kettlebell storage solution is going to take the same amount of floorspace and then I still need a place to put the sandbags and the Muay Thai stuff. The kettlebell only solution is $300, a sandbag holder would be another $200, and my Muay Thai stuff would be stuck on an Amazon storage shelf again (owned already, but would cost $70+ to buy now.) DEWALT’s system is ~$400 so that’s $150+ in savings.
In terms of floor space, the storage shelf would be 3 feet, the kettlebell system another 6 (9 total now), then a sandbag system at another 3…. That would be 12 ft vs the 6 ft 6 inches of the DEWALT system (size savings!)
Why a metal storage rack is great for garage gym storage
Outdoor grillers, kitchen organizers, and garage gym builders all love magnets. You instantly gain extra storage with magnets. The crossbars and rack itself have some width to them so you can throw magnets all over. Magnetic drink holder? Check. Magnet cup to hold nuts and bolts for the next gym thing you’re building? Check. Various hooks and hangers for your things on strings, jump ropes, gloves, etc, etc? Triple Check.
Being able to hang thigs accomplishes two things for the garage gym owner – access to the stuff you want right away and extra storage you wouldn’t have had you not bought magnets. Magnets give you extra storage without messing with your existing footprint.
Easier to clean
I use mat cleaner from Defense Soap for my floors. I’ve been a part of two Jiu Jitsu schools and sailed the seven seas on a Jiu Jitu cruise so I use what Jiu Jitsu schools use to keep their mats clean. They were mopping floors years before Covid to kill off all sorts of nasty skin infections. When you think Jiu Jitu you think clean. It’s a bunch of people sweating on each other bare foot when then turn around and clean the place spotless (because you gotta kill off anything and everything brought in from the outside world to keep it safe.)
When you get items off the floor and can fit a giant mop underneath it, you’re less likely to pool chemicals on the floor. The “traditional” gym storage options have a larger on the floor footprint then your hardware store storage racks.
That’s the Titan functional swing bag rack. It holds 5 swing bags. It’s really cool and super easy to pull bags off of. But it sucks to mop around. It’s got angles, its got bars, its got everything hate when you’re trying to mop.
Storage racks don’t present this issue. They’re 4 legs and a shelf off the ground. You might keep stuff under the rack, but you can move it when you mop. When the floor is dry you put the stuff back in its spot.