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Storage design ideas

I have what I've heard referred to as a "shelf basement", where there are large concrete enclosed "shelves" that jut into the interior space of the basement area. My understanding is that these shelves were a way of cheating a bit on digging a full depth foundation. I'm going to try to upload a rudimentary drawing and upload it or link it here. These "shelves" are about chest height and 48" to 60" deep.

Regardless of the reason for these things being there, I want to leverage this space for storage. Right now we just throw a bunch of stuff up there and it's a cluttered mess. And forget trying to get to the stuff that gets pushed to the back.

What I want to do is build some slide out drawers or trays that large items (think empty suitcases, infrequently used small kitchen appliances, boxes of blankets, etc.) can be placed on/into, and the drawers will slide in and out to access the stored items.

What I'm looking for is the most economical way to build some sturdy large sliding trays or drawers that we will actually be able to use after they're built. Here are my thoughts so far.

  • Each drawer will be the full depth of the concrete shelf (so nothing can be shoved in and off the end of the drawer) and 48" wide.
  • I want short sides on the two sides and back of the drawers so things don't fall off and get lost off the end of the drawer.
  • I think wheels are out as a way to roll/move the drawers, because the wheels would roll off the edge of the shelf when the drawer is pulled out.
  • To the extent possible, I'd like to have these things be modular, so I can put them in place wherever it's logical (there are windows and other obstructions in various places).
  • Also, the horizontal concrete surface is far from plumb/square/level.

I'm wondering if anyone out there has done something like this before, and what you might have done to solve this problem. Or even if you haven't done it before, and you like a good storage design challenge, what are your thoughts for the best way to solve this problem?

Re: Storage design ideas

***, not one comment or suggestion? Do I need to give more information? I'd really appreciate hearing some of your thoughts on this. Any help at all, is really appreciated.

Re: Storage design ideas

I'm not an expert; but I was thinking maybe build a level wooden base on top of the concrete and bolt it down. Then you could built drawers and attach heavy-duty slides. http://www.cabinetparts.com/g/9301-full-extension-heavyduty-slide-accuride

A. Spruce
Re: Storage design ideas

The only thing I see wrong with your plan is the size of the drawers, anything in those dimensions is not going to work well, both because of size and weight, whether empty or loaded.

First start by sourcing the method in which the drawers will slide, again, 4' to 5' long drawers is going to be tough to support, especially in the width you're suggesting. What you are likely going to find is that you're going to have to come up with your own roller system for these behemoth drawers. Additionally, you're going to have to make absolutely certain that the cabinets are securely fastened so that they can't walk or tip with the drawers pulled to full extension.

Having said this, here are a few ideas for roller/supports for the drawers. Appliance rollers, think roller skates for refrigerators, or roller skate wheels would be able to support the weights you're talking about, in fact, I've used these items with great success when I built my own 8' pull out toolboxes for my work truck. You could also adapt stationary caster wheels (the non-swivel type ) to your needs. From here, you simply have to incorporate the roller system into your cabinet/drawer design.

Re: Storage design ideas

You could use some long short clear rubbermaids or the like (Rubbermaid Cleverstore Clear 41-Quart with Basic Latch, Clear Base with Blue Latch) and then put your boxes and things to store in there. I have one that has wheels on just one side, so you could put that side to the back, then pull them out like a drawer. Maybe that'd work? They might have heavier duty ones, or you could make something similar out of wood with wheels on just one side.

I have a semi-similar situation, but we haven't dealt with it yet. We have a useless basement - dirt floor and is probably less then 6 feet tall, so its nothing right now, but we plan to build storage in it and in the crawl space.

Re: Storage design ideas

You could build the plywood shelf a little longer than the depth of the ledge, then have two legs on the front that go to the ground level. Wheels at the back would be attached directly to the shelf. Put a chock or curb along the front of the ledge so the shelf doesn't come out too far. Now you can pull the shelf out all the way until the rear wheels hit the curb at the front of the ledge.

BTW, the basement was probably dug after he house was built, that is why there is a ledge. It may have started out as a small root cellar.

Re: Storage design ideas
Lynne wrote:

I'm not an expert; but I was thinking maybe build a level wooden base on top of the concrete and bolt it down. Then you could built drawers and attach heavy-duty slides. http://www.cabinetparts.com/g/9301-full-extension-heavyduty-slide-accuride


Agreed! This is a good idea :) 

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