My Woodshop Storage Ideas: Recycling Kitchen Cabinets Into Garage Storage Units
From the Kitchen to the Garage Workshop
A recent kitchen renovation project inspired new woodshop storage ideas for my garage—recycle the old kitchen cabinets into new storage space! I also like the idea of reusing as much salvaged material as possible to reduce landfill waste. In many remodeling jobs, the old kitchen cabinets do not retain any cash value and to the contractor, they are not worth the time and effort to save. All too often, the contractor rips out the old kitchen cabinets to make room for the new cabinets. Rather than removing the cabinets carefully for resale or donation, the old cabinets are broken down and tossed aside. Deemed worthless, the old cabinets are doomed to the dumpster and destined for the landfill.
Many of these old kitchen cabinets are still structurally sound, and with a little creativity and effort, these recycled kitchen cabinets can make great basement and garage storage units. The base cabinets are the perfect height for workbenches, and the upper cabinets provide lots of storage options for tools, painting supplies and the rest of the stuff that accumulates in a garage. And the cabinet doors not only help to keep the contents clean, they give the garage a neat and well-organized appearance.
Our kitchen remodeling project provided an opportunity to recycle the old kitchen cabinets into my new garage workshop. After a skilled and cooperative contractor removed and dismantled the cabinets, I positioned the cabinet carcasses along the back wall of my garage to make the most efficient layout.
In my case, there were not enough base cabinets to stretch all of the way across the back of the garage, so I incorporated the 'gap' into the design by placing the table saw in the middle of the garage. I bridged the gap between the upper cabinets by adding a plywood backboard for hanging a few commonly used hand tools.
The resulting layout of recycled kitchen cabinets uses a combination of overhead and base cabinets to create separate garage storage units and work stations.
Secure the Storage Units to the Wall
Installing the cabinets is straight forward, especially if your garage walls already covered with sheetrock. Locate and mark the studs for screwing the cabinets into the wall. If your garage wall is poured concrete, 1x4 nailer strips can be drilled and anchored into the wall. The cabinets are then screwed to the nailer strips. Painting the walls with a shade of white helps to reflect light to brighten the area, and adds to a neat and finished appearance.
Working from one corner, install your first cabinet. Depending on if you have a helper or are working solo, it may be easiest to install the upper cabinets first. Remove the doors and shelves to make them lighter and easier to handle. With a helper or two holding the cabinet in place, secure the cabinet to the wall by driving screws through the back of the cabinet and into the stud or nailer strip.
Add the Benchtop
Cut to fit, 3/4" plywood makes a study and practical workbench surface for the lower garage storage cabinets. Make the plywood bench tops slightly wider than the cabinets to create an overhang, and adding a strip of hardwood edging will minimize splintering and create a finished look. Line up the base cabinet under the overhead cabinet, and check for level. If needed, add shims under to level out the cabinet left to right and front to back. Continue adding upper and lower cabinets, working your way across the wall according to your layout plan.
To attach the garage storage cabinets to each other, clamp the face frames of two cabinets together and drive a screw through the frame of one cabinet and into the frame of the other. After hanging all of the upper garage storage units, reinstall the doors.
Without enough cabinets to span the entire wall, a section of plywood makes a good backdrop for hanging frequently used tools.
Have You Recycled Kitchen Cabinets Into Useful Storage?
Please add your vote to our poll
Tips for Recycling Old Kitchen Cabinets
Homeowners are always looking for more storage and there are plenty of other places where recycled kitchen cabinets can be put to good use, including in the laundry room, basement storage area or in the backyard shed.
A creative homeowner can re-purpose and recycle kitchen cabinets from his own remodeling job, or can find cabinets from other sources such as kitchen contractors or on Craig's List. Whatever the source, recycling kitchen cabinets provides creative storage options and keeps the old cabinets out of the landfill.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2011 Anthony Altorenna