Maybe you're designing a garage for end users who wants to actually put their cars in their garages, along with all the other stuff they're storing there. Or maybe you'd like to create a shop, but you also need storage space for non-shop items. One way to solve that problem is to create some overhead ceiling storage.
One obvious way to do that is to install some racks. The racks from Monkey Bars, hold either 500 or 750 pounds, depending on the model. The height is adjustable, so there's a lot of flexibility regarding what gets stored, and where. There's a 2-inch lip around the edge to help ensure things stay in place, without making it too difficult to lift a bin into place.
And as you can see with these racks from NewAge Products, users can add hooks (if vertical space allows) to create even more storage.
Not everyone is going to want to climb up on a ladder to get things down from a ceiling rack. Some people will have issues with balance; others may have heavy items which can be tricky to handle on a ladder. In such situations, a lift system might be a better approach. This is a general-purpose lift from Racor. The pulley systems lowers the rack eight feet from the ceiling; it can hold 250 pounds.
Designers have also create lifts to deal with specific items often stored in garages. For example, here's a bicycle lift. This one can be installed on ceilings as high as 14 feet. While end-users generally agree it's a good design, many of them have complained about the quality of the rope. It's a good reminder to properly consider the cost-vs-quality tradeoff for a product's components.
Here's another example: the Racor ladder lift, which handles ladders up to 150 pounds. Racor explains: "The ladder lift uses a rope and pulley system, as well as a fixed hook that is mounted to ceiling joists. ... Simply place the top of the ladder onto the fixed hook, then securely attach the strap to the bottom rung of the ladder, and pull the rope. The low end of the ladder will gracefully elevate up to the ceiling until the ladder has arrived at its horizontal, suspended storage position." I'm not good with mechanical things, but that sounds like something even I could handle without any problem—and the reviews seem to confirm that. "Easy to use" is always a good feature!
For those who want something that's even easier to use, there are motorized lifts such as Power Rax. The system comes with a wired push-button controllers, but there's also an optional wireless controller, as well as a smart phone app so end-users can control the lift from a cell phone (or a tablet). With a system like this, safety is always a concern, so the design incorporates many safety-related features.
While racks and lifts are the most common approaches to overhead ceiling storage, they certainly aren't the only ones. GarageTek has a Ceiling PowerTrak System; hooks, racks and hangers attach to the PowerTrak with twist connectors. It's similar to having a slatwall system; the items attached to the PowerTrak can change as the end-user's needs change. The photos above show the D Hanger Hook and the Ring Hanger Hook.
The Tote Trac is no longer available, but The Family Handyman explains how to build something similar. While the Tote Trac worked with almost all totes, this do-it-yourself system is built around stronger-than-average plastic totes with reinforced rims that support weights of 35 pounds or more. The authors say, "To be on the safe side, the total weight of all the totes shouldn't exceed 210 pounds, so find a different place to store books and heavy hardware."
For end-users who just want a simple way to use the space between ceiling joists, a piece of ventilated shelving, cut to the right size, can do the trick, as Today's Homeowner describes. And, once again, hooks can be hung from the shelving to provide more storage.
Jeri Dansky has been a professional organizer since 2004, helping people whose clutter is driving them crazy—and helping the mostly organized do even better. She works with her clients to de-clutter and organize the stuff and the papers in their homes and offices.