Indoor Storage Solutions: Reclaiming Your Space

Do-it-yourself storage racks for the garage have been beefed up to handle more weight. In the closet, you’ll find colors and finishes that are designed to complement the decor that’s in your home.

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A close parallel to the cliche that “stuff happens” is “stuff accumulates.” Fortunately, manufacturers of   home storage systems tweaked their products to better help you to control that clutter and even accomplish your organization in style.

Manufacturers introduced a handful of garage storage racks that are rated to hold at least 2,000 pounds per shelf. Further, manufacturers continue to introduce garage cabinets and specialized baskets, hooks and reels to control the stuff that you stow, as well as accessories that are made specifically for sports gear and home-improvement tools and materials.

For indoor storage, we found more accessories than ever before for closets, and manufacturers are adding textures and colors that they say better match the trends in home decor, so your closet storage system will blend in.

THANKS A TON. Two manufacturers introduced or announced storage racks, or freestanding sets of shelves, that are intended for garage use that can hold just about anything that you can lift onto them. These four models of heavy-duty storage racks, which are purchased individually, are rated as being able to hold up to 2,200 pounds per shelf. Storage racks for commercial and industrial use often exceed that capacity, but we found that storage racks that are labeled as “heavy duty” for the consumer market typically top out at 600 pounds per shelf.

That’s no longer true. In March 2012, Gladiator GarageWorks introduced its Rack Shelving unit ($199). The welded steel frame holds three metal shelves, each of which is rated to hold 2,000 pounds for a total of 6,000 pounds of storage. In March 2013, the company tweaked that with its Tool-Free Rack Shelving, which has the same dimensions and price as the previous rack model had but adds a fourth shelf for another 2,000 pounds of storage. The newer model has shelves that fit into slots in the frame, which eliminates the need for nuts and bolts to assemble the shelves.

Gorilla Rack, which manufactures metal shelves, introduced two models in the past year that are rated to hold 2,200 pounds per shelf. The aptly named Brute ($119), which rolled out in November 2012 at some Sam’s Club stores (with wider distribution scheduled for later in 2013), has four shelves. The Boss ($105), which has three shelves, was released in March 2013 overseas. Gorilla Rack says it expects to have this model in U.S. stores by the end of 2013.

As with the Gladiator models, the Gorilla Rack units use industrial-grade steel, which the companies say allows the shelves to support those heavy loads.

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Gladiator and Gorilla Rack are banking on interest from consumers for their heavy-storage-capacity products. Having that weight capacity seems attractive, but unless your storage requirements include, say, automobile transmissions or dozens of 80-pound bags of concrete mix, you probably won’t need that much weight capacity.

Heavy-duty storage isn’t the only thing that received a boost. Gladiator also made its ready-to-assemble (RTA) garage cabinets easier for consumers to put together. Starting in 2012, all of the company’s RTA cabinets come with a preassembled back plate. Because this back plate, which serves as the cabinet back, is already assembled, all that you have to do is attach it to the cabinet. That reduces assembly time by as much as 50 percent, says Rob White of Gladiator. What’s better yet, prices didn’t change as a result of the added feature.

FEELING IT. When it comes to closet storage systems, laminated particleboard, which is the longstanding, less expensive alternative to solid wood, received an upgrade in the past 2 years. Denise Butchko, who is an independent closet designer, says a trend in closets is melamine-clad particleboard that mimics the look and feel of wood. “The trend is in textures,” she says, noting that at least three manufacturers of professionally installed closet systems now sell textured finishes. (Editor’s Note: We also noticed technologies in other product categories that create surfaces that look like wood, such as engineered-wood flooring and fiberglass entry doors. The technology varies, depending on the product.)

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