Best Shed Shelving for Metal and Plastic Sheds

Best Shed Shelving
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This post was last updated on July 26th, 2021 at 12:24 pm

The best general storage solution in most sheds is shelving. You can use shelves to organize and store almost anything.

Shelves use the vertical space in your shed to serious effect without cluttering the floor and are great for holding uniform-sized storage boxes that have organized content.

Fitting Shelves in Metal or Plastic Sheds

For the DIY enthusiast, shelves are easy to build, and if you have a wooden shed, you have the bonus of building your shelving into the structure of the shed itself if you wish.

That's not the case with metal or plastic sheds, as the walls will not carry heavy loads. The metal and plastic panels create a strong shed shell with good structural integrity but cannot take much extra weight.

There will be reinforced areas in both shed types to screw into and fix hooks and lightweight accessories. Plastic sheds may also have slots molded into the walls for a few shelves to slide in place, but not enough to make efficient use of the whole vertical wall space available.

Rubbermaid Vertical Resin Weather Resistant Outdoor Garden Storage Shed, 2x2.5 Feet, Olive and Sandstone

This Rubbermaid vertical utility shed has  slots molded into the structure for you to fit your own shelves.

Lifetime Products 3 Piece 30in Shelf Storage Shed Accessory Kit

Lifetime Products 3 Shelf Accessory Kit

The structural support elements in both types of these sheds can only support a certain amount of weight. The Suncast Dual shelving extension kit shown below, for example, will only support 50 pounds of weight, as will their loft shelf unit.

Suncast Dual Shelving Extension Kit for Storage Sheds, Black

Suncast Dual Shelving Extension Kit

Suncast Loft Shelf-Ceiling Storage and Shelving Shed Holds up to 50 Lbs, Black

This loft shelf unit is designed by Suncast for their own plastic sheds.

While the manufacturers provide a valuable range of accessories for their shed models, you have two alternatives if you want to install a significant amount of shelving in a metal or plastic shed.

2 Ways to Install Shelving in a Plastic or Metal Shed

The best shed shelving to create the most storage space in a non-wooden shed, comes down to two alternatives:

  • Create a wooden frame inside the shed against the internal walls to build a framework for shelving - the DIY method.
  • Use freestanding commercial shelf units usually made of metal.

Full DIY Approach

The DIY approach is for the more practical-inclined person. To create shelving, you first build an internal wooden frame against the shed walls (like a stud wall), running from the floor up to the walls' maximum height. These will become braced in position as you build your shelves into the framework with 2 x 4 lumber and plywood or similar.

If you don't want all four walls shelved, just creating a frame along two adjacent walls gives an L-shaped configuration that will enable you to make a stable and braced shelf layout. A shelf run along a single wall needs to be wobble-free to ensure it doesn't topple.

Jerry Benson's video below shows you in great detail how to build a wooden frame for shelving in a plastic shed that could equally be used in a metal shed.

How to build wooden shelves in a plastic shed - VIDEO

Using Commercial Steel Storage Shelf Products

The second choice is to construct your shelving from commercially made freestanding adjustable metal, plastic, or wood alternatives. Metal shelving tends to be the most robust, is easily put together and shelf positioning is adjustable.

You can browse a range of metal shelving HERE!

Muscle Rack 5 Adjustable Shelves

The Muscle Rack UR482472PB5PAZ-SV is a good example of the flexibility of adjustable metal shelf units for use in a shed. It can be built vertically as a five-shelf unit measuring 72 inches x 48 inches x 24 inches or horizontally as a couple of three-foot-high units. These could double up as low-level shelving or a DIY workbench.

The particleboard shelves are adjustable every 1.5 inches, so you can set them at the heights that work best for you.

Muscle Rack UR482472PB5PAZ-SV Silver Vein Steel Storage Rack, 5 Adjustable Shelves, 4000 lb. Capacity, 72" Height x 48" Width x 24" Depth

Muscle Rack UR482472PB5PAZ-SV. 6 feet high & 4 feet wide with 2 feet deep shelves - lots of storage space for large storage boxes.

Muscle Rack UR482472PB5PAZ-SV Silver Vein Steel Storage Rack, 5 Adjustable Shelves, 4000 lb. Capacity, 72" Height x 48" Width x 24" Depth

Same Muscle Rack shelf unit here, but configured as two 3 feet high units. You could use this setup as a sort of workbench.

Muscle Rack uses a boltless assembly method that enables quick assembly in minutes, and no nuts and bolts, and tools are needed.

Muscle Rack UR482472PB5PAZ-SV Silver Vein Steel Storage Rack, 5 Adjustable Shelves, 4000 lb. Capacity, 72" Height x 48" Width x 24" Depth
Muscle Rack UR482472PB5PAZ-SV Silver Vein Steel Storage Rack, 5 Adjustable Shelves, 4000 lb. Capacity, 72" Height x 48" Width x 24" Depth

Make Your Shed Shelving Work for You

Whatever size of shed you have, organize your shelves to maximize the storage area they provide. Build them as high as the shed walls allow.

Give easy access to items you regularly use by storing them on shelves at waist or chest height, store heavy items at the bottom, and things used infrequently can go on top shelves.

Buy same-sized large lidded containers to fill a shelf, then fill some of them with smaller lidded containers to store a range of smaller items. Remember to label the containers so you can quickly recognize the contents. If you label all containers as you go, this will make finding things much easier when searching.  Self-adhesive vinyl stickers are ideal for this.

If you have a workbench, it's easy to move a large tub to the bench then decant the items you need. 

Final Thoughts

When you organize your shed and plan your storage needs, allow for the space that a shelving wall will take up, especially if you plan to shelve opposite walls.

A good-sized shed like the Lifetime 6446 / 60079 shown in the video above - a 15 feet by 8 feet plastic shed - would have the internal 'walkable' width reduced to 4 feet were you to fit 24-inch shelves to opposite walls.

A narrower standing room may not be an issue; it just depends on what you intend to do or keep in the space between the shelves.

Of all the shed accessories you could use to customize your shed, shelving is one of the most useful. Plan it well, keep it tidy, and it will serve you well.

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