Garage Organization Using Ikea Kitchen Cabinets - Akurum or Sektion

One of the things that was sorely lacking in the new house was any form of garage organization - just a huge, empty, 40 x 18 x 10 foot box. Here's a photo of how things were organized following our move into the new house:

Next to no organization - piles of boxes and a big open mess.
I did a bunch of research, and looked at the garage storage systems in the big box home improvement stores. My impression of the systems offerred, both in metal and in melamine - was typically of mediocre quality, and a lack of flexibility. Typically, only one or two base cabinets and tall cabinets were offerred, so getting a good fit with my space would be difficult or impossible.

Then I went to Ikea and checked out the Akurum kitchen cabinet system. Here - lots of choice in base cabinets, wall cabinets and tall cabinets. Lots of widths, height, door and drawer combinations. In essence - exactly what I was looking for - full flexibility to implement a storage design taking into account my space available. (Note - I understand that the Ikea Akurum system will be replaced in 2015 by a new kitchen cabinet system - Sektion - but that shouldn't change the principles of implementing a similar solution in your garage). 

The first stage was to plan everything out. I'm a big fan of using Sketchup for 3D modelling projects around the house. It was quick and simple to draw my garage in sketchup, including the constraints such as the doors, stairs to the house, and two exposed beams that interrupt the flat wall surface on the side of the garage. I was able to find and upload pre-drawn models of the Akurum cabinet system, and of my motorcycle and table saw, directly from the Sketchup 3D warehouse. I had to work around my motorcycle, table saw, mini fridge, freezer and rolling toolbox. I wanted to have all my storage against one wall, to keep as much of the width free for the cars and space to work or do projects. 

Sketchup Plan of Ikea Akurum Storage System.
Once I was happy with the plan, and I reviewed the plan with my partner, it was time to get started. Due to the volume and weight of the cabinet system, I had Ikea deliver everything right to my house for a very reasonable delivery charge of about $40. The truck offloaded everything right into the garage:

Wall Cabinets, Tall Cabinets, Doors and Drawers
Then it was time to get started assembly. I had one cabinet that I had to cut and custom fit around a column protruding from the wall - so I started there.

Empty wall - ready for cabinets

I used two moving blankets to protect the cabinet components during assembly.

The first tall cabinet - fit around the wall column.
I decided to use the plastic levelling feed sold with the Akurum system to level all the cabinets. This system works really well. I made a simple jig to help me tilt the cabinets up vertically without damaging the plastic feet.

Jig for tilting wall cabinets vertical - you wouldn't need this if you had a second person to help you lift these vertically. 

Jig ties around the cabinet, allows you to lift the cabinet vertical with one person, without bearing on the plastic feet.

Plastic cabinet feet on the bottom of the wall cabinet, ready to tilt vertically. 
Once the first cabinet was raised into position, the remaining cabinets went quickly. I installed a thin strip of plywood along the cabinet tops to compensate for the offset of some ceramic tile on the wall at the bottom of the wall. This simplified getting the cabinets straight and solid against the wall.

Wall mounted plywood strip to compensate for the ceramic tile on the wall at the bottom. A laser level makes it quick and easy to install this straight and level.

Plywood strip - for seuring the top of the wall cabinets

Adding boxes to the initial wall cabinet. Levelling is quick and easy with the plastic cabinet feet.
Once all the wall cabinets are installed, its time for some doors and drawers. I went for the soft close hinges and drawer slides - makes for a polished installation.

Doors and Drawers almost complete
Once all the wall cabinets were complete, it was time to concentrate on the wall cabinets that would go above the table saw and deep freeze. I used the Ikea wall cabinet installation rail - which makes for a quick, easy, solid and straight installation.

For installing the wall cabinets - start by setting up the rail. The laser level simplifies placement and levelling
The first cabinet clips onto the rail using the installation hardware provided
Then two more cabinets clip on - the hardware for joining the boxes together is included with the boxes.
One tip for making the whole process go quicker - use an air powered trim nailer - brad nailer for tacking the back panels of the cabinets to the cabinet frames - this really speeds up the slowest part of the whole operation. Then the final touch - installing the door hardware:

This door hardware was selected from Lee Valley Tools - perfect for the garage
And now for the finished product - which ended up looking pretty well as planned in the Sketchup Model. The mini fridge fits perfectly under the wing of the table saw, and gives a nice work area when combined with the deep freeze. All in all - it took a solid weekend to get the installation to this point - 5 tall cabinets, 3 wall cabinets, 6 drawers, and 18 doors.

Cabinets installed

And the detail of the table saw - one sheet of slotboard finished in white matches the wall cabinets and ties everything together:

Slotboard to close out the installation.
Since this installation - I've made a series of improvements which I'll describe in future posts:
  • LED strip lighting over the table saw and deep freeze
  • 18V cordless tool charging station
  • Wall Cabinets and Storage Shelving installed over the motorcycle and rolling toolbox
  • Plano Hardware Storage in the Wall Cabinets
If you have any questions, feel free to post and I'll try to answer quickly. 

After about 15 months - this setup is still rock solid and very practical. I can't imaging working without it now.


No comments:

Post a Comment