How to Store Lumber Properly: Ideas and Tips

Want to organize your lumber and make sure it stays in great condition? Learn how to store lumber with these great ideas!

woman taking down lumber from a lumber rack in a workshop

Once you start building projects, you will realize the biggest truth about woodworking – there is a lot of wood to store.

And your lumber pile keeps growing – whether it is from extra boards you bought, leftover boards, or scrap wood.

It is important to store the lumber properly. This helps in:

  • keeping it in good condition and preventing warp
  • making sure that you can get the best projects out of them in the future.
  • you know where to find what you need.

You don’t need a huge workshop to have proper lumber storage. What if you work out of our garage, shed, or driveway? You can easily find a lumber storage solution that works for you.

Let’s dive into best practices for storing lumber, the benefits of it, and creative ideas for you to store at home.

What Is the Best Way to Store Lumber?

The best way to store lumber is to store them horizontally off of the ground. Storing lumber horizontally keeps the boards straight and flat which is essential for success with projects. Storing them off of the ground prevents moisture from seeping into the wood and causing rot, decay, or mold.

Tips for Storing Lumber

When storing lumber, here are the basics to remember

  • Keep it dry: Wood is susceptible to rot and decay when exposed to moisture, so it’s important to store your wood boards in a dry place. Avoid storing them outside or in damp basements.
  • Store them off the ground: If possible, store your wood boards off the ground to prevent moisture from seeping into the wood. You can use pallets or racks to keep the wood off the ground and allow air to circulate around it.
  • Keep them flat: Keeping them flat when possible will prevent uneven pressure and warping.
  • Keep them away from sunlight: Sunlight can fade the color of wood and cause it to dry out and crack. To prevent these issues, store your wood boards in a place that is not exposed to direct sunlight.
  • Use a cover: If you need to store your wood boards outside, use a tarp or other cover to protect them from the elements. Be sure to secure the cover so it doesn’t blow off in the wind.
  • Protect them from pests: Wood can also be attractive to pests such as termites, beetles, and carpenter ants. To protect your wood boards from these pests, store them in a place that is not accessible to insects.

How to Store Plywood Sheets?

Storing plywood sheets can get a little tricky because plywood sheets can be large. Plywood sheets are most commonly available as 4 x 8. These are the most cost-effective size as well.

The best way to store sheets of plywood is to store them vertically in a lumber cart. Storing them vertically helps take up less space and the lumber card keeps them off of the ground so they are protected from moisture.

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Lumber Storage Ideas

There are many lumber storage options including wall-mounted racks, or DIY lumber carts. You can either purchase lumber racks on Amazon or build your own.

Wall-Mounted Lumber Storage Rack

I use this wall mounted lumber storage rack in my garage workshop. It is budget-friendly and super easy to install. All you have to do is install the rack using included hardware into the wall studs.

Not only are these horizontal racks super easy to install, but they also give you easy access to the boards on the rack.

woman putting lumber on a wall mounted lumber rack

You can easily decide the spacing of the racks per your needs. The two end racks support 8′ boards but I also put two racks closer together to be able to hold smaller pieces of lumber.

There is also a taller version of the wall mounted lumber rack available if you need that.

DIY Wall-Mounted Lumber Storage Rack Ideas

If you want to make your own lumber rack so you can customize it to your needs, I have collected some of the best DIY lumber rack ideas below. Most of them have step-by-step instructions to help you follow alongand make your own.

1. Easy DIY Lumber Rack from Woodshop Diaries

wall mounted lumber storage rack idea using 2x4s

This lumber rack is made using 2x4s. You can make it as tall or as short as you want. Make sure to attach to studs, DO NOT use wall anchors. the weight of the wood will be too much and they might pull out of the wall.

2. Cheap and Easy Lumber Storage Rack from Ugly Duckling House

wall mounted lumber storage rack using shelf brackets

Heavy duty shelf brackets are a great idea to use to make a wall mounted lumber rack. When mounted to studs with heavy duty screws they can hold up to 100lbs. Be sure to check the weight limit on any that you buy to ensure they will hold the weight you need.

3. Simple DIY Lumber Rack from House Becoming Home

wall mounted lumber rack for lumber storage

Store all your lumber in a dedicated space in your workshop or garage using this lumber storage rack idea. It’s easy to make using 2x4s and conduit pipe. You can easily make your own using used materials to keep the cost down.

4. Modular Lumber Rack from Woodshop Mike

DIY modular lumber rack in workshop

This design is the ultimate in lumber storage racks. It’s modular, it’s free standing, and it’s 8′ tall and has 4 shelves that are 30″ deep. You can store a lot of lumber on this guy.

Mobile Lumber Storage Racks

5. Rolling Lumber Rack from Jamie Costiglio

DIY rolling lumber storage rack

You may not want to commit to wall-mounted storage, this vertical lumber organizer is the perfect solution. It has space for full sheets, 4 shelves for boards up to 8′, and a top and bottom shelf. The best part is it’s mobile! You can move it around where you need it, then tuck it away in a corner when you’re done.

6. DIY Mobile Lumber Rack from Addicted 2 DIY

ladder shaped DIY lumber rack

This unique design in the shape of a ladder is perfect for storing lumber in all sizes. Great for longer boards and also for smaller scrap pieces of wood you have laying around. Organize them for easy access and roll it out of your way when you’re done.

7. Rolling Lumber Storage Rack from Charleston Crafted

Lumber storage idea on wheels

This rolling lumber storage rack will give extra storage space for all your lumber. There is space in the back for full sheets, four shelves for full-length lumber, and you even have bins in the bottom for cutoff pieces of scrap wood.

Lumber Storage Carts

If you need to store a variety of mixed lumber – sheet goods and boards, there are many options available.

8. Vertical lumber Cart with wheels.

This vertical lumber cart is on the pricey end but it does have space for boards and plywood.

9. Sheet goods cart and dolly

Another ready-to-use out-of-box solution. This one is a little reasonably priced and makes it super easy to load up the sheet goods and store them.

10. Scrap Wood and Lumber Storage Cart from Ana White

DIY lumber storage rack for scrap wood and boards

Store all your lumber in one storage unit. This DIY lumber storage cart has bins for scrap wood, horizontal storage for boards, and even space for full sheets. It’s on wheels so you can roll it anywhere you need it.

11. DIY Lumber Cart from The Inspired Workshop

DIY lumber cart with sheets of plywood

This lumber storage cart is modeled after the ones you will find at your local home improvement store. It will easily hold sheets of plywood, OSB, and any other wood you need to store.

12. Rolling Vertical Lumber Cart from Sawdust Girl

DIY rolling cart for vertical lumber storage

Made from 3/4″ plywood, this vertical lumber storage option is great for storing lumber to keep it from warping, bending, or twisting. You can roll it around where you need it then tuck it back away in the corner.

13. Rolling Lumber and Sheet Goods Cart from Kreg Tools

DIY rolling lumber storage cart for lumber and sheet goods

Store all your lumber and sheet goods in this DIY storage cart idea. You will have vertical storage for scrap wood, shelving for full boards, and storage in the back for all your sheet goods. Being on wheels makes for easy cleaning underneath.

14. DIY Lumber Cart from Fix This Build That

lumber storage cart for sheet goods, boards and scrap wood

This DIY lumber storage cart may be small, but it can a hold a whole lot of lumber. It features four interior shelves for boards, space for scrap wood, and room for sheet goods. Its small footprint is ideal for small workshops or small garages.

Scrap Wood Storage Ideas

Once you start building projects you will realize that your scrap pile grows exponentially with every project. You can save your scrap wood in a corner of your workshop but very soon it will get out of control and look something like this.

15. DIY scrap wood bin

a simple wood bin with scrap wood in a workshop

The easiest way to get your scrap wood pile under control is to build a quick and simple scrap wood bin. I built this simple bin using scrap wood I already had. This has three sections so you can sort your pieces of scrap wood by size so the small pieces are corralled in one spot.

For even smaller scraps I recommend simply using an old cardboard box or a bucket to toss them in. Though honestly, you should be throwing out any pieces that are less than 3″ in length or width.

16. Scrap Wood Storage Cart from Woodshop Diaries

DIYscrap wood storage cart with plywood storage in the back

Keep all your scrap wood neat and organized in this DIY scrap wood storage cart. Made from plywood and 2x4s, this is a great solution for containing the mess of all those scrap pieces of wood. It even has bonus plywood sheet storage on the back!

17. DIY Small Scrap Wood Cart from The Handyman’s Daughter

DIY scrap wood cart for scrap wood lumber storage.

Use your scrap wood to make this scrap wood storage cart! Made from scrap plywood and 2x4s, you will have all that scrap wood organized in no time. There’s even room in the back for larger sheets. It’s the perfect size for small workshops or garages.

18. Scrap Wood Storage Cart from Plywood from Remodelacasa

scrap wood storage cart made with plywood

Bins, shelves, and sheet storage make this scrap wood cart the perfect solution for your garage or workshop. Made from plywood, some of it scrap plywood, this scrap lumber organizing idea will help keep your shop or garage nice and tidy.

Outdoor Lumber Storage

Storing lumber outdoors is not recommended. Whenever possible lumber should be stored indoors. But if you have to store lumber outdoors, make sure to follow a few important guidelines:

  • Elevate the lumber off of the ground to prevent the absorption of moisture and to allow air circulation.
  • Cover all the lumber with a tarp to protect it from the elements.
  • Place “stringers” between the stacked boards. Stringers are small, evenly spaced pieces of scrap boards that provide support and allow air to flow around the wood keeping it from warping.

However, even with all the precautions in place, you do not want to keep lumber outdoors for more than 3 to 6 months.

No matter which storage technique or location you pick, be sure to protect your lumber from moisture and damage.

Simple ready-to-use racks or homemade racks will ensure your lumber stays in great shape and saves you money on your next project.

RELATED: Wood Sizes Explained: Everything You Need To Know

Anika's goal is to inspire and empower beginners with woodworking, DIY, home improvement, and home decor ideas.
She wants everyone to unlock their creative potential and experience the feeling that comes with making something. Nothing feels better better than seeing something and saying "I can make that!"

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