I’m on a new mission to clean and declutter my workspace and storage areas. Once the dust eventually clears, it will finally be time for me to re-evaluate my storage and organizational solution.
I recently discovered Rousseau’s vertical drawers, and whether or not that particular brand suits my needs, I’m drawn to their designs.
My plan has been to build cabinets, at least for basement storage where I could never get steel cabinets down the stairs. The idea was to have horizontal drawers for floor-to-waist storage, and traditional shelves to satisfy bulk and upper storage needs.
I have built sliding vertical shelves before, at the end of a workbench, and it worked alright. These vertical shelves are done differently.
Rousseau’s R2V vertical drawers are essentially very tall and narrow drawers with internal pegboard panel-like structures.
I would have thought the drawers to be only supported on the bottom, similar to pull-out garbage pail kitchen drawers, but they have some alignment support on the top as well.
The drawers’ paneling allows for partitions that separate the drawers into left and right compartments, but there are also open shelf options.
I need to think more about this, but I’m about sold on the idea.
In a DIY solution, a wood-framed drawer can have drawer slides on the bottom, and maybe a similar alignment rail at the top.
Looking at some of Rousseau’s other marketing materials, they show small boxes, tools, and misc. supplies stored in vertical shelves.
This seems versatile and adaptable.
I am not even close to being in a place where I can replace my wall cabinets, wire shelving units, or misc. carts and chests with permanent storage, but this is definitely going into my “inspirational ideas bank.”
As I work to streamline my storage, I keep reminding myself that the less amount of under-utilized space, the better. I also want to be able to grab something with minimal shuffling.
A 22″ to 25″ cabinet depth works great for drawers. But for shelves, unless we’re talking about storing things in industrial tote boxes – which absolutely impacts access and space utilization, 12″ to 15″ is the sweet spot. Vertical shelves look to be a way to maintain a deep cabinet depth and improve accessibility.
Rousseau doesn’t show the best examples. When visualizing a DIY version, I’m thinking storage for spray bottles, glue bottles, boxes of consumables, and other such things I can’t easily put in a drawer – things I typically pile into shelves, large pull-out bins, and bulk cabinet space.
Vertical drawers seems like a space-efficient idea for certain storage needs. What do you think? Are there other designs that can offer further inspiration?
I used to make a vertical drawer for over the top of refrigerator cabinets in kitchens I designed. It made it easier to access overhead deep spaces without having to chase after a step stool. In the right application vertical drawers are great.
In our kitchen, we’ve got a vertical “drawer” cabinet among all the normal cabinets. It’s right next to a good piece of counter.
Its adjacent proximity to the work area is the key here. Lets me have materials & tools right where they’re sometimes needed, without really disrupting the normal materials & tools of the rest of the kitchen.
The fact that it’s full of liquor bottles and associated stuff and can easily turn that piece of counter into a well-functioning wet bar is irrelevant. The elegant point is that it’s easy to change functions from kitchen to bar and back.
A version of this where the vertical shelves “fold out” once opened (each pair) would allow a lot of different access in a small amount of space.
These work well in kitchens for certain things (spice rack style, pantry) and could work in a garage, too, for the things that usually populate a normal shelf and you’re always shuffling around to get at the stuff at the back.
Like a traditional woodworking tool cabinet? That I can see, though everyone I know of with one leaves it open permanently.
I’m not really sold on the idea as a general alternative to drawers. When they’re up high above where you could normally reach into a drawer sure, or if you’re trying to use up an existing narrow space that wouldn’t be practical for regular drawers. But in an intentionally designed cabinet where they’re low enough for regular drawers what’s the actual benefit?
To me vertical storage like pegboard and wall-hanging is for things I want to keep open and accessible at all times. If it’s hidden away inside a drawer already, then what’s the benefit of hanging it up vs placing it flat?
Spray cans I can sort of see, if you use a lot of different sheens from the same company and they don’t already put that information on the cap. Though having to physically move around to the other side of the drawer to see what’s inside it seems annoying vs laying those same cans flat in stacked drawers that you could quickly look through without having to reposition.
For hanging tools they’ll just end up flopping around and needing more space between them than if they were laid flat in a shallow drawer.
I don’t see these as a replacement for drawers, but in lieu of shelf or bulk cabinet space.
***To me vertical storage like pegboard and wall-hanging is for things I want to keep open and accessible at all times. If it’s hidden away inside a drawer already, then what’s the benefit of hanging it up vs placing it flat?**
I think this sort of can argue for the vertical drawers. To me, I would use these in a way that essentially allows me to swap my pegboard for the task. Pull out one drawer for woodworking, and another for finishing. Use the 3rd for general DIY repair. In the same way as I’ve taken to storing toolboxes to a type of work, I’d store the drawer to a type of project. You may use your chisel and planers for every woodworking project you do, but wouldn’t use them for finishing. When finishing you pull out the drawer that has brushes, fine grit sandpaper, steel wool, maybe a few cans of stain or poly on the bottom ‘shelf’ of the drawer.
The idea certainly has merit. I don’t think they’re ideal for most things, but for tall narrow objects or things you want to store on their side/edge they are very helpful. As others have mentioned they’re common in kitchens, though nobody has mentioned my favorite use for them in the kitchen yet: storing cutting boards. One above counter height would be excellent for a magnetic knife rack. I think they are also a lot more efficient than a traditional cabinet for spices or anything that comes in a bottle or small container like cooking oil, vinegar, sauces, corn starch, baking powder, and so on. Imagine 3 or 4 vertical drawers in place of one cabinet for storage of those items. It’s impossible to have something get lost at the back and you never have to dig around to see what’s behind something else because with the vertical drawers there is instant access to everything, full depth, and from both sides. You don’t have to worry about a tall bottle blocking the visibility of a smaller one because you can see it from the other side. Unlike a lazy susan there is no wasted space in the corners. Of course this isn’t much good for wide things like pots and pans but it is fantastic for the smaller things. I am in the planning stages of redoing my kitchen cabinets and I plan on incorporating a few vertical drawers: one on either side of the sink for knives and cutting boards respectively, and a group in place of a standard cabinet next to the range for seasonings, oil, etc.
In the workshop another way to think about them would be to overlap the same sorts of uses as pegboard, but in an enclosed space to keep free from dust. I could see these being handy for router bits, circular saw blades, etc. I think I’d also like it for modular tools like pullers, where hanging all the parts up on a board makes it easy to visualize which pieces to grab for a specific job, or for things which are easiest to identify while hanging up, like my assortment of rigging slings and chains. They’re easy to tell apart hanging on hooks, but piled in the bottom of a drawer or box it’s hard to find what you need.
I have been considering these vertical drawers for sometime. Using these in an unused enclosed area under an existing stairway. There is a 16” stud wall to work through. Using vertical drawers eliminates removing studs and building headers for cabinets or regular drawers. You can also use multiple support slide rails ( top & bottom- and both sides). Should be able to create some hefty weight capacity where needed.
If you have a lot of things it will be more efficient to store some of them vertically. Have vertical storage in the kitchen and it works well.
If you store anything now on the workshop wall in a shallow depth cabinet you are just changing the orientation of the cabinet.
I don’t like the idea of a pegboard sliding away, do like the thought of router bits, cans, etc.
I would like these but would like auto-close. I’d hate to be working on a bench and get up and walk into it. But that would worst case. I think this would be great to maximize wall storage and really, most only need one or two tools at a time. Ofcourse a quick look at a wall board of tools, you can notice which ones are missing/not replaced.
Vertical shelves look to be a way to maintain a deep cabinet depth with ***improve*** accessibility.
Hmm. *and* improve accessibility.
Your way is better.
I like it. Let’s say you pull a vertical drawer out that’s, say, 10” wide and you have a peg board set in the center, about 5”. You’d have a little less than 5” depth on each side for hanging tools, which should suffice for most. What if the peg board could be unlatched and was able to spin around on a centered pivot point so you wouldn’t have to move and twist from each side? Think of a revolving door. That would certainly be a great feature.
You say: “My plan has been to build cabinets, at least for basement storage where I could never get steel cabinets down the stairs.”
An option that we built for several clients was an outside basement entrance. That can be as utilitarian (sometimes called ugly) as using commercial steel (Bilco) doors or using an add on shed building that provides access to a wide staircase to the cellar. When i bought my current house there were 2 interior entrances to the basement. One was a normal width staircase – the other a spiral. Neither would have done for bringing machinery down to a basement shop. So, I extended the driveway that accessed the side overhead door to the garage around the back – and built a large side outside double-door entrance to the back of the garage and the basement.
I briefly considered it, but the placement would be too impractical.
Building out a custom storage solution will be a good challenge once I can get to it.
Good stuff. Thanks Fred.
Taking a lot of space for the amount of things that can be store (Is there a term for this ratio). At best, make sense only for the most frequently used tools.
In other disciplines (not tool storage per se) there is a thing called packing factor or packing ratio, For example that might relate to the volume occupied by something like glass beads that you could pack into a box versus the interstitial volume. You could imagine that cubes of glass might be easier to arrange as to have a higher packing ratio than spheres and that smaller spheres would do better than larger ones.
Thanks. Love how engineers do come up with ways to measure everything. Back to tool storage, I came to the conclusion that drawers have the highest packing ratio, since they don’t need the “head space” to lift stuff out, as with shelves. At home, I only “lay out” a few things such as sockets, cutting bits….And “pack” all other tools. Sure does not look good and would take a bit longer to retrieve, but it does take a lot less storage and space, which are not cheap.
A few vertical drawers might be useful, but until gravity makes a sudden 90 degree change, not really a great way to optimize storage of any of my items–maybe it would work best for small jigs or patterns? Also, I despise short runs of pegboard. Taking tools off a pegboard requires a small upward movement, which makes taller pegboard installations optimal.
I’d love a set of them in my shop. Not a wall of them, but I have tools that would be awesome to organize that way and still have easy access.
I love this- I think it’s a great idea and creates some interesting storage options. You could hang taller tools like pry bars and clamps. Alternatively, you could benefit from the organization of a pegboard without having tools exposed to dust and such.
Exactly. I was thinking more along the lines of spray bottles, air hoses, and other equipment that would otherwise get lost in a wall cabinet.
For such items, vertical drawers seem more effective than deep shelves.
The pegboard option can work well too, such as for rolls of tape and other such items. I have found that tape doesn’t store as well in drawers.
I’m so glad you posted this- I don’t have plans to purchase any storage, but I’d love to try and diy something with a sheet of extra pegboard sitting in my basement.
I saw online someone who used closet door sliding hardware to put up 2 peg boards on the wall of his garage and he could slide them to have access to whatever tools he needed. His most used tools were on the peg board in the front. That has your vertical shelf idea, but since it would run parallel to the wall, it would only protrude off the wall as far as your willing to let it (say 6-8″ VS 12-15″).
I had a Viper Ultimate SS box with a vertical drawer and a garage door on the bottom that was my absolute favorite tool box ever.
Stolen in a trailer.
Now now longer available.
I like it.
These have intrigued me as well: https://levrack.com
I’ve seen a lot of influencers hyping it up, but I’m not convinced.
Levrack looks like a good concept for long-term parts or bulk item storage. You’ll see rolling shelving used for file archives, museum collections, and similar, but not frequent day to day access. For such purposes, drawers and cabinets will work better in my opinion.
Their smallest unit has a 90″ width and 30″ depth, which is a significant footprint. Each movable trolley unit has 4 shelves. So that’s 4 trolleys for a total of 16 shelves. You can add drawers, but where do you stand when the drawers are open?
Sounds like a good idea to me. Wouldn’t be too hard to build a customized size for your spot I’ll bet. Fun to design and build too! I enjoyed the modular 80/20 cabinet article from a while back.
I’ve been thinking pull out vertical drawers similar to this design
and/or rolling wall cabinets like the levrack would work nicely on the bottom/floor section of pallet racking for high density storage of fasteners and other heavy but long term storage items in my shop. I’ve seen a few armories/ordinance rooms with this sort of storage. But cost is pretty high and they all had a bottom rail/track they ride on. Hard to keep that track clean in a shop/warehouse environment. Levrack has no bottom track but I wonder about weight capacity? Hardware is heavy! Leaning towards rolling type with top and bottom rails and just sweep that area more often.
I don’t pay attention to “influencers”, so I have no idea what they are peddling.
My interest and application isn’t for first order retrievability or often used stuff, nor do drawers in this appeal to me. For storing chemicals, paint, not often used tools, fasteners, shop supplies, etc., I think it could work well. This would compliment a bench and cabinets, not replace them.
I think it would be great in my gun room. I could build out a few shelves for rifles, spare parts, accessories, cleaning stuff, reloading gear, etc.
Drawers all the way. Deep drawers, Tall drawers, short drawers. Drawers are way better than a box that you have to stick your head into to find something.
They work great for tools of same type ,but differing sizes.
Am currently building 1 for cordless battery tools,batteries and chargers.
A 1/2 impact doesn’t fit as well in a socket drawer.
Power drawers are useful in mechanics chests.
I install small width pullouts for cookie sheets,utensils and spice racks beside kitchen stove/ranges in my day to day job.
Whether drills or spices it allows different size items to fit in a better configuration.
But the 90% of the rest are better in standard horizontal drawer configuration.
Am not a fan of pegboard style storage,mainly since I like deep drawers and don’t like leaning over them Imho.
Btw drawers should be in all base cabinets in your kitchen, doors and large openings lead to chaos.
I appreciate this insight. Somehow the kitchen in our new apartment has no drawers, only deep tall cabinets.
In the dream land of slapdash prefab, how is this atrocity possible.
I have a vertical drawer on shop built fixed router cabinet, top has holes for router bits and lower section shelfs for router top tools that are not always used but accessible. Center section of router table has dust collection and not space for a horizontal drawer but it does house several portable routers those tools maybe in a future vertical drawer yet to be built. Horizontal drawers in shop have way too many Festool boxes that are all on pull outs, also have horizontal pullouts for the red packout boxes which are handy also.
Stuart, have you seen this thread?
It is quite long, over 50 pages, and started back in 2009. So some of the older threads no longer have pics because they were linked to a photo bucket type service they no longer subscribe to.
Maybe 95% may be impractical, or not what you are looking for, but there are definitely some great ideas, even if only a few may be what caters to your needs.
There’s a lot of inspiration out there, but in this cases I simply wanted to see what everyone thought about vertical drawers.
Forum threads are hard to search, but interesting ideas will come up through image searches, such as for pipe or rod stock storage.
I liken having vertical storage as akin to the door shelf on the fridge. Great in the right situation, saves from moving everything at the back to get to it and typically narrow enforcing more organization – but not everything will fit on the door. I think the combination of both vertical and traditional is a great way to go and look forward to a post, with images, of how you set them up.
off the cuff – why not have more table top and another shelf unit. and for the shelf units why not a pull out drawer?
or a lazy susan sort of thing. IE have a easy way to bring things forward to be easy to see/grab.
outside of that the vert drawer isn’t terrible but it seems a unique situation. I see them in kitchens sometimes but mostly for places where space limits it to a vert drawer. IE next to the fridge or on the end of the cabinets to fill a gap – turns into a spice shelf etc.
Maybe have one or 2 -but not a set of 7 etc.
I could be compelled to flip flop – but the vert drawer with pegboard seems useless – the shelves I could see using. Like a spray paint drawer, or maybe a glue and finish drawer etc etc. but not a peg board. whole point of a pegboard is visibility, so rolling it away means you have to then also mark the drawers. as opposed to peg board on the back of your work table.
They’re awesome if done right. I had them at both ends of a workbench. It worked great because I’d rather have to move to pull something out. With horizontal drawers I would need to move out of the way. So after awhile the middle horizontal drawers were general storage and the vertical ones were tools I’d grab while working on stuff. Kept me from doing the workbench shuffle.