Studio Storage/Shelving?

Reposting here since I notice no one had posted in business practices in like 9 months. :stuck_out_tongue:

Our little studio is slowly accumulating more stuff over time and we need a good way to organize the stuff we want to keep. I’ve seen some modular shelves over the years but not sure what approach we want to take. It would be more open-ended and casual or it could be more formal and ‘filing cabinet’ style where things are separated by project. We have a small single room space right now (~12x30) with a back wall that has a raised ledge that would be a good spot for ‘archived junk’.

Any tips or tricks you all have picked up over the years?


One place that I worked had a wall of industrial racking with plastic boxes containing project work and then another wall of something resembling Ikea Kallex shelving with boxes for smaller projects. Once they are full, it’s impressive!

I only got to the junk drawer phase. I had a big 6 foot wide filing cabinet at my old job with parts. Whole projects are a bit of a waste when the real difficult part was only the size of a coffee cup.

Metro shelves (not the cheap knockoffs) are my favorite, they’ve been around for decades and have a timeless look. If you need to replace or add more shelves in the future you know you’ll be able to find them.

We did a bunch of tall black storage cabinets along a wall and numbered them for organizing by person, kind of like a locker system.

If it’s all small stuff, you could get clear door storage with bins like this:

Rather than having open shelves cluttered with misc parts. Unless that’s your thing…

I’ve did a few different things in my old loft (new house set up has different storage needs/ability).

I feel you either want nice looking and something you can see, or hidden. There’s not much in between.

  1. A bunch of IKEA Pax wardrobes with boxes and bins inside. (Black shiny things behind the desk) Works great and out of sight and can handle really big bins and lots of stuff. Easily re-configurable. Also ran cables so printers and other wifi stuff was inside.

  2. Open bookshelves from RAKKS. Custom designed to fit the space the system is really nice and a lot cheaper than you expect. I think I got 15’ of shelving 9’ high for $4000 incl. shipping and duty. It’s all made in the US. They have different combos of floating and other designs.

  3. Home Depot wire storage racks with Bins. Not great look and not everything can go on wire shelves, but effective. Big bins that stack are good.

  4. Earlier loft did the Element system. Poor mans Vitsoe. Worked well for open storage. I’m not sure the weight limit if you got boxes.

FWIW, I’ve also looked at other bookshelf type systems including Vitsoe, (Dieter Rams design), A4, ISS, etc. but they get really expensive fast.


I am for the solution that Raymond proposes. Industrial racking with plastic container boxes. Have seen that in several studios and ODM companies that have scaled up. Transparent containers are easy to label, look for a secure lid with good grips, a trusted brand that uses UV agents so the plastic ages well and has proper crack resistance.

Thanks so much, everyone. I haven’t contributed much at all in the past few years but when I do ask for help I try to make sure it is on areas of broad interest so the group conversation be useful to everyone else in this community.

I think we’re going to go with the metro shelves with bins for now. Might get the shelve cover panels.

@ralph, any tips on container brands? Nothing I hate more than cheap Sterilite grade stuff with bad ergonomics and maximum cost-downs.

My last job had about ten years worth of projects that we had in storage ranging from around 60+ clients. We had a separate storage room for keeping job related samples/extra prototypes/research. As well as an area for inspiration (we bought store shelving as we did a lot of CPG work), even a separate area inside the studio for a kind of “hall of fame” back for when clients would come into the studio.

I know you mentioned not liking the steralite bins/totes - but they do offer a nice range of height/width variations that all fit together and are priced right so that you can always have bulk on hand and only go pickup some each quarter. We had them all categorized by alphabetical order with custom tags printed on a zebra printer that listed the client/project name/project number/date (and a brief description of the contents). Everything inside the totes/bins were also bagged in plastic zip lock style bags from Uline with descriptions such as color settings for printed material or paint mixing, materials used and where they’re sourced etc.

I know it sounds like a lot of work; but it’s kind of cathartic at the end of a project to “bag and tag” all the materials related to it. It’s also a huge benefit when you need to go back to something a few years ago that you did and are trying to figure out how you went about making something or where you got a inspiration piece from. At the end of the day the part I’m bringing with me to the next job is the labeling and the bagging and tagging process as I believe it’s key to put in that effort up front.

(it should be noted that my last job was at a design firm that did packaging and prototyping in house so we managed a lot of prototype or sample stuff)

I really like the IRIS ones. Seem high quality, have an airtight seal which might help preserve some things. I would assume at this price they’re using the UV agents. They better be. :slight_smile: Sold on home depot, container store, amazon, etc.