Have you ever wanted to buy something fun for the family, but what held you back was that in it’s uniqueness, there was the conundrum of how to store it? For my dad, many years ago that was a large aluminum canoe. Not only was it a budget stretcher, it was big and awkward. However, over the years it has been a source of amazing amounts of fun and bonding time with kids and grandkids. It was one of those purchases that was never regretted.

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Laura Blodgett Blog

The storage problem becomes multi-faceted. It’s not just where to keep it, it’s can you ever get it out again and how many people are needed to do it? If you store it in the backyard, it collects dirt and wasps nests. You have to clear a pathway every time you want to load it up on your vehicle. If you know someone with more space or you rent space, you have to always go over there to retrieve it. So much for spontaneity. If you store it in the front yard, um, someone might permanently borrow it. It does look fun, after all.

Something like a canoe is hard to stack, difficult to move when you need to dig through things, and too easy to fill with other things if left at eye level. You are less likely to use it if you have to remove the months supply of household paper goods first. Good storage methods mean you can get to it when you want it, but until then, you hardly know it is there.

Enter Unistrut, an engineer’s Lego system. My dad loves Unistrut for welding together sturdy frames for tables and shelves because it is easy to make them adjustable. It is also great for hanging lights behind workbenches. AND you can add pulleys to it for even more possibilities! When he was recently brainstorming for how to store his canoe in his new garage area, his eyes meandered upward and all of the unused ceiling space beckoned him.

Laura Blodgett Blog

He says the same people who make the Unistrut sell the pulleys to fit inside them, so that is simple. The part that could be challenging is attaching the bolt tabs to the unistrut in order to attach it to the ceiling. He used carriage bolts for the first attempt, but found he had to grind them down (with an abrasive wheel on a bench grinder) to enable the pulleys to move. So, for the next section of Unistrut he welded the bolt tabs on. Even if you don’t do welding yourself, it’s not too difficult to find a freelancer for a small job. I know when I did an internet search for welders in my area, I came up with many more than I expected! But my husband would probably be willing to teach me to weld when I’m game… and I surprise myself by thinking I might want to try it someday! If I can, you can!

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Other than that, the canoe system only involved bungee cords and positioning the pulley tracks so that the canoe can be glided right over the car. That’s right. He doesn’t even have to pick it up to load it on the car! The photo shows the car, but not in his correctly engineered location, because he was not planning a canoe trip. When he is ready to load the canoe, he backs the Suburban in, keeping it aligned with the lines in the cement that he pre-planned would put him in the optimum position for setting the canoe down on the car roof. I think the same concept would work for things like car top carriers or skis.

Here is the short list of parts:

  • Unistrut
  • Bolts
  • Pulleys
  • Bungee cords

What do you need to hang from your garage ceiling?

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