Friday, August 17, 2012

A New Pantry!

 As I mentioned before, Summer 2012 was my chance to accomplish some projects I've been wanting to tackle... the shelves in the bathroom, painting some rooms like the boys' bath, the canvas Chinese symbols, painting the loft, etc.  One big project I had in mind was redo-ing our pantry.

We are HIGHLY blessed in that our pantry is big.  It's not room-size big... but it's big.  The pantry is approximately 5'x4' with three walls for shelving.  Here's a glance at what it used to look like.  
We had nine foot ceilings, yet the tallest shelf was only 6' high... which meant lots of wasted space.  They were the wire shelves, which I understand makes them "breathable"and not dusty.  But, when something dripped (i.e. honey... eeewww!), it landed on the things under it for several shelves down.  AND cans never sat well... they'd tip a little.  The shelves were not spaced well.  With the little overhang in front, it made tall containers, like cereal and my tall Tupperware containers, difficult to stick in there.  Half of our cereal boxes were sitting on their sides (begging for a spill).  Not to mention, the builders did not use the nice moveable track system where you use brackets and standards.  They screwed each shelf into the wall, and those shelves then needed braces in front to keep them steady.  Thus, we had three awkwardly spaced support verticals that got in the way.  

My goal?  Totally revamp the closet and make it completely useful for our family.

I set aside a week this summer to get it finished.

  It only took 3 days.

First, I removed all the food/baskets/whatnot and stacked it all over every inch of space in my kitchen.  Ugh.  I can't believe we had so much stuff!

Then, I removed the shelves.  

95... know what that refers to?

95 flipping holes!!!


Time to spackle.

And then wait.

And then sand, and re-spackle.

When all of the wall was about as smooth as this lady will ever make a wall (I'm totally not good at this), I began inserting the supports.

I had Lowes cut 1"x2" boards to the length of our walls.  Poor guy... it took a long time.  18 supports and 18 shelves!

I measured mine approximately 14" from top to bottom.

It went fairly easily.

After the supports were up, I then painted the pantry closet AND supports a light gray (Graceful Gray?).  The photo below definitely looks green, but it's really a very light gray.

This was a pain to paint in between, but I figured it would give the best appearance if I painted after the supports were up.

After that dried, I began inserting the shelves.  Again, these were pre-cut by Lowes.  I used 1"x12" shelves, which of course means they are about 11.25" deep.  We just picked out the utility shelving pine boards, which were quite inexpensive.  I also painted them before installing.  They were painted an off-white to match all the trim.  This took awhile... I had wet shelves on my island for an entire day... multiple coats... 18 shelves in three shifts.

Once everything was installed, I was happy to see there was plenty of clearance for even the tallest containers.

 Here are the shelves.  As you can see in this photo, none of the shelves were supported outside of the wall supports.  Eventually we decided to install one vertical post in the corner to the right.  The shelves to the right were going to hold the heavy cans and such, so we figured it would be best to be safe, than sorry.  

Then came the fun (?) in rearranging all of our stuff.  

Upon replacing my Tupperware, I realized I goofed just a tad in the measurements.  The medium-height containers are just a TAD too tall to stack two-high.  Darn... honestly I hadn't even thought about stacking them, but it definitely would've saved a little extra space on the shelves.

I bought three 14" Lipper lazy susans from Amazon to use in the left side corner.

The top one is eye level and holds all of my everyday-use oils/fats.  We are attempting to get our eating habits under control and start using less "junk".  So, although there is Canola Oil there and spray oils, we tend to use the Coconut oil and olive oil most.  Hopefully I'll get to a point where I get rid of the "rancid" oils entirely. 

The shelf below there is my cans.  Again, you'll see things I'm not proud of... we're slowly getting healthy.  Slowly.  :)

The shelf below that is condiments.

In the main back wall, I put all of my baking goods... the dry goods in my Tupperware containers (which were accumulated over YEARS).  The second shelf down, I put my favorite dry goods, in Snapware containers.

The next two shelves held all the flours, sugars, and various other goodies that a gluten-free pantry eventually acquires... potato starch, tapioca flour, almond meal... you know, stuff most people didn't know existed.

Then, on the bottom shelf, at kids' hand level, I put their favorite snacks into the tall Snapware containers... CheezIts, Chex Mix, etc.  Again... remember, we're getting healthy SLOWLY.  Hopefully in time, these containers will begin to hold more nutritious snacks.  Those labels are made with chalk pens, so all it takes is a wet cloth to allow me to change!

On the very top shelf, I put the pitchers I rarely use.

On the floor are baskets to hold produce and miscellaneous bottles.

A few other random shelves:

 file box (remember the pantry is next to my office) and extra paper towels.

 Boxed fondue sets, mandolin, bags, and extras.

Raw nuts in stackable shelves in the corner.  See that jar in front?  It's homemade sauerkraut!  See, I told you I was trying new things.  It's next to my homemade kombucha tea!

These pots are from Willow House... I separated the basket from the pot and use them to hold miscellaneous things, like plastic cutlery, clothespins (for closing bags), straws and sauce packets.

 This shelf is for the open bags of snacks or popcorn.

 I didn't put a bottom shelf on the left side (to allow for tall things like dog food and a step-stool), so I used that extra shelf to create an upside-down U shelf to make two mini-height shelves.  On the bottom one, I placed my griddle.  On the top shelf, I hold all of my storage bags/foil/wax paper/parchment, etc.

On this shelf, we have unusual odds and ends... a box of batteries, a box of "LightsOut" stuff like candles and matches, and a bin for paper goods.

I'm so upset that the one photo of the whole closet is so blurry (maybe if everyone sends me $5, I can go buy a nice SLR camera...LOL), but here it is as you walk into the closet...
The shelves and screws were the only real investment (and the cost was close to $200 or so).  I used leftover paint, and all of the baskets/bins were ones I already had.  Instead of spending $$$ to have cutely matching baskets all over, I decided to just group the ones that did match onto the same shelves to make it all look more uniform.  Above, you'll see the ground baskets are the same, the snack baskets are the same, and all of the containers on each shelf are the same.

Here is the left side.  You can see the tall area on the floor where I'm able to put our stepstool, Thirty-One thermal tote and boxed drinks.  It can also house Costco-sized boxes when need be.  On the left side, most everything we store is light-weight, so we opted to not put in another support.  This way the lazy-susans are easily accessed.

And here is the right side (you can see the one support vertical we decided to use as an insurance plan.

Sorry for the photo-heavy post, but this is my pride-and-joy project for the summer.  :)

Hope you agree.

Linked up to:


  1. Your entire house, is a blessing to be envious of. BUT THIS, seriously, as someone with organization envy, WOW. I'm so jealous. And impressed.

  2. Looks great!! Question..Are the side shelves attached to the back shelves in any way? Know you have an end support next to the doorway but wondering about the sturdiness where they form right angles if they are not attached in some way.

    1. I know... the supports were always our concern. The back shelves are supported with braces on three sides. The side shelves are supported on only two (and screwed in well to those supports). The ones on the right hold heavy items... canned goods, mason jars, etc.... and we attached that one vertical support in the front (screwed in) to keep those shelves well supported. The left-side shelves do not have another support. We keep only very light items, like cereal boxes and lunch bags and grocery bags on those shelves. We were concerned about them not being well-supported, but despite being filled up, they haven't budged at all. The boards of the left-hand shelves still align perfectly with the back shelves. So, for now, we are not concerned. If we begin to see some sagging, I have another vertical support bar in the garage ready to install if needed.

    2. Your concern was mine. The fact that you screw them in probably helps the support. You did an awesome job!!!

  3. Totally cool!! Love it! Also, from a "healthy" perspective, Chef-Boy-Ar-Dee now makes a low-fat and a whole grain line of pastas if the kids still want raviolis or spaghetti-os.

    1. Thanks! I'm just so proud that despite having no sawing-skills whatsoever, I was able to measure and find a way to get those shelves done! :)

  4. Saw this when I was down - so nice and accessible for everything - Great job

  5. Looks wonderful. I am inspired.

  6. Wow! I'd love to have a pantry like that. Don't know that I'd want to putty 95 holes though - lol!
    Thanks so much for linking up at I Gotta Create! <3 Christina

  7. Wow, what an accomplishment. I bet it feels so good to have it done and to be so organized. I was just staring in my pantry today, thinking, how in the world did I let it get like this? I love the lazy susan in the corner idea.


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