I am a Capricorn which means I am entirely too practical to spend money on things to organize other things. Trust me, I am all about things looking pretty, but if it’s going to be behind closed doors, function is way more important to me than form. That is where my down and dirty pantry organization comes in.
I had some condensing to do this week because I am planning a little kitchen/dining area update and it includes removing a cabinet from my kitchen. I know, only crazy people remove cabinets!!!! But it blocks the sightline from the dining rom and makes my U shaped kitchen seem more cut off than it needs to.
Years ago, I converted an unused coat closet into a pantry in my dining room. It never really worked for me though. I thought I was creating more storage by using deep shelves but it only ended up in a messy hodgepodge of kitchen items piled up. I know it seems counterintuitive that shallow shelves make storage easier, just trust me.
The first thing I did was measure measure measure!!!!! When you have things to store, you have to know how much space they take up. I already owned a bunch of Tupperware containers so I measured them. I measured my bread machine, cans, cereal boxes….if it’s in this pantry, I measured it. Then I got to work planning the shelf spacing.
My self depth is 11 inches on the bottom four shelves and 8 inches on the top two. This is mainly because I am too short to easily reach the top two shelves and I wanted to be able to see everything on them without wondering if something was hiding up there.
Once all my measuring was done, I marked my studs using a stud finder and cut 1×2’s to create the shelf supports. This is such a simple way to put up shelving. When you cut the 1×2’s for the sides, make sure you account for the 1×2 across the back, otherwise the side supports will stick out beyond the shelf and you don’t want that.
I used a nail gun to attach the supports, being careful to level them before I nailed them in.
Once they were all up, all I had to do was lay the shelves and nail them into the supports from the top. This way the kiddos don’t pull an entire shelf of cans onto themselves. You would be hard pressed to find anything in this house over 3 feet tall, that isn’t nailed down or screwed to the wall.
When you start a project that you really don’t have time to finish before you have your family over for your husband’s birthday, and you have to get all your food off the dining room floor in a hurry, this is what happens. Missing shelves, unpainted existing shelves, don’t matter….just toss it all in there. HA!
Once I emptied it again, I painted all the shelves and supports in plain old out of the can white. Then I put everything baaaack in again. It looks pretty good now.
If you look at the top shelf, I still need a few containers for my pantry staples, but that can wait. I am sure I will find something around my house to use that will save me $50 in things to put other things in.
I already found a few things around the house to help me organize and use some of the empty wall space between the door and the shelves. First, my favorite “free” organization tool, the clementine box. I use them for lots of things, even the occasional Christmas decoration.
They stack, they are neat and they are free, can’t beat ’em.
I also used some magazine/file holders for hot chocolate and oatmeal packets. They will be spray painted white as soon as it is warm enough for me to spray paint outside. But for now, they work fine, even though they are pink.
Some Command Hooks and twine and my broom and Swiffer are out of the way. That reminds me, I need a new broom.
I used some of that empty wall space for our emergency lights. Now they are out of the way and we always know where they are.
The stool usually lives in the kitchen where I trip over it multiple times a day, so now it lives here. And you can see the all important fire extinguisher hiding there in the corner. A basket for paper towels, and one for potatoes and this pantry is done! (for now)
I may add shelf paper, but I can always repaint so I’m not sure why I’d bother.