I don’t even know where to begin. I guess the best place would be at the beginning. So, when I moved into my apartment almost two years ago, I was floored by how much pantry space I had. I had never even had a pantry that was separated from the kitchen by a door before! My pantry is roughly a 4 1/2 foot by 3 1/2 foot rectangle with a 2 foot by 1 foot rectangle corner space to the side of the door. Initially, this tiny space, although over 7 feet tall, was the only area with an shelving, and thus the only usable area in the whole space. I quickly realized I needed to add some extra shelving to make better use of the bountiful space I had been blessed with by the Rental Apartment Gods. However, in my race to do so, I can only say that I just did not think it through. I added in a free-standing, 3 1/2 foot by 1 1/2 foot metal unit that had a total of three (three!) shelves and was only 3 feet tall! Seriously? What was I thinking? Thankfully, that’s neither here nor there, because I have finally remedied the situation! And, you guys, I’m over the moon with how it turned out!
Here’s what I did (with the help of my favorite assistant, AKA my dad):
- The first step was to clear out everything! I took out the unit I had been using and all of the food and sundries and then swept and swiffered thoroughly. Not only was this super satisfying, but it was also a really great opportunity to purge any expired/stale items buried in those dark, dusty corners. (I won’t even go into how much I ended up throwing out, but it was ccccrr-azy.)
- The next step was to put up the vertical supports. Although my dad tirelessly exercised his trusty stud-finder, there were none to be found in my pantry, womp womp. But we forged ahead and were able to securely affix the supports to the wall by going right into the plaster with very long screws.
- After the first support was leveled vertically and attached, we temporarily slipped one bracket into it and then held up the other vertical, which had a bracket in the same hole as the first, and rested a shelf across the two brackets. Here’s why: if you’re worried that your ceiling might not be completely level, this is a good way to cheat it. By working backwards and leveling the shelf before attaching the second vertical support, you don’t run the risk of attaching the second support and ending up with slanted shelves.
- Once we had everything level, the second vertical was screwed into the wall and the brackets were placed. With this type of system you want to tap the bracket lightly with a hammer fully sink the brackets into the holes in the supports.
- From there, all we had to do was lay the shelves on the brackets and we were done! I picked up two 12″ shelves, three 10″ shelves and one 8″ shelf, and corresponding brackets. I knew I was going to need a couple of deeper shelves to hold miscellaneous kitchen electrics and a few baskets, but I wanted most of the shelves to sit pretty flush into the space that was already recessed into the wall, which was around 8″ deep.
- The last step was to add back in all the food and sundries! I can’t lie, it was so much fun! My advice for this last piece of the puzzle is DECANT! DECANT DECANT DECANT! Anything you can get out of its original cardboard container and into a pretty glass jar is going to give you so much more joy in the end, plus it’s just easier to see everything! From there I organized my items into groups based on their respective purposes, i.e. baking, pasta, oils and vinegars, canned goods, etc.
I really am so pleased with how this project turned out. There are still a few finishing touches that I am planning to add, like all those glorious products from my last post, but it’s such an improvement! In the past, I couldn’t even walk into the pantry far enough to get the trash out without twisting in ways I’m not nearly flexible enough to do comfortably. Now I can walk in and close the door behind me! (Which, by the way, I have done many times in the last few days!)
I hope this is helpful to anyone thinking about tackling their own pantry. I’d love to hear about what you come up with!
Lots of love – Cassie
Sources: Rubbermaid Vertical Shelf Supports, Rubbermaid Brackets, Rubbermaid White Laminate Shelves, Weck 1 Liter Jars – Set of 6, Wire Baskets (similar), Glass Canisters with Glass Lids, Artisan Glass Canisters with Oak Lids