When we moved into a new house last summer I had a seemingly endless list of things to do. My first milestone was getting rid of all the boxes, which until recently were still hidden away in disparate corners of the house. Then, perhaps ill-advisedly, I took it upon myself to paint the entire downstairs, which ended up taking months. Our basement is a bit of a labyrinth once you get outside the main room, which we’re using as a den/media space.
Fortunately, it includes a guest room which I’ve never been lucky enough to have in my previous houses. Then there’s a half-finished kitchenette that the previous owner started but then probably rethought after realizing the headaches that would come along with legally permitting a downstairs apartment. In between the unfinished basement area and the guest room is a nook that I’ve turned into a combination library, music, and craft room. I truly love having that space which has also been out of reach in other houses. All these spaces demanded attention — but more on those projects later.
Today I’m describing a satisfying one-day makeover of my kitchen “pantry.” I put the word in quotation marks because it is actually a closet. For the past 10 or so months, it has been stuffed with cleaning supplies, extra bags and other paraphernalia. I decided to take matters in hand one Sunday and do a no-frills makeover that would put things in order. Here’s a picture of the empty closet after I got rid of all the stuff and pulled out the ugly shelf brackets on the back wall:
I didn’t get too fancy with colors but I wanted to cover up the marks left by stripping the shelf brackets off the wall. So I gave it a quick coat of white primer that I had left over from another project.
Step 1: Spice Racks. I already owned a spice rack that we brought from our last house so I promptly attached it to the back of the closet door.
Step 2: Make more use of the door. Below the spice rack, I added a couple of hooks for oven mitts and a dispenser to organize all those plastic bags.
Step 3: Organize the Cleaning Supplies. As I mentioned, I was also using this closet as a place to store my cleaning supplies. I didn’t want to mix them in with food-related items but there seemed to be enough space for both. I purchased this 3-tiered chrome shelving unit for about $30 and slid it into the bottom half of the closet.
Step 4: The Back Wall. On the back wall, I installed a top shelf for paper towels, etc., with hooks below to hang a few awkwardly-shaped cooking utensils. I also added two more spice racks.
Step 5: Side Wall #1. On one side wall, I hung two organizers for pot and pan covers, which I always find difficult to store and organize in drawers or cupboards.
Step 6: Side Wall #2. I decided to move some of the cleaning supplies to a mesh basket that I attached to the wall. Here, I put specialty cleaners such as silver and copper polish. The other basket holds foil and plastic wrap. These mesh baskets are often sold as desk organizers but are perfect for pantries too.
Step 7: Finish. The final product isn’t perfect but I’m pretty happy with how much more organized I feel.
Having everything hanging on the walls as opposed to installing traditional shelves makes it seem far roomier and a bit like a walk-in closet. I’ll probably make improvements as I go along but overall it was a very satisfying one-day makeover. I’d love to see your ideas for a DIY pantry!
Here are a few (much more elaborate) DIY pantry projects that I admire and would love to try someday when I have more time: