When I first moved into my house, one of the things I loved about it was that it had a walk in pantry/ laundry room. The room is about 8’4″ x 5’7″ and has 5 rows of wire shelving for food storage. There used to be a wire shelf above the washer and dryer too, but we pulled that out when we moved in and I’ve got big plans for that area…later. We added another small shelving unit to the side wall for extra storage. The space quickly got filled up and things have been out of hand for a while now. I have been working on my Kitchen Home Projects List and really feel like I’m on a roll now :). So next on my list is an organized pantry.
The first issue I need to address is the wire shelving. Boxes, cans, and containers all wobble on these shelves. I have seen wire shelving cover at home improvement stores, but it is expensive. Foam board covered in contact paper is also a popular option for wire shelving, but I wanted something a little more durable. I decided that a thin plywood with my favorite stain would be durable and give my organized pantry a rustic touch.
Wood Boards for Wire Shelves
My shelves are just high enough for some of my tall cereal boxes so I did not want to compromise the height of my shelf with a thick board. I decided to go with 1/4″ utility hardwood plywood. Our shelves are 12 inches deep but have vertical pieces that cut in about an inch. To save us the headache of notching in the boards so that they were flush with the edge, I cut them at 11″ deep. The shelves are 48″ inches wide and this worked out perfect since the boards are 4′ x 8′. I highly recommend you have someone at your hardware store cut the boards for you if possible. Go there with your dimensions written down so that you can tell them exact cuts.
I stained the top, bottom, and sides of the boards with Minwax Dark Walnut stain. This is the same stain that I used to make my gather wooden sign and it’s my favorite. I applied the stain with the foam brush and let it sit for a minute. Next, I wiped up the excess stain using an old rag. I allowed the board to dry for several days so that the odor from the stain was gone before bringing the boards into the house.
Contain with Containers
The most important, and prettiest part of an organized pantry are the containers! I have been collecting small containers overtime and now am finally putting them to use. I received these OXO containers as a wedding gift. Once I found some at Stage for 75% off and I scooped up everything they had :). I also got some containers from Ikea the last time I went to Florida. I mainly use all of these contains for dry baking goods, rice, crackers, and pasta. Recently, I got these containers from Walmart for my cereal and I love them. I also have this rubbermaid container for cereal and is great for family size boxes. Basically anything that comes in a box, I transferred to a container of some sort. If any boxes had instructions on them that I needed, I cut them out and taped them on the side of the container. I also taped a piece of washi tape on the bottom with the expiration date.
Sort Like Foods
I kind of had a system in place before for sorting food, but it needed to be cleaned up and re-done. I use these sterilite bins for sorting like foods. This really works great when you are looking for something specific. I know that all of my baking needs are in one bin and condiments are in another. I also used baskets from the dollar store to contain all of the kid’s snacks in one place, and it is easy for them to see everything and grab what they want. We eat a lot of cereal in our house, so I also have a bin to store all of the cereal that we are low on and that are in ziplock bags. You may also notice that we have a candy bin, and its up high for a reason, haha. Other storage that we use it this stackable bin from The Container Store for out oatmeal and grits. This can riser from Target is expandable and works great for allowing you to see everything you have. The plastic sterlite drawers on the bottom are for small bags of chips, juice bags, and baby snacks.
Like I mentioned before I previously had some like foods sorted together in bins. But if anyone else but me put groceries away, there was no telling what kinds of foods were in each bin. Once I went through everything for this organized pantry, I labeled every bin that I could. I used my Silhouette Cameo with some turquoise vinyl and I love the way it turned out. Now there is no excuse for not knowing where something is, or where to put things when we get new groceries.
Extra Storage Shelf
Since we currently have no storage above our washer and dryer, I added this shelf from Ikea for some extra storage. Because these shelves have rounded corners, it would be a little more complicated to cover them with plywood. So I bought some cork place mats from Ikea that happen to fit perfectly on top the wire shelving. The top shelf contains our bread and a basket for chips. The second shelf holds a bin with all of our ziplock bags, aluminum foil, plastic wrap, and wax paper. It also holds a basket of microfiber towels and our paper plates. The bottom is where I store our garbage bags, cleaning and laundry supplies. I am hoping that most of these items will go in the storage cabinet and shelves we intend to install above our washer and dryer later on.
An Organized Pantry
I am so pleased with how my organized pantry turned out! It looks so pretty and is sooooo functional now that everything has a place. Also, there is some empty space on top the silver metal shelf in case we get anything different in the future. I did not go overboard with buying a bunch of expensive containers all at once. Also, its good to buy things as you notice you need them. Pick up a couple containers every month to spread out the cost. I also chose really cheap options to contain like items (even though I really wanted to buy every $20 basket at target :p). I hope my organized pantry inspires you to give yours a little facelift too.
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