This long, narrow pantry has always been a disorganized, frustrating mess! I tackled the space by sketching a new layout and creating a functional, organized pantry. I’m sharing tips on how you can organize yours as well.
The layout of this pantry is very narrow. When we first moved in, I cut the shelves to about 20″ in depth, but as you can see, this was still way too deep. Many items got lost in the back, we still needed more shelf space, and the side supports were an eyesore. Additionally, the brown shelves & cream walls were not attractive.
This is a rendering I did of the actual closet dimensions. For the new shelving, I measured 25″ from the floor the the bottom shelf, giving enough room for the “snack & chip” basket. Then from the top of each shelf, I measured 12″ to the bottom of the next shelf. I found that this is a good height because space isn’t wasted, cereal boxes fit, and storage containers can stack on each other.
Paint & Shelving
We decided not to use the original particle board shelves. Since the sketch needed shelves that were 25″x16″, we really needed something custom. I don’t have a picture (sorry!), but we purchased 1x8x8 common boards from a local box store for the shelves, and did choose to reuse the side supports.
We cut the boards down to size, and each shelf has (2) 8″ wide boards. They simply rest on top of the supports. I painted the walls Benjamin Moore White Dove (since I had a can leftover), and was going to leave the shelving in the unfinished pine. My co-creative (aka handsome hubby) suggested that the shelves would really look better painted. And he was right:).
The Container Store
As you can see from the original plans, the shelves were to continue on in an L-shape. We even purchased the wood & brackets. However, we didn’t like the idea that the edge would stick out, so we were going to have to bevel the edge, adding another step. Also, since these shelves were mainly for canned goods, we didn’t want anyone to knock something off & smash a body part. So, I decided to head to The Container Store (with 2 cute 4 year old helpers, which made it more interesting!) and see what they had.
First of all, I’ve never bought anything there (gasp!). I thought it was too expensive. But the lady who helped me was very informative & suggested the Elfa utility shelving, which happened to be on sale! The mounting bracket can be screwed into drywall or onto a door. And the mesh baskets come in many sizes and are easily interchangeable!
I have 6 shelves, but could easily fit 1 more and still get the items out. The whole shelving system cost around $90. If you don’t have a local store nearby, this is a link to an Elfa set.
I already had some Oxo storage containers, and also purchased the Better Homes & Gardens brand at Walmart. Both work really well, and over time I’ll invest in more containers. For now, the original boxes & bags will have to do.
This pantry looks so amazing now. One more thing- I changed the side on which the shelving was hung. Since the door opens & swings right, the first thing the eye sees is the right. I wanted the first line of sight to be clean, even though the shelves are organized.
**Tip for all rooms/closets: what is in the line of sight when you walk in? Is it cluttered? Ugly? Work on making that “cone-shaped area” look organized & pretty and it can help change the feel of the room!
I wish you could see it in person! The camera can’t quite catch everything in one shot because of the narrow space. But hope this gives you ideas for organizing your pantry!