Pantry Makeover in 4 Easy Steps

The pantry in my house is where I store all of my baking supplies, plus canned goods, nuts, oils, and lots of other random ingredients. It’s not the kind of pantry you walk into, it’s basically a cross between a closet, and a large cabinet. The problem is, when we moved in, it was really inefficiently laid out, wasting a lot of space that I needed to put to better use. Aka, I ran out of space. So for the past week or so, I’ve been giving it a long-overdue makeover.

Here’s the before:

Of course, things quickly got more complicated than I had originally planned….

So this might not look that bad to you (or maybe it looks horrible? I don’t know. Go ahead, judge all you want), but this is from a couple of months ago, right after I had cleaned up. Since then it has gotten way worse. I blame going vegan. And liking to experiment in the kitchen. Both lend themselves to accumulating a lot of different types of ingredients. But trust me, it was a huge mess, with tons of stuff piled in the bottom.

Here’s how I went about making over my pantry.

Step 1: Take everything out


The shelf was there when we moved in, but I added the ones in the back. I figured that they were temporary, so they’re pretty shoddy, and not even painted.

Step 2: Demolition

I didn’t take pictures of this step, but it involved tearing nearly everything in here out. For someone angry about the state of the world, a little light demo was therapeutic.

Step 3: Make things more complicated

If you were looking closely at the above photo, you might have noticed a weird little hatch on the bottom of the pantry. Here’s a close-up, post-demo:

Any guesses as to what it is?

It’s the door to a laundry chute that goes to the basement. Which I initially was thrilled about, because laundry chutes are adorable. They remind me of the one in my grandparents’ house, which I thought was amazing when I was a little kid.

But in reality, the choice was between giving up the space for storage so that we could use the chute, or never using it. You can see which one we chose. And my redesign of this space called for blocking this door off completely, which made me sad. So of course I started trying to think of ways to have my cake and eat it, too.

After staring at the space for a while, I realized that maybe I could re-route the laundry chute so that it opened on the wall outside the pantry. You can see the area I’m talking about, right below the pantry door.

pantry before

I was thinking I would do this “someday,” and maybe hire someone to do it, because I had no idea where to start with cutting a hole in my wall. But then I started working on the pantry, and realized that if I blocked access to the hatch, it would make this way more difficult. So I decided to just start trying to figure out how to do it. And that’s how the next step happened.

Step 4: Cut a hole in your wall

As you can see, the real reason I need more shelf space is that I’ve run out of cat storage.
pantry makeover

There are some other steps I’m leaving out, like recruiting my dad to loan me his reciprocating saw and teach me how to use it (thanks Dad!). But I would have been done with this pantry makeover days ago if I hadn’t decided that I need to re-route my laundry chute. On the upside, I’m really excited about how it’s looking, and I think I’m going to be really glad I did it. Plus, now I know how to use a sawzall. I promise more updates soon!

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