Sunday, 16 January 2011

HOME PROJECTS: Sorting out the Pantry

Back in September 2010 when we moved in we had a broom cupboard which I was instantly inspired to turn into a proper Pantry. I had this Pantry sign from our old house but that was all I had to start me off.

It took me a few months to get from.....


but it has to be one of my most rewarding projects yet - it's now my little cupboard of happiness. The only thing left to sort out is putting a light in there which is on the long list of jobs for our electrician. 

So how did I do it.....

Well for the first month or so it filled up very quickly with all our junk which was not quite unpacked yet but needed to be accessible:

When I decided to tackle it and looked properly at the space I had I knew that the shelving which was up, though it was pretty sturdy was not the best utilisation of space and the existing hooks were too low as they didn't even allow you to hook a broom or mop.

So step 1 was taking down the wooden slatted shelving.

Step 2 was looking at the paint job, it wasn't too tidy. The previous owners had left us the remains of a paint, mostly dried up, which I was yet to throw out. This paint was a very girlie baby pink called "fairy dust" so I decided to mix it up with some white spirit to loosen it up a little and sprinkle some in the new pantry - it worked a treat and I had just enough to smarten up the walls.

Step 3: Look for alternative storage and how to put it in. The dimensions of the space were quite deceptive and turned out to be, not very deep but quite tall and quite wide. We had a narrow, 2nd hand, grey Ikea Billy Bookcase with adjustable shelving. I concluded that this was the best option and that due to the fact that behind the cupboard door there was more space to the other side that it should go up against the wall to the right. Other than that I wanted to put some sort of hooks as a decent hight for handing brooms, mops and dusters on the left but putting that up would wait until I found/ or unpacked the perfect one. I had not yet considered what would happen to the back wall at this point so this is where we were at in November 2010:

  And where we stayed until a week ago when unpacked the old coat hooks, which is a lovely antique pine hook and shelf combination which we no longer needed to utilize in the hallway as we now had alternative hooks there. On Saturday I convinced Adam to put this up for me and since then I have been sorting the Pantry out for the rest of the weekend.

I've been collecting these pretty cleaning products for the last couple of years. It really does, in my opinion, make the process of cleaning so much more pleasant. The cow print broom and the feather duster were from TK Maxx, the regular duster was from Ikea, the peg bag was eBay and was a handmade in Laura Ashley fabric, and the carrier bag holder was from a cute little shabby chic store the last time I went to the clotheshow live. The enamel mop bucket, mop, broom and dustpan and brush set are all from a small range from the Oxford Brush Company @ Tesco a couple of years ago and are all made from natural fibres. The apron was from my friend Laura's vintage and second hand shop Boutique 73.

I've tried to be as resourceful as possible with the space I have as I have so little so have pulled out as many tricks as I can think of with clever storage solutions which makes the cupboard as easy as possible to use on a day to day and week to week basis.

I have collected charity shop glass storage jars for as long as I have lived away from home. I was always attracted to their "practical beauty". I had to step this collection up a notch at our last place as we had a very naughty mouse living in our house for several months until we successfully caught it and released it far enough away that it didn't come back. Anything which was just in a packet was not safe so everything food related had to go in, properly sealed storage! But back to my original point - charity shop storage jars are beautiful, practical, so cheap (you can pick them up as cheap as 50p) and a run through the dishwasher and they are clean and ready for use. In my experience they harbour far less odours and dirt than second hand crockery for example as it cannot soak into the glass in the same way purely due to the nature of the material.

Old jam jars are another excellent second hand storage solution. Usually they clean up really nicely in the dishwasher too and then you can store almost anything in them. And you can always relabel them using some pretty labels like my Cath Kidston Stickers. I also use old jam jars to take my salad to work with me everyday. It's the perfect size for a lunch time side salad and it keeps it nice and fresh and I'm sure, cooler than a plastic container.

As the shelves are moveable on this pretty clever little shelving unit I have created a dedicated spice and herb shelf and then put mainly baking ingredients on the shelf below, and mainly tinned items on the shelf above so that things are easy to find.

I used the coal bucket, which I bought at a vintage fair a few months ago, to store bin bags in a really accessible way.

I have used a couple of the storage baskets, which Jenny so kindly donated to our home along with the dining room bookshelf, one for open packets of food and one for cleaning supplies.

It really is about thinking outside of the box to find storage solutions for everything you own.

My final project was to make some draw string bags to store my Tupperware, though I will explain how I did that in a separate post. I always keep a good quantity of Tupperware, both little pots and full meal sized pots, in at any given time as whenever I cook I always cook for lots more than are eating and then pack up and freeze pots of left overs. Baby pots to take each day to work with my jam jar of salad and larger pots so that I always have a meal in the freezer if I am too tired or busy to cook.

p.s. It is always good to update your tupperware collection to glass ones such as this as much as possible as I am as long term it is supposed to be far healthier for reheating. 

Hope you love my Pantry as much as I do and it inspires you to make your own. x


  1. Great job and I love your containers!

  2. why thank you.... so glad you like it - I absolutely love your blog :)x