Build a Simple Shelf for Your Pantry

I maintain that you can never have enough storage space in your home. Making use of every inch of space is a must when have to make things fit and in my home — an old farmhouse built by my grandparents — I have found many needs for extra storage. My latest project is turn an old broom closet off of the kitchen into a usable pantry for food storage. The first step was to build a simple and inexpensive shelf to hold spices and canned goods and here’s how I did that.

Low Cost Materials

I built a ladder-style shelf on an inside wall of the closet and I chose to use inexpensive one-by-three furring strips for the project. I bought four, eight-foot length furring strips at a local hardware and home center for a total cost of $4.38. I used wood screws that I already had at home so the total initial investment was less than five dollars.

Measure and Cut

To make the ladder shelf, I needed two long pieces of wood that would provide side support. The shelf would be wedged into place against a side wall then screwed into the wall. The length I needed was 69 inches so I marked two of the wood strips and cut them to the correct length with my circular saw.

The next part of the project was to cut the cross shelves. I measured them to fit, taking into account the width of the two upright side strips. I marked and cut the rest of my furring strips into the cross shelves.

I allowed enough distance between the shelves to accommodate a regular 12-ounce can of food with a little extra distance so cans would not be tight. I left space at the bottom of the “ladder” to allow for storage of larger items on the floor and realized I still had enough space to go back and add two more cross shelves later on.

Put it in Place

After attaching the shelves, I carefully guided the shelf into place where it fit snugly. I used more wood screws to attach the side uprights to the wall of the closet. Once in place, the shelf worked perfectly for me to organize my spices and some of my canned goods on.

A Work in Progress

My next project in that particular closet-turned-pantry will be to add more shelves to the first ladder shelf then build another identical shelf to put in place on another wall. After that, I plan another, larger shelf along another wall and eventually I plan to paint everything inside the closet-pantry white to brighten it up and make it easier to see what is stored.

This ladder shelf was a super easy DIY project that took me less than two hours to complete from start to finish. The best part? Now I have more storage available and my pantry project is well underway.

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