This post about building a storage pantry shelf includes affiliate links for your convenience. For more information please visit my disclosure page.
In 2016 I published this how-to article when we were living in a small-ish duplex with our family of 5. Space was tight but there was still some unusable areas that I put to the test. Check out how to squeeze space out of thin air with this idea below…
With 5 people squeezed into a 1350 square foot duplex, I’m all for discovering spaces to use as double purpose.
So what’s one space that is sorely overlooked as storage in most homes? Behind the doors! Maybe you use shoe racks to hold all sorts of stuff like in my post here or maybe you have a back of the door shelf system like in my pantry.
BUT have you ever thought of that wall space that a door opens into? I hadn’t either until my house was overrun with supplies that I like to buy in bulk like paper towels, laundry detergent, and light bulbs.
I’m also all about keeping my kitchen counters non-cluttered. It’s a daily struggle for me. I want to keep it cleaned off so I have workspace but I also want to stock my house with juice and drinks for my family. So when I was in the laundry room a while back I was thinking about this empty wall space…
Are you asking, “Where?” Ok, see the 3 feet of space where the door opens to? That’s right! There’s about 4 inches from the wall to the inside edge of the door jam. WOW!
So it’s perfect place to put a simple pantry shelving unit that was 4inches x 3feet x 8feet. That’s a bunch of storage space isn’t it? 🙂
First I decided the obvious choice for lumber was to use 2×4’s in 10foot lengths due to the ceiling height. I wanted to utilize as much vertical space as possible with these shelves. Then I worked on the layout. Here’s an easy way to try to envision what you are going to want. For my project I knew I wanted something 3ft wide x 10ft tall but you may have different space to work with so will need to adjust this accordingly…
(Side note: The dimensions for 2×4’s are not actually 2 inches x 4 inches when they get to the store. Did you know that? Yep, it has been said the 2×4 goes into the mill originally with that dimension but are planed down to anywhere from 1 2/3 x 3 1/2 inches to 1 3/4 x 3 3/4 inches. So you’re going to want to know the milled thickness of the board to help determine the length of your inside shelves. If you are having trouble with figuring that out, talk to a customer service person at your supplier. I got my lumber at Home Depot and they were so helpful with this and cutting the wood for me. )
After I went to the store and got my lumber and supplies… Oh, yea, a supply and tools list might be helpful! LOL
Included are links to some of these on Amazon (I’m an affiliate and although I get a commission if you purchase through Amazon it doesn’t cost you any more than just going directly to Amazon not through this website. Please see my disclosure page for more info).
- Cordless drill with charger(what I swipe from my husband all the time and it’s handy!)
- Drill bits – DEWALT DW1354 14-Piece Titanium Drill Bit Set (something else I swipe from my husband)
- Bosch 27366 PH1, 3-1/2-Inch Length, Extra Hard Titanium Dipped Number 1 Phillips Head Power Insert Bit (phillips head)
- Wood Screws
- Lumber (see above)
- Paint (Thankfully I had some leftover paint to use for this project)
- Paint roller and tray
- Tape measure
Next thing I did was layout some opened up garbage bags(didn’t have a drop cloth) on my driveway and laid out all the lumber to paint…
Bet you can guess what happened next… LOL Yep, I painted each piece on all sides…
Ok, now comes the tricky part… Putting this thing together and making it as “square as possible” and the shelves where they will be level when attached to the wall. I didn’t have a square tool which would have been handy so I had to improvise with what I call a poor man’s square… A box of fastners…
I attached the bottom and top shelves first. Then I started adding the inside pantry shelves by measuring the space I wanted to be able to put my supplies on such as the height of a paper towel or the height of the laundry detergent we use. I made sure and measure and mark both of interior upright boards before putting the next shelf board in so that one end of the shelf wouldn’t end up an inch or two higher than the other end(aka be unlevel when the project was attached to the wall).
Along the way I had an “uh-oh” OSHA moment… Be careful doing this project and any project! Wear safety gear! Protect yourself!!!!
I wasn’t careful and was drilling away when the drill slipped and made a hole through my thumbnail. OOOCH! I was home alone and the wound was a little gruesome. Luckily, I was so freakishly determined to finish my shelf that I ran inside, panicked for a minute and wrapped my bloody thumb in a towel, then realized I didn’t have a bandage big enough. I wrapped it in a papertowel and wrapped that in duct tape. Good ol’ duct tape. Now I was ready to finish this up!
I got all the rest of the shelves in place… Plus, there’s all my tools (oops! I mean my husband’s tools LOL)…
Ok, now I was soooo excited! I could hardly wait for my husband to get home from work so I could put him to work! LOL (THANKS SWEETIE!!!) I wasn’t able to put these up by myself because it was so stinkin’ heavy and I wasn’t sure how to adhere it to the wall. Luckily, I had kept the scraps from the store after the wood was cut into the lengths I needed and these came in handy. My husband used them to brace some of the shelves by attaching these to the wall first (directly into the wall studs) and then attaching the shelves to them. He also added all sorts of screws all over the place and directly into wall studs to support the structure. Then we also stacked a bunch of these up on the floor to balance the shelf on as he adhered it all to the wall. Then we decided to leave these because it gives the structure more support and they were wedged in place so much that we couldn’t hardly move them!!! LOL
OK, all this writing makes this seem more complicated than it is! Just FYI though it did take a full afternoon plus a little more for dry time to get all the supplies together, paint the boards, let the boards dry, assemble them and put it on the wall, but has been SO worth it!!!!! Here are the shelves loaded up.
Right now it is full of jugs of juice and other things on there will rotate depending on sales and different things we are needing but this has been such a benefit to have in our little home! Here’s some pictures of the shelves loaded up, the pretty hook I found at HobbyLobby and use for my puppy’s leash/sweater/collar and my purse/jacket. Also you can see where I added two long screws on one end to hang the grilling tools where the kids couldn’t reach them but my husband can.
UPDATE: I had some questions regarding how the door opens with the shelf unit there. I haven’t had any problems yet. 🙂 Here’s some pictures of the door being opened. OH, and something to consider when designing your shelf is to be mindful of where the doorknob opens to against that wall so that your pantry shelves and uprights won’t be hit by the doorknob every time the door is opened.
And that’s it!
This pantry shelf has been one of the easiest to do and has made such a difference in answering my storage needs! For more articles on the Home please click here!