The Pantry is Done!


Growing up, I had a few very particular habits and hobbies, most of which entailed spending a lot of time by myself. While my siblings were out playing sports, or watching sports, or everyone was upstairs watching ESPN, or whatever else it was that my heterosexual family did, I could typically be found sitting in a room in our basement, watching hours and hours of HGTV and working on a collection of truly hideous but impressively elaborate scrapbooks. Sometimes I’d move on and build a scaled model of some house I’d dreamt up, or sketch the elevations of a renovation plan I had for one of the few remaining cute 50s ramblers that still dotted my mostly new-construction street (torn down now, sadly, because my plan was pretty slick). Every now and then, my idea of a good time was to make myself insane by organizing the garage or the basement or the laundry room or my mother’s office—really, I don’t think any space in our house escaped my clutches. Our label-maker was one of my closest confidants, and The Container Store was far and away my favorite retail conglomerate on earth. It was a sick, perverse kind of pleasure: the messier a space was, the more exciting the process of organizing it became. The act of impressing order onto the chaos made me feel so…alive. As you can tell, I’ve really made great strides toward personal change in the intervening years.

There was one space, though, that was consistently the biggest thorn in my side and light of my life, year after year. The pantry. The room was maybe somewhere around 5×8, lined with deep shelves and consistently—and, to me at least, alarmingly—unkempt. It wasn’t that it was dirty or even all that cluttered to the naked eye, but once you started really poking around, it didn’t take long to pick up on some major organizational issues. Expired boxes of cereal and cans of beans lurked behind fresh ones, and there were too few containers to wrangle the smaller or more irregular shaped items, which tended to get stuffed wherever they’d fit. Unopened boxes of last year’s Passover matzah, duplicate and triplicate jars of spices, some of them old enough that the labels had been redesigned, snacks that my siblings and I had courted for brief periods (Go-Gurt) before moving on for greener pastures (Danimals Drinkable Yogurt)—it was paradise. I’d typically spread the fun out over a few days, at which point I’d stage a big reveal and make all the members of my family admire it while explaining slowly and clearly where everything now belonged.

Like I said. Totally different person now.

I guess my point here is that I feel like my life experience has really prepared me to make a pantry of my own. I’ve seen time and again how pantries start out with the best intentions and descend into total chaos, and hopefully learned enough to avoid letting that happen to me.


Anyway, taking a little trip back in time…here’s about where we started. The pantry space takes up the footprint of an old stairwell (removed circa 1930), and prior to my work on it was divided into two closets. Busting out the wall that divided the closets and removing the (non-original) closet and doorway from the dining room was definitely the right choice, but also left behind a really strange space to work with. The pantry is 8 feet deep and only about 32″ wide, meaning that actual storage options are kind of limited since I’m basically building a pantry in a narrow hallway. It also needed mostly new walls, a refinished floor, electrical (lighting and outlets), paint, and of course shelving and stuff! Sometimes the smallest spaces are just as complicated as the big ones.


And here we go! It’s a pantry! Finally! YAY.

I know it’s really annoying when bloggers point this shit out, but some of the photos in this post were taken a few weeks ago and some were taken today (including the one above), and I’m way too lazy to style a pantry. Which is why I didn’t unwrap the plastic from my paper towel rolls. I promise Bounty isn’t paying me. They really are the quicker picker-upper, though, you know? My late-in-life discovery of washable microfiber cloths has drastically cut down on my paper towel usage, by the way, but I’m not ready to cut them out of my life entirely at this juncture.

Semi-related: since when/why is every roll individually wrapped inside the bulk-wrapped pack of 12 rolls or whatever? It’s like they’re determined to make up for being bad for the environment by being worse for the environment. Human beings are screwed.

The point is, due to what I’m now referring to as my “blogging hiatus” over the past couple of weeks (oooooops), I’ve now had a nice amount of time to actually use this space and can happily report that it WORKS. At least for me. I really don’t put any hard work or effort into keeping it clean and orderly because I think it’s pretty effectively designed to stay clean and orderly! I kind of dragged my feet about working on this space for a long time but it really has made an enormous difference to the kitchen and the way I cook and grocery shop and all of that. I’m all about my pantry.

The dimensions of the space were a major challenge, but turned out to be a great opportunity. I think probably the most common issue with pantries is that the shelves are just too deep, so things get lost and you can’t see what you actually have. Then you end up re-buying things you already have, or letting things expire, or you’re always digging for stuff…I’m totally convinced that shallow shelves are vastly superior, and luckily that’s about all this room can accommodate anyway.

Having said that, some deeper storage is definitely important as well! Most pantry items (at least the ones that I buy?) seem to be 6″ in depth or smaller, but sometimes you need a few boxes of cereal or crackers or bags of chips or whatever and so having some good deep shelves is important, too. In this space, the deeper shelving could really only go at the back…so I guess we’ll start there?


Part of the fun of this space was trying to spend as little money as possible while still making it cute and functional, which involved a lot of raiding of my scrap wood piles! I made all of the shelving out of the fir 2 x 12 framing lumber that I used for the old kitchen countertops (stained and poly’d this time around), and lots of scraps of 1-by lumber for the cleats that the deeper shelves are supported by. I decided to use wood cleats instead of large brackets just to save some money (brackets add up, even when they’re cheap!), but I’m really happy with how they turned out!


Hanging cleats for shelving is one of those things that seems sort of complicated but really isn’t. I always just figure out my shelf spacing and mark where the TOP of the cleat should sit (1 x 2 lumber works great). Then I use my mark and a level to draw pencil lines around where the cleat will go. After cutting my 1 x 2 pieces to size, I line them up with my markings and face-nail them into place with 2″ finishing nails, and then I go back in and drive some longer screws (2.5 or 3″ drywalls screws work nicely) into studs. Easy!

If I’m doing multiple shelves, I like to pre-mark all the cleat locations and then pre-cut all my pieces of wood so I can put it all up faster. Getting all these little pieces up took maybe an hour or so from start to finish.

The longest part of the process is the patching/caulking/painting, which I think just makes everything feel more finished and is worthwhile, even though it’s no fun and can feel a little overly-anal while you’re doing it. I’m used to that feeling, though. I like to just paint the cleats with whatever wall paint I’m using so they blend in. Exciting stuff.


This room is super wonky so you’re just going to have to trust me that this is all level, even though it looks nuts.


Lest you think I’m better at all of this than I am, this is my kitchen during the process! As much as I don’t love everything about this kitchen, I love that I can use and abuse it a little and it bounces back just fine. Eventually I’d like to set up a nice little shop space in the basement or garage, but for now I tend to just destroy whatever space is closest to where I’m working and deal with it later.

The deeper shelving is really comprised of two pieces of 2-by lumber, which saved me from making any complicated cuts around that plumbing chase in the corner. One piece comes out to the depth of the front of the chase (about 5.5″) and the next piece extends out 10.5″ for an overall depth of 16″. The only real thought that went into the spacing and depth was that I wanted to be able to fit the microwave back there. I don’t like having that thing taking up counter space in the kitchen, but I don’t know what I’d do without a microwave! I’m always impressed by/fearful of people who don’t have them. This one was generously donated by my pal, Anna, who consequently doesn’t have one anymore so I assume she’s starving to death whenever I’m nuking leftover Chinese food.


Before I installed the front piece of those shelves in the back, I marked and installed my shallow shelving brackets using the level of the cleats as my guide. I wanted the shelves to appear kind of continuous to cut down on any visual/physical clutter. These brackets came from Lowe’s for about $5 a pop. Using 2-by lumber meant that I could space them wider than I typically would (therefore using fewer of them), so I only needed 10 to get the job done. These brackets are nice because they can be hung two ways, so you have the option of a 6.5″-ish deep shelf or 12″-ish deep shelf depending on how you hang them.

By the way, I saved staining/poly-ing the fronts and tops of the shelving until after everything was installed, which was just easier than trying to get the stain to look good while everything was laying on sawhorses in the basement. That’s why the front of the shelves look all crappy in these pictures. I just ran my mouse sander over the fronts, did a quick staining job, and three coats of water-based poly on everything. Now the shelves look uniform and are super clean-able when they eventually start to gather dust, which happens quickly around these parts because I live in a construction zone. Not sure if you heard.


It’s hard to tell from the picture, but I installed some mending strips I had lying around on the underside where the deep shelves transition to the shallow ones. This just helped bring everything to the same level. I hit the strips with a couple coats of black spray paint before putting them up just to keep them inconspicuous and matching the black brackets.


That was really about it! Once the shelves were dry, it was time to install the outlets, touch up whatever paint on the walls I’d screwed up, and start loading in food!

Yes, by the way, I hate myself for the extreme decanting situation up in here, but I also LOVE IT. I love decanting things. I have no idea why. I think it’s a fetish. In any case, it makes me feel like I’m doing something important and worthwhile even though all I’m doing is moving things from one container into a different container. These jars are the KORKEN jars from IKEA, which are great! I like the classic shape and the rubber seal makes them effectively airtight. I’ve basically been buying a few of them every time I’ve been to IKEA in the past two years in preparation for this moment, so they never felt like a big expense even though I guess I’ve probably sunk a lot of money into having so many stupid glass jars at this point. Sometimes you just need to trick yourself that way.


There was some pretty extreme disagreement between Max and I on how the jars should be labeled. I figured a regular waterproof label would suffice, but he thought it was likely that the jars wouldn’t always be holding the same thing and wanted something more easily removable. Hence, these weird white chalk markers that go on sort of wet, become sort of dry, and look so super twee when combined with cute handwriting!  I feel like such a Pinterest garbage blogger person. I’m totally incapable of writing with the pens on these jars in a way that looks at all nice or legible (I think it’s the curved surface combined with being a lefty?), so I’ll forever be reliant on Max for labeling the dry goods.

It’s so dumb and I love it so much. SUE ME.

The shallow shelves are great, though, because I can really see everything when I go to make a shopping list or, more commonly, wait until I’m starving to death and crawl into the pantry in search of some semblance of ingredients that could be potentially combined to create a meal. Back when I had all of this stuff in the deeper kitchen cabinets, this tended to involve, like, a can of anchovies, a jar of salsa, and mayonnaise, but now I can easily locate and cook some lentils to add to my desperation-recipes! So my life and nutrition has really improved by leaps and bounds.


So far, the deeper shelves at the back are possibly being under-utilized. If I go on some kind of cereal diet (I hear it’s going to be the new juice cleanse in 2016), I can always relocate the cookbooks and gain a couple more shelves? I don’t know. As long as the microwave fits. Eyes on the prize. The vintage bowls hold onions and garlic and potatoes and stuff.


One of my very favorite things in the pantry is the inside of the door! I’m obsessed with these things. I got them at The Container Store. It’s all Elfa brand (which is on sale right now!) and the baskets hang off of one central track, which is screwed into the door (you can also hang it from the top of the door with an additional piece of hardware, but I don’t know why you’d do that, really…this looks much cleaner to me). They come in a few difference widths and depths, so I put the deeper ones on the bottom for a couple frequently-used cleaning supplies, various cooking oils and stuff, and then the top ones are all for spices! For some reason it’s REALLY hard to find a decent wall-mounted spice solution and this has been working out super well. I hate having spices in a cabinet because I always end up with like 3 bottles of thyme and no crushed red pepper. Crushed red pepper comprises like 40% of my diet, so you understand the issue.

Obviously my plan is to start buying all the same brand of spices (the ones from our local grocery store chain, Adams, seem to fit particularly well) to achieve maximum consistency and creepiness. I want people to fear me when they walk into my pantry, and this just isn’t cutting it…yet. Give me a year or two and it’ll look about as approachable as a museum.


My other favorite thing? THAT DRAWER. After painting it, I just added a cheap brass sash lift to the front that I had for some reason. I feel like it’s pretty classic looking and doesn’t draw a ton of attention. It turned out a lot better and less bizarre-looking than I was expecting. Success!


The impetus for building this thing was mostly to hide the awkward plumbing chase by building out a falsely-wide front, but the drawer itself has turned out to be SUPER handy and functional. It’s really large and fits the tallest spray bottles I have and various other cleaning supplies that I don’t really want to look at but use frequently. It’s nice to have some enclosed storage in here! I ended up painting the interior of the cabinet, too, to protect the wood from spills and moisture and keep it easily cleanable.


I think that’s about it! Especially considering where this space came from, I’m really really pleased with how this turned out and how it functions. It’s made me more inclined to cook (and more efficient at it, too), not to mention freeing up some space in the kitchen and allowing me to go on a huge reorganization binge in there, too. I just can’t help myself.

Want to look back on the seemingly never-ending pantry project? I don’t because PTSD, but here’s a handy round-up for your procrastination pleasure if you’re so inclined…


About Daniel Kanter

Hi, I'm Daniel, and I love houses! I'm a serial renovator, DIY-er, and dog-cuddler based in Kingston, New York. Follow along as I bring my 1865 Greek Revival back to life and tackle my 30s to varying degrees of success. Welcome!

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  1. 3.31.15

    You’re cray-cray. But I like you. Oh and the pantry looks so choice.

  2. 3.31.15
    Mallory said:

    You’re a lefty??! ME TOO. I’m going to need Max to make his own font, so I can then use a label maker to recreate the twee labels…Because I also decant everything and it drives my husband crazzzzzy. Like, I just decanted all the vitamins into those super short mason jars, the ones that are wide mouthed but about 2″ tall? The problem is…I bought the jars but couldn’t find labels I liked, so I didn’t label them and now I don’t know/can’t remember what kind of vitamins I take. Which unfortunately only seems to prove my husband’s point that I am in fact, off my rocker.
    Seriously though, you should see our stack of vitamin jars. Totally worth not knowing what is what.

    • 3.31.15
      Daniel said:

      I know, he has great handwriting! I’ll see what I can do. :)

      HAHAHA, I’ve definitely been there with decanting vitamins. It got to be too much, so now I just don’t take vitamins. :/

    • 4.4.15
      Pat said:

      “A place for everything and everything in its place.” Your pantry is awesome; didn’t expect anything less. I also love to decant. Last year a large bulk food store opened in our neighborhood. Bulk food + glass jars = economic loveliness. And I don’t feel guilty about having to garbage some of the plastic that can’t be recycled from food bought at the big grocery store.

    • 4.4.15
      Pat said:

      Oh, and I smiled at your paint splattered step-stool / mini ladder Ours look the same with its white paint splotches. Not pretty, but has paid for itself over and over for the constant use it gets in a huge variety of jobs.

  3. 3.31.15
    greta said:

    As I am a former House Beautiful addict–I think the last picture of the pantry would fit right in! You should be proud, it wasn’t an easy fix.

  4. 3.31.15

    Crazy in the coconut! But I really like what you did with it, especially the look of those shelves, jealous! Too bad the missus doesn’t want shelves in our pantry, she wants cupboards… Since it’s her territory I don’t have a say in it at all…

  5. 3.31.15
    Jamie said:

    That is the prettiest damn pantry I’ve ever seen. Well done!

    • 3.31.15
      kathyg said:

      totally agree – prettiest damn pantry ever

    • 3.31.15
      Daniel said:

      *blushing emojis* :)

  6. 3.31.15
    Debbie said:

    It looks so good! Great job! I am impressed by the number of cook books you own. I thought I had a lot with about half as many. I cleaned my pantry last night (goodbye processed foods) which freed up a lot of room for appliances and I am loving the idea of putting my cookbooks in there. I also love the vintage bowls for onion and potato storage! I put mine in wire baskets and then it drives me batty that there are onion peels everywhere. I must switch to a bowl pronto.

    • 3.31.15
      Daniel said:

      Bowls change the game! I just empty/clean them once every couple of weeks and they keep all that stuff contained. I used to keep that stuff in the crisper in the fridge but apparently that’s no good, and they seem to last just as long in a bowl in the pantry. You probably know this, haha, but it’s still a revelation to me.

  7. 3.31.15
    Rachel said:

    OMG, it looks amazing. I have a teeny kitchen with no storage and therefore have MAJOR pantry envy. So functional! So beautiful! !!!

  8. 3.31.15
    Maggie L said:

    Ahhhhhh, the paper towels!!!!!! So happy to hear they are on their way out! I ditched paper towels years ago for Skoy Cloths. All is right with the world now….

    So, here’s the deal. I need you to come to south Louisiana and I will binge feed you yummy southern food gumbo, crawfish etouffee, shrimp & grits, etc…) while you fix my house. Deal? Good.

    See you soon cher!

    • 3.31.15
      Daniel said:

      Sounds like a plan!

      The paper towel thing is tough! I’ve basically totally cut them out of my normal cleaning routines, but sometimes (especially while renovating), you really just need them. Or with a semi-incontinent dog.

    • 4.1.15
      Doorot said:

      Uhrm excuse me but Belgium is still waiting with beer(s) and waffles :) :) :)

  9. 3.31.15
    Laura C said:

    This looks fantastic. Well done, especially in light of all the challenges. I can’t believe how crooked that floor is!

    • 3.31.15
      Laura C said:

      Forgot to say, why aren’t the white and brown rice next to each other? And, why are the cashews not in line with the other nuts? You are not the only crazy person around here.

    • 3.31.15
      Julia said:

      I was thinking the same thing! By the way, I have these jars too, and also as a mini-version for all my spices because I wanted them all to match on my open kitchen shelving… so Daniel, you’re not alone with that obsession. Now put that food in the right order, please! :-) Greetings from a long-term German Reader, and compliment to Max for the lovely writing, he should make it a font to download!

    • 3.31.15
      Daniel said:

      Ha, you’re even crazier than I am! As long as I can see everything (and the same size jars are together), I don’t REALLY care. There aren’t that many of them!

  10. 3.31.15
    julie said:

    I freaking LOVE it. the shallow shelves where you can see everything and the spice rack are my dream. you could even possibly hang some things on the blank wall

    • 3.31.15
      bella said:

      That was my first thought (well, after loving the finished pantry) about hanging things on the left wall. Aprons, brooms, pots and pans!

      Love the pantry, though. good job.

    • 3.31.15
      Daniel said:

      I thought about it!! The space is REALLY narrow, though…as soon as we held anything up to see what it would feel like, it just seemed too cramped and crowded. All of those things have spaces elsewhere in the kitchen, so it’s not so necessary. The kitchen is pretty big and has lots of storage! :)

  11. 3.31.15
    Diane said:

    LOVE IT!!!!

  12. 3.31.15
    april said:

    This just satisfied some very sick OCD fantasies I have about pantries…I love it!

  13. 3.31.15
    Elise said:

    I have major pantry envy. My wife and I live in a 1800 farmhouse in Maine and although our pantry is a nice size, I am constantly reorganizing it and battling falling Tupperware. Job well done!

    • 3.31.15
      AuntHo said:

      I had to comment — recently found a storage approach I love for tupperware, gladware etc. I don’t have any images, but it’s not rocket science :) I just stack squares, rectangles and rounds inside each other in 3 separate stacks by shape. Then use the $1 short file baskets from the Target One Spot (link to similar below) — these will hold the lids vertically, up on their sides, placed next to each bowl stack. I have three “sets” of lids/bowls placed next to each other by size and shape. Pretty to look at, and everything’s visible — super easy to grab, replace and keep the right pieces together quickly, without a mess.

      I’m sure you have your own method, but I love knowing what other people do.

      For lids, use short narrow baskets like these (Target has prettier ones now):–zaczBKtJhU/TheZ6qcRbrI/AAAAAAAAAcU/MWa6poYu8ms/s320/book+boxes.jpg

  14. 3.31.15
    Nele said:

    This must be nicest pantry in the whole Hudson Valley :)

  15. 3.31.15

    Those labeled jars are what my dreams are made of. Genius to use the markers. Must stock up on a few now. Excellent work making use of an otherwise awkward space.

    Like you, my crazy can be traced back to childhood. I rearranged my room so often I broke a leg of a dresser. When I’d visit my cousins, I’d ask my aunts if I could clean or organize their rooms and closets. Similar to you scale models, I spent the majority of one summer constructing a custom cardboard dollhouse-complete with hand drawn wallpaper. I’d crochet for hours, begging people for their small balls of yarn. Mind you, I was ten. Such an awkward kid, and not much has changed.

    • 3.31.15
      Daniel said:

      I think we were the same kid?? I didn’t crochet but I did obsessively finger-knit and weave, made cardboard houses (not for dolls I don’t think…just for me?), and rearranging my room was CONSTANT. I drew everything to scale on graph paper and cut out all the furniture to play around with. I feel like somebody should have intervened, haha.

    • 4.3.15
      mollie said:

      im with you guys! i was OBSESSED with the magazines at the grocery store of home plans. i dont think they even sell them at the grocery store anymore. after i picked out my house, i’d go through the pottery barn catalog and select my furniture for each room.

      unrelated – but prompted a childhood memory – my girlfriend becky and i used to get our moms to buy scrap pieces of fabric and then we’d wrap them around hardcover books and play fabric store – cutting down the fabric to size for each other’s orders. OMG so fun and ridiculous.

  16. 3.31.15
    Karina said:

    It’s so beautiful! And your wealth of cashews is magnificent!

  17. 3.31.15

    This came out so nice! It’s amazing what you’ve done with such a small space, and reusing old building materials. Do you do a lot of cooking? If you haven’t before, I suspect you will now. :)

    • 3.31.15
      Daniel said:

      Thank you! I guess I do? I definitely like to cook, but this really has made it so much nicer. The whole process just feels so much more orderly and manageable now! And since I can see everything, I end up making stuff I wouldn’t have made just because I can see what all my options are without having to go to the store. It’s kind of crazy how it changes things!

  18. 3.31.15
    Sid said:

    This is so beautiful. I love everything you do but this pantry makes my little OCD Virgo heart sing. Thank you.

    • 3.31.15
      Daniel said:

      Thank YOU! :)

  19. 3.31.15
    Meredith said:

    This makes me SO HAPPY. I love organization and decanting and all of the things! As a fellow lefty, I definitely think we are penmanship-disadvantaged.

    I’m pretty sure we would have been friends as children. I went over to a friend’s house in 4th grade and spent two hours rearranging all of her toys, which were a mess. Kind of amazing that I HAD friends, but her mom thought it was wonderful.

  20. 3.31.15
    Elise said:

    I have serious pantry envy right now!

  21. 3.31.15

    Amazing! LOve it, the jars are pretty cool too;)

  22. 3.31.15
    Serenity said:

    Add me to the love it side. It’s amazing and it’s good to see that other folks have weird fetishes too.

    My favorite part is that it has a light. You’d be surprised how many pantries don’t have one

    • 3.31.15
      Daniel said:

      There are actually two lights! This room DEFINITELY needed lights—it would be like a cave otherwise! Even with the transom opened back up it really doesn’t get natural light. Anyway, now that the circuits are run, it’s nice because I can use them down the line if/when I redo the kitchen, so a little up front cost should help save a little on that future project. Win-win!

  23. 3.31.15
    MB said:

    Looks so, so great, Daniel! I just bought a condo with only 2 tiiiiiny closets. A friend said to me, “Pinterest and Container Store, we’ve been training for this all our lives.” You’re definitely not the only one with wackadoo organization desires. It’s the BEST. And you nailed it in this pantry.

    Narrow shelves are definitely the way to go, btw. I think of it like a grocery store. You need as many shelf facings as possible, not depth behind the thing in front. Congrats!

    • 3.31.15
      Daniel said:

      Aw, thank you!!

      I think one of the best times of my entire LIFE was when my friend lucked into a $500 gift card to The Container Store. We felt like fucking ROYALS. Best. Shopping. Spree. Ever.

  24. 3.31.15
    Haley said:

    So beautiful! I’ve always dreamed of a walkin pantry! Our pantry cabinet is a step up from previous setups but I can’t wait to install drawers so we can access the stuff in the back! Is it horrible of me that I would want to blow up and print out one of the pictures of the jars to frame and put on the blank wall just to give the boyfriend setting more to shake his head at? Keep a dry erase marker nearby and write little notes to him about how pretty the jars are all in a row. Also Googly eyes. Obviously I have my own issues.

    • 3.31.15
      Daniel said:

      Ha! I’ll send the hi-res right over. :)

  25. 3.31.15
    Alexandra said:

    I LOVE THIS. Love the jars and labels, the fact that your microwave is hidden in there, and the spice rack – sigh. Our kitchen is tiny, and I would kill for a wonky little space like this for storage! Nice work, sir.

  26. 3.31.15
    Sylvia said:

    I’m more jealous of your perfectly organized pantry than I am of the rest of your very beautiful house! It looks so nice!

  27. 3.31.15
    Anne said:

    I’m approximately four years old. Every time you wrote “pantry”, I read “panty”. Anyway, I’m glad your panty is done.

    • 3.31.15
      Daniel said:

      hahahahha! I HATE the word panty!! It makes my skin crawl!

    • 4.14.15
      C said:

      Just be glad you don’t ever have to deal with the word IRL. I’m an adult, why do marketers insist on calling my underwear by a word more appropriate for a three year old?

      And BTW, everytime I check for a new post the cashews being away from the other nuts annoys me more. But then I have actual real OCD, so maybe I get a pass?

  28. 3.31.15
    Jacqui said:

    LOVE the pantry! I too am for shallow shelving where all items can be viewed without digging around. And decanting. And twee handwriting. All of this, basically. (Though I usually like my spices to be right next to the stove so I can use them without running to a closet or cabinet. I don’t have a good solution for this yet and have settled for strewing a hodgepodge of spice jars all over my prep surfaces D: It’s kind of a mess)

    • 3.31.15
      Daniel said:

      Thank you, Jacqui! Can you wall-mount anything in that area? I spotted these simple guys at the Container Store and thought they seemed nice and functional! It’s weirdly hard to find wall-mounted stuff for some reason, which I don’t get. Who has the counter space!

    • 3.31.15
      Alexis said:

      Hmmm, I followed the link to see what it was, and was surprised to find that the container store ships to South Africa. Who knew?

      Your pantry is awesome and so is your writing. My husband was very perplexed to find me laughing over a post about spice rack organisation…

    • 3.31.15
      Nancy said:

      I have the SpiceStor Spice Racks on the inside of my cabinet door next to the stove. Love them.

    • 4.1.15
      NestFan said:

      If you have a drawer near the stove, they make these drawer inserts (of various types and materials) so that you can lay your spice jars in a shallow drawer in rows, on a slant so they are easy to take out. Once I found one of those, I was very happy to have them near the stove, easy to see and reach, and out of the sun inside a closed drawer.

    • 4.1.15
      Leah said:

      I have one of those picture-rail things from Ikea (I think). It’s a narrow shelf but just the right size for spices. That’s mounted up above my stove, and I keep my most common spices up there. Less-used spices stay elsewhere so they don’t go bad from the heat. I just cut the shelf down to size to fit between the cupboards above my stove.

  29. 3.31.15


  30. 3.31.15
    kory said:

    It’s fucking perfect! I wanted to have a cool pantry but it sucked. Then I moved out and now i don’t even have a pantry anymore. When I grow up one of two dreams will come true: 1) i will travel around the whole world 2) i will have a pantry as beautiful as this one.
    I wonder which one!

    • 3.31.15
      Daniel said:

      BOTH. Dream big!

  31. 3.31.15
    Susan said:

    Daniel, I love your pantry but especially your post–I’ll take a great post any day over space filler.
    Truth, your pantry has me wanting to start TODAY on revamping my own wimpy closet ‘pantry’. btw, THANK YOU for your recommendations on the nailer/compressor thingies. I shared with husband–who promptly ordered all and made incredibly quick work of installing 300 sf of luan sub flooring. Thank you, well, 300 x over!

    • 3.31.15
      Daniel said:

      Aw, thank you, Susan! And I’m so glad the recommendations were helpful!! YAY! It feels so good to have the right tools for stuff. Makes everything so much faster!

    • 4.1.15
      Susan said:

      With those acres of sub floor installed–My husband and I have daily congratulated each other on my wisdom in following your posts and his wisdom on following my advice to follow your advice. He has no idea that as soon as the flooring project is done…there’s this pantry…bahaha!

  32. 3.31.15
    Meg said:

    LOVE the pantry! You do good work. And I TOTALLY understand the intense satisfaction of making order out of chaos! There’s nothing like it.

  33. 3.31.15
    Rich said:

    I want people to fear me when they walk into my pantry! haha. This looks so good. Everything looks cohesive and thought out, which I never thought was possible in a pantry. I love it, great job!

  34. 3.31.15
    Kristin said:

    I love the way it turned out. It’s making me very excited to finish ours. I love decanting things into containers – especially flours, and I use a lot of them. I just hate how messy the bags get – there’s always flour spilling out of the folds in the bags. I think a separate pantry is awesome – I always get out everything I need for a particular recipe at the beginning, so I don’t mind not having things immediately adjacent to where I am cooking.

    The best part of this post is the mess in the kitchen. This is our life all the time. Sacrificing one space for the benefit of another. It’s a vicious, thrilling, maddening cycle.

  35. 3.31.15
    Kate said:

    I love your pantry, love this post, love the way you think!
    Okay, please don’t kill me for this, because if you wanted to, you could actually still do it with the shelves and brackets you have now (I love those brackets):

    • 3.31.15
      Daniel said:

      Thank you, Kate! I think killing you would be a *tad* dramatic, haha! I kinda like my shelves the way they are, but those are cute! They remind me of the IKEA shelves in my kitchen over the radiator—love those things! Although they’re less of a project, which suits my laziness. :)

    • 4.1.15
      Kate said:

      Oh, good, I’m off the hook but on the shelf. :D

  36. 3.31.15
    Jeanna said:

    I love it! I can see a lot of planning went into the space. So organized, it makes my heart sing :) Now that your cookbooks are out on display, can you tell me if you have a favorite?

    • 3.31.15
      Daniel said:

      Really and truly, I’ve loved EVERYTHING I’ve made from It’s All Good. It’s Gwyneth Paltrow’s cookbook but recipes are by Julia Turshen (who is a super lovely person, wonderful chef, and friend!)—it’s really the one I go back to again and again. The recipes are healthy but never feel like you’re trying to eat healthy. It really is all good, from what I’ve made!

  37. 3.31.15
    Clay said:

    Looks amazing!!!! I love it!!! I have the same organizing fetish as you, so I completely get it! Excellent work, I love keeping up with your progress on the house, and your posts always make me laugh! Enjoy your space!

  38. 3.31.15

    Your childhood story. I relate in every way (except for hockey; I always watched hockey).

    • 3.31.15
      Daniel said:

      Ha! I think I flat-out refused to ever go to a hockey game again or watch it on TV as soon as I was allowed to stay home by myself. Those games are WAY too long!

    • 3.31.15

      Dude, hockey games are the shortest of all the games. 2 hours. Tops.

  39. 3.31.15
    kaet said:

    this is awesome and perhaps one of your projects that i like the best (it is really hard to choose – your work is delightful!). but this is an inspiring accomplishment. i love that drawer. and your handy step ladder. and all the glass jars. glass jars make me smile each time. the spice rack is brilliant. and the wood floor tuned-in to the wood shelving. just gorgeousness all around. i so enjoy your writing, your blog and all the information you share here about your renovation/project processes. thank you for what you do! and thank you for the little jolt of happiness you bring. carry on with all your great work – looking forward, as always, to more.

    • 3.31.15
      Daniel said:

      Well gosh, Kaet, thank you!! That’s so kind. I’m smiling. :)

  40. 3.31.15

    I feel like we would be real-life friends because I too was affected by Sleeping With The Enemy.

  41. 3.31.15
    patricia said:

    if you are going to use paper towels switch to VIVA. I was once a Bounty brand user but have switched and am not looking back. I love this paper product so much that I have given them to my mom, sisters & friends. yes, I know that using paper towels are not eco friendly but sometimes they are the best solution.
    Trust me.

    • 3.31.15
      Daniel said:

      Huh, I’ll check it out! I’m kind of a life-long Bounty man but if you feel that strongly, I guess I owe it to myself…. :)

  42. 3.31.15
    Holley said:

    “It was a sick, perverse kind of pleasure: the messier a space was, the more exciting the process of organizing it became. The act of impressing order onto the chaos made me feel so”¦alive.” You have put into words what I’ve been feeling for years!

    This is a spectacular space, and I’m totally jealous. I’ve never had a pantry, always wanted one, and now I NEED one. I must decant everything!

  43. 3.31.15
    Rory said:

    Great work, the wood turned out incredible! I’m in the middle of renovating some tiber beams at the moment. what brands/stains you used on these shelves as the finish is so good!

    • 3.31.15
      Daniel said:

      Yikes, uh…stains were Minwax, and I just mixed together everything I had since I use wood stains so infrequently! I think it’s mostly American Chestnut with some Jacobean mixed in…trying to remember if there was something else…I’m sorry! That might be it. Maybe like 2:1 ratio. They’re sealed with Minwax polycrylic (the water-based one) in satin! 3 coats!

  44. 3.31.15
    misa said:

    GAAAAHHH, so jealous! My pantry is a shit show because the shelves are too deep and also all the blogs that I read have somehow convinced me to join NatureBox, and now I’m overwhelmed with snacks. You are living my pantry dream.

    • 3.31.15
      Daniel said:

      The naturebox campaigns worked!! I hope some of the snacks are yummy at least? I’ve never tried any of it!

  45. 3.31.15
    Hanna said:

    Amazing. You did an AMAZING job!!! It looks incredible.

  46. 3.31.15
    lindsay said:

    I know you have many adoring fans but I have to finally tell you that I check for a new post daily and am never disappointed when I find one. It’s like Christmas (Hannukah?) morning! I love your blog. It’s the best. And chalk pens do not a Pinterest garbage person make.

    • 3.31.15
      Daniel said:

      awwwwwwws. <3

    • 4.2.15
      Amanda B. said:

      Agreed about the chalk pens (not making one a Pinterest garbage person). Now, chalkboard paint on the other hand… ;) No real malice to chalkboard lovers, but it is so dang trendy it is just getting silly.

  47. 3.31.15
    Kala said:

    So beautiful! My apartment is so small that my pantry is needed for seasonal storage (camping equipment etc) so I have to make due with what my kitchen cabinets offer. So I have major pantry envy! Have you thought about bookends or putting a lip on the ends of those shallow shelves, though? I’m nervous that something will get pushed off the edge.

    • 3.31.15
      Daniel said:

      Thank you!

      and huh, I never thought about it! I guess it wouldn’t be a bad idea? But I’m probably too lazy? I just want to be done working on this room, honestly!!

  48. 3.31.15
    DJ said:

    I love organized, tiny spaces. I feel so happy just looking at your little pantry. So much stuff, in so little space, in so organized a fashion.

  49. 3.31.15
    CPJC said:

    Awesome! I will soon have a blank slate pantry and I want to be just like you!
    BTW – I spy a green bottle of California Olive Oil. I go through that stuff and love the bottles. Do you have any crafty cool re-use ideas for those pretty green bottles?????

    • 3.31.15
      Daniel said:

      Huh, not really!! I always just recycle them. I’ll update my comment if I think of anything!

  50. 3.31.15
    Sarah said:

    Dude, you are certifiably insane. But we all already knew that. Have you met Marie Kondo (Google her)? I think you two were separated at birth. ;)

    • 3.31.15
      Daniel said:

      Oh man, from the looks of her, I think she would be HORRIFIED to discover the hoard zones in my house. I’m still under construction here, not everything looks like this! I definitely have too much stuff!!

    • 4.1.15
      Doorot said:

      Oh God, I got hives just from looking at her website :)

  51. 3.31.15
    debbie in toronto said:

    Daniel…it’s just beautiful…that drawer is my dream….

    how do you feel about linen closets?

    • 3.31.15
      Daniel said:

      Thank you, Debbie!

      I feel…stressed by them, honestly! Mine, anyway. I can’t wait to get some kind of good system going in there—right now it’s a disaster!!

  52. 3.31.15
    Moxie said:

    “I want people to fear me when they walk into my pantry” This is why you’re my favorite. Also my new life goal.

  53. 3.31.15
    Deese said:

    We are currently finishing up our butler’s pantry, and I too decant most things. It all started because of a horrid invasion of ants. Tiny little black adorable things that would find their way into anything! In the cereal boxes…in the bag of rice…in the sugar container (I thought was air tight). Those little guys can get into anything. So, we started buying Ball jars at thrift stores for everything. And I started taking home those giant glass pickle jars from work. And now we have a giant pantry with most everything in jars. I do keep things that come in jars/air tight containers in their original packing. I haven’t attempted to empty my agave or brown rice syrup into a Ball jar…yet! :)

    • 3.31.15
      Daniel said:

      Ha! I definitely draw the line with maple syrup. :)

    • 4.2.15
      Moly said:

      Oh dear, I totally decant my maple syrup but I did finally give up on decanting the honey lol Also, your pantry is seriously the best!

  54. 3.31.15
    Aisha said:

    I have such intense pantry envy right now. It looks amazing and organized and really, really impressive

  55. 3.31.15
    Marie said:

    I once spent a Saturday decanting all my spices (45 unique spices when I was done, but I, as well, had 3 bottles of thyme) into uniform, glass, 25 ml containers, labeling the lids and sides, and alphabetizing them on a lazy Susan in a spiral pattern. Unsurprisingly, I adore this pantry.

    • 3.31.15
      Daniel said:

      That sounds like SO MUCH FUN. Invite me next time!

    • 3.31.15
      AnnInSF said:

      If not striking fear, my 72 alphabetized spice jars probably give my guests food for thought. Now I’m tempted to scramble them in order to give you a reason to visit San Francisco, Daniel. Anytime ….

    • 3.31.15
      AuntHo said:

      I also did this while my (male) roommates looked on in fear. Best 3 hours ever, and I LOVE the top-labeled spices-in-a-drawer thing. It has revolutionized my cupboard space and — THANK GOD — no more counter rack.

  56. 3.31.15
    Sarah S said:

    Amazing, as always!!

  57. 3.31.15
    Christina W. said:

    Egads, do you haul your stand mixer out every time you need it? That mother’s HEAVY!

    • 3.31.15
      Daniel said:

      Ha! Not NEARLY as heavy as demo’d plaster and bags of mulch and all the other shit I haul around! Piece of cake. :)

  58. 3.31.15
    Eylem said:

    Why on earth I dont have fraction or even a drop of talent you have???

    • 3.31.15
      Daniel said:

      Don’t be so hard on yourself, haha!! I don’t think this is talent so much as lunacy. :)

    • 3.31.15
      Pippa said:

      May I be cursed with this kind of lunacy!
      As always Daniel, your post is worth its weight in gold. And I can SO identify with your lefty writing issue.

  59. 3.31.15
    Sophie said:

    This post was so worth the wait! It’s BEAUTIFUL and I would like to move in. I’ll be the live-in pantry troll. Do the chalk pens dry enough so that they don’t rub off each time you pull down a glass jar? Or do you have to try not to touch the labeling?

    • 3.31.15
      Daniel said:

      You can guard the jars!

      The chalk pens dry pretty well, but they do wipe off if you handle them too much. I guess that’s kind of the point, but I do wish they were a little more durable. I guess I usually grab the jars by the top so it hasn’t really been a problem at all, but since I can’t seem to write on them in a cute way, I find the prospect of having to re-label things mildly terrifying!

  60. 3.31.15
    Cheralee said:

    I just discovered your blog last night and I have to tell you that this is S.I.C.K. I love the drawer front, the brackets, the chalk marker labels….ALL of it. My house is from 1866 and we are getting ready to do a huge swap of sinks, cabinets and doors with the garage, laundry, pantry and kitchen (everything is getting an upgrade from the previous room, leaving me with a blank slate in the kitchen) and I needed something to show my husband that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Can’t wait to see more!

  61. 3.31.15
    Ali (DesignedByAli) said:

    Nicely done! That’s all I need to say! :D

  62. 3.31.15
    Sarah C. said:

    It’s so pretty I could cry. I waaaaaaaannnnnnnaaaaaa pantry!

  63. 3.31.15
    linette said:

    Bravo superbe travail. Bonne continuation. J’aime beaucoup. Linette

  64. 3.31.15
    Paula said:

    So pretty! I started my collection of jars too but I only had room for two. When we get our shelves up I’ll be able to buy more.

    Speaking of crazy, for the entire month of December I was stuck at home because of a sprained foot. But I was still mobile enough to drive small trips to the hardware store, buy all the cupboard organizers, and install them in my kitchen. Spice racks included. Organization helps the healing process.

    Somehow this degree of crazy only happened upon me as an adult.

  65. 3.31.15
    Susan said:

    I love it all! I was wondering how it would all work out with it being so narrow, but it looks like it’s working great! BTW I have a similar “problem” as you with organization, but I tend to hyper focus on our linen closets… God do I love a well organized closet, no matter what kind!

  66. 3.31.15
    Kisha said:

    I’m ALL about my little closet/pantry and it isn’t half as nice (with your lovely wood shelves!) so I can totally understand your excitement with it. I too have a ton of those korken jars and they make me happy every time I open my pantry”¦now to run out and get a white chalk marker”¦.
    As always, perfection Daniel!

  67. 3.31.15
    Cheryl said:

    Love this so much. Pro tip: buy your spices in bulk, and then get wide mouth glass jars from U-Line in bulk as well. It will make your heart sing, I just know it.

  68. 3.31.15
    Ellen said:

    “Pffft. If you were really crazy those jars would be alphabetized or sorted by type and then alphabetized.” Said the librarian.

  69. 3.31.15
    Cindy said:

    Beautiful work. White walls with warm wood. Classic. Shallow shelves are genius.

    If you have a resource for bulk spices, these spice containers from Crate & Barrel are fantastic.
    I have had them for a few years and love, love, love them. They are, of course, labeled with DYMO labels. Also classic.

  70. 3.31.15
    laurel said:

    my cramped apartment cupboards are so jealous! looks fantastic. i have to confess, though, i had similar ikea jars and….. MOTHS! THE SEAL WAS A LIE. SO MANY MOTHS. i can’t say it’s the exact same line, because i burned the jars and salted the earth.

  71. 3.31.15
    Carole said:

    Great job on the pantry. (And decant those spices into some great matching bottles…. you know you want to.)

  72. 3.31.15
    Nancy said:

    It’s awesome. Love your writing about it too.
    I too LOVE reorganizing. Give me anything, electronic files, beads, junk drawer, closet, garage, and I’ll happily play for hours.
    And I’m a lefty.
    So…. what lighting did you go with? A chandelier by any chance? hehe

  73. 3.31.15
    M Nielsen said:

    Daniel, I have the same decanting and organizing obsession. Smart choice on the Elfa…I have the same rack hanging on the backside of my kitchen door. FYI..small metal spice tins, like those shown in the link below, fit really well in the smallest rack.

    I actually had a part time job at the Container Store, I ended up buying so much Elfa for my home, I hardly kept any of my paycheck.

    Congrats on another great project!

  74. 3.31.15

    This is so freaking fabulous!!!! That is all.

  75. 3.31.15
    Amy said:

    Daniel, if you’d like to revisit the OCD organizing ways of your youth (and are dying to visit the Midwest), then come on out to our old farmhouse and do your worst! My husband is Mr. Pack-rat, like almost hoarder, if I don’t rein him in. Food, books, tools, you name it!


    • 4.10.15
      Mom said:

      I can almost see Daniel having a Scooby-Doo reaction to TOOLS?

  76. 3.31.15
    Sarah said:

    SO glad you’re back! The pantry looks SO good and it is motivating me to organize mine this weekend. Hopefully not too many things fall on me when I’m trying to get it under control. I have to say, I was getting a little worried there, with no posts for so long. Love the home improvements you’re doing, but I also can’t get enough of your humor. Hope to see more posts soon!!

  77. 3.31.15
    Olivia said:

    We would have been good friends as kids. My dad said he’d never met a six year old who preferred home improvement shows over cartoons.
    (lovely pantry!!!!)

  78. 3.31.15
    SJVSJV said:

    I buy the large 12pack of paper towels and I only buy the type with individually wrapped rolls. I know it is extra packaging, but it keeps each roll clean and dust-free until I am ready to use it.

  79. 4.1.15
    Jamie said:

    Don’t store potatoes and onions together. The onions will make the potatoes spoil faster.

  80. 4.1.15
    Milky said:

    I don’t get decanting. How do you know what everything’s expiry date is if you don’t have the original packaging that it’s stamped on? I’m a stickler for expiry dates.
    Pantry looks awesome, we just got our flat and wide pantry a year ago after living with narrow and deep, which is the worst. But I canNOT believe I haven’t been putting my potatoes and onions in a bowl. Lightbulb moment :)

  81. 4.1.15
    Jemma said:

    Looks great! I identified with so much of what you said! The thing I was most excited about when building our new house was my pantry cupboard. OK, it’s not a real pantry because you can’t go IN it but I love the space for my IKEA jars. I brought 6 small and 6 large jars to NZ and so regret not bringing more. Oh IKEA how I miss you. I have, however, found a local yoghurt brand in a nice clear round tub with plain black lid and a label that peels clean off. They look great stacked together full of dry stuff too.
    We had our loud, messy friends to stay for Christmas and I got seriously twitchy when they bought half the supermarket home and crammed it all in there. I felt like a horrible person happily tidying it all up when they left!

  82. 4.1.15
    Isabelle said:

    Nice Job – Well Done.

    But I am trying to figure out the electric kettle? Is that a second one for emergencies? Or are you really going into the pantry – take the kettle – go into the kitchen to pour water – go back …….. you get my point ….. I would go bunkers, ;-))))
    And if you run the kettle inside the shelves, what about the humid steam and the wood above it?

  83. 4.1.15
    Joe said:

    “I think probably the most common issue with pantries is that the shelves are just too deep, so things get lost and you can’t see what you actually have. Then you end up re-buying things you already have, or letting things expire, or you’re always digging for stuff”¦I’m totally convinced that shallow shelves are vastly superior, and luckily that’s about all this room can accommodate anyway.”

    I never thought about it but you’re 100% right

  84. 4.1.15
    PhillyLass said:

    Daniel, you’re a national treasure. That pantry is amazing and I would just walk into it and stare at it all day feeling very impressed with myself if I had built one into my own home. Amazing job– as always!

  85. 4.1.15
    Michelle said:

    Pantry looks great!!
    As a former hoarder of Classico glass jars I should say, I hear you on the jar-amassing propensity for drygoods.
    Thanks for the close up of your cleat situation. In my 1900 rowhouse I have a lot of gnarly walls, your MO looks straightforward and I will try it.
    As always, love reading your blog – keep going!

  86. 4.1.15
    Marcia said:

    “The act of impressing order onto the chaos made me feel so”¦alive.”

    This statement makes so much sense to me, as I’m the same way.
    Very nice job, Daniel.

  87. 4.1.15
    Lydia said:

    Looks wonderful!
    I find it totally inspiring because our house didn’t come with a pantry, or very much cabinet space — none of which, has anything tall enough to hold a bottle of oil. But we do have an under-the-stair-closet, about this size, that I’ve been imagining as a pantry in the future. It’s a weirder shape than yours, because the stairs cut down into it (shorter as you go back.) But it’s about the same width — so your shallow shelves inspire me to think it is a worthwhile idea. (I just keep trying to figure out how to best deal with the fact it fights with the stairs cutting into it, as you can’t walk back into it very far. I feel sorta like how you did the drawer to deal with the plumbing chase — only perhaps more baffling.)
    Anyway, awesome job!

  88. 4.1.15
    Alex said:

    This is wonderful. I am sending this to my husband as inspiration to finally do something about our closets ;)

  89. 4.1.15
    Callie said:

    “The deeper shelving is really comprised of two pieces of 2-by lumber, which saved me from making any complicated cuts around that plumbing chase in the corner.”

    Oh. My. God. I’ve been stupidly avoiding adding shelves in my bathroom for yeeeeears for this exact same reason. This solution blows my mind.

  90. 4.2.15
    Southern Gal said:

    GORGEOUS. from one glass jar obssessed organizer to another – you can NEVER have tooo many glass jars! wait till you start with the mayo, peanut and tomato sauce jars! (perfect for all kinds of things – tea bags, choc chips, catnip… lavendar…) anyway. now that you are all organized …. how about a FOOD SAVER?
    no really, they are grand! and you can vacuum seal mason jars… no special lids required. (and no this is not a late night commercial).

    wish i had your space – my ‘pantry’ is bookshelves and a “hutch i made” in my small kitchen (only three builtin drawers and one counter and one wall cabinet)

    anyway its great to see another glass loving organizer.

  91. 4.2.15
    Jocelyn said:

    Daniel, I think you are my spirit animal. All my spices are red-topped McCormick bottles. Unless they don’t make them. It’s my secret pride, uh, shame. I did not know other people did this!

    Also, I finally went to a vintage place in Buffalo! Recommend!

  92. 4.2.15
    Thel said:

    Daniel, the pantry looks fantastic,, but in order to be a truly obsessive-compulsive-neurotic-creepy-psycho, you’re going to have to turn all the rubber seals in those jars around so that the little tabs are facing the back of the jars in the space between the hinges . . .

    You’ll also feel so SMUG once you’ve done it, you’ll be glowing with superiority for days.

  93. 4.2.15
    Sonia said:

    How is it possible you don’t have a book deal yet? Maybe after the whole house is done? Fingers crossed.

    Also, why bother with labels at all? Can’t you just see that it’s popcorn or almonds or rice?

  94. 4.3.15
    trotula said:

    Ughhhhh yesssssssss. I live with people who I love, in a house I love, but I often fantasize about living alone for the sheer pleasure of the organizational systems I could create and maintain without a bunch of fucking heathens mucking them up. My best friend will come home some days and catch me standing in the kitchen like, “But really, what if we got a bunch of clear plastic bins of various sizes and used them to organize all the food in the refrigerator by type, so that we’d always know what we have?” and I just see this look in her eyes like all she’s hearing are the stabby violins from Psycho. Whatever.

    When I go see my mom I always go into a vaguely-manic cleansweep/decluttering/Craigslisting spiral in some part of her house. I love it because she seriously doesn’t care what I do, so I have the playground of my dreams, and SHE loves it because it means she gets to ignore all that shit between my visits.

  95. 4.3.15
    Jen said:

    I love pantries, and feel blessed to have one, but I’m always trying to make it work “better.” Spices were driving me nuts — all different shapes and sizes and brands, and you couldn’t get a spoon into any of them. So I found short, less than three inch wide jars (6 ounce, glass, from Uline) and decanted everything. So great. Now they live on their sides in a drawer just outside the pantry (because, as you have found, there are few good spice racks out there). Easy to see, easy to use, spoons scoop easily. Sigh (of relief and satisfaction). Made my family look and admire. They were supportive but unmoved.

  96. 4.3.15
    C said:

    You’re going to love the jars, and the narrow shelves too. My current pantry has four inch deep shelves. When the previous owner saw it she nearly cried because they never had enough space and now that blank wall is a full pantry.

    Of all the pantries I’ve had, the best by far have been the ones with everything decanted into quart size mason jars on super shallow shelves. Not only does it make it easy to see what you have, it helps you keep it turning over, and helps you decide what to cook. No more rancid nuts! And it is easier to decant than to find a rubber band and a place to shove a half used packet of something.

    I don’t label anything but flours, and I just use a sharpie on the underneath. It washes off glass with a scrubbing sponge.

    How long till you build a pretty wooden rack for the back of that door? Should I be embarrassed that I also decant my spices?

  97. 4.4.15
    SLG said:

    Daniel, I was just looking up one of your old kitchen posts for something, and just had to say: I love your blog. That is all.

  98. 4.4.15
    NestFan said:

    I didn’t have this organizational thing as a child, but I developed it in later adulthood. Mostly through intuitive osmosis. I didn’t decide to create smaller jars of all my bulk goods; rather, I was inexplicably attracted to these glass jars at crate and barrel with straight sides and 3 differently colored lids that could stack that I bought some, and then gradually discovered they were great for the flours, etc., and bought more. Labeling is useful – it can be hard to tell baking soda from corn starch from powdered sugar from flour, and I haven’t labelled, but have made mistakes; perhaps someday I’ll label.

    Your pantry is gorgeous, and a great use of that space, When I saw the photos of it demolished, I couldn’t figure out how such a narrow space could work well – you made it work great, and looking very pretty at that. I haven’t had a pantry since my two first apartments, in Chicago years ago – they must have been common even in apartment buildings when that city was built, and they were great – one or both had a window, for natural light; one or both had the refrigerator in it – perhaps they were built in the time of iceboxes, when the icebox would have been, where else, in the pantry. I’ve never missed having one since, but yours is making me think it might be a good thing to keep in mind for (entirely theoretical at this point) further home buying and remodeling – I’ll have to think about adding it to my must-have list, but if I do, I’ll need to make a window a requirement for the light. (Though you don’t have to worry about protecting your spices and other food from sunlight in a windowless space.)

  99. 4.5.15
    Bonnie said:

    Absolutely gorgeous! I completely agree about shallow shelves.

  100. 4.5.15
    Leo Sigh said:

    Oh I’m so jealous of your pantry :) Would love one, but just don’t have the room. And I do miss the Container Store. Used to spend hours there. We don’t have them in Bangkok, though….Lovely blog too, btw. Off to browse more :)

  101. 4.5.15
    patty blaettler said:

    Ok. It’s absolutely fab.I bow to you. However….cookbooks?
    Have you heard of this new thing called Google? It has recipes.

    • 4.7.15
      Daniel said:

      Ha! When I cook with recipes, it’s probably about a 50/50 split of something from the internet vs. a cookbook. I tend to use the internet if I’m looking for something in particular, but I like the act of browsing through a cookbook and getting inspired to cook something I hadn’t thought of! Also it gives me an excuse to use my glam acrylic cookbook holder. :)

  102. 4.7.15
    Emily said:

    You guys did a lovely job with that space – it is inspirational.

    And, I never realized that when I dumped the rice, beans, lentils, etc. out of the plastic bags they came in and into jars, that I was “decanting.” Now I feel fancy, so thank you for that. :)

  103. 4.7.15
    mad sad said:

    fabulous endeed

  104. 4.7.15
    Jenny Rose said:

    Your blog posts are hilariously long. Love them. Although I have to admit that initially I was disappointed with this post as I read the title quickly and thought it said “the PARTY is done”. I was looking for funny post party pics. Love your new pantry. Love how you do all this amazing work yourself as it inspires me to try some stuff around my own humble abode. Maybe you can have a PANTRY PARTY now.

    • 4.7.15
      Daniel said:

      Ha! It’ll just be me, dancing, and pouring popcorn kernels all over myself. Maybe I’ll pencil it in for friday! :)

  105. 4.7.15
    Emily said:

    Also…this weird little thought just popped into my head today:

    D. Kanter = decanter

    I thought of it when I was “decanting” some flour into the flour jar! Like I said, weird little thought…

  106. 4.7.15
    Laura said:

    Oh my god, this is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. The jars! The hand lettering! I am weeping.

  107. 4.8.15
    Kate F said:

    Ha! Want to see how perfectly you echoed IDEAL PANTRY design of the early 1900s?
    Witness: My old condo’s pantry, circa 2007. (Building built in 1901.) That shit was the best ever. Exact same layout–shallow shelves on the side, deep in back. Over the years that we lived there I made various improvements to the systems, but the real key is the shallow side shelving so stuff is one row deep. We had two cabinets in that kitchen, plus the one under the sink, but we had the pantry and butler’s pantry and life was amazing. I’d trade a “normal” modern kitchen for the pantry arrangement any day.

    Speaking of amazing, please send Max to label my house for me, stat.

  108. 4.14.15
    Andrea said:

    hellooooooo? Daniel? you OK?

    No post from you in a long time. Hoping all is well in the big house and the little one, and that Max is thriving too.

    • 4.16.15
      lisa said:

      ding dong. anybody home?

    • 4.16.15
      lisa said:

      ugh. forgive me for jonesn’ for a post.
      I saw someone else missing you so I chimed in too.
      instead of me buggin & such, I should say kick your heels up/relax, you deserve it cuz your place looks so beautiful & you inspire us all. (we’ve even made a lowes trip or 2).
      thanks again…… until the next time

    • 4.16.15
      Sierra said:

      Ok, glad someone else is anxious for another post. It’s been like a month and I check 2-3 times a day. I NEEED A POST! SO INSPIRING!!! Miss you Daniel :’-(

  109. 4.17.15

    This is an AWSOME post wish I had an area for a small pantry :(

  110. 4.18.15
    Niki said:

    U-oh. I think I might be a Manhattan Nest junkie… I’ve been seeing this pic of your lentils & almonds etc for weeekkss now and it’s driving me crazy itchy that the next exciting reno chapter hasn’t arrived yet. And it’s just dawned that reno voyeurism addiction might be a thing. Sheesh. But no pressure! No I’m grateful that you share your work. You have lovely style.

  111. 4.18.15
    cate said:

    Very sorry to hear you and Max broke up. I wish you both the best. If the renovations played a role, you’re not alone. xo

    • 4.18.15
      V said:

      Glad someone else had the idea to cheat the no comment rule. So sorry to hear, Daniel. Thank you for choosing to make the incredibly private, public, and I don’t just mean your recent post, for inviting us in to your homes, your life, your work, it is such a gift. Thank you.

  112. 4.18.15
    Andrea said:

    Also cheating the no-comments rule to send affection and respect to you both. Whatever pain may have been involved in the end of your relationship, may it and you heal soon. Wishing you peace.

  113. 4.18.15
    dawn said:

    Just wanted to send you a hug from Texas and a beg for you to let your home and garden continue to heal you. Homes and gardens have a way of doing that.


  114. 4.18.15
    melissa said:

    Absolutely cheating, but sometimes it’s necessary! I have been missing you and your awesomeness and just wanted to say I’m sending happy thoughts to both you and Max and wish you both the best for your next chapters. No advice, just HUGE hugs to both of you and of course the two rascals — who i’m sure will be giving you big snuggles of support. xx

  115. 4.20.15
    Suzanne said:

    Was there when you first announced the beginning of the relationship on this blog all those years ago and is so sorry to read about the ending today. Hope you are coping all right, Daniel. xoxo

  116. 5.8.15
    Sandra P said:

    Just discovered you blog… LOVE your pantry and also your writing. I read several design of blogs and don’t recall any of them making me chuckle to myself that many times in a single post.

    • 5.10.15
      Daniel said:

      Thanks, Sandra! Welcome to the blog! :)

  117. 6.30.15
    Jenna said:

    Hi Daniel,
    I love your blog and think your pantry is awesome. I saw this today and it reminded me of yours.

  118. 8.29.15
    Sadie said:

    I came across this blog post after searching for jar labeling ideas. (LOVE yours btw). Anyway just wanted to say this is the only blog I’ve ever read that actually made me laugh out loud. Hilarious! (and inspirational.)

  119. 12.30.15
    courtney said:

    Looks amazing! Im planning on trying this in my pantry soon! I tried to find it on the blog but how did you stain these wood pieces for the shelves? Thanks!

    • 1.4.16
      Daniel said:

      Thanks, Courtney! I just used Minwax brand oil-based stain…I think this was a mix of what I had around, which was some proportion of American Chestnut and Walnut and maybe some other tints. The directions on the cans are pretty straightforward—mix, paint on, let sit, wipe off, and repeat if necessary! I finished with a few coats of satin polycrylic water-based polyurethane (also by Minwax) when the stain is dry. That’s it!

  120. 1.13.16
    Ellen said:

    This is now my dream pantry. It is the most beautiful pantry I’ve ever seen. And it will be perfect inspiration for my future pantry (when I live somewhere I can actually build a pantry…).

    And the thing with the jars was great! The look so cute (and pinterest-y). I use a few Förvar jars ( for storing some things (like sugar, rice, oats…). And one Korken for popcorn (my husband’s favorite). But maybe I should change it to all Korken? That would be a lot more air-tight and look amazing. :)

  121. 2.14.16
    Sarah said:

    Hi there!

    What a great post! Awesome job on your pantry over haul! :-)
    I had a quick question about the chalk markers you used for your IKEA containers – I was wondering how well the chalk stays on the glass? I would love to do this with all of the glass containers in my pantry but was a little skeptical that it might rub off easily. I don’t handle my containers very often – they mainly sit there and look fabulous. (At least I think so) None the less, I thought I would ask! Such a wonderful idea as you can wipe it off and write on something else as you decide to switch items in and out.


    • 2.14.16
      Daniel said:

      hey Sarah! I don’t really like how the chalk marker labels held up! I found them too easy to scratch off for me, and awkward to write on! I prefer regular labels now :)