We recently converted an old nonfunctional laundry closet into a custom pantry with all the division we need to keep our food-sensitive family members safe from allergen cross-contamination. Sponsored by HART Tools
My husband and I got married in 2014 and we have lived in four houses since then. And none of those houses had a real pantry. I was always okay with “making due” with cabinets and freestanding shelving, but all that changed last fall when we found out my son was dairy, egg, and gluten intolerant. Pair that with the fact that I have Celiac so I’m gluten-free, too, and I knew I had to make a change to our food storage situation.
In order for my son to be able to find snacks that are safe for him, avoid accidental mix-ups, and rule out possible cross-contamination, it was time for us to create a real pantry once and for all. We partnered with HART Tools and my rockstar of a handyman to turn the old nonfunctional laundry closet in our kitchen into the pantry of my dreams. And let me tell ya, it is so dreamy!
The “Pantry” Before
Here’s what we were working with. When we first moved into our 1970s fixer, this was supposed to be the laundry closet. But the electrical didn’t work and I hated the idea of having the washer and dryer in this dark corner of the kitchen, so we hired some contractors to convert one of the two sunrooms into a laundry room. That left us with this closet.
We started by storing cleaning supplies and random stuff in it, then later added some cheap wire shelves to serve as a makeshift temporary pantry. The storage wasn’t ideal, but it worked okay. I had drawn up four different ideas for how to better organize the pantry but never got around to them. When my son’s food intolerances were diagnosed, that lit a fire under my boo-tay to make one of the sketches a reality.
The Pantry Build
We used two stock base cabinets, but all other shelving was custom built by Brian and custom designed by me.
The exact building plans, measurements, and cut lists will be available on HART Tools’ website soon, so I’ll add a link to that here as soon as it’s live.
Tour My Organized Allergen-Safe Pantry
Here’s the fully filled pantry! Not going to lie, my eyes teared up when I stood back and looked at it the first time. It really is so nice, and feels so fancy. But what really got me was that everyone in our house has a place that’s theirs.
My son has a place he can find safe snacks without having to read all the labels first. My husband has a spot he can pack his lunches without worrying that he’s snagging our specialty GF treats. And I have a place to
hide store all my M&Ms.
Each upper shelf is ultra-categorized for easy access when we are cooking dinner. There’s a cubby for rice, a cubby for pasta, a cubby for baking ingredients, a cubby for breakfast, and even a cubby dedicated to making smoothies.
Inside the drawers are where the snacks and quick-meal items live. My husband has his own drawer of his favorite snacks and lunch items that contain gluten. By keeping them in safely inside one confined area, they can’t contaminate my son’s and my food, but my husband still feels like he’s able to eat what he loves without worry.
There’s a drawer for my son to make his own lunches for school, and one for my lunches and after-workout power-ups since I work from home. We also store our overflow condiments and cooking ingredients in one of the bottom drawers.
There are two baskets at the very top of the pantry that also contain overflow backstock items like extra coffee, bulk products, and snacks we keep on hand for parties and surprise guests.
I love these labels because they make everything in the pantry look cohesive. They’re waterproof too, so they’ll hold up when we wash the canisters between fill-ups.
And every container in the pantry is airtight, so our food will stay fresher longer. I used a mix of containers from Ikea, Amazon, and Walmart, and I found the baskets from HomeGoods.
I really wanted to keep the container budget as low as possible since I had to pay for all the lumber, cabinets, and handyman service fees out of pocket.
Shop My Pantry
The building plans for my custom pantry design will be available on HART’s blog soon, but here’s a list of all the products I used to organize my pantry. Scroll through using the arrows to shop the exact products.