Pantry Area

lexluthorApril 2, 2009

Here's a picture of the pantry area that was carved out in the renovated kitchen.

It's about 41"Wx18"Dx8'H. It'll have double doors when it's finished.

Any ideas on how I might best utilize the space?

Just put a bunch of shelves across? Some sort of pullout system? We also have a pantry cabinet that's pretty open and that's where a lot of the larger stuff will go, so this would be more for grocery type stuff (cereals, pasta, oils, etc).

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palimpsest

I would try to figure out a combination of 18" 12" and 6" shelves for various types of food storage.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2009 at 11:18AM
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growlery

I'd keep it simple with shelves.

Do you need a place to store that mop, or is it a place where you'd want to keep a broom handy?

A narrow "broom cupboard" tall division isn't a bad idea, with a little cubby for dusting cloths and polishes (obviously anything very dirty or smelly wouldn't go with the food).

    Bookmark   April 2, 2009 at 12:59PM
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buehl

I'd probably stick w/15" or 12" deep shelves. 18" deep are pretty useless...I know, I had them in my old kitchen...things get lost on them. Most of my pantry has 12" shelves. The very top shelf is approx 8-3/4" from the ceiling...the height needed to stack rolls of paper towels 2-deep on their sides...sure beats running up & down the stairs to get a roll when we run out!

These are 12" deep shelves:

The paper towel shelf on top (along w/some seldom-used items.

These are 15" deep shelves:

Our pantry "designs":

and..

BTW...the MW didn't work out b/c you couldn't open the MW door & be in the pantry at the same time! It was going to be our old MW and a 2nd one when needed, but we ended up donating it to a family during an "extreme makeover" our church did...so in the end, it didn't matter!

    Bookmark   April 2, 2009 at 2:03PM
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lexluthor

Ok, well we are ready to move on to this area now.

Does anyone have any experience with the Rubbermaid system?

It looks like you install brackets along the back wall and then you can put some fixed shelving, pull out shelves or baskets across. I guess the hard part is properly mapping out the area and what goes where.

Alternative, we could just put some wood shelves going across at different heights.

For an 18" deep pantry, what width shelves would be best?

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 10:02AM
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psu67

Pull-outs allow you to utilize the entire depth of the pantry without losing items at the back of shelves. We have these in our pantry and can't imagine the mess we would have with shelves. I also recommend soft-close hardware.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 11:38AM
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lexluthor

Any suggestions on a hardware system to use? I'm sure the low cost Rubbermaid system doesn't have soft-close.

Or are you saying just to buy individual brackets, soft close hinges, etc all separately? I doubt I'd ever be able to coordinate that properly?

I'm not looking to spend $1000 to outfit this pantry either.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 12:06PM
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plllog

I'm getting pullouts in the below eye level part and adjustable height shelves above. And 18" deep because I have a lot of long things. It's easier to shallow up a shelf (e.g., with a 1x6 board to provide a backstop) than it is to make it deeper. :)

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 1:15PM
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mairin

We've just installed the closetmaid systems in our walk-in pantry and several closets (available at Homedepot and Lowes) and are happy with them. It's completely adjustable and easy to add more shelves if needed. I think the rubbermaid system is similar?? We used the fine mesh version. For the pantry I will be putting the hard vinyl sheets on several shelves to prevent things from falling through the grid lines. I am planning on adding more shelves and storage units/pullouts after we move in so that I live with it for a bit to know what I really need/want.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 2:43PM
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lexluthor

Mairin,

I saw the Closetmaid system in HD. Lowes carries the Rubbermaid system. Looked about the same.

Any chance you could post a few pictures?

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 2:49PM
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lexluthor

Wow, I looked at the closetmaid site and, for $5, they'll professionally design the area and generate a parts list! Sounds like a great service.

Mairin, did you use the Shelftrack or Fixed Mount installation? What exactly is the difference?

    Bookmark   April 19, 2009 at 8:54AM
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chefkev

I like the hanging systems that are adjustable. I did a "closetmaid" system in a pantry and one closet. I looked at the rubbermaid and it looks nice also. If you live near a Container Store, their "Elfa" shelving system is even nicer and is on sale for one third off for another week or two. I'm just about finished installing a very small Elfa track system in my kitchen. I wish I'd gone with Elfa in the Pantry - I think it looks nicer and is more space efficient (at the time I felt I couldn't wait until it went on sale).

    Bookmark   April 19, 2009 at 5:17PM
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corgimum

We just installed Closetmaid in our master bedroom closet. The Shelftrack system allows you to adjust your shelves up and down so that if you want to change the arrangement or are not sure exactly how far apart you want the shelves to be, they are adjustable. If you put in fixed mount you are stuck with your original decision.

We also have the fixed mount in our small pantry (24" w x 84" h). If you can figure out what you need, it is cheaper to do it this way.

I was able to design my master closet on the Closetmaid website myself at no cost.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2009 at 5:45PM
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lexluthor

I never heard of the Container Store, but there are a couple just under an hour away.

I spent some time on the phone earlier with one of their designers and she was able to put together something close to what I was looking for.

Unfortunately, their hanging/pull out drawers require 21" clearance and we only have 18" in the closet.

http://www.containerstore.com/browse/Product.jhtml?CATID=77777&PRODID=10022920

The description says they are 22 7/8 x 16 7/8 x 7 1/4. At those dimensions it would fit, but I guess that's the size of the actual basket and not the amount of clearance that's needed?

It's too bad. We really did want some sort of pull outs and that would be nice.

I'm not sure if the closetmaid has slide baskets either. The designer shows hanging baskets, but I don't think they slide out.

I know the Rubbermaid does have sliding baskets, but I can't really tell the dimensions.

I'd love to figure out a way to get an Elfa system that works for us.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2009 at 8:15PM
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chefkev

lexluthor - I'm confused, I looked at your link and the installation video for the sliding baskets and it looks like they would fit. I'll try to call my container store tomorrow and ask them about it.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2009 at 10:18PM
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lexluthor

chefkev, I'm definitely confused too. I didn't want to push it with the woman over the phone. I tried to question it from 2 or 3 different angles, but be sounded sure and was getting a little annoyed I think. I even asked her, what if I didn't call you and got the dimensions from the website, I'd never have known I couldn't put the baskets in an 18" deep pantry. She just said, yes, you wouldn't have known.

Could there be some hardware so that the baskets don't go all the way back to the back wall?

I emailed customer service the question as well.

If I can fit those baskets, I'm definitely going to pick up this system next weekend.

Let me know if you can get an answer too.

Here's the info for the preferred layout.

In the floor view, I'm not quite sure why the blue sticks out all the way on the right. Those should be 16x12 shelves, same depth as the 16x36 shelves all the way to the top.

Also, since the pantry is 41, she suggested saving a little money and time (not my time and time that's really already paid for) and just doing 36 shelves, rather than 48 and cutting them to 39 or 40 or whatever the widest I can really do. Does that make sense?

Also, is that price on the right what they charge to cut? I'm just better off having my contractor cut that, no? $40 to cut a piece of metal? Then she used 2 pieces of 16x24 to make the 2 16x12 shelves that I need. Couldn't I just get one piece and cut it in half?

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 7:07AM
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corgimum

Closetmaid does have pullout wire baskets. I bought a set of 4 baskets with the hardware for about $65.00 (Closetmaid Four Drawer Shelftrack Kit). This is for use with the shelftrack system only. If you search Home Depot's website you will find them. They were also available at my local store. They are about 17" deep and 21" wide when installed.

Based on the Container Store ventilated shelf prices you show above, you will save a lot of money if you buy your shelving at Home Depot and either have them cut it down to the sizes you need or DIY. They come in 12' lengths.

We did our 6' x 9' master closet (shelving, closet rods and one basket kit) for about $700.

Here is a link that might be useful: Closetmaid 4 Drawer ShelfTrack Kit

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 10:39AM
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lexluthor

chefkev,

I just spoke to someone else at the Container Store and she said that the hanging, pull out baskets would fit in 18" deep pantry.

Were you able to confirm that as well?

Total for my 41x18 pantry is about $400.

I bet the Closetmaid system would have come in right around the same number.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 11:55AM
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lexluthor

Wow, the phone customer service people for the Container Store are so nice and helpful.

I just spoke to someone else who tweaked the design a little. She also confirmed, once again, that I need 17 1/4" clearance to be able to close the doors in from of the sliding baskets. I have a solid 18".

I also mis-read the pricing. There's no charge for the cutting.

The system I need will cost about $325. Very reasonable and probably around the same price as Rubbermaid/Closetmaid would have come out to.

I'll make sure we have the design we need, order online and pick it up at the White Plains store Sunday. I was already going somewhere that was 1/2 of the way there, so it's not too far out of my way.

Looks like that have a lot of other great organizers. We'll definitely look around the store.

Thanks Chefkev!

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 3:42PM
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chefkev

lexluthor, the one thing I wasn't clear about was what type of doors you're going to have and how much space they'll take up. It would be helpful to know in terms of the design. Will you still have a full 18" of clearance after the doors go in and will the opening still be 41" or will it be a little smaller?

I just got off the phone with the Elfa support at my favorite container store. They are going to email me an alternate design for you which I'll post. You can definitely do the pull out baskets in the design you posted - you may want to go with wall-mounted brackets instead of the regular brackets hanging off of a top track. It's harder to install but would give you another up to another inch clearance.

Another possibility is to go with the cabinet sized 17 1/4" deep drawer frames and pull out drawers on the bottom (http://www.containerstore.com/browse/Product.jhtml?CATID=69161&PRODID=10021431) and shelves on top.

I installed 2 different closetmaid "shelftrack" closet systems from Home Depot. They're good quality, but I like the Elfa better and if you can get it at the 1/3 off sale price, they should be similar in price. One of the things I like best about the elfa ventilated shelving is that the shelf itself only takes 1/2" of space vertically whereas the closetmaid takes 1 1/2" - this adds up quickly and helps make the most of the space you have. The Container store does also has a lot of other cool organizational stuff to look at - It's a great place to get ideas and they carry a lot of things that other stores don't.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 10:09PM
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lexluthor

chefkev,

Let me know what you come up with. I'd like to order it by Wednesday for pickup first thing Sunday morning.

I measured again and it's actually 18" to the doorframe on left and right (doorframe is 2" wide) and it's 21" from back wall to doors when the doors are closed. 41" is width across including the doorframe.

I don't much care about harder to install. My contractor said he'll install whatever we buy, so no big deal if it takes him a few more minutes.

Thanks for the assist.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 10:30PM
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chefkev

I'm including an alternate design using cabinet sized 17 1/4" deep drawer frames - if you really have a 41" wide doorway, you could also go with two 10" frames and one 18" frame on the bottom. Either this or the system you posted will work. The system you posted is slightly more adjustable, but the one I'm posting will allow for more drawers and a solid melamine countertop at around counter height (either 29" or 41" if you wanted even more drawers).

If you wanted 39"-40" shelves on top instead of 36" ones you could buy the 48" ones and have them cut to size, but it would cost more and I'm not sure it's worth it.

This drawing is in the container store database (under chefkev) and if you call them they can open it up and make adjustments to it for you if you like this one better. Best wishes!

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 10:55PM
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scootermom

Just one thing to think about, and before I say it, consider the source: my Elfa free-standing unit w/ hanging drawers is 10 years old, and they may have redesigned these things, and they may work better wall-mounted.

But...What do you plan to keep inside those hanging drawers? I ask because my Elfa unit is not suitable for heavy things like cans and jars. Very hard to pull out; I pretty much hate it. It would possibly be ok for light, dry things like paper towels, bread, chips, noodles, linens (but I have noplace else to keep my jars and cans at the moment, so they are in the Elfa drawers).

Just something to check on -- you might see if there's a recommended weight limit; if you're considering using the drawers for jars, cans, etc, take a box of jars and cans over to your Container Store and try them out.

The folks here who have newer systems-- what do you keep in those hanging drawers, and how well do they operate for you?

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 11:58PM
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lexluthor

Chefkev,

Thanks for the alternate design. How useful is that melamine countertop going to be? Isn't there only a few inches there below the shelf above it?

That unit of 7 drawers is freestanding?

I think I'd almost rather just stay with my latest design and have a 15"Wx3'H area to the right of the drawers for something a bigger to put on the floor. It's a nice tile finished floor, so I do not have to hide the floor.

He's the last revision I had from Container Store. Any thoughts?

Scootermom, I guess we were thinking of lighter things in there, like loose 100 calorie pack type stuff.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2009 at 8:25AM
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lexluthor

Oops, I posted the pricing twice and left out this one.

I'd probably move the drawers up a bit higher than in the picture and maybe even go with 2 and not 3.

I think maybe with some indecision until we actually see how we are using it, that might make the adjustable system better for us.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2009 at 9:34AM
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chefkev

lex, Yes, the unit of 7 drawers is freestanding. You're right about the melamine countertop, it would be more useful if there was 16"-20" above it. I wasn't recommending one design over the other, I just wanted to make sure you knew you had another good option or two with more drawers. Your last design looks great and I'm a really big fan of adjustability. Enjoy! Be sure to post a picture when it's finished.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2009 at 10:53AM
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chefkev

scootermom - The Elfa design has not changed, but the Schaumburg Container Store made the following recommendations to keep their drawers working well:

"Elfa drawers are epoxy-coated steel, and we recommend that customers "clean" the runners (the u-shaped chanel that the drawer slides into) at least once a year using a silicone spray and soft cloth, like a paper towel. The silicone spray will ensure that the drawer continues to glide smoothly. The silicone spray also removes any dust or dirt that has settled inside the runners, which also helps the drawers glide smoothly. We do sell a bottle of silicone spray, but it is also something that can be purchased at hardware stores."

With regards to a "weight limit" for the elfa Drawer Units, we prefer to ask the customer how he or she intends to use the drawer unit. What type of items will be stored in the drawers? Narrower frame widths and shallower drawer depths would be recommended for heavier items. Ideally, the heaviest items like canned goods would be on shelves, and light weight items (like dry goods) would be in the drawer unit."

    Bookmark   April 22, 2009 at 1:24PM
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lexluthor

Well, here's what we wound up with.

I'm not sure it's right though. The area is 41"W. I wound up getting 36" shelves at their recommendation.

The shelf goes to about 1" from the wall on the right and about 3.5" from the wall on the left. That's a lot of wasted space over on the left.

I had to slide the 2 left most hanging standards over to the right a bit, so that the slide-out drawers could clear the door without the door having to be open 90 degrees or more.

When I called the Container Store and asked about getting 40" shelves, they said you could only put in 38" shelves in a 41" area. It took me a while to figure out why they were saying that, but I think they mean that the brackets should always be on the ends of the shelves, not further in, like I have it. I don't know why that would be necessary though. Is that going to be a problem?

Take a look at the pictures. Do you think that's too much wasted space on the left? Is there any reason I couldn't put in 40" shelves?

I'd really just like to fill up the pantry already and get all the food out of our living room and it's a 2 hour round trip to the Container Store to make the exchange, but I don't want it to look wrong. The other thing I'm worried about is that I'll go make the exchange and then find out, somehow, that they were correct that I shouldn't use 40" shelves and have to go back again and get the 36" shelves back.

Otherwise, the quality looks pretty good and I'm happy with everything, though, at first, that bottom drawer frame seemed to come out of the bracket when I pulled it most of the way out. I think I pushed it in tighter and it should stay now, but haven't really tested it enough.

Thoughts?

    Bookmark   May 2, 2009 at 7:57AM
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chefkev

Lex, They look nice! As long as your shelves are secure and firmly attached without any movement or sliding around, you should be fine. I definitely think you could have fit in 39" shelves (I think it's good to leave about and inch on either side), but then you have to pay up for the bigger shelves and cut them. I'm obsessed with utilizing every inch of space, so I might have done it, but most wouldn't. You can still utilize that extra space:
1. It's normally OK if a bigger box hangs over the shelf an inch or two
2. That space to the left can be perfect for taller items like a brooms, step ladders, table leaves or an ironing board - you could even shorten those shelves a inch or two if necessary. DW deliberately had me make the bottom 3 shelves one foot shorter in one of our pantries to easily fit our canister vacuum and all of its attachments.
3. It looks like there's enough room to put up a hook or two.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2009 at 4:25PM
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lexluthor

Thanks chefkev,

I slid everything over to the right a little bit and probably have about 4" on the left now. I little to narrow for a step ladder or electric broom, bu I'm sure we'll find something we can do there. For the extra 3", it's probably not worth the trip to make the exchange. It looks find how it is and, coming from our old pantry, we barely even half filled this one.

Thanks again for the referral to the Containter Store. It's a nice unit.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2009 at 5:39PM
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