Introduction: Pantry

About: I helped start Instructables, previously worked in biotech and academic research labs, and have a degree in biology from MIT. Currently head of Product helping young startups at Alchemist Accelerator, previous…
Turn an unused coat closet into a pantry, and store 5 years of canned goods for maximum disaster preparedness!

Step 1: Find a Likely Candidate

Identify an underutilized closet near your kitchen.
We don't really wear coats here in the Bay Area, so our empty coat closet was a perfect candidate.

Step 2: Smash

Use your favorite crow bar to remove any existing closet infrastructure. Try not to make too many holes in the wall, as you'll have to patch them up later.

Step 3: Spackle

Fill all nail holes and ancillary smashes with spackle. If the holes are small use standard spackle, adding spackle in layers and being sure to firmly press it into the wall surface. For larger holes, use lightweight space-filling spackle or joint tape, then finish with standard spackle after the hole filler is allowed to dry.

Step 4: Sand and Wash

After the spackle dries, give the area a light sanding.

Next wash the walls of the closet thoroughly to remove any residual dirt, and lightly sponge over the spackled areas to smooth them off and remove any residual sanding dust.

Step 5: Paint and Shelf Brackets

Paint the closet with one coat of primer and two coats of good quality paint.

Install shelf brackets or other support system. These are functional if ugly; we plan to cover the shelves with enough food that they won't be visible anyway.

Step 6: Cut Shelves

Measure your closet and cut the shelving to fit. We did this after installing the brackets so we could accurately leave cutouts for the brackets, and fit the shelf snugly against the back wall of the closet.

Measure twice, cut once, and all of that. Then give the shelves a light sanding.

Step 7: Poly Shelves

Give the shelves several coats of polyurethane. Let each coat dry overnight (or as specified on the can) and give a VERY light sanding with 220 grit sandpaper and a wipe with tack cloth before the next coat. Stain your shelving first if you prefer.

Set the shelves on nail supports to to dry; this allows you to poly both sides in one go. I prefer foam brushes, but the cheap bristle ones will also do if you pre-remove the shedding bristles. Dispose of the brush after use.

Step 8: Install Shelves

Put in the bottom set of shelf brackets and pile all of the shelves in on top. Have a helper scoot them up individually while you place the brackets at the appropriate loacations. This will enable you to avoid tedious maneuvering in tight spaces and banged-up knuckles during the installation steps.

Step 9: Load Shelves

Your finished shelves are ready to be loaded. Stock up on canned goods now and be prepared for the next natural disaster!