Pantry Makeover Plan and Prep -

Pantry Makeover Plan & Prep

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With our pantry makeover plan in hand, we’re ready to bring tons of storage to a big room that barely had any before!

I know, I know, I know.

I know!

You were expecting something different. You were expecting the craft room reveal. Sadly, madam, I must inform you (and it pains me to do so) that there has been precisely zero progress on the craft room since my last post on the subject.

How is that possible, you ask? Weren’t you just about finished, you wonder?

Well, yes, but two very important factors have played into this entirely unavoidable delay.

Factor the First: we have a ton of crap considerable amount of belongings strewn about various storage facilities in the Florida panhandle. The farthest away (and far and away the most expensive) are the two units we (until yesterday) kept in Fort Walton Beach. Not wanting to carve out a kidney to pay for another month’s rent, my babes and I worked overtime this past week to transfer the contents of two 10×20 storage units from Fort Walton Beach to our house and some units we rent here in Freeport.

Factor the Second: …and this one correlates to Factor the First…we’re getting buried alive under boxes here, because almost no rooms are ready for action. We’re waiting on a contractor to remove those hideous dining room columns and build a wall. Until that is done, I can’t get a start on laying LVP in the main area. And because the LVP isn’t laid, we have nothing set up in the dining room, living room and bonus room.

To complicate matters, my kitchen is a blivet.

What’s a blivet, you ask? I didn’t know either until my father explained it to me sometime in the 1980s.

I can’t remember what we were doing, but it prompted my dad to say, “Hey Gregs, do you know what a blivet is?”

I was young and not yet schooled in the ways of the world outside my little farm town in central Connecticut, so of course I’d never heard of the exotic “blivet.” But it sounded vaguley French…or maybe Yiddish? A relative of the croissant or the blintz, perhaps?

“Dunno,” I said to my dad.

“A blivet, Gregs,” he said as a smile crept into his voice, “is ten pounds of shit in a five pound bag!”

The visual was immediate and immensely satisfying. In my mind, the bag is a grain sack. It’s funny, while writing this post, I checked on it to make sure my memory of the word was correct, and right there on Urban Dictionary, the very first definition is “ten pounds of shit in a five pound bag.”

Anyway, my new kitchen is a blivet, except instead of being stuffed with…crap, it’s overfilled with all the things that made up my Georgia kitchen. Now that kitchen had storage space that this one just doesn’t have…yet!

Of course, this Florida kitchen will have space, too! But that project is a pretty long way down the road, so we need to make the best of what we have.

And that means making storage by any means necessary. Because all the boxes that have been loafing and freeloading around the kitchen have started to wear out their welcome. We need at least one room in the house that isn’t a construction site or a homeless cardboard box encampment.

So what this Florida kitchen lacks in cabinet space, it does make up for somewhat in pantry space. To be fair, it’s a pretty damn big pantry! Bigger than Georgia and way bigger than Connecticut.

But as is almost always the problem, the builders cheaped-out on a monumental scale and tossed a bare minimum of wire shelves in that beautiful big space.

I don’t know, maybe I’m being too harsh on the hapless boobs who stapled this house together. Maybe there were on to something far grander? I mean, the Great Pyramids of Giza were each built to entomb one lousy mummified pharaoh. The Taj Mahal and its attendant structures were painstakingly assembled to entomb the remains of only the favorite wife of the six taken by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan during his life.

So maybe the builders of this Florida home thought they were doing something important by placing something so dinky into something so grand.

Or maybe they were careless, cost-cutting oafs. I guess we’ll never know for sure.

Anyway, though the craft room makeover was the first project we started, this pantry makeover will be the first we finish.

And for those of you following us on Instagram, you may already be familiar with this project, as I’ve been posting IG Stories about it since the weekend! If you missed those, you can find them all collected in one of those story highlight button thingamabobbers on our profile. For those of you not on Instagram, this may be a good time to start, as I’ve committed to ramping up my video game. It’s your chance to see and hear way more of me than you ever wanted!

Let’s also connect on

Pantry Makeover Plan

The Before

So here’s what we have. This is how it looked in the beginning. Not too shabby, right? Not overflowing at least.

pantry before pic

But as the days have worn into weeks, it’s gotten stuffed like a German sausage with unopened boxes and all sorts of other crapola. We need to get those storage units emptied, and there ain’t much room left! So here’s what it looks like now:

pantry before makeover

Keep in mind, this isn’t nearly all of it. There are several more packed boxes outside the pantry just itching to get in!

Our plan is to gut the pantry of its wire shelves, repair the damage, paint the walls and then install new shelves made from edge-glued wood boards.

Let’s start the process, and I’ll tell you more along the way.

My first step was to remove the current inhabitants, starting with the remains of our pandemic paper towel and toilet paper supply. Knock hoarders all you want – this ass will never go without toilet paper again!

Taking Measure

Even before the cleanout, my babes wanted me in that pantry with a tape measure so she could whip up a plan.

measuring a pantry for new shelves

I’m more of a Sketchup guy when it comes to these things, but Handan is old-school engineer. All she needs is a pencil and something to write on!

The Plan

The original pantry had four 16-inch shelves on the left, three 16-inch shelves on the right, and some dinky shelves on the back wall. Handan’s plan is for me to build a floor-to-ceiling system of shelving that wraps around the entire pantry. The shelves on the left and on the back wall will be 12 inches and those on the right will be 16 inches. Here’s the schematic my babes drew and gave to me to work off of.

pantry makeover plan

There will be 6 shelves. The first will leave and 18-inch space from the floor. The second will have 15 inches, and the rest will have 12 inches. The 18-inch space will accommodate my really tall bottles of oil and anything else big I may buy for cooking. The 15-inch shelf will be tall enough to fit the biggest cereal box, which to my knowledge is the Walmart or Costco version of Frosted Flakes – one of Baris’s favorites.

It’s one of Handan’s favorites, too. In fact, if you look closely at the top of the drawing above, you’ll see “14 inch frostie,” a reference to her beloved Frosties. That’s what Frosted Flakes were called in the UK when she spent her summers there as a kid. While I was writing this post, she has since learned that the UK has now started calling them Frosted Flakes, and she is not happy, lemme tell you, lol! You don’t mess with someone’s nostalgia!

I will make the shelves from paint-grade edge-glued boards. They are pretty widely available at Lowe’s, but everything is hit or miss these days, so I may have to check a few stores to find the exact ones I’m looking for.

The Cleanout

man throwing a roll of paper towels

After a while, I got it all emptied…and this still isn’t everything!

pantry shelves emptied into kitchen

Here’s what it looked like cleaned out but not-ye-dismantled.

empty wire pantry shelves
empty wire pantry shelves

Dismantling the Wire Shelves

Once emptied, I could start in on my favorite part – destroying the wire shelves.

man removing wire shelves from pantry

Unfortunately, my babes uttered the most-feared words while I was removing these hideous shelves.

“Save them, my babes,” she said, “we’ll use them in the garage.”

I moaned inwardly, but carried on in silence. Drat! I wanted them gone from my life forever!

Removing these wire shelves left the usual hole-strewn walls to deal with. It’s a mess. But it’s a noble mess!

Prepping the Walls for Paint

pantry wall with holes
mess on floor after removing wire shoves

Before spackling, I used my trusted method for prepping the holes.

When the holes were prepped, I applied the spackle. This was my first time repairing damage on knockdown texture walls, and I wasn’t sure if it was going to work.

man spackling holes in a wall

I was ready to use a can of knockdown texture repair in case spackle didn’t cut the mustard. Man, I hoped it didn’t come to that. It’d be a lot of work for a barely-seen space. Fingers crossed!

It looked promising…

sanding spackle

I was able to finesse the spackle with the edge of the random orbit sander enough to satisfy myself that no one would see the repair marks, especially once shelves were installed!

sanding spackle
repaired wall

A final vacuum before sanding. Note the hearing protection I’m wearing throughout most of this project. If you read my post about our coat closet makeover in Georgia, you may recall that I permanently damaged my hearing on that little project. Lesson learned – as most of them are, the hard and painful way! Oh well, what’s a little ringing between friends?

man vacuuming pantry floor before painting


Just like in our (nearly finished) craft room, we used Valspar’s Swiss Coffee color with Sherwin-Williams Infinity satin paint. As you can see, it brightened the pantry right up!

man painting a pantry

The New Idea

Now, the original plan was for me to paint the shelves, top and bottom, with cabinet paint. But then my babes had a great idea to cover the tops with a faux-marble contact paper. We think it’s going to look amazing!

All of these shelves will be supported by 1×2 pine boards. It’s a pretty straightforward build, and it will give us a TON of storage space in that beautifully-sized-but-criminally-under-shelved pantry.

Now that you’ve seen the plan, check out the big pantry makeover reveal and don’t forget to watch the progress on our Instagram Stories highlights!

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  1. We always called that horrible wall finish “orange peel.” It’s a Fla & sometimes Calif thing. We gave up trying to find a house without it & decided to just stay in NC when we retired! Good luck!

  2. Bless you for your gift of gab. I came for the free printable 3.5 years ago, stayed for the writing style. Hilarious!

  3. That knock-down texture is in Colorado too. Check out Mr. Jalapeno on Pinterest and Instragram, he has wonderful ways to match it. Keep at it! You so motivate me for my own projects, thanks!

  4. I’m really looking forward to seeing what you do with the new house, although I must admit I was gutted when you moved from the last one. Handan might be happy to know that Frosties are very much still a thing over here in the UK, made by Kellogg’s. The supermarket own brands are sometimes called frosted flakes to get round the trademark/copyright but Frosties are still the best.

  5. Knock-down all over Texas!!!! Hate it. I’m from the Midwest never knew they did anything but smooth. Much preferred. Absolutely love your humor Greg. How old was that Dewalt level?

  6. Thanks for all the info and details. My father was from PA and he used blivet a lot! He also used the 10 lbs in a 5 lb bag visual but I didn’t know they were the same! Any ideas about pissmuckle?

  7. The pantry is wonderful! Love your tutorials! Did you Dad also teach you what a flaming blivet is? You light the paper bag of manure on fire on a non-friend’s front steps, ring the bell, and run for a hiding place to watch him stomp the fire out! Never had the nerve to actually do it…but I can think of a few I wanted to do it to!

    1. I learned about that one from my contemporaries back in grammar school. It was the stuff of legend. Never knew anyone who actually did it, but there were rumors…