After reading all of the recent Extra Space Storage blog posts about organization, I have come down with a case of organization FEVER! Having bought our first home last year, my wife and I are slowly but surely going room to room organizing and decorating to our tastes and desires. One of the first areas we decided to tackle was our pantry.

When walking in from the garage, you enter the pantry. On one side of the room there are shelves for food while on the other side there is a small, open space where we’ve set up our dog’s pen for when we are out of the house. Due to the lack of available space in this room, my wife and I would walk straight through and into the kitchen to drop our bags and take our shoes off. Needless to say, we weren’t very diligent in putting away our belongings, which usually resulted in a kitchen cluttered with shoes, bags and coats.

One day we finally had enough. To help us become more organized, we decided to better utilize our pantry space by converting one side into a mudroom area where we could shed our coats, bags and shoes when coming home. Before we embarked on this project, the shelf side of the pantry looked like this:

Unfortunately we had already removed the food from the shelves before this picture was taken, but you can imagine what it looked like. We decided to flip flop the room, moving these shelves to the opposite, smaller side where the dog pen was placed and using the larger side for the mudroom.

Here is a shot of the finished product:

The bench is great as it allows us to sit down and remove our shoes. The storage baskets are large and provide ample space for us to store multiple pairs of shoes. These also keep our dog from chewing on shoes while we are gone. The coat rack keeps us from throwing our bags on the floor and tossing our coats and jackets over our kitchen table chairs.

I was shocked at how quick, easy and inexpensive this project was. All of the tools needed for this project I was able to borrow from family and friends or I already had. My in-laws had some extra bead board they gave to us for free. I had left over white paint for the trim (always save your leftover paint!). There were only three things I had to buy for this project:

– Trim to go over the top of the bead board – $26.00
– Hooks to mount to the wood piece I already had – $18.00
– Light blue paint – $15.00

All in all I was able to complete this room for under $60.00. By doing this project myself, borrowing tools from family and friends, and using materials I already had or was given for free, I saved hundreds of dollars.

It was a great opportunity for my wife and I to work together and the end result is exactly what we envisioned. Our little dog is happy now too, as we have done away with her pen and now let her roam the entire room when we are gone (not having her pen set up saves a ton of space). Now it’s onto the next project!

Garret Stembridge