Use an armoire as extra storage for your canned goods.

Turning an Armoire Into a Pantry

by Kris Gleba

As a mom, you throw nothing of value away. Your old T-shirt becomes a child's painting smock, and old pantyhose keep tomato plants tethered to their cages. Add to that list turning an armoire into a pantry, which not only adds storage and function to your kitchen, but also helps you maintain your upcycling credentials. Once used to store clothes, shoes, books, toys -- or as a passageway to another land, this wardrobe can now store your staples such as canned goods, pasta and secret stash of chocolate bars.

1. Armoire Amore

Prior to removing or simply moving shelves and rods, decide where and how you want to use your beloved armoire. After decorating, move the armoire to an area in or near the kitchen that won't block pathways and confirm that when you open the doors, you don't hit nearby cabinets. To determine this, measure the armoire with the doors closed and open and then, using those measurements, see if the armoire will work where you intend it. The armoire can serve as supplementary storage for your rare, but potent, trips to the discount warehouse. Yes, you will find a use for five cases of canned lima beans. The armoire could also be the designated spot for children's school lunch items, or it could contain supplies for a certain activity, such as baking or canning. Decide how you want to use the armoire, draw up a sketch that shows where items will be stored, and only then do you remove whatever original rods or shelves you are certain you won't use.

2. My Pretty Pantry

Before you move the armoire to or near the kitchen, you need to paint it. Lightly sand the armoire and then paint it with two coats of primer. Paint the armoire a shade that will complement either your kitchen's cabinets or the kitchen wall color. Only paint the armoire the same shade as the wall if you're interested in domestic applications of camouflage. Paint the interior a bright shade of paint you've always been hesitant to try. Your pantry items will stand out against the bright backdrop.

3. Armoire Amazement

Make the most out of the armoire's doors so they will truly amaze you and your guests. Remove any mirrors from the exterior of the doors, unless you want to see yourself at work in the kitchen. No one, not even you, needs to see you licking cake batter off the beater. Replace the glass with plywood, chicken wire or fiberglass screen mesh. When using solid doors, don't limit their interior possibilities. Paint the interior of the doors with chalkboard, magnetic or whiteboard paint. Install sheets of pegboard on the doors and hang lightweight tools, aprons or kitchen linens from hooks.

4. Pantry Raid

Skillful storage will make it easier for you to find the pine nuts, but, unfortunately, it will also be easier for your partner to find the spicy, and smelly, pretzels. Store sugar, flour and other common items in matching glass or plastic jars. If storing rice or pasta in jars, tape cooking directions to the inside of the jar lid or to the bottom of the jar. Metal cupboard shelves allow you to maximize storage space for canned goods, while plastic shoe boxes corral small goods and foods stored in small pouches. Store the heaviest goods on the bottommost shelf to avoid tipping. Use the armoire's drawers, if any, to store linens as well as rarely used items such as cookie cutters and cake decorating tools.

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