There is a very odd, tiny closet in my apartment hallway which doesn’t seem to have a purpose. The closet is almost 40” wide, which would be great except that the opening is only 25” across, and it’s only 7.5” deep! Even building management staff pretty much just shrug their shoulders when asked about this closet. Fortunately, I realized when I was planning my space before moving in that this weird little closet is close enough to the kitchen to be used as a pantry! Unfortunately, the extremely shallow depth meant that finding appropriate shelves was difficult, to say the least.
Shortly after moving in, I stuck a cheap set of CD shelves in the pantry closet, in the interest of getting unpacked. This solution was semi-functional at best, due to the short height of the shelves, the lack of clearance between them, and the bi-fold door:
That’s just. . . .ugh. Let’s not talk about that any more, I’ll have nightmares.
After I finished unpacking and got settled into the new apartment, I continued my search for better shelves for the pantry closet. Too short, too tall, too wide, not wide enough. . . .I felt like Goldilocks in search of a bowl of porridge. Throughout months of searching, I kept circling back to the Molger shelving series at Ikea – it was the right width and depth, it was made from real wood, and it came in a nice light birch finish. The problem was, the only options that fit were a 3-shelf hanging wall shelf (hanging a shelf full of heavy canned and dry goods just didn’t seem like a good idea, especially considering my “home improvement” skills) or an etagere, which was floor-standing and had 4 shelves on top, but no bottom shelves (thus wasting half the height of the shelf unit.) And of course, the wall shelf did not fit inside the un-shelved section of the tall shelf, so I couldn’t just get them both and use them together. That is, until I finally had a brilliant realization:
Both shelf units use the same horizontal shelves. I could just drill holes in the legs of the tall shelf, and attach the shelves of the hanging wall shelf (sans uprights) in the lower section! It’s GENIUS!!!
So, when August rolled around, it was time for another monthly “room project” and I decided that meant it was time to pick the kitchen/pantry for the monthly project, and get those shelves built. Of course it turned out my local Ikea didn’t have the tall shelf in stock, hadn’t in a long time, and had no ETA for when (or if) it might show up. Luckily, both shelving units were for sale on the Ikea web site, and the cost of shipping was about the same as the cost of any impulse purchases from wandering through the store anyway, so I went ahead and ordered them.
Once the shelves were delivered (amazingly, in only about a week) it was time to get building and get that pantry sorted out!
One Molger wall shelf (half height,) and one Molger Open Storage shelf (full height) – they do indeed use the same horizontal shelves. From the wall shelf, 2 of the shelves are attached with screws all the way through the uprights, and 1 shelf attaches with wooden pegs set halfway into the uprights:
Tools required: cordless drill, and 2 drill bits. 1 size for the shelves which are screwed in, and a larger size for the shelves which are attached with wooden pegs:
Picking drill bit sizes was easy, I just matched them to the holes in the uprights from the wall shelf, to ensure I had the proper size for each shelf type:
Once I had the drill bits selected, I used the uprights from the wall shelf as the template to mark the new holes for the tall uprights – since the short uprights wouldn’t be used, I drilled the middle holes (for the wooden pegs) the rest of the way through in order to make marking easy. Then laid the tall uprights side-by-side, with the wall shelf uprights placed in position on the lower half:
To mark each spot, I just used a smaller drill bit and buzzed through the center of each hole, leaving a faint indent in the wood:
Then very carefully drilled all the new holes – I found it best to start slowly so the finish didn’t crack:
Once the holes were drilled, I inserted the wooden pegs, making sure they were all deep enough (some weren’t, so I had to drill a bit more.) My assistant came over to make sure I had done this properly:
With everything drilled properly, it was time to start adding shelves! Sadly, Ikea used non-standard screws for these shelving units, so the hex bit I normally use with my electric screwdriver didn’t fit, and I was reduced to using their included Allen key instead. I found that the easiest way to screw the shelves on was to stand them on end and lay the first upright across the top of the 4 shelves held by screws:
Then turn the whole thing over and put in the 3 shelves held by wooden pegs:
And lay the 2nd upright across the top. To line everything up, I put in all the wooden pegs, then put all the screws through until they just reached each shelf, then went back and tightened them all down:
Stand it all up, and it’s a lovely, sturdy shelf all ready for pantry use, complete with one extra-high section for tall bottles:
Except. . . . . it turns out that unlike the previous shelf, this one doesn’t quite fit through the closet opening because the dratted bi-fold door is in the way:
Solution: curse profusely at the door, spend an hour and a few nicked fingers trying to get the door off because the frame clearance is so tight it doesn’t just lift out like it should. Once the door is removed, slide the shelf into the pantry. . . .Oooooorrrrrrrrrr NOT, because apparently the shelf is still 3/4 inch too wide to fit:
Curse a little bit more, then give up and take one upright off the shelf, slide it into the closet, and re-attach the upright (not an easy thing to do in a tight space like that.) Then attach the feet and level the shelf:
And fill it up with pantry goods! Just look how pretty it looks now, with plenty of shelving space for everything, and no awful bi-fold door to block half the space:
At some point I will hang a curtain across the pantry opening, but for now I’m just enjoying the sight of that wonderful, freshly organized space.