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The return of the Monk and a prepper’s problem

The Wandering Monk and I (mostly the Monk, as usual) are building a pantry.

We started this morning. It was good to see the Monk again; he’s doing much better this season than the last time the days got short and dark.

For the last few years most of my food — bulk, freeze-dried, and otherwise — along with related equipment, has been wedged onto two bakers’ racks and a small bookcase at the back of the sunroom, hidden from street view by a shoji screen.

The 7 x 2.5-foot space was crammed full. It held a lot, but so much stuff was on top of stuff or underneath stuff or behind stuff that it was hard to get at or even to remember where to look when a specific item was needed.

Finally, that space will become an official pantry. With doors and everything! Whoohoo. And double the shelf space, plus a goodly amount of floor storage for larger items.

We’re using a design adapted from one Commentariat member Pat created (thanks, Pat). I’m sure I’ll have pix as we go. But here’s the only pic for now — not of the pantry-to-be, but of about 2/3 of what used to be in the un-pantry. It’s currently heaped on every available spot in the kitchen and sunroom.

The other 1/3 is teetering and leaning all over my previously tidy living room.

My preps are far from comprehensive and they’re for one person, not a whole family. I assume (and hope) you folks with larger food storage requirements have garages, basements, storage sheds, spare rooms, bunkers, or cleverly concealed spaces between your walls.

Me, I’ve got 7 x 2.5 feet at the back of the sunroom. I don’t even have a full compliment of cabinets in my kitchen to handle the overflow, just drawers and a few open shelves on a single wall. But thanks to the Monk, in a few days I’ll be making the most of that sunroom space.

We estimate 2.5 days for his part of the construction and a day or so for me to caulk and paint. Until then, no cooking, no elaborate food prep of any kind. Fine dining will consist of squeezing EZ-heat items through the tiny space left in front of the microwave door.

I’ll be sooooooo looking forward to getting all those goods and goodies off tables, counters, and floors, and having the opportunity to organize everything properly.

More later, but for the next few days, blogging will be catch-as-catch-can.


  1. maDDtraPPer
    maDDtraPPer December 11, 2018 4:07 am

    Pantries are the best! Like a walk in closet for food! Takes snacking to a whole new level!

  2. Pat
    Pat December 11, 2018 6:24 am

    I’m eager to see what the Monk can do with the pantry, and how you converted it to your own needs.

    You might need a few drinks after living with the kitchen for awhile; not sure I could take that much clutter for a week!

  3. kentmcmanigal
    kentmcmanigal December 11, 2018 6:53 am

    If I had known (or remembered) that you were building a pantry I would have sent you pictures of my parents’ pantry (which my grandfather built). It holds an incredible amount in the space it takes up.

  4. Claire
    Claire December 11, 2018 7:27 am

    Nobody knew. It’s been on my to-do list, but only yesterday morning did the Monk and I decide that it was the next project we’d take on. We’d originally planned to do several other small jobs first.

    I’d love to see the pictures, anyhow, if you want to send them.

    My pantry is small and because of budget it won’t have any fancy features. No pull-out racks, no can caddies, no lazy Susans, no closed cabinets — just shelves. But I enjoy seeing what others have done.

  5. larryarnold
    larryarnold December 11, 2018 9:36 am

    O.M.G. Ava was in the un-pantry? Or is she just normally sniffing around?

    Back when my eldest was 13 or so we had a conversation:
    Daughter: “Dad, I want a shelf. Will you make me one?”
    Dad: “I’ll help you make it. You know how.”
    Daughter: “But I found a plan for a shelf that folds up when you empty it. It’s complicated. I’ll help you make it.”
    Dad: “When was the last time anyone here emptied a shelf?”
    Daughter: “Um…

    “Nevermind. Help me build a shelf?”
    Dad: “Sure.”

    The main problem people get into designing any storage area is making it “just fit” for maximum utilization. Then you have to replace one item, and the new one is an inch wider, and nothing fits anymore.

  6. Claire
    Claire December 11, 2018 9:51 am

    “O.M.G. Ava was in the un-pantry? Or is she just normally sniffing around?”

    LOL. No doubt Ava would have loved to have been in the un-pantry. As it happened, she just loves to be wherever I am. And after a youth of trying to run away any time I pointed the strange black clicky-box at her, she now enjoys every photo op.

    Love the shelf story. So did Daughter get the fold-up shelf she wanted?

  7. Georgia
    Georgia December 11, 2018 12:19 pm

    A new pantry, that’s great ! I’m looking forward to photos. Ava looks like Joel’s dog, with legs. Your storage items look like Daughter 2’s bimonthly grocery shopping haul.

  8. larryarnold
    larryarnold December 11, 2018 12:26 pm

    The one she saw the design for was counter-balanced and spring-loaded. The one we built could be pushed up. I don’t remember that it ever was.

    When it was done, and she was putting stuff on it, she said, “If the other shelf was empty, it would fold up. If you wanted to put something on it that took two hands, you wouldn’t have a hand to pull it down with.”

    I hadn’t thought of that “feature” yet. Crafty, she is.

  9. Anonymous
    Anonymous December 14, 2018 5:51 pm

    I keep trying to talk some 3D printer folks into making a small coal seam mining robot. This would excavate a six inch horizontal slab shape and backfill it with concrete rather than letting the roof collapse. After a complete concrete box is formed under the back yard, with roof, floor, sides, and ceiling columns, the undisturbed dirt which supported the robot is excavated. Who wouldn’t want another several thousand square feet of hidden storage space to hide preps in? Think Andromeda Strain. The existing building is there to disguise the entry.

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