Today, I’m excited to bring you the long overdue rundown of exactly what we did in my recent pantry makeover with TANSEL and just how happy that bit of home organisation heaven has made me. I mean, just look at her now! Sigh…
I remember when we put this kitchen in four years ago and how excited I was to have a full height and 900mm wide pantry, after surviving with a veritably teensy one for the short amount of time we lived with the old (sixties) kitchen. I mean, it looked massive. In reality though, it was full of dead space at the backs of the shelves and in between them. I just kept adding basket after box to try and group things together but in true Jen style, it soon became a case of ‘if it’s behind closed doors and nobody else sees it, who cares?’ and things got pretty ugly at times!
Enter Tanya Selever, the founder of TANSEL, whose pull-out solutions I’d been watching with awe and envy on Instagram for months. When she offered to help double my useable storage and make my pantry pretty (which, let’s face it, is satisfying too!), I didn’t need asking twice!
So, what did we do? With the help of her trusty installer Mark, we removed three adjustable shelves, added a vertical division in the upper part of the pantry and added pull-out storage. There are three full width drawers at the bottom, a whole bank of them on the lefthand side and on the righthand side, where I’d had a power socket put in to enable me to hide the toaster away (I have issues), we created a fun breakfast nook with some small shelves above for teas, jams and the like.
“This pantry had loads of wasted space, access issues in the lower sections and a power point with a toaster,” Tanya explains. “To make this space functional (and not creating a fire hazard with the shelves being too close to the toaster, required some ‘creative solutions’ (which the TANSEL team does like no other!).
“The spacing between the shelves created a whole lot of “air”, which really is an opportunity to create more useable storage. In a typical pantry like this, this “air” is common because you need to reach into the back but (more commonly) people just clutter the space by stacking items on top of each other. As a result you buy more of what you already have but just can’t see it. In short – the shelves become a haven for stuff that you can’t access.
“The other challenge we had (but really just another great opportunity) was the toaster and powerpoint. With a little thinking outside the square” this space could be transformed into a functional zone.”
Our objectives with this makeover were to create more useable storage, maximise the functionality of the space and create family friendly organisation. I was keen to have somewhere to organise the kids’ many individual snack items. they may not look the prettiest, but a pantry needs to really work for you as well as looking great and feeling organised. And the snack grid system Tanya suggested is actually one of my favourite parts!
How we organised it all
The pantry is now split into three distinct zones:
Taking out one shelf and adding three stainless steel TANSEL drawers (with removable non-slip bases) created 25% more usable space. “The bottom part of a pantry is always the most difficult to access so pull out storage is a must have,” Tanya says. “The great thing is you can add drawers as you need, when you need, and within your budget. We used the Drawer Organisation inserts to organise kids’ snacks and smaller items.” TANSEL created this system to provide maximum flexibility – you change and reconfigure it as you need.
Righthand upper pantry – toaster nook
We split the upper pantry so we could have the best of both worlds; the hiding place for the toaster (with enough space to ensure a fire hazard was not created when using it and still having storage above using shallow shelves. The open shelving also looks colourful and interesting as a bonus!
Lefthand upper pantry – slide out storage
“This solution really made the best of all available space. We kept the upper fixed shelf so Jen can store items not used on a regular basis, but everything else on the left was converted into pull out storage,” Tanya says. “We double the useable space between the upper and mid fixed shelves. The additional storage is now easy to access and with a little organisation, this pantry is now a winner!”
Tanya says all pantries with shelves have similar issues of dead space. “Most people are not aware that there are many ways to create functional zones and organise the space, which we did in Jen’s pantry. This makeover ticked many boxes because we used a wide range of solutions to store and organise. Decluttering and decanting is also another important “to do” if you want to take organisation to the next level.”
I must say I am really enjoying the decanting life (and we must mention the OXO POP Containers from Howards Storage World because they’re the best and the quality is evident) and filling things up after a trip to the shops. Most of all though, it makes it easy to see what I have so I don’t buy more until I need it. No more piles of bags of pasta in a corner!
So while many people think a butler’s pantry is the Ferrari of pantries, a regular, bog standard 900mm one can achieve greatness too, see! And some people just don’t have the space for a butler’s, especially if they’ve renovated an older home, as we have.
The TANSEL system is available via their website and through Howards Storage World and can be retro-fitted into any kind of kitchen. It can even be installed by a handy DIY-er. “People often need help finding the perfect solution for their space. Our range is extensive, which is great because so many things are possible, but we encourage people to contact our team for advice. We know that measuring and installing is not everyone’s cup of tea, or they are just simply too busy. We therefore offer a measurement and install service across Australia.”
They can even advise you how to minimise holes inside the cabinet if you’re renting. “Our products are made using stainless steel wire and come with a lifetime warranty so if you move house, there are many ways our products can be re-purposed!”
And the cost?
Transforming an existing cabinet is much more cost-effective than starting from scratch. What we did in my pantry would cost around $1700 including installation and additional materials. This includes a whopping seven stainless steel pullout baskets with opal bases and a lifetime warranty.
Thanks to my friends at The Wholefoods Refillery for helping fill my new canisters with pretty (and delicious!) food. Readers can get 20% off their first online order with the code JEN20.