Monday, October 10, 2016

Photos of our canning closet

These photos are to illustrate an article on how we built our canning closet for Self Reliance Magazine, published by Backwoods Home. These are posted so the editor can choose which one she wants.

Photo 1 (539 KB) -- boxes of rings stacked on the toilet in an unused bathroom

Photo 2 (1663 KB) -- Boxes of empty jars stacked in the shower stall

Photo 3 (281 KB) -- Unused bathroom stacked with canning supplies (and books)

Photo 4 (645 KB) -- Gutting the bathroom

Photo 5 (1421 KB) -- Gutting the bathroom

Photo 6 (1385 KB) -- Gutting the bathroom

Photo 7 (643 KB) -- Jars stacked in closet

Photo 8 (38 KB) -- First shelf installed

Photo 9 (50 KB) -- Second shelf installed

Photo 10 (49KB) -- All four shelves in

Photo 11 (80 KB) -- Like a navy bunk

Photo 12 (121 KB) -- Moving jars into the canning closet

Photo 13 (233 KB) -- Initial setup of canning closet (large shelving unit)

Photo 14 (223 KB) -- Initial setup of canning closet (smaller shelving unit)

Photo 15 (585 KB) -- Closet still had a window which permitted sunshine to come in

Photo 16 (353 KB) -- Covering the window

Photo 17 (628 KB) -- Installing 2x4 shelf supports for new shelves

Photo 18 (368 KB) -- Three new shelves

Photo 19 (635 KB) -- Dave Duffy visits our canning closet

Photo 20 (2155 KB) -- When stacking jars, it's important to know where things are

Photo 21 (2057 KB) -- A small flashlight helps in dark corners

Photo 22 (2052 KB) -- When stacking jars, try to use support (such as a shallow box)

Photo 23 (2225) -- Shallow boxes from soda cans -- ideal for stacking jars

Photo 24 (1799 KB) -- Top shelf (too high to reach w/o a ladder) is for storing extra rings, lids, etc.

Photo 25 (1888 KB) -- Canning closet today

Photo 26 (2038 KB)-- Multiple layers of jars

Photo 27 (2487 KB) -- Plastic lattice, cut to size, for earthquake protection

Photo 28 (2029 KB) -- The "fruit" shelves

Photo 29 (1975 KB) -- Fruits and meats

Photo 30 (2091 KB) -- Installing the lattice

Photo 31 (2009 KB) -- Upward-facing bracket for holding lattice

Photo 32 (1753 KB) -- Downward-facing bracket for holding lattice

Photo 33 (2019 KB) -- Earthquake lattice installed

Photo 34 (1982 KB) -- Buckets of staples stacked on the floor below the lowest shelf

Photo 35 (2186 KB) -- Boxes of empty jars stacked on the floor below the lowest shelf

Photo 36 (1791 KB) -- Empty boxes stored on top shelf


  1. Wow! You are really organized! However, I can't even imagine having an unused bathroom.

    1. This is an unusual house. It was originally built to be a machine shop, then it was converted into three apartments, and finally turned into a single residence. As such, when we bought it, it had three bathrooms, three kitchens, and five bedrooms. So the loss of one of the bathrooms was no big deal. My office is now one of the old kitchens. - Don

  2. Impressive stuff. However, always remember to store your provisions in numerous, different locations, as far apart as possible. As the old saying goes, don't put your eggs in one basket. Fire is the biggest problem, and can wipe out your supplies in short order.

  3. Suffering from extreme closet envy :-/

    I currently have your "before" chaos and no extra bathroom to covert. Beautiful job - by the way.

  4. Looks great - but now I'm nervous :) I live nearby, just over the Wash. border. Fire, yes, but I haven't thought about earthquakes!

  5. So many carbs ... so many starches ... I could not possibly eat them all! :-)

    Nice shelves though -- they're built with the knowledge of just how much all those jars actually weigh, which is what I would very much love commercial shelving companies to learn how to do ...

    1. You can and will if that is all you have.

  6. God Bless you Patrice! Your "before" bathroom looks like most parts of my house and your project gives me hope! Natokadn

  7. Amen on the comment about commercial shelving being practical for heavy weights - for my needs I finally ended up buying an antique Victorian-era cabinet, all handmade, wood, a bit beat-up but sturdy as a brick and now loaded full. Just couldn't find shelving locally that could hold the weight.

  8. All those jars and staples! Very nice! =)

  9. It's gorgeous. And I'm jealous.

    Ours was designed to be a "granny duplex" (and is, at least about 4 months out of the year). As such, it has two living rooms, two kitchens, five bedrooms, and three bathrooms. OK, when the whole family is present, 7 people live here (4 kids, MIL, Hubby, and me).

    Our second bathroom is seldom used. Mostly, the kids brush their teeth there (and someone consistently neglects to ever, ever flush the toilet). The shower/tub hasn't been used as anything other than a dumping ground for tools in almost 2 years.

    I am currently eyeing that bathroom (or at least the tub/shower area) with rebellion in my heart and remodeling on my mind...

  10. Looks amazing Patrice, and congrats to Don for building them big enough to serve as bunks as well.
    Always good to have things be dual purpose! ;)
    Janae @ Creekside Farmstead

  11. You have a grocery store in your house! How wonderful to "shop" and decide what is for dinner, knowing it is organic. A very visual way to "see the fruits of your labor!"

  12. Amazing to have a canning closet! Great work!

  13. What a wonderful idea, wish I had an extra bathroom but I am eyeing a extra bedroom with a walk in all your can goods and like here in Indiana, when the snow flies it can be heavy, so being prepared is always your blog

  14. OH, I am so jealous. My stuff is here and there(mostly there).

  15. Nice home grocery / pantry ,well done . We live in WA, close by to to you and have not given much thought to earthquakes . That is something we will consider in the future . Our main concern has been wildfires in our area .

  16. Good work folks,Nice Pantry! we went the metal commercial shelving route... I tossed the cheap particle boards that came with it, and cut 1 inch plywood shelves that slip in the steel frame, then attached them to the walls with concrete anchors..