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Converting a CD Tower into a Pantry Shelf

When we moved into our new home, we found an old, tall tower style CD holder shelf that the previous owners had left.

It was supposed to be screwed into the wall, but the screws were loose.

Seeing it as a hazard, Eileen wanted to remove it and toss it, but I had a feeling that we could repurpose it one day into something more useful.

So off it went into the corner of the garage where it sat for almost a year.

As the months went by, I was starting to regret my decision of keeping the tower because it was always getting in my way when working in the garage.

Then, one day as I was looking for some cashews in the pantry, I noticed something very interesting.

One side of the pantry had an extra thick wall. It was actually twice the thickness of a regular wall. How unusual, I thought.

My mind immediate jumped to storage.

If there was empty space in that wall, it could open up the doors for all sorts of pantry storage ideas.

Turning a CD Tower into Pantry Storage - Awesome Upcycle!Ever since I built a sliding spice shelf in our previous home (in between the fridge and the wall), I had been eager to come up with something similar for our new home.

The pantry was getting difficult to navigate with all our spices, and we could never find anything we needed. Unfortunately, there was no decent space to build the equivalent, so I needed other options for spice storage.

This thick wall was the perfect solution to our pantry storage shortage.

Extra Pantry Storage - Repurposing a CD Tower into a Pantry Shelf

Planning for Extra Pantry Storage

First, I needed to assess the wall situation better.

I needed to know how much space was available inside this wall. For all I knew, it could have been thick to accommodate a central air duct.

I did some knocking on the wall and it sounded very hollow.

Still, I needed to know what was inside before unnecessarily ripping off a large chunk of drywall just to find the area impractical for use.

Using an Endoscope Camera

I took to the Internet and purchased a very cheap endoscope camera for my computer.

The endoscope would provide eyes into the wall and allow me peer around without causing too much damage.

When it arrived, I hooked it up to my laptop, tested it out a bit to get a feel for it.

Pictured below is the endoscope camera, which plugs into the computer via USB. â€‹

Using an Endoscope Camera to Look Inside Pantry WallsTo give you an example of the detail it gives, I placed the camera inside my son’s fire engine, and displayed on the computer screen is a very detailed profile of the driver.

Using an Endoscope Camera to look into Walls - More Pantry StorageAfter testing it out, I then stuck it into a very small hole I drilled into the wall.

The camera had an adjustable light, so I could see inside the dark wall.

I looked up and down, and all around, and the endoscope revealed what I suspected all along – a lot of empty space!

Determining How to Use the Space

​Now that I knew what type of space I was dealing with, I had to brainstorm the best way to make use of it.

It was a tall vertical space, so I was thinking along the lines of a vertical shelf to hold spices. That would certainly help with storage.

I went off into the garage to plan out designs for a custom-built shelf to fit the area.

In the garage, I saw some scrap wood resting in the corner that could be turned into shelf pieces, but once again, that tall tower style CD shelf was in the way.

The CD shelf was really starting to test my patience.

I was about to finally toss it out when I had a eureka moment. You know, that CD shelf looked very similar in size to the space that I discovered lurking in the pantry walls.

I anxiously took out my tape measure and did an exact comparison.

The shelf would indeed fit into the wall!

Good thing we did not throw out the CD shelf (more reason for Eileen to start accepting my hoard-ish ways).

It seemed like the perfect solution for spice storage.

It was not very deep, so it wouldn’t hold large cans or boxes, but would easily hold spices and baking materials, which was exactly what we needed.

Installing the CD Tower

Excited about repurposing the CD tower into a pantry shelf, I couldn’t wait to get started. I love being able to repurpose some of the junk I keep around. It’s my justification for keeping everything. And, we really needed the pantry storage. I was tired of rooting through baskets of spices.

Preparing the CD Tower

I could have used the shelf unaltered, but I decided to make it a little shorter for the pantry.

The full height would have sent it nearly to the ceiling, which would made it a little impractical for pantry storage that high.

Cutting into the Drywall

After the shelf was shortened, I needed to cut the hole in the drywall.

I first used a pencil and ruler to outline the exact cutout on the wall. Then I used a special drywall handsaw (commonly called a jab saw) to cut out the hole.

It was a little messy working with the drywall, so I kept my shop vac close by.

After the hole was made, I inserted the shelf into the wall to get a feel for how it would look.

It looked amazing! I couldn’t wait for Eileen to see.

Affixing the Shelf

Now I needed to permanently affix the shelf.

The shelf was not resting directly on the floor inside the wall (it was a few inches above the baseboard), so first I had to attach a 2 x 4 cross piece to rest the shelf on.

I used my Kreg pockethole jig and some pockethole screws to attach both ends of a short 2 x 4 to the wall studs.

I repeated the process to attach another cross piece above the shelf to secure the top.

Then I slid the shelf in between the upper and lower 2 x 4 supports and attached the shelf permanently using some screws.

Applying the Trim

All that was left now was to apply some trim.

I actually had a lot of extra trim left over from redoing some kitchen baseboard a few months prior.

The trim I had originally purchased was too tall for the kitchen, so I had cut it shorter using my table saw. Good thing I held onto the cutoffs.

They were the perfect size to use as trim for the new pantry shelf.

It was already painted too. I secured the trim directly to the shelf using some finishing nails.

Finishing Touches

I adjusted the heights of the individual shelves to accommodate a variety of spice configurations, and then the pantry shelf project was complete.

I loaded it up with all my spices and our baking materials, which freed up so much space in the pantry. It truly was such a perfect pantry storage solution.

Making More Space in the Pantry with Upcycling a CD TowerThis was one of the more simple projects I’ve done recently for such a big reward. I completed the project in a few hours, and best of all, it was free! If you are looking for pantry storage ideas, think outside of the box. You never know what you’ll come up with:)

I’m hoping to repurpose more of my stashed finds in the near future.

46 Comments

  1. That’s a really smart idea! Kind of makes me wish I had a reason to try this. 😉 (visiting from Thrifty Thursday)

    1. Eileen @ Just Measuring Up says:

      Thanks, Julie! Ash thinks of some pretty cool things :))

  2. Angela D. Boone says:

    What a brilliant idea! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Eileen @ Just Measuring Up says:

    Thanks so much, Angela!!:))

  4. Super clever idea! It looks like such a great way to store those smaller things that can really get disorganized in a hurry.

    1. Eileen @ Just Measuring Up says:

      Thanks so much, Natasha! Yes, it is perfect for spices and baking materials 🙂

  5. What a great project! Well done 🙂

    1. Eileen @ Just Measuring Up says:

      Thank you so much, Kate! :))

  6. Mother of 3 says:

    What a great idea!

    1. Eileen @ Just Measuring Up says:

      Thanks so much!! We are enjoying it:))

  7. That CD tower was meant to be a pantry shelf I’m sure! It fits in perfectly and is an amazing storage shelf now! What a great idea, good job and Thank you so much for sharing at Sweet Inspiration this week!

    1. Eileen @ Just Measuring Up says:

      Hi Katrin! Thanks so much – yes, Ash thinks of the best ideas!! 🙂 Thank you for hosting the party! 🙂

  8. LOVES! This is the second project you guys have done that I’ve sent the link to my husband. Keep them coming!
    #happynowlinkup

    1. Eileen @ Just Measuring Up says:

      Wow, what an awesome compliment!! Thank you so much:)) Will do!!

  9. Karyl | Karyl's Kulinary Krusade says:

    This is such a fabulous idea! Now I wish I still had my old CD tower from a million years ago 🙂

    1. Eileen @ Just Measuring Up says:

      Thanks so much, Karyl! Ash thinks of the best ideas:)

  10. Lindsay @ The DIY Mommy says:

    Such a great idea!! This makes my heart smile …ORGANIZATION 🙂

    1. Eileen @ Just Measuring Up says:

      Thanks so much, Lindsay! I love any project that’s free :))

  11. I love a good upcycling story! That’s definitely a strange width wall you have there. Do you have any idea why it’s so wide in the first place? Thanks so much for sharing at the #happynowlinkup!

    1. Eileen @ Just Measuring Up says:

      Thanks so much, Leslie! It is – I think the builders just put two walls back-to-back – to our advantage! 🙂 Have a great weekend!

  12. Such a functional way to utilize space! Looks awesome!

    1. Eileen @ Just Measuring Up says:

      Thanks, Caitlin!! It freed up so much pantry space:)

  13. Jamie@The Mom Gene says:

    This is GENIUS

    1. Eileen @ Just Measuring Up says:

      Thanks, Jamie!! 🙂 Ash thinks of the best ideas:)

  14. the cape on the corner says:

    wow, what a great idea!
    b

    1. Eileen @ Just Measuring Up says:

      Thanks, B! Happy Holidays!

  15. The Cd towers are good for shallow clothes closets too. I want to get more for all the closets eventually. Via This is how we roll linky party

    1. Eileen @ Just Measuring Up says:

      Good idea, Crystal! 🙂

  16. Sherry Nappa says:

    Great idea! Wish I had something like this at my house. Thanks for sharing at Funtastic Friday.

    1. Eileen @ Just Measuring Up says:

      Thanks, Sherry :))

  17. Helen at the Pleasures of the NW says:

    I’m Pinning this!! What a great idea – Thanks for sharing on the Pleasures of the NW’s DIY party – and have a Merry Christmas!

    1. Eileen @ Just Measuring Up says:

      Thanks so much, Helen!! Merry Christmas to you! 🙂

  18. What a great idea! Thanks for sharing this at Coffee and Conversation last week 🙂
    Happy New Year, and hope to see you “over there” again!

    1. Eileen @ Just Measuring Up says:

      Thanks, Pat! 🙂 Happy New Year to you! 🙂

  19. Brenda Young says:

    What a great space saving solution, living in a small Cottage I can surely appreciate using every square inch for storage, great project! pinning for later and Thanks for sharing it at Fridays Furniture Fix!

    1. Eileen @ Just Measuring Up says:

      Thanks, Brenda!! We try to use every inch too 🙂

  20. Sharon@BlueWillowHouse says:

    Great idea and a wonderful repurpose of an item that would have ended up in the dump. Thank you for sharing at Vintage Charm.

    1. Eileen @ Just Measuring Up says:

      Thanks, Sharon!! :)) Happy New Year!

    1. Eileen @ Just Measuring Up says:

      Thanks, Lori!! Happy New Year to you!! 🙂

    1. Eileen @ Just Measuring Up says:

      Thanks, Hannah!! He actually didn’t take the door off. In the photos, it’s just swung open. If you email me (eileen @ justmeasuringup dot com), I can send you a larger photo. What would you replace your doors with? Or would you have an “open” closet?

  21. Angie ~ ambient wares says:

    Hello again! I’ve picked you and your CD tower as one of my faves which will be featured at tonight’s Funtastic Friday party!

    1. Eileen @ Just Measuring Up says:

      Hi again Angie!! Thank you SO much! We are so honored!!! :))) Happy New Year!

  22. Sandra Garth says:

    Wow this is very clever and thankfully you didn’t toss the CD tower. My husband is always busy with projects and I’m going to get the endoscope camera for him.

    1. Eileen @ Just Measuring Up says:

      Hi Sandra, Thanks!! Ash is so talented 🙂 Yesss the camera is so cool :))

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