DiY Rolling Jar Storage

2 Materials
1 Day
In order to achieve the goal of pristine countertops set forth in Space Hacker: DiY Slide-Out Shelves, I needed to relocate most of the crap that had been inhabiting my lower cabinets. For much of the stuff, I followed by my preferred method of dealing with unused and unwanted crap:

1) Find a large cardboard box in the big pile of large cardboard boxes taking up considerable real estate in the basement.
2) Toss unwanted crap in the large cardboard box.
3) Close the large cardboard box (at this point, if done properly, memory of the box's contents should start to fade).
4) Carry the large cardboard box to the basement.
5) Search for space, preferably out of the way and hidden (what was in that box, again?)
6) Deposit the large cardboard box, turn around and walk away forever (what box? What are you talking about? I don't remember any box!)
7) Tell no one what I've done.

But sometimes those cabinets held things that I needed, like food that Handan had grown and I had canned.

I couldn't just toss my sauce into the pit of forgotten gadgets! I needed that cabinet to hold my food processor and slow cooker/pressure cooker/yogurt maker/rice maker (which is one of the greatest gadgets of all time - someday I'll write about it), but there was no place in my crowded kitchen to put those jars. I certainly couldn't add them to the pantry - that would be suicide. In fact, I needed to brave the wilds of my pantry to rescue some jars of homemade goodies that had been marooned in there since September: ghost pepper jelly, habanero jelly, sweet-and-spicy cherry peppers, peach habanero salsa and barbecue sauce. There was a whole ecosystem of sweet, tangy, spicy excellence in those jars that had been neglected for too long. But where to put those colorful jars of butt-puckering perfection? I scanned the kitchen. Nada. No shelf space left, no cabinet space that wasn't spoken for, and the counters were off-limits. But wait! What was that there?
Look at all that wasted real estate! Okay, I could work with that space. People live in smaller spaces in New York City and San Francisco and pay good money for the privilege!

I whipped out a measuring tape and took some hasty measurements (okay, I'll spare you the wait - I was a little too hasty, and I screwed up a measurement. When did I discover my error? When the piece was finished-but-not-painted. More on that later.) I jotted my measurements on a small piece of paper and made a quick sketch. I would build rolling shelves to hold my jars of precious spicy stuff.

The shelves would fit exactly into the space shown above: the top of the enclosure would fit underneath the granite overhang and the bottom 4 inches or so would be recessed by 3/4 inch to account for the baseboard on the one side and at the back.

I descended into the basement to start construction. I can hear you thinking, "Oh, down in the basement with all your boxes of crap?" To which I reply, "What boxes?" I decided to make the rolling shelf enclosure out of 1/2 inch plywood. I cut all the pieces according to my sketch and dimensions. I know other bloggers out there take the time to plan their work with computer-aided design and cut sheets and computer-generated plans. They are right to do so. I make my calculations in my head and scribble them on a tiny yellow pad of paper. I make mistakes - usually a lot of them. Don't be like me. Plan your work properly. Anyway, here are most of the pieces (I realized later that I forgot a piece. Also, I sorta changed the design a little bit halfway through building. Again, don't be like me when you build.)
I used my Kreg Jig to drill all the pocket holes. Next I built up the carcass of the cabinet by installing the back, sides and top using pocket screws and glue.


When it was all built and sanded, it was time to give it over to Handan for painting.

Handan has a paint sprayer that she absolutely loves. I'm all ankles and elbows when it comes to spray painting, so I just get out of her way and let her do her thing. **Here is where a bunch of painting happened** And, wow, it's done and filled with jars!
You may be wondering why those bars are so low. They are at the exact height they need to be to allow wide-mouth quart-sized canning jars to be placed on the shelves. Since there is very little clearance for the jars, they are not able to tip over and spill out. The only way they can be removed is to lift them up about a centimeter and slide them straight out. That was the idea for the big jars, and this summer there will only be big jars in there. For now, there are some small jars living in there, but I'm not worried about them falling out.

As for those small-mouth quart-sized jars - well, I admit I didn't plan for them. They are taller than the wide-mouthed ones. They don't fit without a small struggle. Again, when it comes to planning, don't be like me. I'm always doing crap like this. Seriously, just go to our blog and read my posts. You'll see that each successful outcome was preceded by a cavalcade of stupid, preventable errors. I'm the blooper reel of DiY, the poster child for poor planning. But somehow, projects get completed and lessons get learned. Back to the jar keeper! It slides into its home...
... and pulls out when I need a jar for cooking.
And leave it to my clever wife to point out that it could really use a handle.
Now it's much easier to use!

If you need more kitchen organization projects, I also built slide-out shelves for our kitchen which you might want to check. It's perfect project for those who want to update and bring more bring more functionality to their kitchen on budget.


Thank you for reading. For more crafts and DIY projects (and for a fun read) please visit us at

Suggested materials:
  • Plywood
  • Wood glue
Handan & Greg @ The Navage Patch
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
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  2 questions
  • Keri Rader Thorpe Keri Rader Thorpe on May 04, 2016
    Where did you buy the drawer pulls? Love them.

  • Ahu6036787 Ahu6036787 on May 04, 2016
    Nice project. How many quart jars wdoes it hold? Pints? 1/2 pints. Thanks

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  • Aiokersonalicea1 Aiokersonalicea1 on Jul 15, 2018

    This will be great in my kitchen. I can almost everything that is possible. Fruit, meat and tons of vegetables. I enjoy canning, besides the fact I know what is in our food. (Salt, sugar, MSG, along with those words that are either too long, hard to pronounce, or some Latin word.)

  • Danielle Lozano Danielle Lozano on Nov 30, 2019

    First, I just want to say that I absolutely love the way you wrote this DIY article!! You sound exactly how I think, and would write!!

    I am in no way a builder of anything. Heck I just learned how to make a fall wreath, and it only took a month to make it....I call that a win!

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE this little cart! I have no space for anything. Whomever built our house had no idea what they were doing. I think the only reason we bought it was because my husband, our 5 kids and myself were moving from a very tiny on post military duplex so we thought this house looked like a mansion in comparison. Looking back now makes me wonder what we were thinking when we bought this house.

    Anyways, thank you for the wonderful idea and the great commentary you put in!!