Thursday, May 31, 2012

Pantry: Full Reveal and Details

Okay, so it's been two weeks. This will actually prove that the new pantry is working for us. I didn't clean it AT ALL before shooting these detail pics. Everything has a home, and there's no question where items belong. The kids can figure it out. My husband can figure it out. It works. First, let me remind you what I started with:

It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't right for us. It was a lot of wasted space. Now, for the after. The full-length photos! The one on the left is of the main shelf. The one on the right is the second shelf section on the right side of the pantry.

By building an "L" using narrower shelving, we actually created a huge amount of usable and accessible space. I also feel I need to point out that the second shelf from the top on the right picture isn't actually crooked like that. My camera has a "panoramic" setting, and that was at the seam, so it looks kind of weird. :)

On the left wall of the pantry, I installed pegboard, which (of course!) I painted green!

The top has hooks where we hang cutting boards. In the middle are two small plastic baskets that hold seasoning packets, dry soup mixes, and dry dressing mixes. At the bottom are two seagrass baskets that hold onions and potatoes.  I love this! The pegboard was a cinch to install, and it's infinitely adaptable. 

One of my favorite things is finding new and unexpected uses for stuff. When I was contemplating can storage, I knew two things. 1) I hate stacking cans; 2) I want to be able to see at a quick glance what I have. I contemplated this issue for a long time. I visited the Container Store and looked at their Gravity Feed Can Rack, but it doesn't have very good reviews. Plus, the size wasn't quite right. I looked at some DIY options, like this Canned Food Dispenser, but they all seemed way bigger than what I need. Then, I was walking through Menards and saw this 33" Wide AkroBin, and I knew I'd found just what I needed!

You should have seen the funny looks I was getting from the men when I took this thing to the food section to see how many cans would fit in it!
It's just the right size to have 3-4 cans of each category, and I can fit 7 categories per bin. And, it fits perfectly across the back of the pantry! I actually contemplated spray painting them green, but decided the blue isn't so bad.

Another big problem I had with our old pantry was the unorganized floor. Particularly the cases of pop and beer that would accumulate, and we'd have this huge empty box with ONE beer in it, just taking up space.  We also had an issue with giant packages of individual snack bags. It just looked messy and gross.  Enter the Beer Basket and the Snack Basket. Yes, they are still on the floor, but at least they are contained, and we can easily see what we have.
You can also see that I've followed the lead of many a pantry makeover by putting rice, cereal, pasta, etc. in clear containers. I always thought people were nuts for doing this, but now I totally get it. I love how it looks, and I love that I can see at a quick glance what we're running low on.

I used a green plastic basket to corral peanut butter, honey and other spreads. Another identical basket holds Stove Top Stuffing and Rice-a-Roni. A wicker basket holds Ramen (which my kids love). Crackers and nuts are on a shelf together. Oils, vinegars and sauces are grouped together.

Oh! And the labels! I had so much fun creating the labels, laminating them, cutting them out. I totally got my label geek on.
Where I could, I attached them with double-stick tape. In other cases (like with the cereal containers), I used sticky-back velcro so the labels could be changed out easily. You know, because Aaron doesn't ALWAYS want Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Sometimes he wants Frosted Mini Wheats or Raisin Bran. So, I also made one blank label that can be written on with a dry-erase marker.

Overall, I'm thrilled to pieces with my pantry makeover. And I'm really proud of my family for being on board with keeping it tidy.

I've been working on some other organizing projects, a couple of art projects, and (of course) knitting! But I'll tell you more about those tomorrow. What have you been organizing lately?

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