One Pantry, Organized

Monday, April 8, 2013

I normally post cards on my blog, but I enjoy seeing how other people organize their homes and thought you might, too, so after I spent a few days last week organizing my kitchen pantry, I thought I'd share it with you. :)

(If you just want to see the before and after photos, I have them together at the bottom of the post.)

I tend to be fairly organized overall, but my method is usually organized chaos. This is my pantry just before I emptied it completely out. I had designated each shelf for specific types of items. Not too bad, but you can probably tell I didn't stick too well to my original plan.

My kitchen is a medium shade of avocado green, and the inside of my pantry, including the ceiling, was, too, which made it pretty dark inside, even with the light on. So, I painted the whole thing white (with some help from my DH, who tackled the high corners for me). I've been seeing a lot of decorative stenciling inside pantries, so I decided to give that a try, too. I figured, even if I messed it up really bad, I could just paint over it again, and most of it wouldn't show anyway once I put everything back inside. I had a hard time finding stencils I could live with. These are pretty, but not exactly "me." But, I was on a roll, you know, and I wanted to get it finished, so I went with it. ;) The dragonfly image at the top of the post is a close up of one of the stenciled images. I originally wanted them to be yellow, but that barely showed up, so I improvised. I grabbed a dauber of teal acrylic paint from the craft room and re-stenciled the entire thing, leaving a good bit of the yellow showing through for a distressed look. You know I love distressing!

We have very high ceilings throughout our home, and the ceiling of this pantry is 10' up. It ends up being quite a lot of wasted space, but people often look up at our ceilings because of the height, so I stenciled a couple of dragonflies on the pantry ceiling for a bit of interest. You can see here, that I also stenciled the sides of the pantry, too, although not as much as the back.

You may have noticed in the before picture that the top shelf was warped. I'd never noticed it before, but once I did, it really bugged me, so I replaced it with a new, straight one. Also, I despise wire shelves, so I covered foam core board with contact paper and lined the shelves with them. Now, when I look in my pantry, each shelf stands on its own, rather than having to see everything above and below them, too.

And, here's the finished pantry! I decided to add an additional higher shelf, even though it covered up a lot more of the stenciling because I almost always opt for function over fashion. We'll have to use a tall step ladder to get to it, but since I'm using it to store unopened items that are waiting their turn to be used, it's not that inconvenient. I have a much larger pantry in the basement (that also needs a major overhaul) where I can keep these kind of things, but you know that saying, "out of sight, out of mind"? Well, I end up throwing a lot of stuff out just because I forget it's down there.

In case you're wondering how I got my pantry this neat and have so much extra space, I'll tell you my secret.... I threw out all the expired food. It shocked me to see how much there was. I ended up hauling out two trash bags of old food that had accumulated in the back of the pantry where I couldn't see it anymore. I even had an old jar of Tang that expired eleven years ago!!! OMGosh, we've only lived in this house for four years, so I brought it here in the move, and we don't even drink Tang! I think I used it in a craft project at some point. Do you have anything like that in your pantry? I'm going to keep a much closer eye on mine from now on. Of course, I also combined multiple packages of food that were opened (but not expired!), and bought several air tight containers to corral like items and to store dry goods in that took up a lot of space in their original packaging. I threw out those boxes that were on the floor for chip bags, and will put those in the green basket now. I'm hoping the floor will stay nice and empty from now on. It looks so much nicer, don't you think? :) The only problem I have with my pantry now is that I find myself opening the door a lot more--just to look at it. Now, instead of wasting space, I'm wasting time! I'll be glad when the new wears off. ;)

 BEFORE:                                                                            AFTER:
pic name                     pic name

I love my new pantry! We had a huge mess in the kitchen for three days until I could get it finished, and I was exhausted from painting inside such a cramped space--especially up in the ceiling, but I have to say it was totally worth the effort.

What's the oldest expiration date in your pantry? Can you top my eleven-year-old Tang? :D

Simon Says Stamp and Show has a "Fly" challenge this week. Since I've got birds and dragonflies stenciled on my walls, I think this qualifies!!!

I'll be posting a card next time. Thanks for stopping by, and have a great week!


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Maria said...

Oh my! What a pretty pantry you have now with the lovely dragon fly! Looks like it was a lot of work, but well worth it!

Theresa said...

Okay, you're hired! Come to my home I have a lot of stuff you can organize for me. I don't have food in the house since I don't cook, but I do have other things. Looks awesome!!

Leslie Miller said...

That is some pretty pantry! This looks like about the size of my kitchen pantry, and your post is interesting to me because I'm searching out ideas for making mine more accessible. I've pinned a few ideas on Pinterest. Thinking pull out shelves might be helpful. I love a well stocked pantry, and yours certainly looks well stocked. I have to clean mine out now and then because things in the back do get a little old. Funny you should mention Tang. I recently threw out a jar that was a few years old. We don't drink it either, but I used it for some recipe that I don't even remember now. I'm trying to be better about that sort of thing these days. If I buy an ingredient for one recipe I'll then search Pinterest for more recipes using that ingredient. It sure has been helpful. Pinterest is my favorite of all recipe books! It must be lovely to open your pantry now, even if you only get a glimpse of those pretty stencils. Every bit of beauty counts! Thanks for sharing!

Anna-Karin said...

Beautiful new pantry and such a great idea. Your dragonflies look gorgeous. Thank you for sharing with us at Simon Says Stamp and Show!