Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Great Pantry Re-Do

When it came time to find an apartment, Jam and I set out together one July weekend determined to make a decision as soon as possible. We were shown three of the most god-awful places I've ever seen...EVER. I returned home somewhat discouraged that a place I had seen on Craigslist that was almost perfect, had disappeared. Three days later, the "realtor" (I say that in quotes because the whole deal was SHADY!) we were working with called and asked me to look at a place. Jam was in NYC, so I brought my sister along. It was THE apartment from Craigslist! I only had to walk a few steps into the apartment to know it was indeed perfect. Spacious, filled with light, with a built-in china cabinet AND a pantry. Bliss. I put a deposit down, my sister loaded a video she recorded on YouTube for Jam's review, and a few days after that, I signed the lease.

The pantry is one of the best things about the apartment, and I claimed half of it as my craft space. I know, I know, that was pushy. Luckily Jam was cool with it. My crafty things were the first things moved and unpacked, partially because I needed so many of my craft supplies for my DIY wedding project, and partly because I have so much crap stuff. 

this was just the beginning....

Once Jam had made the move north, we devoted the second half of the pantry to food and food-related things like a panini press, Foreman grill and my beloved red mixer. Fast forward about six months. In that space of time we had a wedding, a honeymoon, continued to open boxes of wedding gifts, ordered furniture, got trapped coming home from San Diego, got snowed in more than once, had a Christmas party, had friends over...needless to say, pantry organization wasn't exactly at the top of my priority list. One day in March I realized that our pantry had fallen into disarray and disgrace. Tragic:

Cords dangled from appliances, pans were stacked haphazardly. Baking supplies and boxes of rice intermingled, vinegar and ziploc bags shared the same shelf. An old bottle of wine hid, spoiling, behind my mixer. Open bags of m and m's and pretzels lingered for months on the bottom shelf. Recipes we printed off the computer lay in an ignored pile. My Christmas amaryllis sagged in front of the window. The longer I looked, the closer I came to point break, point meltdown. I decided that the pantry needed an overhaul. 

I turned to the Container Store. I set a budget. I went to work. I sketched and resketched the pantry, I heavily stalked home improvement and decor blogs (Apartment Therapy, Design*Sponge in particular), and I made a wish list on the Container Store's website - this way I could ensure that I'd stay within my budget when I went to the store (unless I got excited and bought random things I didn't need, but I was VERY focused!) I actually took a vacation day from work to tackle this project - I dropped Jam at the airport for one of his business trips, hopped on the Mass Pike westbound and sped out to the Container Store in Natick, where I had made sure all my wish list products were in stock (gotta love the Container Store's website).

It took an entire day to organize the pantry. And while the improvements were vast, I don't think I'm quite done (having sat with the new and improved pantry for 3 months, I now know it's weakest points and know it's almost time for an update), but oh, it is SO MUCH easier to find things, use things, and I can look at my pantry without having a mental breakdown. Remember the before? The horrible, horrible before:

Get ready....


OK you really ready?

Here's the after:

Better, right??!!! 

Because this took me a whole day, I finished waaay after sunset, so sadly, the lighting in these photos isn't exactly the greatest, but here are some more shots.

I finally put to use the mason jars left over from the wedding. They've since been labeled (my dumb p-touch had dead batteries the night of the pantry re-do!)

An additional 2-tier rack and two single spinning racks wrangled my spices, baking supplies (food coloring, sprinkles) as well as things like vinegar and soy sauce.

On the top shelf, a pot lid rack wrangled our interchangeable Foreman grill racks. On the third shelf a "kitchen wrap" organizer put our ziploc bags, saran, wax paper, parcment, etc in order. The second shelf features some amazing pop-top oxo storage bins a friend gave us (oh to replace all my bins with these amazing oxo ones!), and a drop-down can rack does double duty not only organizing our canned goods, but also storing boxes of rice. Finally, I bought a small wine rack for the bottom shelf, and a mesh shelf for trashbags and boxes of sandwich bags - things we were always reaching for but could never quickly or easily find!

Also on the bottom shelf - I moved my mixer and bulk dry goods (which were heavy) down so I wouldn't have to pull them off the shelf. The basket is holding cookie cutters and other baking tools.

Even the craft side of things got a redo and tidy - not too shabby!

Though I was psyched at the outcome, there are still some things that need to be done. I still need to organize the cabinets below the shelves, purge some of my craft supplies, and tackle some of the things I didn't mention here (cough cough very top shelf of pantry cough), and I do need to help husbando finish the floor. I think this was an excellent start to my organizing endeavors though! Eek, I'm actually inspired to re-tackle the pantry and a couple other organization projects (husband's office). Stay tuned - more DIY projects might be on their way :)

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hapi said...
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