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Monday, May 19, 2014

Pantry Re-do

Organization and reorganization - we just can't get away from it, can we?  Or maybe that's just me... 
No I'm pretty sure it's everyone ;)  When I get the chance I've been working my way down the list of places that needed decluttering that I made for the 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge (note to self - I need to post an update on that.  The official 40 days were over a few weeks ago lol).  Yesterday I had some time to waste before heading to my daughter's dance recital and I didn't want to get started on anything big, so I decided to finally add the labels to the containers in the pantry.  
I said that word again, didn't I?  Finally.  I've had those letters cut out (vinyl lettering using the silhouette) and sitting here for weeks now.  And the pantry itself?  We put shelves in it and repainted it, oh, a year and a half ago.  I don't suppose I will ever catch up completely or totally finish the projects on my list.  And I'm ok with that.  I'm ok that it takes a while to get things done, and even longer to share them on the blog.  At least things are getting done, and progress of any sort is really the goal.  That, and having a life outside of the To Do List, which is really what life is about right?
So before another one of the kids comes downstairs needing something or the dog insists on going outside and I get interrupted again, let me share my pantry photos.
This is the Before:
The biggest issue was the wire shelving, of course.  I'm probably a closet snob now that my husband is so good with installing built-ins.  I can't stand the wire stuff anymore.  So it had to go.  As did that metal post right in the middle of the closet.  It was always getting in the way.

And let's not forget the overall clutter. 
So I emptied it all out and stacked it in the sun room - can you believe ALL that was in that one closet?! - and turned the husband loose on the shelving.
Did I mention the closet re-do was what told him I wanted for my birthday that year?  Yep.  And I painted it myself too - happy DIY birthday! ;)
At the time I had been seeing a lot of fun walls in pantries and I wanted to do something unique and fun but without putting a lot of extra time into it.  What I ended up with was a series of stripes using leftover paint from the rest of the house.
Then I was all set to load everything back in.  I started off being methodical about it.  I put the seldom-used stuff in the back two corners and assigned specific shelves to certain types of food - baking, cereal, snacks, etc.  Then I realized I was having Kaitlyn's party that weekend and needed the sunroom and I shoved the rest of it in there willy nilly.
A few months later my friend Audrey came to visit and insisted on helping me finish organizing it one afternoon.  Everything got completely sorted, categorized, tossed (if expired or didn't look like I would ever use it), and reshelved.  And that was the point it has been in for quite some time - functional but not quite fully finished enough to take final photos.
 Until yesterday.  WOOHOO!  Labels are on and the pantry is finished!
 For the containers themselves I tried to work mostly with what I had already.  The sugar and flour were some I've had forever and after going back and forth and looking at all the fun and pretty containers available in many different stores I decided to stick with clear plastic ones.  That way I can just rinse them out if anything spills and we can easily see what's inside, even without the labels.  The jars for the brown sugar, powdered sugar, rice, granola, etc are actually containers that used to hold nuts.
 I purposely had my husband build that one shelf shorter just for cans.  It's working really well for us and freed up enough space that we could fit in one more shelf than had originally been able to fit.
I want to pick up a few of those under-shelf baskets the next time I'm at Ikea for potatoes, onions, and maybe those lunchboxes.  (There's always something on the list isn't there?)

I made sure when I was organizing everything that the things the kids need to access themselves were within easy reach (cereal, snacks, lunchbox stuff, drinks) and things like chips and candy were kept up out of easy reach.  The top shelf also holds things we use for entertaining.  That white bucket with the handle is a divided container that holds plastic utensils and napkins and I always keep it stocked and ready to pull out.  The other baskets hold napkins, paper plates, straws, cupcake wrappers, etc.

And there we have it.  It's not quite Pottery Barn catalog perfect, but it looks good and it's functional.

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