If 2011 was all about decorating, then 2012 has been all about ORGANIZING!! One of the best parts (for me at least) about moving into your “permanent” home (versus a rental) is that you can start implementing organization solutions. When you are living somewhere temporary, you have to be careful about buying too many baskets or drawer organizers, because what might fit in one space wont fit in another. So once we finally settled in our “real” house, I slowly started organizing each space. By nature, I am an organized person. I don’t usually accumulate clutter–if I don’t need it then I get rid of it. So all of these projects were a lot more about making things more functional and “pretty” than about decluttering.
So without further ado, I would like to declare it ORGANIZATION WEEK on this here blog. Yes, in an attempt to blog more, I am breaking this down into five separate posts, and will post one each day this week. So keep checking back!
First up, my most recent and favorite organizing project to date. The pantry!
So let’s take a walk down memory lane and remember what we started with. In this post, I shared with you the world’s smallest pantry.
This is what the pantry looked like when we first moved in. I didn’t even attempt to organize it, because I quickly realized we would have to think of a new solution. Nothing was fitting and it was driving me crazy. We are are not the types that “stock up” on groceries. We usually just have the basics (salt/pepper/oils/spices, etc) and whatever we need for that week. And it was clear that not even our basics were going to fit in this pantry.
So the first real project I had Nick do in the new house was to give me some additional shelving in the pantry.
He added shelves to both sides, so that each shelf now forms a “U” shape. And this improvement has served us pretty well over the last year and a half. The main thing that I have to have in a pantry is the ability to see everything. I do not like having things stacked in front of/on top of each other. So this extra shelving provides a little more space to put things so that everything has its own “spot.”
So that was then. Organized enough to not drive me crazy, but not really very attractive. And this is now:
The first step we did a few months back was to buy a spice rack (from the Container Store) to hang on the door so that it would free up another shelf in the pantry for other things. I also bought a little holder to go on the door to hold chip clips and my Crystal Light water bottle flavoring packets.
Then, during maternity leave, I grew very accustomed to my every other day (or so) trips to Target. They have the best shopping carts for baby carriers, which meant that it was one of the few places I could go that didn’t make me nervous. And something about Target just makes me happy immediately when I step inside. Its so bright and happy, so full of exciting possibilities of things to buy in every area (clothes and shoes for me, clothes and shoes for Kate, home decor stuff…organization stuff…) It was during these trips that I became very familiar with their pantry organization section 🙂 And so I slowly started buying a few of their containers during each trip. They helped ease the pain of having to return back to work. You think I am kidding, but Nick actually really did use that as a way to make me feel better when I was crying about having to go back.
Truth be told, these are not cheap. I did not do my research before I started collecting these. There are versions from Walmart, IKEA and Bed, Bath and Beyond that are more affordable. But I bought them slowly over time and spent pretty much all of my birthday money to buy the remaining containers I needed. Because pantry containers really are my idea of an exciting birthday present. Really. I am that crazy.
I found these chalkboard label stickers on a daily deal site called Zulily. I got them for a pretty good price, but I did not get enough, so now I am actually in the process of painting the same shape onto the containers with chalkboard paint. I am hoping that will turn out to be a more permanent solution (since some of the stickers are already getting a little ratty from when I have to remove them to wash the containers. So far the painting is turning out nicely, so I will let you know how it goes.
I also purchased some wire baskets from Target to hold bulkier, individually wrapped items like chips, popcorn, poptarts and granola bars. Its really nice to have the snack foods displayed with easy access rather than squished into a corner (and often forgotten about). I have been surprised how much space you save when you get rid of the big granola bar boxes and just group the bars together in a basket instead.
Nick also added another shelf to the very top of the pantry (let me tell you, we are squeezing every last bit of possible storage opportunities out of this space!). I needed a space to store all of my vases, because their previous home in the laundry room cabinets is now home to all of Kate’s bottles/bibs/plastic plates, etc (more on that later this week). This was a good solution for the vases since they don’t need to be accessed very often.
So lets call that “phase two” of the pantry process. I still would like to beautify it a bit more. Just like everyone else in Pinterest-land, I am dreaming of a painted/stenciled super-cabinet like this one of these days.
I think I am well on my way, now I just need to put in the sweat equity to complete the look with paint.
So there’s the pantry. Check back tomorrow for more organization week!