My pantry for some time has been a eyesore, a source of frustration, and truth be told, a hazard to walk in to and try to find anything.
Most days I would just lean in the pantry, reach over the bags of dog food, and hopefully have what I thought was in there to prepare a meal. Several times I purchased duplicate items because I couldn’t see that I already had an item somewhere in the chaos.
This past week, I finally spent a whole day working in this overcrowded and small space.
First I removed all of the items in the pantry and either threw things away or put some items in the donation box. For example, the mini cotton candy maker I purchased for our big celebration when my husband graduation PA school four years ago. It has been in the box ever since then so it was time for it to go.
Next I took a good look at the longer shelves on the left side and started taking them out to rearrange them because one board was warped. That led me to seeing the full wall – and it was a mess! So I spent three hours painting the entire pantry in white to hide all of the scuff marks and damage to the walls from years of use. The shelves on the right side of the pantry are attached together so I had to painstakingly paint around each small opening.
Speaking of the shelves on the right side, with so many of them installed so close together it really does limit the use of the shelves. I guess Mrs. Jo, the original wife of the house, either bought a lot of can goods or did a lot of canning to need so many short, shallow shelves. Since a new shelving system is not in my budget right now, I will work around what I have.
After the paint had dried, I was able to reinstall the long shelves, minus one for more space at the bottom level, and put everything back in place.
This time I used a different system for organizing where things went based on how I used them. For seldom used appliances and thermal bags, I lined them up on the far shelves away from the door. Or on the top shelves where they were accessible but not in the way of items used every day.
Next I used several different storage boxes from my 31 products to hold things such as coffee K-cups, protein bars, and breakfast items. I also assigned one storage cube to hold plastic shopping bags. Once the cube is full, it should encourage me to take those bags to the recycling center instead of letting them multiple like rabbits and take up every available nook and cranny.
By removing one of the long shelves, I am able to fit the bags of dog food and cat food underneath a shelf and keep them out of the walk way.
I am using the shorter, more shallow shelves on the right side to hold things such as casserole dish carriers and travel bags.
I didn’t want to paint the shelves, or add decorative paper behind every shelf – that would have been very hard with the short shallow shelves, but I did want a way to add color and to be able to label the shelves for reminders to others as to where things go. I found a solution to this in the new Scotch Expressions tape I found at Michaels.
This decorative tape fit easily on the ends of each shelf, and you can write on them. When I get tired of the look, or rearrange the shelves, I can just remove the tape and apply a new strip. So nice and easy.
To give the pantry a more cozy and decorated feeling, I added the chalkboard and some Command strip hooks to hold my aprons.
So, my pantry may not be the most color coordinated and impressive as some of those out there with matching containers and clever ideas, but it works for my family. Even my kids commented on how nice the pantry looked and that is saying a lot coming from two busy college students who always eat and run.
Either way, it makes me smile when I open the door now.