Friday, September 2, 2011

Pantry in a Twist

Although I've attempted to organize my pantry on numerous occasions, any attempts have quickly devolved back into disorder because of sub par arranging and no definite boundaries for items and categories of food.

I've been on the lookout for bins, trays and hanging shelves at discount stores, and I headed to the Container Store to check out the organizational offerings to try to get food storage under control and bought a couple of these (which are big versions of the ones I used for my under stairs organization quest detailed here), but my budget sent me looking for other options. I randomly found some bins that fit the bill at a Fry's Marketplace when I was grocery shopping at a store I don't normally visit because it's a little farther from my home. Anyhew, since Fry's took competitor coupons (notably the $5 off $25, $6 off $30 and $10 off $50 ones from Fresh & Easy), the bins were pretty darn affordable.

I didn't want to lead with these "Before" photos because they're so terrifying, but here's the pantry before the organizational efforts:

I know, I know, it's scary. Please don't cry.

Among the many issues, I also couldn't fit a decently sized recycling bin in there. Since I recycle a lot of stuff (which likely just means I should start buying fewer things with plastic packaging), I needed an overflow container to supplement the small recycling container under the kitchen sink and the bin that recycles unused ads (shown here). So, drastic measures had to be taken. I had to get destructive. And I ripped out the lowest pantry shelf. Between a mallet (to hit the base of the shelf upward to loosen it from the supports), a hammer (using the back to pry the supports from the wall--a crowbar would have worked, too) and a razor blade (to cut the thick coat of paint that was attaching the shelf to the wall even after the supports had been removed) I was able to remove the lowest shelf. I felt pretty satisfied after that demolition, but I realized that because of the modest pantry space I shouldn't throw away the possibility of more storage, so the shelf was reinstalled at the top of the pantry! You can sort of see from that hideous before photo that there's space between the then-highest shelf and the ceiling--ok, you can't really see that, so you'll just have to take my word for it. And with a little step stool and my height I am able to put that tall shelf to good use, and that usefulness almost allows me to forget about the awkwardness of finding long-enough jeans in junior high. Almost.

So, after the shelf remix and after lining all the shelves (I like doing this--not the process of doing it, but I like when all the shelves are lined), I went through with my bin purchases, categorized the foodstuffs and voila!:

I used a similar labeling "technique" as my mail sorter, namely, using the inside of a cereal box or packaging with that same color and texture so the label looks more substantial than a plain piece of paper and costs zero dollars.

Through this process I relegated most adult bevies to the rolling bar and I'll be adding some beverage zones to the loft as I progress on that project.

I also utilized the walls of the pantry--adding some hooks for reusable bags on one side:

And the other side got a wall-mounted bag dispenser and some cork board squares for coupons, recipes, and other randomness that can come in handy:

Wahoo. Another source of disorganization bites the dust. Now onto the loft!


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