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Pantry Organization

I want to share a project that I actually did a few months ago:  cleaning out and reorganizing our pantry.  This is the first house I’ve lived in that has pantry and it was selling point for me when we bought this house.  Unfortunately, it didn’t take long before it started looking like this:

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Ugh!  That’s embarrassing.  The shelves were really deep and despite the clear tubs I used as drawers, food was constantly getting lost at the back.  And lets just not even look down at the bottom part.  Patrick and I had a Friday afternoon off so we decided to leave the munchkin at daycare and tackle this project.  Step one, take all the food out of the pantry and tear out the old, sagging, ineffective shelves.

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After reading some other blogs and organization websites, I had a plan of how I wanted to lay out the new pantry.  I made a sketch of approximately where I wanted each item to be (I wish I had kept it because this planning step is really important).  I decided to have two 18″ deep shelves on the bottom and four 12″ deep shelves above.  With my plan and measurements in hand, we headed to Lowe’s.  We used an adjustable shelving system and had Lowe’s cut the shelves down to the appropriate length for us.  Honestly, waiting for the cuts to be made was one of the most time-consuming parts of the whole process!  Installation of the shelves was pretty simple, just make sure to use a level and keep everything nice and straight.  Then load up those shelves and reclaim the kitchen table.  Here’s the finished product:

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The picture on the right is a little hard to see.  But, wanted to show how we installed 6″ deep shelves running up the left side.  Along the right side, I’ve installed a couple of hooks to hang aprons and reusable grocery bags on.  The red tub on the floor holds some of our overflow items that we tend to buy in bulk.  The bottom to shelves are for all of our kitchen appliances.  Then we have snacks, pasta and rice, baking items, and serving ware going up.  On the small shelves on the left are mostly cans and some snack food.

Overall I was thrilled with the results and I think the biggest thing to prove that it was a success is that it still looks good and neat almost 5 months later!  The shelving system cost about $300 which is a little pricey for my typical projects.  But, I think it has proved well worth it!  I can’t say exactly, but I’d guess it’s already paid for itself in keeping us from wasting food.

Everyone who know me, knows I’m not much of a cook and I really struggle getting a homemade meal on the table each night for dinner.  Having a neat and tidy pantry has made it so much less stressful.  I can come home and quickly see what we have to put together a meal.  It doesn’t matter if you have huge walk-in pantry, or just a few cabinets designated for food storage, if it’s not well organized, I would HIGHLY encourage you to take an afternoon to clean it up.  You’ll be glad you did!

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