Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Another nesting project- I LOVE my hubby!

I don't know if any of you have heard of the "I'm and Organizing Junkie" blog but I came across it a while back and I've been trying to follow her tips to streamline our home a bit before the new arrival. One BIG issue in my kitchen and I would say the worst in the house is my pantry. I've tried to organize it over and over again but just could not figure out how to use the space. It has these really deep corner areas that are virtually impossible to reach once there are other items placed nearby. AND since we tend to shop in bulk (we live a bit too close to Sam's Club I'm afraid) we end up with LOTS of the things we use most, not to mention we don't have much space to work with anyway. Basically, if there was a disaster I'm pretty sure we could survive for a good while. We may not have perfectly round meals but we will have something to eat at least.

SO, this month the Organizing Junkie is having a challenge (here) and I thought that it would be the perfect reason to attack this space. NOW.... DON'T JUDGE!!! I can't believe I'm about to show you this!

This... is/was... my pantry......
AHHHHH!!! Are you blinded? Here's a closer look...
Oh... it gets worse... this is the floor.
OK... I need to take a few deep breaths(In... Out... In... Out) Basically, if you couldn't tell, there is no rhyme or reason. Everything just gets stuffed in wherever there may-or may not- be a space. And the floor! OH MY! Things either get tossed in or they fall off the over crowded shelves. It's humiliating!
And, do you know how hard it is to get something off the top shelf when you can't step up to the shelf and you have a giant belly throwing off your balance? It's not pretty. So it was time to change and Jason came home one day last week to find this entire mess ON or AROUND the kitchen table and counters. I think he about fainted. I told him not to panic and that I had a plan. I shared my plan with him and we headed to Home Depot for his part of the assignment.

See, I love all of the storage systems out there but we're on a bit of a tight budget and I wasn't sure they would even work for what I needed them for so we created our own.

TA DA!!!
What better way to use a useless corner than a nifty rolling can storage shelf.

Can I just say... I LOVE MY HUSBAND!! He took my vision and made it real. I would have done it myself but I'm not the best person to trust with sharp objects (I have several scars to prove it) So I've been grounded from using power tools. But how AWESOME is this!
It holds at least 36 cans though we actually put a few more on top. AND, best of all is that it uses those deep dark corners perfectly.
I filled it with some of our Sams Club stuff that we usually have on hand in large quantities and then I organized the rest of the space.

SO... without further adieu... the big reveal.
Large boxes on the bottom, boxed food on the lowest shelf, cans above that sorted by type/meal. Glass pans are actually down a shelf so they are easier for me to reach and snacks are above them.

OH! See the popcorn maker at the very bottom? I had totally lost that in the mess and now I know where it is and can actually get to it. Hooray! AND... there. is. a. FLOOR!!
Sorry about all the caps. I'm excited, what can I say? Isn't that little shelf so cool?!?

I still feel there there's something to be desired with the cans but for now I think they will work just fine.
Believe it or not there is actually MORE in the pantry now than there was before. I brought in some overflow that had made it's way into the laundry room. Now everything is in one spot.
The pictures don't really do it justice to be honest. You can't see the upper shelves. I've put all of my leftover containers into a labeled tub to keep them all in one place and all of our cake/brownie boxes are up there with their labels lined up for easy finding. Now it will be so much easier to find what I need and I'll do a lot less re-buying stuff just because I can't find it. Thank you Organizing Junkie! You have inspired me and I feel like I can actually breath now when I'm in my kitchen. I'm not in danger of a cave in from my pantry. Now... wish me luck with the contest. There's some cool prizes that I could really use to keep up my home transformation.

Now, I'm pretty sure the questions they asked were mostly answered before but here they are just to make it easy on the judges.

1. Toughest part- Those deep corners. I just felt like everything I stuck in the corners was lost for good. My solution was to create the rolling shelf unit for one area and then I put large class pans that were only used for holidays above that. On the top shelf I used a larger bin to corral my small leftover storage containers and since it was larger it could use the corner space but still be easily accessed when needed.
2. What changes or habits will help me keep it that way- The first thing I'm doing is to try and cook with what I've got, along with being able to check for odd ingredients easier with the new organization. That will help me keep from overfilling the space with a stock of items I don't use often. Also if an area, like the snack shelf, is full... we probably don't need more. The other rule is- No more floor storage! If it doesn't fit on the shelves it doesn't belong.
3. Where did the purged items go- I was actually surprised to find a good amount of expired food here so that made purging pretty easy. Into the trash it went. I also donated some of my glass pans (I had several of the same pan) to a group called "Freecycle". That opened up a lot of space! The surprising thing was that, once I was better organized, I actually ended up being able to add items to the space that had been overflowing into my laundry room. Since we are trying to keep like things together, and it makes looking for what you need so much easier, I was really glad to be able to reclaim some of my laundry room.
4. What creative storage solutions did you use- Most obviously, the rolling shelf. I've had it in there for a few weeks now and I LOVE it! I might have my hubby build another one for some of the other canned food as well. I also have just a simple wash bin on the top shelf that keeps all of my small storage containers (the ones I use for leftovers etc.) AND their lids in one area. It's also easier for me to get to them since I'm so short. I can just bring down the whole bin and then find what I need inside. I also chose a purpose for each shelf and the food in that area is not allowed to overflow into the other areas. For example, I just have to NOT buy more snacks till some are gone. I have bowls and storage on the top shelf. Then snacks, like grahm crackers and cookies for my son on the next shelf. Under that are the glass pans that used to be spread over 2 shelves, but now there are fewer so I could condense at the same time as making them easier to reach. (remember-short person here!) As for the rest of the canned food. It doesn't look pretty but I have it organized as well. I sorted it by type (soup, veggie, etc.) or meal if it was something I made a lot of. There's a whole section for taco soup! We LOVE our taco soup. Below that is the boxed food and the side shelves are similarly organized with cookbooks, cake mixes, etc. all grouped together. I guess that should all have been a "duh" thing but I'm new to this! It's baby steps and I'm pretty proud of it.
5. Why should I win- This is the first challenge that I've decided to join in on and I actually chose the toughest spot in my house. It may be a "small space" but it stores enough stuff to be considered an entire room! I got creative with my rolling shelf and I set boundaries to keep everything contained. Basically, I was able to transform what seemed like nothing more than a large hole in my wall into a working pantry area. I LOVE it! We are a family of 3 (1 more on the way any day now!) and our house is only about 900 sq feet so we are pretty cramped. I've felt like the walls were moving in on me every day of this pregnancy. Organizing this space took a huge load off my shoulders because even if I don't win I'm excited now I know that if I can conquer this beast there is no spot in my house that can't be organized. It IS possible to fit all four of us in this space- and Comfortably too!

(Pick ME!)


A Little R and R said...

You are my hero!!! Our pantry looks exactly like your before pictures. I hate even opening it. (Maybe it's hereditary...through cousins...;) ) I love looking at all of your projects! Good luck with your new arrival!

Tami said...

WOW! (yes, all caps!) That is a huge difference! That's amazing!!

Shelley Bowman said...

I love organizing too! It looks great!

Annette W. said...

You did great! I totally understand the need for organization, though my pantry is much smaller than yours.

Katie said...

That is such a fantastic idea for your corner! I have this same problem in my kitchen cupboard because instead of a proper corner, they just shoved the end of one "behind" another and nothing put back there is ever accessible. Thanks for a great idea!

April in CT said...

That rolling shelf is genius! What a fantastic idea for a corner that would normally lose things!