Wednesday, February 8, 2012

So here we go – my little pantry redo! It’s nothing super fantastic, but I just love how it turned out, for more reasons than one!
Let’s start with the before, and then I’ll go through my thought process and the actual process. Umkay?
Here’s the pit of despair:

(Excuse the awful cell phone pics!)
I’ve blogged about cleaning out the pantry quite a few times and it ALWAYS ends up back like this.
It was time for a change. It was getting on my nerves that I could not keep this spot organized. And over Christmas break and the weeks after I had a bit of an epiphany.
It started when I went to get a can of soup over the holidays and pulled one out, checked the date…expired. Pulled out another, checked…expired. Another. Expired.
And then, a couple weeks later I read Courtney’s post about her pantry:

And I was struck by something – I couldn’t believe how small it was and how little food was in it. I actually said out loud to myself -- “There is NO way that holds all of the food!”
I was even a little…annoyed? Goofy, I know…but I was all, how the heck is that enough?
And then I read on about how she plans her meals and only buys what they need when they need it.
And then it clicked.
I realized something about myself –- I’m a food hoarder. I don’t say that lightly – I really think I am. I’ve always had this weird thing about having tons of food in our pantry.
I really think it stems from stuff I went through growing up. It’s a long story, but there’s something about having the ability to buy enough food for my family – and yet I never felt like it was enough. I always had to have extra…just in case. Even though just in case never came.
Sorry to get all philosophical on you about a stinkin’ pantry, but there. you. go. :) It really struck me and made me realize something BIG about myself.
Not only that, but I was just disgusted that we were wasting so much food. I knew I wanted to make a change. I’ve been wanting to redo the pantry for awhile now, so this project came at the perfect time!
I started by cleaning it out again

Ahhh…so much better already!
And then my very, very favorite part – the removal of the wire shelves!!:

I showed you a while back how I laid plywood on top of the wire shelves, and that’s served me well. But I wanted to take better advantage of the space in here, so they had to go.
So sad. ;)
I filled all the honkin’ holes using this method:

And then got to painting. I used a sample quart of a blue/grey color I’ve had forever and only painted the back and sides of the pantry. I had just enough paint!
And then, because I have no life I wanted to jump on the stencil-the-pantry bandwagon, I used another color sample (this time in a greenish blue color) to add a pretty stencil to the back wall.
I took no pictures of this process. Probably cause I was too busy cursing. ;)
No really, it wasn’t that bad. At times I had trouble lining up the stencil, but overall it really didn’t take that long. (It helps I only did the back wall!) Total time actually stenciling was about an hour, but with drying time it was a few.
That was OK though because it was a nice, mindless project to do while I caught up on episodes of The Lying Game. (Yes, I am 15 years old.)
Then it was onto the shelves! I picked up a large sheet of melamine from Lowe’s in white:
I was going to use wood, but then I thought about all the priming…and painting. And painting. And drying time. And then a light shined down on this stuff, so this stuff it was.
So I paid a little more and got the sheet of melamine (in bright shiny white!) for $32 and had them cut it down into five pieces. I LOVE it!
Next, I installed supports by drilling wood into the studs in the closet:
hanging pantry shelves
The container of goldfish crackers was sustenance.
Nah…it was just to see how tall I wanted that first shelf to be. ;)
Then for added support, I used Liquid Nails along the top, then nailed the shelves down into the supports as well:
The side of the melamine were rough along the front, so I covered them with strips of lattice wood and then painted them white:
containers for dry goods pantry
I used this same stuff as the “board and batten” in the Bub’s room!
Our old wire shelves were about 16 inches deep, but I had these cut at 19 inches, so that adds up to a LOT more space overall.
So much space, that with my newfound plan to schedule out our meals and shop accordingly, I have a TON more room in here now!:

I had most of the organizational stuff already – the baskets are from Meijer and I bought them months ago for another spot. I like them better here. :)
That one holds dinner and lunch-type stuff – mac and cheese, etc. Another holds snacky stuff. They’re easy to just pull it in and out to get to the food, and I can still see what’s inside.
Most of the containers are from WalMart – I had most, but I got the tall ones for cereal today:

I love having dry food in containers – if I can see through them! I used to use a bunch of tall containers for snacks, but they weren’t clear, so I never remembered what the heck was in them.
Out of sight of of mind!
These though, are awesome because I can tell exactly what we need when we need it. (I use my label maker to add the expiration date to the bottom of each container.)
I had so much extra space, I had room to add a few of of the serving dishes/mixing bowls I use most often:

I LOVE having them so easily accessible! I especially love the mixing bowls in there – I can grab them while I’m pulling ingredients to make something.
The flour, powdered sugar and brown sugar are now in these $3 containers from WalMart:
walmart $3 container
I used to have them all in glass containers, but dang, they were SO heavy. And bulky – I was always afraid I was going to drop one when I got it out. It’s one of those things I learned as I used them…and I like these plastic jobbies MUCH better.
I reused the tiered shelves from Target for canned goods on the sides:
tiered can shelves
And these little shelves from the Container Store work great to go vertical with items:
container store shelves
I also have a few IKEA containers in there as well, and I love those as well! They have a tab at the top so you can pour out of them if needed.
You’ll notice the pantry glows – last year my Dad and I hooked up the rope lighting to a switch:
rope lighting in closet
And it’s the perfect light in here – it illuminates the whole pantry instead of just at the top. :)
I could not be more thrilled with how it all came together!!:
melamine pantry shelves
I keep the door open all the time. I’m not kidding! I just love looking at it.
You observant folks will notice I didn’t paint all of the supports on the lower shelves – I thought no one would ever see them. Other than a few thousand of you. Oops!
Sure, the paint and stencil took some extra time, but goodness, if there’s a space we look at numerous times a day…this is IT. Pantries deserve to be pretty too. ;)
I ended up staggering the shelves a bit – a couple are about 13 inches tall, the rest are 14 inches tall. Not sure why…it just sounded like a good idea. :)
You can see in the after that the shelves go up higher in the pantry, using up more of the vertical space inside – here’s the before:
And now:
pretty pantry stenciled walls
Have you ever looked up inside your closets? SO much wasted space!
Getting rid of those wire shelves made all the difference in the world – the white melamine is so much simpler. And prettier!:
removing wire shelves in pantry
It even looks better with the door shut! I couldn’t believe the difference:glass pantry door
Now you notice the white shelves through the glass, not the food crammed inside. :)
Overall the whole project was less than $100 – for the shelves, supports, trim and a few more containers.
This wasn’t a quick project – it took over a week total. Partly because I came down with a nasty cold half way through, partly because it just involved quite a few steps. The food was piled all over the kitchen that whole time and we ate at the family room coffee table for our meals. When we ate at home that is…we may have used it as an excuse to go out a few times. ;)
I hope I covered everything! Let me know if I didn’t in the comments! Here’s a few more details: 
Blue/grey color: True Value paint, Overcast Sky
Green/blue stencil color: True Value paint, Ticker Tape
Containers: WalMart and IKEA
Stencil: Hobby Lobby (couple years ago)
Big honkin’ silverware above door
Black pantry door: Go here for the installation and here for more on the privacy film.
I plan to do another post soon about the meal planning and how it’s working for us. Maybe in a couple weeks?
I hope you are inspired by this little redo! You too can say see ya, wouldn't want to be ya to the wire shelves in your pantry! Do you hate them as much as I do? I’m down to two more closets…

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