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August 6, 2012

Weekly Awareness: Utility

By no means do we live in a palatial estate, but our house is plenty big for a family of four.  You'd never guess that by looking at our tiny pantry, though.

I have never been able to fathom the in the world is a family supposed to store any amount of food?  Was it built, assuming the "average" family eats out a lot?  Or was the design to encourage the consumption of only fresh fruits and vegetables?

I know I'm reading too much into it...I can't imagine either of those scenarios was considered...but it's maddening, nonetheless.

Until the girls were born, it wasn't such a huge issue.  (I was only cooking for two people, we did eat out more, and it was no big deal to run to the store in the middle of the week.)

But over the past three years, I've really felt frustrated with my storage space.  I've loosely had the idea to call in the storage solution folks, but I hadn't made it a priority.

At the beginning of the summer, I told Hubby that I wanted to invest in the pantry.  He agreed, and I finally made it happen.

Here are the "before" pictures...

The shelves were 16" deep, so I had two "layers" of most things.  I cleaned out the pantry once a month...otherwise I'd forget what was "hidden".

The bottom of the pantry had a lot of wasted space.  The cooler bags toppled over frequently, "hiding" my potatoes and onions and garlic.

We added this door organizer as soon as we moved into the house, having had it in a previous house.  It's a great space-saver, but it was jammed with too many things.

And here are the "after" pictures...

I had the shelves reduced to a 12" depth, which allowed for an L-shaped "return" on one side.  I have more usable space and fewer things "layered".  We added another really high shelf for things I don't use very often.  Between everything, I have two almost-empty shelves!!!

This is my very favorite feature...I LOVE this basket system!  Not only does it help me organize many smaller things, but it really takes advantage of the large space at the bottom of the pantry.

A close-up on one of the drawers...look at all my teas!  I have one deeper drawer for all my baking supplies (chips and nuts and chocolates).  And the bottom drawer holds my potatoes, onions, and garlic.

No change to the inside of the door, other than I was able to reorganize and neaten it up a bit.

I bought a few new storage containers for sugar, flours, and such.  (The ones I had dated back to the mid-90's...ack!)  I just need to buy a basket of some sort to hold open bags of pasta and rice.

We've had our new shelving system in place for almost a month, and I couldn't be happier.  It's really one of those things that I now wish I'd done a long time ago.

I'm filing this under my AWARENESS challenge for 2012.  This experience is a reminder to me to invest in the utility of things that can really make my life a little easier...things I use every single day, multiple times.  It's worth it!!!


Marcia (123 blog) said...

I love it! of course I do.

And that was the impetus I needed to phone and make an appt for someone to come replace my shower door.

I'll confess I swear nearly every time I take a shower because one of the panels keeps falling off. GRRRR

Charlene said...

Looks Awesome!!! Tons of room now!

When we bought our house, we had not storage either. So we ended up putting shelves in a coat closet in the hallway right outside the kitchen. Everyone hangs their coats at the front door anyway.

Kitchens really didn't have lots of cupboards or storage back then, I guess. Weird?

Mandy said...

I'm jealous you have a separate room! I would kill to organize that!!

Kudos to you for making it happen!! Now if you could only find me pantry space...

Beth said...

I love it!

Our pantry is nearly identical to your 'before' pictures. I have wondered the same thing many times. Who would build a house this size (in my mind, clearly meant as a 'family' house) with such a small pantry? For that matter, I have a laundry room with zero outlets (other than the ones intended for the washer and dryer.) How am I supposed to plug in an iron? Moms really need to help design homes...

I fantasize about a nice walk-in pantry, but that would take major renovations :-( In the mean time, maybe I'll look into 12" shelves with a side return. Ingenious!

championm2000 said...

Oh, wow! Those are some awesome BEFORE and AFTER pics!

Want to come organize my pantry?? lol!

Barbara Manatee said...

That looks great! We built a storage pantry in our basement a few years ago that looks very similar to this and it has defnitely helped keep things in order and give us more space upstairs. Yeah for the improvements!