I fully intended to participate in the Home Organization series taking place over at A Bowl Full of Lemons. So much for good intentions! The series is in it's fourth week, and I'm just starting. So I'm doing week 1 (the kitchen) and week 3 (the pantry) at the same time. I don't have a garage, so I can skip week 2. I'll make up week 4 (the office) by next week, hopefully.
My kitchen and pantry had to be done together, since I was turning the old office/dining room off my kitchen into a walk in pantry and shuffling a lot of things around.
I'll start with the room that became my pantry.
When we moved in, this room was the dining room. It was way too small for my large brood, so we turned the family room into the dining room, then built a wall to separate this dining room from the living room. I then used the room for my office until my last son at home got married. When he left the nest, I turned his bedroom into my office and added a counter and an extra refrigerator to the old office, and made it part of the kitchen. But the room itself was a bit useless and a complete waste of good space. That really bothered me! Eventually, I came up with the idea of turning it into a walk-in pantry. I drew up a plan, trying to cram as much storage as possible into the room. The problems: it's only 9.5' x 11'; it has a slider that we use to get to the back patio; it already had a counter and refrigerator that I didn't want to move; after subtracting the 2' wide counter, the dimensions left to work with were 7.5' x 9'; it already has very full shelves the length of the wall above the counter. So I decided to look for four 2' - 2.5' wide x 7' tall shelving units that I could put back to back. But they needed to be nice since they would be seen from the kitchen. Easier said than done, at least working with my budget!
Then one day last week, I made my regular stop by Front Page. Front Page is a store that sells returns, mostly from JC Penny. It has anything from clothing, to patio furniture, to kitchen appliances, to baby furniture. And most anything in between. I just happened to stop by on a day when they had most of their furniture on clearance. I found a dresser for a baby's room, with a changing station on top, drawers and a door below, and shelves above. My creative juices started working! I ended up buying two of these babies. I put them in the pantry back to back. My sweet husband reinforced the shelves so they could hold more weight and I was in business! (I think he thought I was a bit crazy at first, though!).
Anyway, here's how it turned out:
I bought new matching canisters to put on the exposed shelves.
Here are some shots of the drawers and door on the ends of the unit:
Lots of empty space!!
Here's a shot of the wall with the counter, frig and shelves.
I absolutely love it! Of course, when I started moving things into the pantry, it started this chain reaction which ended up with me practically rearranging my entire kitchen and cleaning out my walk-in storage/linen closet. I'll try to explain how it all went down.
I also had three small drawers in my kitchen that held tape, glue, small tools, batteries, etc. These drawers were crammed to over-flowing, making it difficult to find anything. Most of it fit nicely in a bottom drawer in my new pantry, and what didn't belong there I put in a tool box I bought at Lowe's, which fits nicely under my sink.
I have two (or three, or four) sets of china dinnerware. One set was my grandmother's and one set was a wedding gift. Along the way, I have acquired another set and several parts of sets. I have a real weakness for fine dinnerware. Anyway, it was all crammed into my walk-in linen closet. The picture actually makes it look better than it was!
Because the closet was so full, it was hard to get to my beautiful dishes, so I rarely used it. Once I had my new walk-in pantry set up, the pantry cabinet in my kitchen was completely empty. So I moved all my nice dishes there. Of course, they didn't all fit! So I then had to rearrange just about everything.
I love how easy it is to get to these dishes now!
My Tupperware/Rubber Maid (anything plastic) is now where my canisters of flour, sugar, brown sugar, etc. were, in an upper cabinet that's much easier to get to.
As you can see from the picture below, it definitely needed some help! I hated that a cabinet I had to get something out of several times a day was down low and hard to get to.
My baking dishes are now where my Tupperware/Rubber Maid containers were. Oops! Guess I didn't get a picture of that cabinet. The remainder of my nice dishes are now where my baking dishes were!
And my stemware is where the coffee cups were..
My vitamin/herb cabinet was complete chaos! Plus, it all wouldn't fit, so it was beginning to spill out on the counter below. So I purchased a turntable and spice shelf at Wal Mart and now it all fits like it should.
Earlier this summer, we replaced the floor covering in the kitchen and dining room. At the same time, we also purchased new appliances. The only problem was, the new refrigerator was larger than the space it had to fit. So my dear hubby moved the tall cabinet that was beside the frig into what is now my pantry.
Then, I found a tall cabinet on Craigslist that fit the space perfectly! It's a different color than my cabinets, but once I get my cabinets painted (a winter project) no one will know the difference! It is now home to my many cookbooks. And no, my recipes are not organized yet so you'll have to excuse the mess!
Linen/Storage closet after the shuffle:
I actually added this shelf a couple years back for my tea collection, after my first organization stint, but I don't think I ever posted it.
Wow!! Am I glad that all that work is behind me! But I'm loving my new walk-in pantry and organized kitchen!!