Saturday, April 7, 2012

Project Simplify 2012 : Week 2 {the pantry}

Alternate title : The worst paint job I’ve ever done...
The second week of Project Simplify dealt with getting the food in the house under control (Project Simplify has since ended, but I’m way behind, so I’m posting this now!).  Our fridge is pretty clean/organized since we just bought a new one a couple months ago.  I try to keep things fresh in there and rotate items out so that we are using everything and not keeping old food.
My pantry, however, is a different story.  The house we moved into in October of last year was built in the late ‘50s/early ‘60s and I’m pretty sure the pantry was never updated.  I’m sure it didn’t really start as a pantry when it was built over 50 years ago.  I think it was actually a small broom closet with a few shelves for food or tools or random stuff!  Whatever it was used for, it wasn’t serving much of a purpose for us...as you can see below.

So, a couple of months ago, we started updating it.  We took everything out...including these fantastic finds that had been left behind.  Not sure what year they’re from, but they’re old!

We got all the food and shelving out and decided that the closet would work much better as a pantry if the shelves went all the way across.  Novel idea, huh?!  So, we got to work on that and immediately were impressed with how much more space we had!

Then the project stalled out.  I knew I wanted to paint the pantry and get some containers to decant my food into, but I just didn’t know where to start.  I had some ideas, but just wasn’t feeling anything in particular.  Then the Project Simplify challenge came into my life and gave me the extra push I needed.  My two HUGE sources of inspiration were Shelley from The House of Smiths and Jen from The Social Home.  I really liked how organized and pretty both of their pantries looked and I knew I wanted to incorporate their successes into my own pantry.  Once I was armed with these images of pretty pantries, I was ready to finish my project.  
First, I bought all the containers that I would need to decant my boxed and bagged food into.  I then bought the paint and got to work on that.  And that’s where my alternate title comes in.  Once I got in the pantry and started painting, I realized how bad of a job the previous owners had done painting the pantry and how many different colors it had been painted.  I also realized how much NO ONE is going to see any imperfections that may come up when I paint the pantry because it’s a tiny closet and the shelves would be covered with food!  I’m usually a perfectionist, especially when it comes to painting, but I just didn’t care enough to really take my time on this project.  And you know what?  Now that it is all said and done, I can’t even tell that this was the worst paint job I’ve ever done!  That may be because once I was done, I saw some imperfections and went back and touched things up a bit!  :)  
Overall, I’m really happy with how it turned out.  It is so much cleaner, prettier, and more functional than our old pantry.  The one thing I’m not thrilled about are the labels on my canisters.  I think the design is cute, but I have never liked my handwriting and I certainly don’t like it on the canisters.  I know I should have just waited to find different labels that I really liked that I could also print on, but I wanted to complete the project, so I just bought these.  Someday I’ll get new labels.  Even better, someday I’ll MAKE new labels with my new Silhouette CAMEO...ya know...when I can actually afford one!  ;)  Until that day happens, I can live with the slightly imperfect labels!
So, what goes where?  Well, the top shelf holds flour and sugar along with our milkshake/malt machine and our electric griddle.  The pantry is really tall, but you can’t really store anything up so high that you can’t reach it, so the griddle fits perfectly there.  It is just sitting on the shelf, leaning against the back wall.  You can’t see much of it because the actual pantry shelves go about 10-12 inches to the right of the door opening.  Good for extra storage, but not for being able to see what’s there!
On the next shelf down, we have the spaghetti - mostly because that’s the only shelf it would fit on.  Also, the snacks and a snack box bin are on that shelf.  The bin is the smaller of two bins in the pantry that hold random boxes that I didn’t want to decant.  Things like crackers, boxed mac & cheese, and microwave popcorn go in those bins.  I l-o-v-e having those bins rather than just having the boxes sitting on the shelf.  I think it really cleans it up and makes your eye focus on the crisp white bin, rather than a ton of random boxes.  That makes me happy!  I wanted the things we used most frequently to be displayed at eye level and not shoved in the corner, so the most-used snacks are on this shelf in clear containers, front and center!  Also on that shelf tucked all the way to the right is the whole wheat pastry flour.  I almost never use that, but when I bought it, it came in a 5lb bag!  So that’s in the corner in a random tub I already had in my cupboard.  
The next shelf holds the baking goods and canned goods...and peanut butter...all the round things, I guess!  I love the containers I have on that shelf.  They look so pretty to me and now I can tell what I’m getting low on so that I can buy more before I totally run out.  I also really like the cans being tucked away in the corner.  I don’t really like having cans on display - I think they’re ugly.  Plus, I rarely use them, so I don’t need to see them every time I open the pantry.  The peanut butter gets to be seen, though, because I like it...and we use it a lot!  
Okay, almost done...the next shelf holds the decanted cereal...plus an open box of Rice Krispies that I haven’t decided whether I want to keep or not!  It also holds a tiny snack container and the second, larger snack bin with mostly cracker boxes in it.  

Okay...here are my sources:
I don’t have all the info written down, but this is what I can remember...
Paint:  Sherwin Williams - Repose Gray SW 7015
Cereal containers:  IKEA - 365+  2qt : $3.99ea
Snack containers:  IKEA - 365+  44oz : $2.99ea
Small snack container:  IKEA - 365+  10oz : $1.99ea
Large white bin:  IKEA - RATIONELL VARIERA box - large - $6.99
Small white bin:  IKEA - RATIONELL VARIERA box - small - $5.99
Flour, sugar, and spaghetti containers:  OXO, we already owned these, but one still has a price tag on the bottom reading $24.99!  Yikes...don’t think I’ll be buying any more of those any time soon!
Wire shelf:  Target - Room Essentials “Helper Shelf” - I think it was around $5.99
Chip basket:  already owned this - I think we got it from Michaels or Target a few years ago.
Glass containers:  Hobby Lobby - small ones were $2.49 and large ones were $2.79, I believe.  Got them half price, though, during a glass sale.
Labels:  Martha Stewart (Staples) - $5.99 for a twelve pack.  I got two twelve packs and had $4.00 off, so it wasn’t too bad.
As you could probably tell, I really love how my pantry turned out.  It is clean and organized and updated and pretty and those things all make me happy! 
Alright, I think I explained everything, but please let me know if you have any questions!


  1. I absolutely love your pantry, all your hard work sure paid off! :)

  2. Your handwriting is fine...and cute. You should create your own font! Thank you so much for the source info. I bought glass rectangle boxes by anchor hocking to eliminate plastic in my refrigerator. Not inexpensive, but as long as I don't drop them, will last forever. My pantry is a work in progress so yours is a nice inspiration.