Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Our Extra Pantry!

In Darren and I's first home, we didn't have a pantry.  It was the oddest thing.  It was a brand new home, but still, it was built without a pantry.  I always had two thoughts about why that house didn't contain one.  Either, the builder was a man and men just don't think about those types of things OR the builder was a woman who had an eating disorder.  LOL!  Either way, those could be the only plausible explanations for WHY the house was VOID a pantry.  

When we moved into our current home, we were blessed with an abundance of closet/storage space (which I am always revamping and/or which we are quickly filling up and need more!). It's so much fun looking for ways to utilize your spaces more efficiently. On our main level, we have a nice sized pantry, that works for our needs, as well as a large "lazy Susan", stored in one of our kitchen cabinets.  We also have two extra closets near our half bathroom. Long ago, one of the closets was used to store all of our children's board games AND winter attire, but the collection of board games was getting too large and I had to revamp that closet once and for all. I turned the once board game/winter accessory closet solely into a coat closet. I did show that make-over in a post titled, "From Lame to Game!" Gosh, looking back, I can't believe I ever thought that original closet was organized.  I am still in love with the look of our current coat closet and our current game shelf and couldn't imagine it any other way (although I am always considering moving things around again).  It's hard to believe that that project was 2 years ago. Time really is flying by.

The other closet has always been considered our "Extra Pantry".  Over time, the items in that closet have accumulated and/or changed, some have remained consistent.  The items that have always remained were some of our cleaning items, such as a broom, a dust mop, a dust pan and a vacuum, as well as extra paper goods, such as paper towels and garbage bags.  It was ALWAYS organized, but again, looking at the before photos below, makes me wonder what exactly it was that deemed it "organized" in my opinion.

Honestly, the photos above are probably the worst that this closet has ever looked. I am always thankful that the before photos, I take, are on the days that things look their worst because then that just means the AFTER photos always make my hard work/ideas look that much better.  LOL!

I am in love with using "over-the-door" shoe racks lately.  Martha Stewart and Closet Ware (both sold at Bed, Bath, and Beyond) have gorgeous, good quality, and very efficient shoe organizers. The material isn't wrinkled (which causes the organizer to appear cheap or worn), nor do they contain useless holes (which really, the useless holes I am referring to aren't useless, they are meant for shoes, but that's NOT what I want the shoe racks for, haha, so some organizers contain holes that are useless for my ideas).

I decided, because of a few new and consistent items being stored in our "extra pantry", I needed a shoe organizer on the inside of our "extra pantry's" door.  The items I was having a hard time keeping stored properly were our k-cups, light bulbs, wall flowers, glade plug-ins and batteries, in addition to some of our cleaning items: pads for the bottom of our Shark Duo machine.  After I utilized the shoe organizer for those items, I was able to move things around and make better use of the shelving that was originally designed by me and installed by Closet Storage Organizers.   

Here are the AFTER photos: First I installed/hung the organizer.  Then, I emptied the entire closet.  YOU ALWAYS start with an completely EMPTY space when organizing.  Trust me, I know what it's like to do it the other way and IT NEVER works well.
Second, I loaded up our air freshener items into the top of the organizer.
 Third, I began organizing the k-cups into the empty spaces.  I LOVE THIS!
 I worked on batteries next!
We have an abundance of all sorts of batteries because we have KIDS! LOL!
This set up is SOOOOO nice because the kids can reach the batteries and know exactly where to find them when I send them to go get me one or four. Hehe.
Then, I went to town unpackaging all of our light bulbs.  We have extra light bulbs for all of our light fixtures, including our garden lights.  The only dilemma with storing light bulbs this way is that there is a chance they could break easily.  So far, that has yet to happen.
After I filled the shoes organizer up, which didn't take long :( , I went to town organizing the shelves they way that made the MOST sense.  What do I use most often?  What needs to be accessible for vertically challenged kids? 
The kids have their brooms, mop, and dust pan easily accessible now.  They have their own rack that holds their cleaning tools in place.
And so do I.  
From top to bottom there is:
Shelf 1: Cake baking/decorating suppiles!
 Shelf 2: Movie Night/Ice Cream Night supplies (plus a few other extras)
Shelf 3: We go to Sam's Club often.  The extra snacks and food that do NOT fit in our every day pantry are stored on shelf 3.
  Shelf 4: Paper goods and garbage bags.
  Shelf 5: Extra ziploc bags, paper goods, paper cups, and Darren's oatmeal.
Shelf 6: Our "on-the-go" cooler bags, lunch "blox" containers, lunch boxes and hamster supplies.
Shelf 7: (aka the floor) Cleaning bucket and the kids lap trays.
Here is the NEW "extra pantry's" look!
There isn't that MUCH change, from the before to the after, but the changes I made were GOOD and definitely beneficial for every member of our family.

As I always say, "Don't Agonize, Organize!"
I hope you enjoyed these ideas.  Let me know if you have a space that you are frustrated with and I will be glad to recommend some items that should eliminate so of your spacial stresses.