August 10, 2012

pantry organization, the first after (sort of)

On of the things I really loved about our house when we first looked at it was the plethora of shelving. Shelves shelves everywhere. For the first time in our entire married life we have a house with enough shelving for all of our books, and that's saying something because we probably have enough books to open a small used book store. So I loved all the open shelves. Especially in the kitchen where shelving is so often lacking.
However, when it came down to actually unpacking the kitchen, I realized that there is no where to hide the ugly pantry items. The spice packets and bags of pretzels and stacks of canned beans. Those items you normally tuck unto cupboards. Because, as I mentioned before, this kitchen has no cupboards of that sort. There are a few glass fronted cupboards, really just enough to accommodate the dishes, and then drawers. Drawers are great but they aren't ideal for, say, piles of canned goods. Nor are they fabulous for storing food processors and crock pots and rice cookers. Since I also didn't want those things out on the counter or tucked away in the basement, Will and I spent an evening working on the pantry problem. Because it was looking a little like this. Blarg.
Ahem, my apologies, by the way, for the crappy photos. The pantry is really hard to take pictures of, narrow and with lots of dark wood.

When we moved in I noticed that the previous owner had failed to remove a rolling wooden cabinet from the basement and had decided that it could be added to the craft storage area at some point. But at some point while I was padding around in the almost-dark down there (there are no lights in half the basement) I started to wonder if it would fit in the open space on the deep side of the pantry. So down I went, in the dark, to measure. You can see the problem there, right? I measured, held the spot on the tape between by thumbs and then came into the light to see if it would work in the pantry. It would! A perfect fit. Almost too perfect.

So the heavy and cumbersome cart came up the basement stairs and....did not fit. Because I'd forgotten about the molding around the pantry. Crapola.

The next day while Will was at work I pried the molding off of one side of the pantry and took out the floor molding so the cart would slide in, then wedged one piece of the baseboard back in where the wall showed. The molding along the edge of the door got tapped in and voila, a cupboard. Looking at it now,  I think that it must have been in that spot at some point. The fit is just too perfect for it to be chance.

Into our new cupboard went the dog and cat food bags and the small appliances. And then Will and I resorted the rest of our pantry things, putting the books out on the high kitchen shelf and my collection of jars, cake stands and teapots on the high shelf in the pantry and our canisters, which fit so perfectly I couldn't believe it, on the shallow shelving.
The deeper shelves still pose a bit of a problem. The mess is better, but not great. In the long run I think we will add doors here so that we have more proper cupboards, but for now I'm working on a curtain that can hang over the jumble of cans and jars and keep them out of sight. We've also put all our snack foods and dry goods (beans, lentils, marshmallows) in half gallon jars in one of the drawers. This way the kids can get at the snacks without climbing on the shelves but the mice (because in the woods, even with a cat, there are mice) can not help themselves to the same items.

So that's one item (mostly) sorted out. There are still a few kinks in the kitchen we need to work out, like what to do with the funny narrow cupboards (there are two, but they are odd) that are so high I can't really even see into them with a stool. And also the fact that I need a stool, but when I tried to have one tucked into the pantry I stubbed my toe on it so hard I'm now missing a nail. But we're getting there.