Project: Pantry Makeover
I am slightly embarrassed to admit this is what my pantry actually looked like. Zero organization.
The closet that serves as our pantry/linen closet is quite large, full of long, deep shelves. Sounds good in theory. Except it is impossible to keep things in their rightful place. Anytime someone pulled something off of a shelf (usually the foil) an avalanche of chaos ensued. It was so frustrating that we eventually gave up trying to keep it organized and just shoved things wherever there was space. It was impossible to find anything, or to know what we already had. We often bought things are the store only to come home and realize we already had that item, it was just buried.
As we were browsing and planning out all things we would like to do in our one-day home, we stumbled upon these wooden crates. I have a weakness for multiples. Multiples of anything make me want to buy them. It could be jars, plates, mugs, chairs...if it is arranged in nice rows, I am drawn to it. Props to the marketing people that know how to draw customers in.
So when I saw these crates, I knew I had to find a way to use them. After some consideration, we decided they would be great for organizing our pantry. I decided I would paint them all white and organize our crazy shelves. We bought one to take home and measure our shelf space with. Perfect fit! The next day we went to two different hardware stores to buy up all of their crates. We needed twelve. And that only accounted for three of our shelves. (Did I mention our pantry is BIG?)
Over the course of the next several weeks, I began the process of painting the crates. My husband sanded them for me to prepare them for the primer and paint.
After sanding and a quick wipe down, the crates were ready to be primed. Since I went through a painting phase in the summer where I painted EVERY piece of furniture in our apartment, I already had the primer, paint, and polyurethane on hand!
I did not anticipate how long it would take to paint all of the crates. I did not account for the number of sides (10) on each box (12) and how much work it would be to paint all (120) sides. With the help of coffee and marathon-watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix, I finally finished painting ALLLL of the sides on ALLLL of the crates. I'm sure my husband was relieved when I finally finished painting and we could have our floor back! When you only have 500 sq ft to work with, every inch counts! It was a long couple of weeks having a big chunk of our living space occupied with the unfinished crates.
Once the painting was done, it was polyurethane time!
The directions call for the object to be sanded, then one coat of polyurethane applied, then sanded again, then another coat. As I am impatient and don't like to follow directions, I did not do that. I just did one coat. I also only put the polyurethane on the bottom of the crates. My only concern was in the summer (we don't run our AC) things tend to get sticky. I did not want the crates to stick/melt to the shelves in the pantry. So I just did a quick coat of polyurethane on the bottom side that would be touching the shelves. BOOM! DONE!
Next came the daunting process of actually organizing the pantry. We emptied the shelves into baskets in order to make room for the crates. This was a good time for purging. We threw away stale food and reorganized our linens. We condensed our two linen shelves to one, and made space for my husband's nomadic art supplies to finally have a home.
With the crates lined up neatly on the shelves, it was time to fill them! This part was actually more fun than I had anticipated. We got to categorize everything and put similar items together. We grouped together spices, fit pasta boxes into the crate like a puzzle, and clustered together breakfast supplies. We are both so happy with the finished project! We are relieved to be able to see all of our food, and have it neatly organized. No more avalanches, no more digging through bags of chips to find a box of pasta, and no more food going stale because it is lost in the abyss. Even though the project was tiring, it was definitely worth the end result!