Some call it OCD I call it organized and nothing feels better than everything having a place to live. For years my stand mixer only fit on the top shelf of my pantry. Appropriately named “The Big Heavy” it was just a matter of time before someone was injured bringing it down. I love to bake, a plate of cookies lasts about a day around here. I would bribe my son (he is 6’4) with a fresh batch of cookies just to lift The Big Heavy down.
Like many others I always “like” the organized pantries I see on Instagram and die over the food that is neatly placed and color coordinated. When my plywood builder grade shelves started to sag and sway under the weight of my cans and appliances I felt like the time had come to upgrade my pantry.
Yes despite inspiring and designing many closets and pantries for clients I had never made my own a priority. With every beautiful installation I would tell myself I’m going to upgrade mine next. The worst part about a pantry is that it can become a catch all for all things related to home, from food to paper goods, pet food to bottled water. More things seem to go in than come out. My own pantry lived up to this.
With my pantry at its worst I met with my friend Judith with Absolute Closets. I showed her the space and we discussed what I was wanting. I had drawn an idea which I shared with her and showed her some photos. She took measurements and drew up a plan. I made a few tweaks to the design and placed my order. Four weeks later and two days before my installation the fun part started.
Editing the pantry. In preparation for my install I removed everything from my pantry. The KEY to this is creating organized piles. All baking supplies were placed together all canned good, all pasta and so forth. I checked every box and cans expiration date. Anything that was old was tossed. I also ordered in advance airtight storage containers from The Container Store. All odd things go in the containers with my top recommendation being cereal. I love seeing exactly what I have and boxes hide quantity. Several of the boxes I removed had trace amounts of cereal left in them so they were just pantry clutter. The new containers let me know when I am running low on someones favorite cereal.
Once the pantry was installed, which took 2 days, everything went back in. This time like items were grouped together and everything just seems to have the perfect place. I designed the height off the floor to fit bottled water 2 cases tall. The built in double trash can allows us to easily separate trash from recyclables. I designed counter space for food staging when I entertain. The best part is The Big Heavy has a spacious counter and is easy to access when we feel like making cookies.
Now two weeks after the installation I can tell you that besides feeling and looking completely organized my pantry also functions much more efficiently. I can see exactly what I have. When planning meals or trips to the grocery store I know what to purchase to complete the meal. It was a long overdue upgrade. If you are living with a builder grade plywood pantry I would highly recommend treating yourself and your family to an organized pantry.