Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Kitchen Overflow...Organizing My Pantry and Cookbooks

I swore I'd organize all the miscellaneous stuff that had been shoved in our dining room hutch and kitchen pantry shortly after we moved. Fast forward 11 months and I finally did it!

My old house was lacking good storage for "paperwork" so I'd gotten in the (bad) habit of putting items like taxes, instruction manuals, old photos, etc. in the lower part of my hutch. That wasn't really a problem until I got married and received a ton of kitchen goodies. The overflow of cheese knives, tupperware, cake plates, and serving pieces had been relegated to boxes in the garage or basement. What a shame!

So this weekend I set out with a mission:
  1. Move the paperwork and office junk to the office (what a concept, right?!) from the hutch
  2. Move the cookbooks off the pantry shelf into the new-found hutch space
  3. Move less frequently used kitchen items to additional new-found space in the hutch (I seriously had a LOT of junk in that thing!)
  4. Clean out the pantry
  5. Cover the pantry shelves in new contact paper
  6. Re-organize the pantry
  7. Do a happy dance
I wish I had taken a "before" picture of the mess that was in the hutch. I think I was too embarrassed. Here are a few of the "before" pantry pics:

Here's the pantry door with one of my favorite old reinvented pieces (it was a tea tray that Mom turned into a chalkboard!)

And here's the messy disorganized contents. I'd already moved a couple things to the bottom shelf where all the cookbooks had been shoved.
At this point, it was time to empty out EVERYTHING so I could see what I really had in stock as well as clean the shelves and re-cover the lovely yellow.

Here you can see it all empty--ahh, the yellow!
Everything that had been in the pantry
I took all the shelves out and recovered them in a graphic gray and white chevron.

Then it was time to reorganize all the contents. I put all the cereals and breakfast goodies on the top shelf. The next shelf is full of grains (rice, pasta, barley, etc). The next and easiest shelf to access is filled with snack foods like almonds, granola bars, and crackers. The fourth shelf holds the items that I don't need to access frequently like breadcrumbs, pancake mix, bread mixes, etc. I was also able to carve out some space here for water bottles that had been clogging up space with our glasses. And the bottom shelf now holds all of Porter's goodies like bones, peanut butter, green beans, etc.

The door unit holds canned goods, back stock of items like ketchup, dried fruits, etc. It makes me happy to be able to see what I've got and know which shelf holds the items I'm looking for!

And for good measure I added this week's menu on the board as a finishing touch.
I know you're really curious to know how the dining room hutch looks now that it's organized. Here you go:

It's a work in progress, but at least all my cookbooks are in one, easy-to-see place now. (Don't mind the frames leaning on the side and stuff on top--that's for another day)
I love this old hutch. Mom found this for me years ago. We took out the screens that were in the doors.
And finally, the lower portion holds overflow kitchen items like paper goods, tupperware, tins and cake plates.
 I can't forget the real final step: the happy dance! I love organization.



  1. Karli, this organizing extravaganza is totally inspiring to me!!! Now working on my own projects and hoping to do something like you did with your pantry. Love the zig-zag pattern on shelves---but what kind of material is it?

    Kandy's "tea tray" chalkboard is too fabulous for words!!! You're both sooooo creative! :-)


    1. Judith, Thanks for your generous praise. Your creative thoughts have often been my inspiration as well!


    2. Hi Judith--I got the contact paper (I think that's what it is called) at TJ Maxx. It is a thin adhesive paper with a slick coating on the top, so items slide and spills can easily be wiped up. So far it's holding up well.