The unpacking and OCD organizing continues at Snug Bug Texas. I spent most of last night trying to get the sewing room in order, but earlier this week I was all about my pantry.
Now… a word about my pantry, my house in general and the real estate market in Dallas. It’s crazy pants, y’all. As most of you longer timey readers will know, I came from Minneapolis which is certainly not the most pricey housing market in the land. That being said, we lived in the city and bought our house in 2008, so paid what I considered a decent-slash-TON-of money for a 900 square foot 50’s ranch with an unfinished basement, teeny yard, 2 bedrooms/1 bath with a tuckunder garage. While we lived there, we made it nicer going the DIY, Ikea and occasional hired gun route, but it was just a 50’s ranch with a lot of Ikea, Home Depot slate and Lumber Liquidators hardwoods on the floor.
SO when we started house-hunting in Dallas, my head nearly exploded. Houses down here are GIANT, and cheap according to my internal home-value meter. Of course we were looking in the suburbs versus the city, so of the houses were of the more giant variety. Our particular suburb wasn’t even in existence until the 60’s from what I understand and almost all of the homes we looked at were built in the early 90’s or 00’s. Compare that to our previous ranch, built in the 50’s and positively the youngest kid on the block in Mpls, where most of the homes around us were Tudors built in the 30’s.
So…. what’s with all the background info? Merely me trying to help you understand why I was a bit disappointed with the pantry in our new house. Here’s a photo I snapped while it still had the seller’s dry goods in it…
Not a walk in. I was disappointed. I KNOW that seems awfully snobby, especially coming from a teeny dollhouse where my ‘pantry’ was the Ikea pine shelving that Mr. Bug installed in the basement, but a LOT of the houses we looked at had walk in pantries and I had visions of this dancing in my head…
Unpacking in Texas got off to a rocky start due to my obsessive need to organize. It was slow going. Finally, being driven insane by the boxes everywhere and general chaos, I relented and just started shoving things in their eventual homes, without organizing or making it pretty. Last week the laundry room got its mini-makeover, so this week it was pantry time! Here it is in its current basket-loving state…
Hello white basket farm! Of course, I’m plotting to eventually come back and make it SUPER pretty inside. Like every single other person who even GLANCES at home design blogs (what’s the proper term for that kind of blogging BTW??) I fell hard for this pantry with its grey walls, stenciling, antique wooden boxes and cute trim on the front of the shelves.
No matter, that will have to be stage THREE (1 being ‘just getting unpacked’ and 2 being ‘ORGANIZE!!’) Stage three will be the ‘make it super pretty’ stage.
So. Regarding the organization part. In my last kitchen I had a small cupboard area that I used as a pantry. In that system I kept all my opened packages of food (pasta, snacks, etc) as well as the unopened items needed for that week’s menu in the kitchen pantry area. ‘Backstock’ went to the Ikea shelves in the basement, which we took to calling ‘Super Target.’ I realized once I started organizing in the new house that I needed a similar system, which sort of bummed me out, because I had visions of a pantry full of artfully arranged stacks of canned goods dancing in my head.
After moving things around a bit, this is what I came up with: cannisters, snacks, partially used goods and cookbooks went into the pantry. I have a separate cupboard for unopened things and partial bags of canister goods (flour, sugar, etc.) Spices, small baking packages and oils/vinegar all have separate homes. Don’t worry, I took photos…
First of all, the canisters. I prefer to put most things into a canister. They look nicer and are easier to scoop from! The bulk of my canisters are frosted glass Ikea ones. They aren’t my favorite style, but Mr. Bug and I got them at one of those crazy early morning sales where you have to go and shoulder your way in, so they were all $1 a piece and when we were setting up our old kitchen we needed a LOT of them at once! The rest of the canisters are the more sweet kind with the wire clasp closure (also from Ikea), along with a few extra large glass-topped ones from Target (for bread flours) and an odd assortment of new clear canning jars and the older blue glass Bell jars.
I went nuts with the labels this time around. I started with a template I found through this post on My Sweet Savannah. There wasn’t a label for everything in my pantry, though, so I just grabbed the background from a label I liked, removed the existing words and then downloaded two different fonts with an old school style to make my own. For font dweebs (like me) they are Birmingham and Bellerose, both downloaded from dafont.com. If any of your happen to have my taste in fonts and the EXACT SAME ITEMS in YOUR pantries, here s a PDF of the labels… I warn you, this is not the nicest artwork out there, and the ‘cutting’ lines are not super helpful (especially if you try to use a paper cutter) but I managed to make them work… I put them on with packing tape so they’d be easy to clean and water repellant.
I used a lot of baskets from my stash while organizing. I managed to find (mostly) white baskets. There was one golden brown one that I had to include. It annoyed me because it so OBVIOUSLY didn’t belong on the shelves, so I watered down some Annie Sloan Old White chalk paint and white washed it. That’s it below in the lower left hand corner. I also have a brown Longaberger banana basket that I keep onions and garlic in but I didn’t have the heart to whitewash that one.
In the top of the photo you can see the giant white ‘snack’ basket. A nice catchall for bags and boxes of snack foods. My almonds and popcorn are also on the snack shelf, along with a few other items. The next shelf down has a white basket of beverages and the whitewashed basket with general pantry items. Another white cube-basket (not pictured) holds opened boxes – Uncle Bens rice, pasta – that sort of thing.
You can also see the hanging labels in this picture – I bought those in the office supply area at Target and make labels with my label maker. They work especially well on baskets and cloth organizing cubes (I attach with a safety pin) – anything that isn’t easy to slap a label on!
I had the baskets below on hand and they’re perfect for paper and plastic bags – paper on the left, plastic on the right. We call the basket on the right the snake charmer basket. They didn’t get the white wash treatment – since there’s two of them and they’re sitting on the floor, they didn’t look so obviously mismatched!
A view from across the room… the door to the left of the pantry is the laundry room.
And now for all my other little hidey holes. First up is the unopened pantry items and canister ‘backstock’…
I had the riser for the cans – it’s getting a little dinged up and I really want to swap out for more attractive bamboo risers, but since it’s still perfectly serviceable, I controlled my urges and re-enlisted it!
On either side of the cooktop and hood I organized baking supplies and a lot of my oils, vinegars and spices.
Baking items are on the left side. There are a few things in this area that I would like to get canisters for and move into the pantry (corn meal, etc.) It isn’t super logical that I’ve broken up my opened containers between the baking shelf and the pantry area, except I’ve ALWAYS organized these items separately from regular cooking supplies. I think my mother did the same thing!
On the other side of the stove I organized oils, vinegars, salts, larger spice jars, coffee-making supplies (coffee maker/sink are close by) and on the very top shelf is a box with backstock for my spice jars.
I organized my spice jars in one of the drawers of the kitchen island so they’re easy to grab while I”m cooking. Here’s a slightly goofy photo to give you perspective.
I had to buy all new spice jars (again, Ikea.) My previous ones matched the frosted glass canisters – they were sort of tall and skinny and kept falling down in the drawer! These are shorter and fatter so more stable – super bonus? They’re bigger! Yay! I hate having all those little half filled spice jars in my back stock!
They’re all labeled and alphabetized. I had two different cartridges of label tape – one clear, one white. It’s driving me nuts that the labels don’t all match and I’ll probably swap out eventually. Because that’s how I roll!
Next up? Who can say? Although I am closing in on having a functioning sewing space! Holla!