IHeart Kitchen Reno: An Organized Pantry

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Don’t get me wrong, I have been loving this year’s weekly Quick Tip series. It has been fun focusing on bite size organizing to get us by while we work on a much bigger project. But come on! This girl has been so patiently waiting to move on to bigger and better organizing projects. The kind that fuel my organizing fire.

I am not ready to fill all of the drawers and cabinets in the kitchen quite yet… I am trying to wait for the center island to arrive first. Although we have already assigned a function to each cabinet and drawer on paper, I won’t really know what we have available until everything is assembled and in place. But one thing that won’t be changing, island or no island, is the pantry.

Our previous pantry was a bit of a struggle in that it was deep, and the interior was wider than the door opening by a couple of inches on both sides. Also, anything above the door opening was a challenge to see or access. We made the most of the space, and when paired with a kitchen cabinet across the way, we had plenty of dry food storage. Little did I know the difference ONE cabinet would make in how we store all of those items now. The new pantry cabinet is a a 30″ wide, floor to ceiling unit with zero clearance hinges. That means the doors don’t get in the way of the opening and allow the most possible access to drawers and shelves. Little things, big difference.

We made sure to have electrical added to allow us to conceal our microwave within the new cabinet. I LOVE this! First, the stainless finish is always covered in finger prints and it is so nice not to care. And second, it frees up counter space which is always prime real estate in a kitchen.

The microwave alone is fantastic, but I couldn’t wait to get my paws on those deep drawers below. However, those shelves above left me scratching my scalp a bit. 24″ deep shelves are not easy to maximize unless you can pull them out. Only problem is that IKEA didn’t offer pull out drawers/shelves for their 30″ pantry when we ordered from their old Akurum line. Their new Sektion line does offer pull out options for the 30″ pantry, however, the kitchen associate informed us that the new system doesn’t work with the old system. #boo

We started looking at some pull out drawer options online, and another boo hoo slipped through my lips. So expensive. Then I remembered that the IKEA Pax wardrobe system offered drawers, in fact, we had just used them in our coat closet update and loved them! The measurements were close enough to make us believe that we could make them work, coming in at 29 1/2″ wide x 22 7/8″ deep. And with their IKEA Family sale, we paid just $25 per drawer set, soft close hardware included.

We are not the tallest family on the block, so we only needed two pull out drawer options. The entire pantry was designed with height in mind. A lower drawer for the kids, microwave at boy’s level, one more drawer dedicated to the kids and then baking and boxed/canned goods above.

And yeah…. those are jogging pants… moving on.

As you can see, the drawers for the IKEA wardrobe did end up fitting inside of our pantry! To make everything line up just right, we added a strip of 1/4″ thick MDF behind each rail to get to the 30″ width of the pantry.

Once we did a test run, we removed the strip and I painted them white to match the cabinet. Back in place and you would never even know they are there.

We still may router out a groove in the taller drawers to better see the contents, we haven’t quite decided on that yet as we figure we should live with them “as-is” for awhile.

So let’s take a closer look at how I organized each zone. I have quite a few favorite moments happening inside, so I will try to keep the obnoxious over-excitement to a minimum. It will be hard though, I mean, check out the bottom drawer!

I couldn’t wait to go to the grocery store and stock the pantry, and this drawer is one of the main reasons. I have always loved the Multi-Purpose Bins from The Container Store; they are the shining stars in our fridge and freezer. Now, they are also steeling the show in the pantry!

For the drawers, I used 4 large bins and 2 medium bins. We had a lot of conversation about the type of baskets/bins to use in the drawers for our produce. As much as I love the look of a woven or wire basket, they are not easy to keep clean, especially when flaky, dirty and juicy produce is involved. These plastic options are light weight, easy to clean, yet offer a ton of storage space. I truly couldn’t be happier with how they worked out. I used my Silhouette to cut some labels out of vinyl for each bin, which can also be washed without worry.

I could gush all day, but it is time to move on. Next drawer up is the boy’s lunch drawer.

This drawer fit the kid’s lunch bags and reusable containers beautifully. I started with our snack bin and then just filled the space around it. Everything that use to live up high in our lunch cabinet, now couldn’t be easier for the boys to use each day.

Just above the microwave is our snack and breakfast drawer. Many of the snacks are also used in the boy’s lunches as well.

We already had all of the containers, they were just reconfigured in the new drawers. I decided to skip the labels this time as we had eventually stopped using them in our previous setup. We wash the bins prior to refilling them with any new snacks and tend to change the types of snacks we eat from week to week.

The small baskets work great for holding our oatmeal packets and breakfast bar options. I still believe in ditching the off-the-shelf packaging whenever possible. You really save so much room. One of those small baskets holds about four boxes of bars.

I don’t bake more than boxed goods, but my hubby does (making me a lucky wife). However, after organizing the next drawer, I can’t wait to take a baking class or ten.

Since I adore our snack containers so much, I invested in a few more for our baking products. After they stacked nicely inside of the drawers, there was only a small amount of room left to add a label to the faces. I did decide to label these containers because baking powders and sugars are not as easy to differentiate as snacks.

Although only a small part of the label would be visible, the labels I had on hand at home were larger clear options. So, I made the most of the area by adding a sweet little cupcake and a quote. Super easy to design using the Avery online label template

I mean, totally adorable right?

Big cupcake fans in this house.

To make the most of the drawer, I decided to put many of our baking tools in with the mixes and essential powders.

Again, the acrylic organizers are from our previous kitchen drawers, I just transplanted them here. I love the idea of everything being in one single hot spot.

The next shelf is where things we eat less frequently live. Canned goods, rice, noodles, sauces, etc…

Given the height, it didn’t make sense to do another pull out drawer, or we would never be able to see/reach. However, to be sure nothing is lost in the far back, I snagged one of these tiered organizers. I appreciate that it can be adjusted as our inventory changes.

As I was organizing and putting all of our canned goods away, I started to feel like I was verging on Sleeping with the Enemy territory. Although, I know it won’t take more than a couple of minutes for our fam to mess it up a bit.

The top shelf is for any overflow, bulk items, etc… and it will also store a few of our favorite small appliances.

And that completes the tour! My kids were circling like sharks as I was taking the photos of the freshly stocked pantry, but even after they ransacked it, it was able to maintain a nice level of order. Yahoo!

I am so excited that we were able to condense an entire pantry, double wide cabinet and lunch cabinet from our previous setup, into a single floor to ceiling pantry in the new kitchen. With a microwave too!

Feels good to scratch the organizing itch. Now… back to installing the flooring in the living area

You can follow all of the kitchen progress here.

P.S. WE WON! Last week we were notified that you all voted us as the Better Homes & Garden’s Top DIY blog. I owe you all an iHeart gratitude hug and so much more. I know I say it frequently, but I couldn’t believe it more, we have THE BEST readers ever! You guys are always so supportive, encouraging and HELPFUL! I truly learn so much from y’all and just hanging out with you each day is a dream. Thank you, thank you, thank you for taking the time to vote and for cheering us on as we work on this place we call home. The other nominees are all superstar blogs and I highly recommend checking each one out for even more DIY love.

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