Sunday, July 26, 2015

No Pantry? No Problem.

So I created one...

BTW... as you scroll through the photos you need to know that editing them takes a ton of time. So in keeping with simplifying my life, I'm using my iPhone, making only a few minor adjustments so you can see what is in the photo (light v. dark; shadows removed), and that's about it. And that folks, is as good as it's going to get. :-)

Don't you just love my folding chairs? I know... I'm quite the trend setter! Truth is, we sold the big farmhouse table and chairs. And until I find what I want, these work just fine. I did pick up two wicker chair that I love! Not sure if I'll keep them at the table, but so far I like it.

The dining table has been in the family since the late 1800's. I grew up eating all my meals on it. This one stays.

And the light fixture? It's a rental. Some things just have to stay as they are. If we were living here long term, I'd swap it out temporarily and replace it before leaving, but probably won't do that this time around.

On the plus side... I adore all these windows!! It's like having a sunroom. Morning light pours through and this is where I drink my coffee and read my bible each morning unless I'm soaking it in on the back patio.

Anyway, back to the pantry and the reason for the post. In the last house, I had a HUGE walk in pantry... about 20' x 8'? I can't tell you how much stuff was in there, but a LOT.

Part of our goal for selling the big house was to downsize and simplify our lifestyle. It's easy to become a slave to your house and it was swallowing us up. The rental has no pantry space at all and it's likely our new home won't either (still working on the plans in case we build). So something had to give.

I sorted everything from the pantry, kitchen, and dining area that was in the big house and kept only what I LOVED or USED regularly. Some of it actually fit in our rental kitchen, but what didn't had to fit in the dining room on these new wire shelving racks (we opted for Trinity Brand EcoStorage with free Prime shipping after LOTS of research). I purchased an extra shelf for each and a wire basket that slides out for one of the racks. And ladies, I put one together by myself, so you can do it, too!

Baskets hide things that are necessities, but aren't so lovely to look at... like pot lids, paper goods, stainless steel and glass water bottles, zip lock bags, and empty egg cartons.

Hooks on the end hold pots, aprons, baskets, hats, etc.  LOVE this feature!

I would like to report that keeping food in bulk worked well... just in case we had an emergency. We just couldn't rotate it fast enough to keep it from spoiling, despite freezing extra grains, using every method possible for long term storage, etc. So I decided to reduce the amount of food storage.

Since I already was using the large Anchor Hocking jars for grains, I just decided that whatever they hold will be my limit unless I can squeeze some in the freezer. Each of the 2 gallon jars holds roughly 10 lbs. of wheat, flour, rice, oats, etc. I have more in the kitchen, but I keep a couple on the shelves.

While wire shelving isn't traditional, antique, or even rustic, it does have that industrial look that's so popular right not. When I travel to the Big City, one of my favorite places to shop is Sur La Table and once I was fortunate to shop at a Dean & Deluca! Now when I walk in my dining room, I feel like I'm right back in one of those gourmet cooking stores.

I made one additional purchase that I had research for a LONG time. I invested in a quality bread box. With all the money I made selling the big farmhouse furniture, I was able to splurge a bit without dipping into our monthly budget. This Wesco bread box is a dream! I had debated off and on about buying a vintage granite enamel ware bread box, but my OCD tendency kept kicking in when I thought of storing my bread in a box that I had no clue as to it's prior use. I love my antiques, but a new bread box for me, please. 

Here are a few other reasons I like the open wire shelving: 

• I can see all the things I love. Like in The Sound of Music when Julie Andrews sings "These are a few of my favorite things...", these are my things that are my favorites. No more hiding behind cupboard doors or in a hidden pantry. It's truly out in the open. But it means I had to put a bit more thought into the arranging. Could I get more on these shelves? Of course. But why look at all the regular pantry/can goods when I can look at my pretty things? All that other stuff now fits into a couple of kitchen cabinets or in jars on the counter. 

• Second, it's dry here in the southwest and that means dust. More than most of you can ever imagine! It gets EVERYWHERE and FAST! I've thought of Sarah, Abraham's wife many a time and reminded myself that I COULD be living in a tent in the dirt and sand all my life. It helps me stay content with my own dust! Wire shelving collects very little dust. Almost none in fact. I do have to dust the items on it, but it's MUCH easier to manage. 

• Easy access... everything is within reach and a breeze to put back. I LOVE this about my wire shelving!

• They're portable and easy to move. I can move my shelves to mop under them and I can take them with me to the next house. Piece of cake.

• If I ever want to go back to a traditional hutch or other furniture, these wire racks can easily be repurchased for storing items long term in the garage, Costco extras, craft supplies, you name it! These won't make it to Craigslist anytime soon.

• Modest pricing makes these affordable. Buying one a month is so much cheaper than a piece of furniture! And this stuff is industrial quality. I think every shelf holds something like 50# (don't quote me!).

So there you have it. A pantry in the dining room. In the next post, I'll try to show you where all the REAL "pantry items" are housed. 


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