life as we know it

Friday, May 20, 2011

Pantry Makeover...Check!

What started as a little idea inspired by a blog I follow turned into one HECK of a time-sucking project. Too bad for Nick I told him this project was what I wanted for my birthday, so he was kind of committed to see it through.

For a house that was built in 1922, we are pretty lucky we have such a great pantry. It's tall with sturdy, wooden shelves and is even big enough to walk in! *Note: Nick and I have a joke about walk-ins...when we were looking at buying a house, one of the captions we read about a closet in a house was "walk-in closet so big you can walk in it!" Wow. Deep.* I don't think it looked much worse than anyone's kitchen pantry but I drove me crazy. It wasn't organized and things were just shoved in without too much thought. I guess since we've lived here for a year and a half, we know what we use and eat on a regular basis and what we don't. 

Here it is before, and although I don't like airing my 'dirty laundry' out here, because this is bad, but it might give you a good idea of what we were starting with:

Step 1: Remove all contents of pantry, thus completely overtaking your kitchen for an undetermined amount of time. Measure the shelves, remove metal shelf brackets and get supplies.

Step 2: Find yourself a saweet looking husband to begin the dirty work!

Yeah, I know. Don't be jealous.
So Nick and I jump right in priming over the pantry. It wasn't long (close to immediately) before we both started feeling pretty lightheaded. Nick asked me for a mask because the fumes were pretty intense as he was up on the ladder working on the ceiling. I grabbed it, but a few minutes later he knew he needed to take a little break. He headed out back for some fresh air and I decided to try my hand on the ladder. Two short minutes later, I wanted to pass out, too. It was unbelievable. We've painted things before and have never felt like this. We just figured since the space was so enclosed and tight. Literally, we couldn't last more than a few minutes before we were headed out back again. Nick came out once and said his feet felt heavy and like he was going to fall over. I was pretty frustrated with the whole thing and decided to call it a night. I started cleaning the paint brushes in the sink and my hands started getting all sticky and felt horrible. I knew something was wrong but could NOT put my finger on it. I told Nick just to throw the brushes out (*tear* those were Purdy paint brushes!) and I worked on getting my hands cleaned.

I was on the phone with my mom that night and explained what happened. She mentioned that it sounded like we were using oil-based primer. LIGHT BULB. Sho 'nuff, oil-based. The double whammy? Not only did we need to replace our paint brushes, clean the sink with some product we didn't have and buy new primer, but we also had to sand down what we had already done to ensure the new latex-based primer would adhere to the wall and shelves. UGHHHHHH.

Finally Nick was off! I had started the work week so I bowed out for the rest of the project (oh, and sure I pulled the birthday card a few times :) ).

Step 3: Prime. Check!

It was already looking a lot cleaner and brighter. I was pumped. Nick was ready for it to be over. But it wasn't.

Step 4: Paint walls and shelves. Empty pantry with pretty new paint = LOVE!

So it was a bit overwhelming with the empty pantry and the overflowing and chaotic kitchen and I wasn't really sure where to start, considering our kitchen still looked like this...

We also had been shopping over the last few weeks for thrift and antique store finds for storage containers. I was even successful poking around the house looking for things we weren't using that might fit. Although we had an idea of what each thing would be used for, we were 100% on how it would all come together, so we knew we would be playing around with the layout. Surprisingly, we really like how it all turned out. We ended up using every single thing we purchased and the only left over item was something I had brought up from the basement. We still need something to store dog food on the floor and a few more clear plastic containers (come on, Denver IKEA!), but we're not in a rush. We're just glad to have our kitchen back! Without leaving you on the edge of your seats any longer...introducing our overhauled pantry...!

The pictures really don't do the space justice. It is so organized and pretty now! Don't think we stopped with the pantry, though. Since we were shifting around items we decided to reorganize other drawers and cabinets in our kitchen. One of the rules apparently of an insanely organized pantry is to only have the absolute necessities and really no electric appliances. Well, we broke the rules, but it's what works for us. Here are a few of our other reorganized spaces.

I'm pretty sure Nick walks in the pantry just to breath it all in now and although it took wayyyy longer than he expected, he still thinks it was worth it.

This project was just the first of our whole house reorganization kick. I'm going to be working through a 30 day organize-a-thon workbook that addresses each space in your house. I downloaded it through a free promotion from Get Organized Wizard. I'm looking forward to decluttering our life, although this is likely going to wait until after we have our hardwood floors refinished. Fun things on the horizon here at the Mortellite house! Stay tuned!


  1. Love it! Of course my favorite part are the bags of Ethiopian coffee I see on the shelf!! :) Tell Nick he's a saint!!

  2. I loved this :) and the oil-based paint! I don't envy you! although last summer we spent every day and night painting our living room/family room and it's horrible 18 ft ceilings (Brian measured) was much more fun than shoveling loads of rocks compacted with weeds out of our current landscaping for the past 4 weekends. Oh the perks of homeownership. replace oil-based paint exposure symptoms with blisters, farmer-like sunburn in 50 degree weather, and LBP to your list of symptoms. miss you guys! PS I need new pics of Duke... He must be a giant now. --Michelle