We have been in our 1950's house in Memphis for 10 years this January. Fixing it up bit by bit has been a blast, but there are always more things we dream about doing to make it more livable and workable. It's a small, cottage-like space where everything needs its own particular area to belong to in order to keep things as organized as we like it to be.
Since our kitchen pantry pretty much assured an ongoing state of absolute food-storage chaos, it was about time for it to be overhauled. Really, anything would have been an improvement over this dark cabinet with 4 brown lazy susan trays connected to a metal pole. The shelves were too small for the area, and spinning a metal tray around in order to find stuff in the back when it's loaded down with heavy things just wasn't ever going to work.
We lived with it for a long while, like you do when you get used to something that in reality is not that big of a deal in the scheme of things. Yes, there are much more pressing problems in this world and all of that, but since we cook so often, it's fun to look for ways to make putting together a quick meal or making a ton of something for a party or a TCV event or even just finding basic things easier. Long ago, when someone else called this place home, all of the lower-level kitchen cabinets had been constructed with shelves on tracks, so we liked being able to pull out a drawer and grab a saucepan or a baking pan really quickly. Seeing everything on a shelf is pretty cool. So why not do the same thing in the place where most of the food in the kitchen is stored?
Our friend and also an amazingly talented carpenter, Doug, was called in to help figure this whole thing out once and for all. He suggested buying the hardware HERE. We cleaned out the pantry, ripped out that crazy trays-on-a-pole contraption, primed the interior of the pantry, painted it, and did the same with the drawer boxes. Once the shelves were installed, we grouped like items and had so much more room. One of the best parts is being able to pare down your food items to what you need to use soon, what you forgot you had but will keep, and what needs to be thrown out (goodbye, 2010-expiration-date soy wrappers!). Grabbing some chips or finding a can of garbanzo beans is going to be so easy now. Anytime you don't have to bend too much or think too hard in the kitchen makes projects like this so worth it.
So it's got us thinking about what else needs to be weeded out and reorganized around here. Maybe the new year's to blame, but it sure feels great to do something that will have a huge impact on how we cook at home in 2013. Even the preliminary step of taking everything out to see what we had made a big impact.