Success Stories: Allison, a Lawyer

If I had to pick a favorite space to organize, it would probably be the kitchen, and specifically the pantry. So I was thrilled to be contacted by this client whose pantry had become a source of frustration. Although the space is fairly large, it didn’t seem adequate for storing what she needed. She had made several attempts to organize it, but maintaining it proved elusive. On top of that, it had become the family’s favorite catch all space for anything that didn’t have an obvious home. By the time she called me, she was ready for help and new ideas to solve this problem area.

Since the family was already planning to paint the interior of the home, this was a perfect time to clear the pantry out completely. Starting with a fresh coat of paint greatly increased the visual appeal! Another event that proved to be perfect timing was my trip to Nashville and a stop at The Container Store. Although items could easily be ordered, it’s always easier to see the products in person to make a better decision.

In addition to food, she was also using the pantry to store infrequently used appliances, baking supplies, a few serving dishes, and paper products. Our overall goals were to use the floor as little as possible, put frequently used items within easy reach, add more storage space by adding organizing supplies to the wall, get rid of wasted space, label clearly, make the area visually appealing, leave some empty space for extra items to be added, and set everything up for easy maintenance.

Laurie and I worked together with Allison on the pantry. Since everything had already been cleared out, we were able to make a quick start. Our first step was to sort all of the items into categories according to Allison’s preferences.  As we sorted, we removed any item that had expired, was no longer needed, or belonged in a different location. Once we had everything sorted, we talked about best placement for each category. Since most of the infrequently used appliances are heavy, we didn’t want to store them up high. The bottom shelf was the most logical choice. We continued this process of choosing best location with every category and began loading everything back in by category. We continued to adjust until we arrived at the best overall arrangement.

One of the biggest challenges with a pantry is that most shelves are tall enough for items like cereal boxes, but the majority of items stored in a pantry are much shorter. Since the shelves are usually deep enough for several items, this presents a problem. If there are several items of the same height in front of each other, you can’t see the ones in the back. Also, with shorter items, like cans, the rest of the tall shelf is wasted. This is where having specific organizing tools comes in handy. During my trip to the Container Store I found several products that turned out to be very useful: a lazy Susan with high sides to hold small items so that they wouldn’t spill (in this case, small baking supplies), shelf risers (including corner risers, which I didn’t even know existed until that day), and stacking wire baskets with openings in the front.

We were all thrilled to be able to accomplish the entire task in only two hours. What a transformation! When you organize an area that you use every day, it can make a world of difference!