It wasn’t the biggest home improvement project I’ve ever tackled—not by a long shot. It only took a week or so, a couple of trips to the Home Depot and the container store. There was relatively little cursing and no crying and it was over before I had the urge to burn down the house and flee into the night. I call that a win.
My pantry was stuffed to the gills, with no rhyme or reason to the organization. It was gloomy and un-functional and every time I tried to find something, another object was sure to fall on my head. Usually the turkey roasting pan, but sometimes the pudding steamer. Empty canning jars were precariously balanced everywhere, threatening to cascade to the floor. I knew the extra napkins were in there somewhere, but damned if I could find them. It wasn’t just too full, the space wasn’t working.
So I gutted it. There was whacking with a hammer and prying with a crowbar and flying bits of wood. I love that phase of a project. It took several coats of primer and two coats of fresh white paint (the warnings to use Kilz primer in a ventilated area are SO right, by the way) to cover the 1950’s pink walls and blue ceiling.
I thought about what I keep in the pantry and planned accordingly. New shelves, an assortment of wire racks and hanging devices specially chosen for my particular stuff—from aprons to whisk brooms, cat food to waxed paper to berry picking buckets, everything found its new home.
Somehow when everything went back in there was plenty of light and more than enough room.
It might sound kind of silly, but I’m grateful to have a pantry. It’s such a nice prosperous feeling to have storage space at all. And now, to have a fresh, functional pantry feels like riches.
An empty shelf is like an unscheduled afternoon. It’s an invitation to be savored, and not filled too quickly.