Well, I should be posting the glorious "after" pictures of our kitchen improvement project, but the area is not quite as photogenic as I'd like it to be right now. :) You can catch a sneak peek at the painted cabinets and the laminate counter in this post, as I proudly show my organized pantry.
Our pantry is not the most attractive or functional closet, but hey, it's a place to put some food. I didn't take a picture of the terror inside the closet before I cleaned it out, but here is all the food piled up on our new countertop. Because our pantry had gotten so full and unorganized, it was easiest to just pull everything out and start from scratch.
When I put everything back in (welll, everything but the couple things that were no longer good...it's so embarrassing when nonperishables perish, right?), I grouped items by category. Top shelf = breakfast goods (cereal, pancake mix, oatmeal, jelly). Also on the little ledge on the top shelf's left side is our drink mixes (cold brew iced tea, Crystal Light knockoffs and Kool Aid). The second shelf has a few small groupings: items that are backup for the fridge (dip, mayo, relish), baking mixes, salad toppings and dressing, and then a nice pile of pudding and Jell-O boxes. The third shelf has all canned goods grouped in order of beans, vegetables, tomatos, soups. There's also ready-to-heat soups and more jars of peanut butter than any house should need at one time.
The last shelf is a little more mish-mash...from left to right: crackers, gnocchi (one of our favorite pastas and a super easy meal), boxed meals (like Hamburger Helper), boxed sides (like scalloped potatoes), broth, bread crumbs, and taco shells. In the middle we have sauces (one marinara and three alfredo, oddly enough) and the basket contains things for baking (food coloring, icing, cupcake liners, and birthday candles).
The very bottom of the closet contains a metal kitchen cart that we've had forever. Previous to this makeover, the bottom of the pantry held lots of useful things like a dish drainer we never use, several bottles of flat soda, piles of plastic bags, and four bottles of margarita mix. Sticking this cart in there was the only way I could get several more food items stored properly. The top pull-out drawer has pastas, the second and biggest has bags of chips, and the bottom drawer hold potatoes and onions. Now, when I say "sticking this cart in there", I really mean "taking the thing apart and reassembling because it wouldn't fit through the door frame". Really, I just had to take off the wooden top and screw it back on once the metal frame was inside. Although, it was more difficult than I thought, and I only put one screw in each corner, when there should be three. The thing's a bit wobby and I'll probably crawl in there someday soon when someone else is around to hold the baby. Or, I guess I could just wait until she's old enough to crawl in there and do it for me! ;)