Sunday, January 25, 2009

Use what you have

Use what you have,
so you can use what you have!

I wanted to show you my before/after pics of my pantry I cleaned out on Saturday. I know this isn't the most interesting topic so feel free to move right along. The after pictures obviously won't make it into a Better Homes & Garden photo shoot. And the point definitely isn't for you to see the 'messy' side of me!



Now, I understand if you have a pantry or closet or cupboard that has glass fronts exposed to everyone, you might want things looking more uniform and matchy (for lack of a better word). Otherwise, look around. This is about using what you already have and just putting them to better use.

For instance, someone gave me these five really cute, clear plastic ice buckets they had used as centerpieces at a wedding. I had them up high in my pantry waiting for the 'perfect' use. Then I had my AHA! moment--or some might think a 'well DUH! moment. Now three of them house my beans, rices, and crackers and the other two I put in the bathroom for Grace's girly-girly bath products and rolled-up wash cloths.

The large shelves my husband put in a couple of years ago. They are just cement blocks and boards. I took one out, which will go up in the bedroom closet. This gave me more room for taller items. The little wire shelves are great for doubling the space.

The rest just needed rearranging and some tweaking. The only thing I got rid of was some cookbooks I don't use, and a few cans of expired food (and that'll be the last time I throw food away).

I had a wire basket that has dividers for plastic ware, napkins, paper plates etc. used for outdoor dining. It's winter for crying out loud, so I brought them down and now they hold my spare plastic lids, straws, water filters. Perfect. Another smaller one holds all my plastic cutlery. Those leftover paper dessert plates and cocktail napkins fit perfectly in a plastic gallon ice cream bucket. (I always keep a surplus of Kool*Whip/ large yogurt containers and tins for sending meals to those who are in need, a new mom for instance--or for that daughter who just moved out. That way, they don't need the added burden of returning dishes--except for you, Chels!).

You probably can't see it in the pic, but I had a heavy black napkin holder just hanging out in there. It helped corral the smaller, floppy pamplet-type cookbooks.

A large, antique glass creamery jar I used to put all of my taper and votive candles in, and the glass jar candles went in a plastic tub.

The cute little aprons were mine as a child. Those are just up for prettiness. After all, we still have to look in there!

This only took a couple of hours and, best of all, it was free!

Here are some ideas:

Cement blocks and shelves are very inexpensive to add to a bare wall. Or maybe a small dresser. Before we put up the make-shift shelves I had a little 3-drawer dresser in that space.

Do you have any container 'collections' around the house? I had a lot of baskets that I used to organize Grace's new closet.

How about some of your glass bowls you just pull out at holidays? (Of course
placing them on the higher shelves if little ones are around.)

Little wire shelves can easily be found at Wal*Mart, thrift stores, or garage sales. They give you double the space. Excellet for canned goods. Dollar stores are great for finding little storage containers as well.

Your larger pieces of Tupper*ware you might only use periodically can be used. And how about tins?

The sky's the limit. All you have to do is look around and think outside the box.

If you made it to the end, you deserve a hug! So ((HUGS)) to you.

It's all USE WHAT YOU HAVE Good!


  1. Well you know I stayed to the end!!!! You also know where I think this one might one :o)

    Truly, a great job of using what you have. I am a lover of glass jars. I have some old antique ones but I use them!!! Store beans and noodles, etc. in them. I noticed the apron in the picture and thought that was so cute.
    It's all good indeed.
    ((hugs)) back to ya,

  2. I stayed to the end too!

    I'm much like you. I'm always trying to figure out different ways to use things. I can't think of any examples off the top of my head right now, so let me just say that this post was inspiring.

  3. Looks very neat and tidy, and gave me a few ideas for around here.

    The little wire baskets are a favotite around here. I use those for the noodles, beans, rice and crackers. (and any toys that find their way into the closet) :)

    I love to have things organized but I have 3 monsters who think things should be in chaios instead.
    Oh Well.
    Looks great though.

  4. I adore your childhood aprons. Darling idea and darling sentiment.

    I think you did a great job too. Thanks for the great tips and inspire me to do a little pantry redo. Love your title :)

    Have a great week.

  5. One of my closets is starting to get a little disorganized (and when I say "little" I mean it, I'm not a messy closet person). I saw some cute containers that would match my room at Target the other day, but I was able to resist buying them when I couldn't think what I would use them for at the moment. I need to figure out a way to organize the books that are for Paperback Swap and/or giveaway (or, you know, give them away!), and that'll help me organize the stuff that the books have displaced. Thanks for encouraging me to use what I have...I most certainly do not need to be spending money!

  6. Hey! I made it to the end and accept my (((HUGS)))!

    I have been saving jars to use in my craft space. They are good for buttons, ribbon pieces, odds and ends.

    And WOW on the amound of room in your pantry. I have a nook :)

  7. Oh wonderful Brenda..although I thought it looked fab before you even did anything.. good job..
    I saw your comment over at Polly's
    ...walking in faith...
    I love it..
    hugs, Patty

  8. It wasn't that boring! LOL

    So glad that you got your project done...and it looks great!

    Love, Jess

  9. Great job on the pantry. Now, how soon can you come over to my house and organize mine? lol Hey, thanks for sending hugs my way in the loss of my little bunny. It means a lot to know people care when you're hurting.
    Wishing, too, that we had some of your snow over in our neck of the woods. If we did, I would just snuggle down and settle in for a long winter's nap. :)
    Hope your week is starting out fine and continues to be a great one for you.

  10. I stayed to the end! :-)

    Looks great, Brenda! Although I have to admit that your "before" pictures didn't look SO bad!

    Great ideas!

  11. It's funny...I posted awhile back before and after shots of my pantry after I organized it, too...but your "before" looks like my "after"! ;)

    Thank you for the birthday wishes...and for your sweet words and award! And congratulations to you as well!


  12. Since they won't make Better Homes and Gardens we need a new magazine called " Practical Places".

  13. Hi Brenda,

    You did a great job on cleaning out and reorganizing your pantry. It looks good, plus you gave us some really good ideas about how to get our own pantries in order.

  14. I stayed to the end too! Pictures of what others are doing makes it easier to do what I need to sweep and mop my floor! Think I'll get on it! Blessings, Kathy

  15. Just read through and saw Dr. John's comments....I'm with him. Where's the "rubber meets the road" practical magazine? Practical Places sounds good!


Thanks for taking the time to visit with me. I enjoy your comments very much. :)