Rolling Right Along: Our New Rolling Pantry

Our kitchen has the problem that I hear SO many other people have as well: not enough storage. We have two-ish walls of cabinets/appliances. Literally. Fridge, skinny cabinet, stove, corner cabinet, sink, dishwasher, end skinny cabinet. A 3rd wall is our laundry closet and the 4th is a window nook and some floating shelves we’ve added with an antique cabinet (hallelujah, more storage) on that wall that we added in spring of 2013.

AGES ago, I was reading IHeartOrganizing and found a Reader Space by Classy Clutter. And by ages ago, I mean, at the end  of 2012. Truly. We bought these supplies on Super Bowl Sunday (like, February 2013) and finished it like, January 5, 2014. Punctual is NOT my middle name.

This is the plan, by Mallory of Classy Clutter. Her plans are very detailed eloquent and, in fact, this “blueprint”, as she calls it, is what had me at, “Hello.” I mean, it’s SO DETAILED, right?!

Can Organizer PLANvia

I’m going to start this off by saying that we altered the plans. No, that wasn’t on purpose. Yes, I’m severely type-A when it comes to a plan, but my sweet husband got tired of all of the supplies sitting in the floor and went about it in such a way to make it the “most stable” (without realizing I had pinned the plans on pinterest). **Most stable is NOT a reflection on Mallory’s original plan, but more Chris’ opinion when he didn’t realize there was a legit plan from which to work.**

Our two middle shelves are spaced further apart, a.k.a taller, than the others. That is because the middle board braces the whole thing. Spacing the shelves out equidistantly would’ve kept there from being a middle brace in the “ladder” structure of the rolling pantry. I just figured he was finishing a project I begged him to start and then dropped…so, I can’t complain. This is the best picture I have to show you that. I truly thought we took photos of this as we went along, but it’s been almost 12 months so, no surprise, I can’t find them. This picture is well past most of the first steps of her plan, but I wanted you to see what I meant about shelf spacing.

rolling pantry frame

We also built the frame and then put the beadboard on the back…then inserted shelves. This was for a few reasons. #1- We jacked it up the first time and the wood sat outside for so long (note: do projects WHEN YOU BUY THE SUPPLIES) that the wood warped and we had to buy new shelves. #2- We decided to put the shelves in using our Kreg Jig instead of screwing them in from the outside, like the plans instructed. (Dear Kreg Jig, We love you. Love, GG&G) The 4 outside boards were still attached with screws coming from the outside of the structure since we had done them first. In fact, when we started building this, we may not have even figured out the Kreg Jig. This is what happens when you complete projects ELEVEN MONTHS after you start them!

So, basically, we built the whole thing once, took all of the shelves out, built it all again (with the Kreg Jig) and THEN filled, sanded, painted, sanded, painted, sanded, painted, drilled for dowels, painted dowels, added wheels, and added a handle! Seriously, read Mallory’s blog for better plans. I couldn’t even pretend like I was as well thought-out as she. I was just really psyched to clean out a cabinet and dump it all in to this guy!

I do have to brag on my sweet husband. He found a box from…something(?) that had one of those unnecessary cardboard flaps on the top. You know, the ones where you open the top and then you have a flap that opens to the left, one that opens to the right, and THEN you get to see the product? Well, this one had holes in it and we may NEVER RECYCLE IT. It is perfect for drying painted dowels!

drying dowels

True life: All I did was inspect, take photos, and add the handle. I was darn proud of that handle, by the way. It was my first time using my birthday present (our new Ryobi one+ drill) and it is THE BEST, let me just say. Here he is, all decked out with his spices and bottles!


Did you SEE that handle?! That is some quality craftsmanship! 🙂

We currently have him to the right of the refrigerator, but are in serious talks to move him to the left…we just have to move the fridge. As of right now, here’s how he looks when pulled all the way out from the cabinets. It fits SO well between our fridge and cabinets. Yeah, it leans a little, but we can usually line it up pretty nicely and Chris can reach a lot of things (spices and olive oil) that he needs while he’s cooking. We even have room to grow into it AND we have cabinets to rearrange! I know that the little guy isn’t built perfectly and we didn’t fill every nook and cranny with wood filler, but for this house at this time, he’s perfect. Hopefully we’ll have a kitchen with amazing storage or at least a more customizable layout. Also, maybe one day I’ll clean up the splashes of spaghetti sauce before I take photos. Nah, probably not. And that spaghetti was DELICIOUS. 🙂


Aaaaaand, here it is pushed in by the refrigerator. If you’re thinking, “OH MY GOSH HER FRIDGE IS SO CLUTTERED?!?!!?!??!!” You would be right. That’s the next order of business once I snapped these photos. Well, that and painting over the yellow, cleaning and repainting the cabinets, and tiling a backsplash. So, not really “next”, per se.


In summary, I love the Kreg Jig. I love the Ryobi one+ drill. Follow Mallory’s plans at Classy Clutter for legit directions and to see her SUPER cute chevron background. We didn’t paint a pattern/design on ours because we’re re-doing the kitchen decor/scheme/painting this year (eeeeek!!!!!) and I wasn’t sure what would go with it. I may punish myself and go back and do a stencil or something later. I’ll keep you posted.

Is this adulthood?! Being excited about moving fridges, tiling a backsplash, rearranging cabinets, and clearing off counters?! Ugh, I’m lame.

What have YOU done for secret storage? Please share tips because our kitchen is still teeny-tiny and we need all the help we can get! 🙂

P. S. Mallory from Classy Clutter? You’re my hero. Thanks for giving me so much inspiration! 🙂


2013: Upstairs Closets

Last year, we made (and I never blogged about) a cloffice (closet office). It’s one of my favorite things in our house. One day I will explain the creation/inspiration for said cloffice, but today…I am writing about closets, in general. Toni, from A Bowl Full of Lemons set an organization challenge this week of closets, so I’m here blogging about our three very different closets: our cloffice, our master closet, and our linen closet. Would I say that any of these three are *completely* finished? No. Are they all FAR more functional and actually pretty enjoyable? Yes. 

#1- The Cloffice

It’s pretty simple in that…I love it. There are a few wire shelves to the left (that came with the closet) as this room is relatively small. This is also a terribly bright picture, but the wall is super navy and I super love it. I super hate the chair. We’re saving up for a nicer one…maybe acrylic? I want it to stop stealing the show from my navy wall. This stores all of my gift wrap, old magazines, tissue paper, random small crafty things, and, obviously, our files. I also copied Toni’s original filing system[I couldn’t find the link but it’s all over pinterest] and it made my heart so happy over spring break (last year) that I probably could’ve cried. That’s serious. 

I should write more on how amazing this is, but for now, the pictures are on my hard drive and it’s not hooked up…so I’m moving on to…

#2- The Master Closet

Truthfully, our “master” isn’t billed as the master. The boxier room downstairs has an attached bath. It also has a smaller closet…with the water heater in it. This one has a double closet and it has been my room since my mom purchased our house when I was a sophomore in college. It has been different colors (on its way to a new one) and had many different sets of furniture and arrangements, but I love this room best. We redid our closet system in April 2011…after my husband’s side fell. down. It has worked pretty well. It’s still not huge, but that’s the nature of the beast. Our upstairs bedroom closets like this one and the cloffice have slanted ceilings because they begin the transition under the eaves of our house. It’s kinda weird to explain…maybe one day it will make sense and I’ll have a picture of our oddly-shaped home. 🙂

Basically, this closet kinda stopped functioning so our room looked INSANE. Seriously.
Exhibit A:

 This was the point where I took everything on the floor (ie: should go in the closet) and threw it all on the bed. That has ALWAYS been how I clean my room. I make it so that the room “looks” clean-ish and then I go through the stuff on the bed. Typically, it works (as I’d like to get in bed at night). However, in college I slept on a pile of laundry for a few days because I just didn’t. feel. like. folding. 

This is what the bed looked like from the other side. WHY DO I HAVE SO MUCH CRAP?!?!?!?!?! Seriously, almost none of this is my husband’s. In fact, none of it is his. 

 This beautiful clear space on my side of the bed was my motivation. It still looks this way days later, thankyouverymuch.

 True confession? This part still looks slightly similar. The stuff closest to me & the camera needs to be donated/consigned and I just haven’t been home during daylight hours to go through it the rest of the way. #comeonsnowdays2013!

See? I told ya we’d sleep here that night. How we sleep without moving the frames/canvas to adjust to center (to align with our mirror), I will never know.

This is the bag of donations. You’ll notice they’re mostly my husband’s. Someone keeps losing weight. The only weight I’m losing is the half-ounce of nail polish that has clearly disappeared from my toes.

Then, I look into this beautiful closet and I don’t care that my toes are chipped or that I won’t be able to work out until April (#lifeofanOdysseyoftheMindcoach) because my closet is SO PRETTY. Things are organized my sleeve-length, and then rainbow order. I do keep all jackets to the right and dresses to the left. Also, in the right side there are probably…7-10″ of space. I hung some 3M hooks with my 4 big purses, which house all of the little ones. It’s splendid.

 Please don’t judge the crazy curtain situation. I hung one of two panels on his side of the closet to see if I liked the no-door, curtained look. I do. I just haven’t gotten around to hemming all 4 or hanging the other 3 panels. Soon. And very soon (that’s an inside joke for you, Mom…and anyone else super familiar with the Baptist hymnal).

This is my husband’s side. See all of those empty hangers? They were full FIVE MONTHS AGO. I tell ya, Insanity works. My man is looking mighty fine and diminishing by the day. He’s so healthy I can’t stand it. If he has to give away any more shirts he’s going to be so naked nobody else can stand it.


And on to my newest addition to the 2013 Cleaner Closet Campaign, the Linen Closet! Hooray!

So, I went to Target at 10:20 p.m. on a Monday. I just…I had to have some baskets. I got the lovely y-weave and (apparently) I got the fall/winter ones that they are phasing out because 5 of them were on clearance- SCORE! I bought 5 of their large size and 2 of their mediums in white. Sidenote: The spring ones are also teal, but they were slightly lighter by comparison in person. Also, we used red ones for our laundry room and the ones now are a tad more…fluorescent? It’s hard to describe, but noticeable since I already owned some. 

I also bought one of the little tiny Sterilite drawer sets for things I wanted to corral. I hit up the dollar bins because WHY NOT and found one other little box I didn’t even know I’d use. 

This closet performs many duties: sheets, towels, medicine cabinet, paint supplies, extra throw pillows, beach bag [not pictured=not organized- sorry, beach bag]. I just needed to corral items in a way that would make sense. Here’s where we started:

There are few more bed pillows that get stacked on top, but they were used this past weekend by some guests, so I haven’t gotten them put away yet. Otherwise, this is pretty much what it looked like. OH, it did have a basket with ALL of the “medicine cabinet” related items. They were all thrown in with extra soaps, travel stuff, random lotions (kids give the best and worst teacher gifts), aloe-type stuff, back scratchers, etc. That was in my living room floor but came from the shelf that has the…smoke detector on it. You’ll see the basket filled with trash later.

Yes, the lighting is terrible. No, it really is that ugly. Brassy knob. Builder white? beige? paint. I have not painted, but now that it’s organized, it will be much easier to get everything out of here and paint it up one weekend. 

 You can see that I tried REALLY hard to utilize baskets, but I had random ones and some didn’t really fit or you had to pull them both out to get to one…
now I have THIS:

Top Shelf: 
-still pillows (and the zip-up picnic blanket/pillow thingy)
Second Shelf: 
-basket on left: hand towels/wash cloths
-drawers: medical tape, ointments/creams, floss/oral ointments, bandaids, Breathe Right strips, sinus/allergy meds, thermometer
-divided organizer on top of drawers: small hair rubberbands (the plastic-y ones I use for special teacher-spirited hairdos), extra contact cases
-basket on right: “medicine cabinet”, travel-sized stuff, extra glasses/cases, a few bars of soap & body butter, a box of unopened Prilosec, gauze/Ace bandages, handheld back massager, and that little thing from Avon that gets the pills off sweaters- what’s that called? Sweater shaver?

You can probably guess that the third shelf is towels. We have 2 that go on the left (in the wash) and guest towels are in that basket in the middle.
Below that, the left basket is extra sheets. When we travel and bring sheets we have a set for a double bed and a set for a king. We use them more than I would’ve anticipated. The set in the middle has never been opened, but one of our current sets is wearing thin. The basket on the right has our current sheets that are in rotation.
Bottom shelf left basket has cleaning supplies for the upstairs, a make-up bag I can use for bottles & things during travel, and the right basket is where we keep random electrical things (extra smoke detector, pop-up lights & bulbs, my husband’s knee brace, heating pads).

One last look! Top!

 …and bottom!

 The beach bag will fit perfectly in the middle of the floor between those paint cans! Booyah!

The basket below WAS my “medicine cabinet” basket. That is now trash/recycling, minus the peroxide which is going downstairs to make laundry (armpit) pre-treater.

This make-up bag is a little less effective for me, but I’m going to see if I can’t change my travel habits with packing that kind of stuff and keep it in my closet with the matching garment bag. I hate splitting up a set but I do know some really good consignment places.

And this will ALLLL be going to Freecycle. Freecyclers love beauty products because they’re often expensive. If someone has extras of something you use, might as well get it for free!

I’m feeling MUCH better about my life in our closets. It took less than a day to construct our cloffice and less than 2 hours to organize the other two. Definitely a do-able night or weekend thing! I think our life will run MUCH more smoothly with our closet stuff organized…and I can’t wait to get some bookplates/labels for those linen closet baskets! 

Our space-filling project for under our shelves is coming later this week! 🙂
A Bowl Full of Lemons

Brace Your Shelves!

Sorry. That is an inside joke. I’m not sure why. My husband and I said it once? to our roommate? maybe? We’re losers. Sorry.


Another warning, this post has a bajillion photos. Apparently, that’s what happens when you buy a new camera, supplies for a project, and have months of time on your hands. (I take too long to complete projects.)


Alright, on with the show! This all started in October when my wonderfulfabulousamazingsplendidromantic husband bought me a buffet for my birthday. Now, this isn’t truly a “buffet”, but it is two pieces: one old TV cabinet and one serving piece/sideboard. However, when we saw them in the consignment shop, they were side-by-side like one cabinet and I fell. in. looooooooove. For real, I did. This was the week before our anniversary and, when we got anniversary cards with cash, I begged him to come back to Newport News (we were visiting family) and go find the cabinet again. And it was gone. I almost wept. I’m not typically *super* emotional, but I LOVED this piece and I was devastated. Nothing seemed right. 


Fast forward 2 or 3 weeks and I started craigslisting. I REALLY wanted to find a cool vintage buffet. I finally found one and the sellers were AMAZING. I’m talking, drive-an-hour-for-you-just-to-look-at-it, amazing. Well, hubby got all squirrelly and started fussing at me.  See, he had also asked about celebrating my birthday (THE BEST DAY OF THE YEAR- only 309 days, by the way) and I said…”ummm…is yesterday too early?” He was not amused, said we should just go get my gift now, I said “no” because he gave my anniv. gift early and kicked himself. It was weird. If you knew him, you would know he is the most even-tempered person EVER. Our roommate actually said, “I didn’t know he could get frustrated until I moved in and saw you frustrate him.” Our roommate has known him for over 10 years. I bring out the best in people. That being said, the next day he got REALLY weird and said, “We have to go to my parents’ house.” I said, “Does this have to do with my birthday?” (12 days early). He was not amused. So…we went in to his parents’ home and he asked me to help with something upstairs. What did I find?! MY BUFFET!!!!! (I, truly, have the craftiest, trickiest, most thoughtful, worst secret-keeping and worst-at-lying husband in the whole world- love you, babe.)

Here she is in her trial-run, partially-set up state. I love her. She’s slightly less orangey than this picture shows, but no less beautiful. 
 This got me thinking…my husband hates it when I do that. I reaaaaaaaaaaaalllyyyyy needed something in ALL of the space above the buffet. 

SOSOSOSOSOSOSOSOSO MUCH SPACE! Seriously, I could not handle it. 
(an aside: nothing about this looks remotely similar today…except the standing globe to the right)
I got on ye ol’ Pinterest and looked at some old DIY pins I had pinned. I found a tutorial from younghouselove (not surprising) and Ana White on building floating shelves*…I started brainstorming. Then, I looked at the things that did not fit into the new buffet from the old china hutch (to the left two photos above…from Ikea…Bjursta collection?). The #1 misplaced item was…wine glasses. We have 14. They had nowhere to live. So, I did what any normal pinterest-er would do…I looked for a tutorial for building wine racks! I remembered that Katie Bower had retrofitted some Pottery Barn shelves with wine racks, so I googled those. No dice. Then, I bit the bullet and found a tutorial for building your own wine rack. 
Disclaimer: Nothing about these shelves is perfect. These wine racks? Not perfect. But, they were a labor of love so, I love them like I love my 2nd graders with their weird grown-up front teeth and tiny baby teeth. Awkward, quirky, loveable. 
Onward: Let’s buy supplies! Truthfully, I didn’t keep receipts, but this ended up being WAY more expensive than the tutorial. I do NOT think this is the fault of either tutorial. We had fewer supplies on hand, so costs rose more than we anticipated. Here is our pile of supplies on our dirty (now gone) carpet, next to the old trunk of books (that were all free) that I still haven’t gone through. Open & honest here. 
Basically, we followed the tutorial and then…sat the braces and the shelf sleeves in the corner while we worked on our floors. For. Ever. (real time: less than 2 months) Finally, floors were done! Hooray! [The joy cannot be contained by this post and will be posted at a later date when I’m done with the grieving process and can release my bitterness and hatred at a “3 week turned 6 month” project.]

That darling husband of mine leveled the first brace (I held on, he screwed in- oh. man. so. funny. sorry.) and we had a brace! Hooray! We screwed into as many studs as we could [still inappropriately funny], but some of them were in strange places behind our little 11.5″ cross bars. That made it complicated, but we worked it out. Fortunately, after the first one or two screws, we were able to leave it hanging with the level and he could finish drilling while I took pictures. [Nothing about this makes me stop saying “That’s what she said.” Nothing.]
We decided to put the lowest shelf 24″ above the buffet…and then I realized that 9″ tall wine glasses would be hanging from it. So, we went 33″ to compensate. Does it look too high? Definitely now. Will it look better? I think so. Ideas are on the way.




Keeping it level because I’m neurotic. 


Then, it got dark, but we kept on going. Warning: the pictures will look horrendous from here on out. Our lamps are THE. WORST. EVER. I also don’t really understand 90% of my camera, so, bear with me. I’m working on it. 🙂 We had to make some adjustments from our original brace #2, but we were able to fix it so that it would hang correctly with a new 1″x 2″. 
Then, we prepared for the moment of truth: sleeve-fitting. 




IT WORKED! IT WORKED! IT WORKED!!!!!!!!! Yes, I was jumping up and down. Yes, my husband was sweating bullets. No, I did not cry. 
Meanwhile, back (in Gotham City?) in the floor, I was wood-puttying some stray holes in the second shelf-sleeve, re-sanding, gluing on wine-glass brackets, and any testing out the wine-glass-holding capabilities.
We let it dry overnight (while I was painting my mirror– woop!) and then it was ready to hang!!!!!!! We did consider putting some additional screws in the wine glass holders, but we kept testing them (and testing and re-testing) and decided that they’re very secure. God forbid anything happen, we’ll put out a plea to donate to the Keep-Jessica-from-drinking-Moscato-from-plastic-cups campaign.


We put the bottom sleeve on and…ALKJDFLKSJDLFKJLKJ!!!!!LKSJDFKJ!!!!!!!!!!!
IT WORKED! Seriously, at this point I considered weeping. Also, check out those sweet branches that are in a floor vase to the left…thanks for your end-of-year sale, Target!



Yup, my husband works best in a tie. I am too anxious to finish projects when he comes home to let him change clothes. 
Now, I’m with $herdog on this, styling is THE BEST part. I wanted to keep things *somewhat* wintry with blues and silvers since I hate taking down Christmas stuff and wasn’t ready to say goodbye to my mercury glass owls. 


With buffet: Try #1
With buffet: Try #2 (and mostly how it is still). Please, feel free to hate on the glass head. EVERYONE hates on the glass head. It remains one of my favorite things ever purchased in the whole world.
I instagrammed a photo of this and someone said, “Your shelves look like something off pinterest.” I seriously have never heard a bigger compliment. 
Let’s address the height issue of the lowest shelf. I don’t LOVE how much higher it is. Those globes look way small here, but they’re regular size and have looked too big on every other piece of furniture. However, I think about hosting Thanksgiving last year and how we had tall beverage dispensers that wouldn’t fit with the lower wine glasses. I also think of the possibility of sideboard lamps. SO, I think we have something here to help shortly. 🙂
All of this being said, it just encouraged me to try more projects…so, this week I came home to this guy (I hope he’ll help with the empty wall space under the shelf!)…I can’t wait to get him finished and show him to you! 🙂
Anybody else in blogland creating something for the first time and in love with it?! Tell me all about it in your comments! Thanks for reading! 🙂

*The only design difference between ours and Ana’s, besides that she is an incredible carpenter and we are not, is that our shelves come in at a total of 66″ instead of 72″. The buffet was not that long, so we tried to center it and have the shelves be a smidge smaller. Some quick math solved our dilemma. We like that they’re space-filling without being super overwhelming with the buffet.

This project is linked up at A Bowl Full of Lemons: One Project at a Time!