Pantry Party

Monday, July 9, 2012

Happy Monday, friends. I'm like a yo-yo of emotion today...I'm riding high on my deliciously organized pantry, but had the heart-wrenching task of dropping my son at Summer Camp yesterday. I know he's having the time of his life, but it's hard trusting other people to keep him safe. I'll just have to soothe myself by crawling in my newly organized pantry!

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It wasn't the worst organized space in my house, but it certainly wasn't functional for a busy family.


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You can see evidence of poor past attempts to better utilize the cabinet, with a few containers and bins. But with the deep shelves, I never knew what was lurking in the back, and more often than not, boxes of snacks and crackers turned up empty when I needed them. I think it's in husband kid DNA to not throw away empty packages. My pantry also became the dumping ground for party and cleaning supplies, platters and bake ware. No bueno.

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The first step (after gathering inspiration and consulting the Mother Ship), was to hit up Target, Ikea and Container Store for an assortment of organizing bins. I like to have a bunch of options, and return the items that don't work out. Second, was to completely empty the contents of the pantry, and group them with like items. Oh yes, it gets waaaay worse before it gets better.

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I couldn't believe all the random stuff lurking in the corners. Why I had seven cans of corn, when we don't even eat canned veggies, is beyond me!!? But it's no wonder my grocery bill had gotten out of control...I never knew what I had in stock, so was constantly buying more. Once I had a clean, empty space, I was able to assess what needed to go back in. And marvel at how much room it actually offered!

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My inner-DIY wanted to paint or stencil the interior walls, but with my Kitchen and Breakfast Room in shambles (and my family cowering in the corners from my borderline-manic episode), I decided to just paint the trim piece as an accent. I chose green because it's the sample I grabbed first from my stash.

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After assessing our family's needs, and being realistic about what we'd keep up with, I decided to only use Ikea's food containers for the items we tend to buy bulk...oats, sugars, flour, trail mix etc. A leftover shelf from the garage gives them a steady base. I would love to put everything in clear containers, but really...I knew my transferring cereal would last about a week. If I want this space to stay organized long-term, I have to be honest.

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I tried several bins, but these from Ikea are my favorite. Not only do they fit perfectly on my shelves, but they are deep and slide out easily. (Oh geez, TWSS) I've obviously created a future-blogger monster, because my son said, 'You're going to label them, right mom?!'  Duh, honey!

I didn't want anything permanent, since I'm sure the categories will change, and these bins will have another purpose some day, so I taped colorful gift tags to the front, and added basic labels from my computer. I can easily slap a new label over the top, or remove it completely.

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Instead of packets of rice hiding in the back or slipping through the slats in the shelf, I can easily pull out the bins to check my inventory or find what I need. And since the bins aren't overly large, it keeps me from buying extras. Hopefully my grocery bill will go down since now I'm only buying what we need.

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And instead of countless half-empty snack boxes taking up an entire shelf, their contents easily fit in one bin. The kids can peek inside and choose what they want.

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I tried putting the canned and bottled goods in a bin, but it was too heavy, and I could still only see the tops. This Container Store Expandable Organizer puts everything on display and gives me the flexibility to adjust the size. Don't get me started on the Cream of Celery soup, I sent Mr. Sugarplum for Cream of Chicken and that's what he came home with. Who eats Cream of Celery?! It sits waiting for a Canned Food Drive.

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The platters and cookware were moved to other locations, but I wanted to keep party supplies like straws, napkins, plates, etc. in one spot, so they are corralled in a wire basket and tub from Target on the bottom shelf. My reusable shopping bags are folded together in a single, smaller bag, making it easy to grab the whole thing when heading to the store.

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A clear plastic shoe bin holds the napkins together, while straws and cutlery stay put in mason jars. Other smaller items, like cookie cutters and treat bags, are kept tidy in Ziploc bags.

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The small wire Ikea baskets take advantage of the sliver of wall space on each side, and are perfect for keeping little packets that tend to get lost and overlooked.

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Again, having a small container for plastic grocery bags keeps me from starting a hoard collection of them.

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The pantry doors were already lined with cork, so I just cleaned them up. One side holds restaurant coupons and places we want to try out.

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And the other holds favorite snapshots.

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It's not an ideal place for it, but our Recycle bucket lives here, too. I didn't want it sitting out, and if it's anywhere but in the Kitchen, we won't use it. Mr. Sugarplum cuted it up for me. Quite the artiste, isn't he? Oh, and the white tubs on the fourth shelf are from Target...they are wider (and cheaper at $2 each), so perfect for larger items. The non-labeled bucket is for back-ups and extras.

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You're in snooper's paradise right now, aren't you (ahem, Megan). Oh yes, definitely some skeletons in this closet. But it sure is purty!

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Let's see just how far this little cabinet came in a day....

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Is it weird I love this cabinet as much as a room makeover (as proven by this picture overload)?! I open the doors Vanna-White-style for everyone that comes by. My mom even took pictures of it! And with all the colorful packaging, I'm glad I kept the walls and containers white. It may just be a pantry, but it can still have style, yo! I'm no longer fun at hide-and-seek, because I can always be found crouched in here.

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And here's the budget breakdown, because I know you're nosy interested. 

Ikea Food Containers, $2.99/each...bought 3, had 5 already -- $9
Ikea Bins, $5.99/each -- $32
Target Plastic Tubs, $2/each -- $8
Container Store Tiered Organizer -- $14.99
Ikea Wall Wire Baskets -- already owned, $2/each
Total -- $64!!

How about that as the best $64 ever spent?! Have you done any organizing overhauls? Are you licking petting your monitor like me? Do you have any uses for Cream of Celery soup?!

And since I found all my inspiration with Pinterest, I'm sharing this with the Pinterest Challenge Summer Edition, over at Michelle, Kate, Sherry and Katie's.





Pin It!


70 witty retorts:

  1. Fab! Love the Ikea bins - going there today so I definitely will have to check them out.

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  2. I'd be walking in and constantly opening it up just to stare at it's awesomeness :D Looks freaking awesome, and now I'm thinking a trip to Tarjay is in my very near future!

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  3. Great job! My kitchen is a good size but horribly laid out. We have zero cabinet space and even little counter top space. But until we can afford a complete gut job, we bought some wire racks from Sam's Club. They store a lot of stuff and looks to be about the size (maybe a little shorter) than your pantry. However, mine is out in the open so I HAVE to keep it clean! And I'm working on a ZERO budget, so I used what we have around my house until I can go buy some containers. Your pantry is definitely making me rethink my idea of what I want in my future/dream kitchen though...so thanks!

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  4. Love that pantry Cassie! How will you ever close the doors?

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  5. Great job! I love an organized pantry. And, I can relate...Katie came home from a week away (church mission trip) and we are putting her on her first flight ALONE today...she is headed your way!! She has camp at Baylor all this week.

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  6. Looks great, Cassie! Those little wire wall shelves are fantastic! I think I could use a few of those.

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  7. looks awesome....did i miss where the lil baskets in side wall came from? they look sooooooooo handy!!

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  8. Well done, friend. I am sure you are opening it just to look at it, right! I love the comment about your son and asking if you will label it. Priceless.

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  9. Great job - thanks for sharing. Have a blessed week :)

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  10. Wow! You accomplished so much. Thanks for these two posts. I definitely need to get on it!

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  11. That looks awesome, Cassie! Great job! :)

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  12. LOVE IT! Where did you get the small wire bakets for plastic bags and spice packets?

    As for the cream of celery...I used it in a dish the other night because I was out of cream of chicken. You might as well throw it out now. I'm not even sure it's worth donating, it's that bad:)

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  13. This is so inspiring. I love those bins from Ikea and you did such a good job of making use of the entire space...thanks for sharing how you did it!

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  14. Thanks guys -- glad to know a good organizing project sets your hearts a flutter, too! The wire wall bins are Ikea...I updated the post with the link! :)

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  15. Lol, oh my gosh -- you crack me up! This space looks great -- and it is going to be so easy to put things away when you come home from the grocery store now! You did a fabulous job. :-)

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  16. love it! i absolutely hate doing projects like that but feel so much better when i do. i have also found that i have to keep my reusable shopping bags in my car at all times or i'll forget them when i head to the store. (the wire baskets on the sidewalls are genius!) good job! pam

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  17. Nothing better than a freshly organized space (almost)! I'd let hubby slide on celery soup since he did spiff up the recycle bin so cute! :)

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  18. I love this Cassie!!! I'm not going to let my husband see because he will want to marry you. The pantry is his domain and he takes personal offense when i put things in there all willy nilly. Haha. Oh - and I use Cream of Celery sould in the crock pot for dishes that call for cream of mushroom (which I can not stand. eew).

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  19. Looks great Cassie!! Nothing like a nicely organized pantry to make you feel all warm and fuzzy. I still love ours! :) Enjoy!

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  20. There is nothing like a clean pantry! Yours turned out beautiful! Can a pantry be beautiful?! Well I think it can but I'm a bit OCD! Great job! (:

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  21. Fantastic! It is taking all of my self-control to not empty out my pantry this very moment, slap up some paint, and then leave my sleeping children in the house alone while I raid Target for bins.

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  22. You crack me up, Cassie! But that pantry sure is gorgeous! You've inspired me to do my own...now I just need the motivation to act! :) Feel like making a trip up to Washington for an organization job??

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  23. We are getting ready to under go a kitchen re-do. Aside from getting it over with, the one thing I look forward to the most is organizing all my new cabinets! Lots of great ideas here!

    P.S. Next time a recipe calls for cream of chicken, use the cream of celery! It will add just a bit of a taste twist from the cream of chick. Yum!

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  24. Fantastic!!! That would totally be my happy place too. GREAT JOB!!!

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  25. Lookin' good momma! What a job, you should get to go to camp too :) Doesn't that sound like a freaking blast?

    Anyway, will you come to Charleston in a couple of weeks and help me arrange my new pantry? Pretty please? I mean, you know we could make it a fun post ;)

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  26. Random but I have the exact same red striped paper straws! Kirkland's after 4th sale?! : ) the pantry looks amazing, somehow I missed those fabulous white containers on my last Ikea trip.

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  27. I hate blogger sometimes...it just erased my comment...it was a *really* good one...something about how this is a stupid amazing project...stupid because now I feel dumb for not having spent the $64 to get my pantry looking like that! Totally awesome. And try to enjoy the time you have minus the little man, 'cause I'm not gonna lie, he's probably enjoying his time sans parents! (c: Just a little bit, though, the rest of him misses you desperately, I'm sure (c;

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  28. Oh I am insanely jealous of your spacious and organized pantry! I spent yesterday afternoon organizing our cabinets, not as exciting as yours though! You knocked it out of the park! :)

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  29. Your pantry looks great. Mine is so tiny......but I do have a snack box also, best idea ever!

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  30. You did good girlie! So funny on the label comment too - I think only blogger households have labels everywhere. ;)

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  31. Yes! I'm petting the computer screen right now! You need to submit this gorgeous panty to I Heart Organizing! And thank you for being such a kind friend:)

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  32. What an amazingly organized pantry; I love how "real" it is too!

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  33. Love the pantry makeover. My pantry is looking quite awful at the moment and you may just have given me the necessary push I need to get it done.

    Ps I have a great "secret" family recipe that involves cream of celery soup as gravy for beef.

    Sauté half an onion and some sliced mushrooms in butter till tender.

    Add 1can cream of celery soup.

    Stir in some milk till its a somewhat thick gravy.

    Heat thoroughly and use as a gravy for beef and mashed potatoes. You won't believe your taste buds.

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  34. It looks so good! Definitely saving this as inspiration for our new pantry. And that may have been one of your best TWSS!

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  35. Now can you come organize our under the stairs pantry. Huge, bit a mess! We can't get to the back!

    Cream of celery pot roast

    Put a pot roast in a crock pot
    Add a can of cream of celery and a cream of mushroom
    Add veggies (baby carrot, potato, etc)
    Stir the soups and veggies to coat them
    Cook 4 hrs on high or 7+ on low
    Serve over rice

    Yummy!

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  36. Nothing is more beautiful than an organized pantry - and yours is no exception!! Great job!

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  37. Love it! Love it! Love it! I have a small pantry too and you just inspired me to get on with organizing.... I mean $64! That's nothing!

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  38. Wow, that is amazing! I especially love the little baskets on the sides - genius!

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  39. I'm crawling right in there with you! Love the washi-taped labels, especially. I bet it feels so good to be able to keep everything in its place! We've been trying a new spice storage system, and it's really worked so far. Part of the battle is, as you say, being honest with how you'll use the system.

    Erin @ The Great Indoors

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  40. Wow! Looks great! Can I come over and raid your snack bin? ;-)

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  41. You are an organization inspiration! It looks amazing!

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  42. It looks so fantastic! I love it! All of it! Great post!

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  43. Wow what a difference a couple bins make! I definitely need some help with my pantry. Pinning this for inspiration!

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  44. Looks great! I'm on a similar mission myself starting with the kitchen drawers and working my way up to the pantry. I've been doing lots and lots of searches for storages bins. :)

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  45. Oh my God!! I was just looking at my pantry and thought, "I should organize this a little better." Thanks for the inspiration and ideas to make it nice and neat. Your the best!

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  46. Did you know the container store has erasable lables? You can write on them with a permanent marker, and their special eraser erases it. They have ones for file folders, 3x5's and "binders" and the binder ones match the size you used the closest. SO COOL! Then you wont have to take it off or put another label over the top when the contents change!

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  47. Great job!!! I have an older home with no pantry and trying to organize is rough.

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  48. first of all, I love that you refer to iheartorganizing as the mothership, don't we all? :)

    I love this! I did a similar thing with my itty bitty condo-sized pantry and the matching labels alone make it magical.

    For the canned corn, do you ever make shepherd's pie? That's all I've got for you there :)

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  49. Use the cream of celery just like you would the cream of chicken in any casserole recipe! I actually prefer it in my green bean casserole. :) Nobody will ever know the difference but you!

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  50. LOVE LOVE LOVE! This makes me feel so serene....!
    I just made out a list of things to get tomorrow!

    Cassie, spray paint those Ikea wire baskets white!

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  51. I, like you, think cream of celery soup is a total waste of time but a recipe for enchilada lasagna called for it last night and it was great! Ha, love the pantry. I am on the same mission to organize mine.

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  52. I totally have a recipe that uses cream of celery soup...broccoli cheese casserole. 1 can each, cream of celery and cream of mushroom soup, 2 (small) boxes frozen chopped broccoli (thawed), diced onion or dried onion flakes to taste, 1 or 2 sticks of butter - depends on how your diet is going that day -, 1 small (8 oz. I think) jar Cheese Whiz, and 1 small box (about 2 cups) Minute rice. Mix all ingredients, except rice, together in large pan until heated together. Take off stove and add in rice. Put in 9x13 baking dish and cook at 350 for about 45 minutes. Delicious!!!!

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  53. This is too good- I'm featuring it too!

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  54. Man living in Hawaii has it's perks, but no Ikea is definitely a heavy trade off! I checked shipping from online and they want $50!!! But the pantry is beautiful :) Great job :)

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  55. SO well done! i love how you were intentional about putting it together in a way that you will realistically maintain - suited to your unique needs. Looks like it's going to function great for your family!

    ~H

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  56. In love with the Ikea bins and the organized pantry! I so hope they still have them. I will have to make a run!

    Kari

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  57. I admire the the organization of dry and wet goods in your fridge beyond that Pantry Doors . Thumbs up for you!

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  58. Just got home from IKEA. I'm armed & dangerous :)
    And Operation Pantry Dump is in progress ~ my fam thinks I'm CRAzy!!!

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    1. were you able to find those bins? the link isn't working for me and I have to drive a little ways to ikea. I want them!

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    2. Susie, were you able to find those bins? the link isn't working for me and I have to drive a ways to get to ikea. Would love to know what they're called and if they're available. Thanks!

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    3. HI ileana -- sorry that link is no longer working. Those bins sell out pretty quickly. I can't find them right now online, but they are similar to these:

      http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/40234709/

      If you go to the store, they are in the Kitchen organizing stuff, and also near the magazine racks. Hope this helps!

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  59. Hi, I'm new to your blog!! Cream of celery can also be used in green bean casserole! Just add it either to or in place of cream of mushroom...still has a great flavor. I always make so much I need 2 cans of cream of something or other so I do one mushroom and one celery and the hooligans I live with don't complain about the mushroom in it (of course i also have to hide the cream of mushroom so my beloved doesn't freak out with it in the panty potentially touching some canned veggie he wants to eat LOL). BTW your pantry rocks!! And now I have to plan a shopping trip I have organizational envy!!

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  60. Thanks for this wonderful post. Keep writing!-pantry doors-

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  61. Stopping over from IHeart Organizing today. I LOVE those bins...perfect for my pantry too. The link isn't working - do you know if they are still available at Ikea? Could you point me in the right direction? Thanks so much!

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  62. What an awesome job you did! I too have a pantry that I show off to all my friends... :) There's just something so satisfying about an organized pantry. It actually came in handy that I'm so organized because we just sold our house and are now renting and I got great references from all my neighbors who had seen my former pantry as being an extremely organized person! (If only they'd seen under my bathroom sink!);D I no longer have a pantry (wahhhh) but with all my organizers, it's still pretty organized. Thanks for your inspiration! I LOVE your style! <3

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  63. Hi, love the pantry!! The link to IKEA for the storage bins doesn't work. I was wondering if it was recently that u got them or if it was a while ago as they probably no longer carry them. That is exactly what I have been looking for.
    Thanks

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    1. Hi Denise! I can't find them online anymore, that's why the link doesn't work. But they almost always have them in store...in several sizes. good luck!

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  64. I love your blog! It is so refreshing to see someone with a real-life budget and sensibility! I just reorganized my pantry and laughed out loud at your Cream of Celery soup. I set aside a bag of "why did I buy this?" items and honey brought to the local food shelf. Look forward to future posts from you :)

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  65. Thank you for posting your projects! I love that you have a real-life budget. I recently re-did my pantry and laughed out loud at the Cream of Celery soup. I bagged up several "why did I buy this?" items and honey brought them to our local food shelf. Looking forward to future posts!

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Your comments are like crack, or popcorn with milk duds, I just can't quit them. And unfortunately, because of insane amounts of spam, I've had to disable Anonymous comments for awhile. I just didn't need any more information on penis enlargements! But you can always email me! xoxo, cass