Not all apartments are created equal and apartment hunting can be just as daunting, if not more so, than house hunting. My husband and I spent our engagement in separate states due to our jobs at the time and were only able to visit each other for the occasional long weekend. When hunting for the apartment that would be our first home together, we had about 36-48 hours and a lot of ground to cover! There were dozens and dozens and dozens of apartment complexes in all different parts of town to visit, compare, and decide upon in such a short period of time…I was overwhelmed.
I tend to be picky when it comes to finding a place to live. I have a lot of “must haves”, including: lots of natural light, big windows, a deck/porch, a laundry room, big bedrooms, walk-in closets, a roomy kitchen, a pantry, space to entertain, conveniently located to all my typical stores…and the list goes on and on. Being newlyweds going from two incomes to one, we had a fairly tight budget and it seemed impossible to find an apartment that would fit all of my “must haves”. My amazing husband managed to find us the perfect place that fit just about everything on my list and was within our budget…AND was new construction with lovely brand new fixtures and paint.
I did not see the apartment until we arrived to pick up the keys after our honeymoon with the moving truck not far behind us. Being such an organized and like-to-be-in-charge personality, it took a lot of trust in my husband to let him take the reigns and make the final decision on our home by himself. He did not disappoint and I couldn’t be happier to call this place home.
As happy as I am with the home we have made our own, no apartment is perfect. My only real problem is that we have almost no storage space. Our coat closet has to take the place of the large outdoor storage closet my old apartment had, and the small linen closet has to double as our pantry. We have two bedrooms, both with walk-in closets, but our second bedroom is currently a guest room, a home office, and a library. The second bedroom closet is used for storage and my Etsy shop workspace. When we found out we were expecting, the second bedroom required a little makeover to also work as a nursery. When we found out we were expecting twins, we did a LOT of work to make space for two babies…but more on that in a later installment.
Small apartment living can be a challenge and I hope sharing some of my tips and tricks can help you stay organized, cut down on clutter, and make the most of your small living space! Today I want to focus on my latest project: organizing our linen closet turned pantry to make the most of the space.
PART ONE: LINEN CLOSET TURNED PANTRY
I don’t have a “before” picture because I was too excited to finally get everything organized to take the time to snap some pictures first. I found these baskets at a local thrift store for $5-$7 each. Each shelf is organized based on frequency of use and type of product. The cereal boxes only fit on the top shelf along with my oatmeal and grits (this Southern gal loves her grits!). Baking goods are on the second shelf which is harder for me to reach than the middle shelf with frequently used cooking ingredients (pasta, chicken stock, orzo, rice, other ingredients for the week’s upcoming dinner menu) and snacks. I find it just makes sense to keep those commonly used items in the easiest to reach place.
I found these labels for the glass containers and baskets at Walmart for about $3. They’re heavy duty and the chalkboard surface works with permanent markers or chalk markers. I used a chalk marker so I’d be able to wipe the labels clean with a sponge later on and re-use them.
Some of you might also store coffee, tea, spices, etc. in your pantry as well. I have a corner cabinet in my kitchen right above my Keurig coffee station where I store my extra K-Cups, my hot cocoa packets, and my spices. I find it easier to keep the spices within reach while I’m standing at the stove; I don’t want to have to run to the pantry and remember exactly which spices I need to bring back.
A corner of our dining room is dedicated as a coffee/tea station. My great-grandmother’s antique sewing table makes the perfect little spot for my French press, espresso cups, coffee tin, basket of tea boxes, and tea canisters. We’re huge fans of loose leaf tea which is easier than ever to make with our reusable, refillable K-Cup!
What are your tips for small-space alternative pantries?