Tuesday, 20 March 2018

How to install pretty landscape lighting

HELLO there! I can feel it...my mojo is coming back after a long winter. Just in time for it to rear it's ugly head again this week! But I digress. Let's talk about stuff getting done, shall we? 

There are definitely going to be some repeats as far as projects from our old house. Which is to be expected -- if we loved it and it works here then it's going to happen again. What's fun is seeing how the same idea translates to a different house! This is one of those projects. I wrote an extensive landscape lighting how-to years ago and you can refer to that for all the details if you want to try this project. 

If you're like me and like to creep stalk drive by pretty houses, then you'll understand me here. I like to do this, preferably in the early evening when it's dusk and not totally dark but just that perfect time of night. You know that time I'm talking about? Well that's when I drive by houses. It also needs to be in spring/summer or fall. No reason to stalk landscaping ideas in the winter around here. 

I learned many years ago that when there was a specific house I was drawn to -- no matter what size or price point -- it had one feature I loved. That was landscape lighting. It takes any house up multiple levels because it just looks expensive. After drooling over it for years I finally figured out how to do it myself and it is NOT HARD. 

There is zero electrical knowledge needed. If you follow this and the outdoor lighting tutorial I mentioned before, you can do it. It's such a simple project, I PROMISE. Sunday it was just gorgeous here and instead of working on peel and stick wallpaper, I decided to get outside and take advantage of the warm temps. I've been itching to start our exterior lighting since before we moved in and I'm thrilled with it! I'll go over some of the basic steps here.

1. Pick out your lights

I'm working on one side of the house for now and I chose wall wash and spot lights. They're pretty similar but the wash versions light up a wider space than the spots. Here's what I picked out (these are from Lowe's):
wall wash landscaping light

spot landscaping light

One thing has changed since I last did this -- now they're LED and the bulbs can't be changed out. This is nice because the bulbs did tend to go out (depends on how long you have them on at night). So you don't have to change these, but the price of the fixtures has gone up to reflect that. Over time it's a savings because of the LED lights instead of halogen bulbs. You'll save on operation and replacement bulbs.

2. Pick out transformer and wire

When you have your lights picked out it's time to figure out what size transformer you'll need. This is what you'll plug into an outdoor outlet to power your lights. This is another bonus as far as LEDs are concerned -- before you had to spend a lot more on higher voltage transformers if you had a bunch of lights. Now the smaller one will work for most. 

To figure out the transformer you'll need to add up the wattage of all of your lights. That's easily found on the box. I had two spot lights at 5W (total of 10), plus two at 9W (total of 18). I'm at less than 30W so a 100W transformer is plenty: 
transformer for landscaping lights
They sell 200W too, and that would power at ton! I'll use that size for the back someday when we add a patio. 

The wire is available in 12, 14 and 16 gauge. Go to my tutorial for a helpful guide on what to use. I used 16 gauge for this project. You can also pick the length you want. I went with 100 feet so I can use the extra for the other side of the house. 

3. Connect wire to transformer

The only part that even resembles electrical work is getting these two connected. All you'll need (really the only tool you'll need) is a (affiliate link) wire cutter so you can strip the ends off the wire: 
how to add landscaping light tutorial

Then you just screw those into the bottom of the transformer. (I lied, you'll need a screwdriver.) 

Do NOT plug your transformer in just yet. Just place it where you'll keep it. 

4. Lay out your wire and connect the lights 

This is the fun part! First, lay the wire out to the areas you want light. Want to light up a tree? Take the wire over to the tree and then wind it back to the next spot. Lay out the plan with your wire first. I like to give myself some excess -- you won't be able to decide on your ultimate layout until the lights are installed and you can see how they illuminate everything. You may have to adjust placement a bit after you install lights, so don't have the wire taut between each one. 

This is how easy it is to wire these -- this doodad will be on the light fixture and comes with a cap that you unscrew: 
DIY landscaping light tutorial

See how the wire is run through there? That's all you do -- slide your wire into the bottom of this piece. 

Then to connect the fixture, you just screw the cap back on: 
how to wire landscaping lights

There are two metal prongs at the bottom of that cap that pierce the wire and create the electrical connection. Remember, don't have the transformer plugged in till you are completely done!

At the end of your landscape lighting you'll just cut the wire. They sell small pieces that go over the end, but I've found electrical tape does a fine job:
How to install your own landscape lights

5. Check and adjust

NOW you can plug in your transformer! Obviously it needs to be at least a little dark for this part, because you'll need to see how the lights shine on everything. This is when you can rearrange for the best effect. 

The hardest part of this whole project? Burying the wires in the mulch or grass. I've only done it in mulch and it's not really difficult, just time consuming. You just take a small trowel (or your hands work well too) and just create a path in the mulch, then cover back up. It takes more time to do that than wire the whole project!

You can see here what the wires look like:
Step by step landscaping light tutorial

If they don't bother you, leave them out. They bother me. Surprised? 😂 I suggest living with the lights for a couple nights before you bury them though. I buried ours and then decided I wanted to move a couple, so I have to do most of it over again. 

It's kind of fun to play with the placement to see what you like best:
Picking out landscaping lights for your house

The two wall wash fixtures were plenty for this side of the house: 
Step by step landscaping light tutorial

And then I added the two smaller spot lights on the pine tree off to the side:
Easy landscape light tutorial with pictures

I have waited for months to do this! Our house looks so pretty at night now. :) I can't wait to do the other side too. I have a slightly different plan for over there -- it will have more fixtures so I'm waiting for the budget to open up again. 

I cannot even tell you how nice it was to work on an outdoor project again. If you look close you can see our petunias in the window boxes. Goodness that makes me happy. And just in time for a snowstorm tonight! 

I am SO EXCITED to put some of my plans into action for our exterior. It's already beautiful but I know little touches like this make a big difference. 

Here are a few tips if you want to try this project:
  • Less is more when it comes to landscape lights. On our sidewalk on the other side of the house I initially planned ten path lights. Then I set up a couple and stood back on the street and realized that was going to be WAY too much. It's easy to go overboard with them and in my opinion, distracts from the beauty. 
  • If you're lights aren't working your connection is probably off. Sometimes the prongs don't hit the wires just right (each prong goes into one side of the wire). You can try tightening them or moving them to get a better connection. If you do move one, make sure to cover any holes well with electrical tape, but I'd avoid moving them too much. 
  • You can connect lengths of wire -- they sell connectors at the store if you need more coverage. 
  • Spot lights are great for trees and I like them on houses too. Wash lights just give off a wider light so I went with those for the front. Path lights are great for sidewalks because they direct the light down but I also like them placed here and there in landscaping. 
  • Play around with the placement! If you put them closer to the house you'll have more of a "beam" that will go straight up the wall and is really pretty. I love that look but with our stone it gives weird shadows. Further away widens the light.
  • You can set your lights to be on all night (they automatically go off and on) or for one to nine hour increments. 
  • You can hide them behind plants easily but I don't mind seeing them out. Many of the fixtures are really pretty and work with different house designs -- traditional, craftsman, modern.
  • This isn't the cheapest project in the world -- but it all depends on what you do. This was well under $200 total. You can buy multiples in packs to bring the price down. But it's a permanent upgrade to your home and worth in my opinion. AND you'll save a bunch doing it yourself.
  • Solar lights are much cheaper but don't provide nearly the light. They also tend to have a blue tone. 
  • Remember to check out this landscape lighting tutorial for all the details! 



Tuesday, 13 March 2018

My first big DIY projects in the new house

Well hello! How was your weekend? We went away for a mini family vacation to one of our favorite places on Earth -- New York City. As always, we only stay for a few days but we pack in a TON! I've shared our love of the city many times over the years and shared tips on what to see and do on a quick trip to NYC. Be sure to check it out if you are looking to travel there!

We're back and settled and I'm finally going to bite the bullet and buy a new saw this week. It disappeared in our move and I'm feeling frozen without it. I have so much I want to do in the house and I gotta have one to get moving! All these ideas are swimming around in my head -- I wanted to share a few with you.

Before we even had drywall in this house I knew what I wanted to do with this fireplace wall in our family room:
Tall ceiling and fireplace in family room

We LOVE love love the tall ceilings in this room. 

I've shared this photo with you before because it was our inspiration for our old house. We looked into adding on to that house years and years ago, and this picture was my dream for the family room: 
Tall fireplace wall with gray paint

Well idea that was squashed quickly -- the quotes for a project of that scale were way too much. So we did the next best thing (for WAY less) and knocked down a wall instead

But when we walked into this house...I knew I could recreate the look, at least a bit. Obviously our current ceilings aren't as ornate as those in the photo, but we do have the fireplace! I've always known I wanted to add a dark paint to the fireplace wall, now I just need to figure out the color. And the wall treatment! That's the part I'm most excited about. I want to do something with molding but haven't decided on the exact look just yet. It's almost there in my head...

That wall is calling out for something to add some contrast to the room!

And remember when I said I wasn't going to add built ins next to the fireplace? And remember when I said don't quote me on that cause I may change my mind? Well...my mind may be changing. ;) I'm starting to get an idea in my head of how I want this to look and I think simple built ins would be lovely. We'll see what I decide! I know my ideas will change because I have to live in a space a long time before I know exactly what I want to do.

One project I want to start sooner than later is our powder room: 
Small powder room with gray vanity

Funny, because our powder room was the first room I redid in the old house nearly 14 years ago too. It was my first project with power tools and let's just say I'm a little bit more knowledgeable now. ;)

I want some contrast in here too (can you tell I love it?) so I plan to add a simple board and batten look to the bottom two thirds like I did in our old family room:
Tall white board and batten

And then I've been playing around with wallpaper on top. I saw this gold flecked peel and stick wallpaper at Target last week and fell in LOVE!: 
Gold speckled peel and stick wallpaper

Gah, I just think it's awesome. (Here's is an affiliate link for that version.) I just don't think it's enough contrast for me in this room. Instead I'd really love to add this to my master closet someday. 

I found this linen-looking wallpaper online (also at Target as well) and I LOVE IT:
Blue and gold linen-like wallpaper
It's a navy blue (you know I love that) with gold in it. The room has brass accents so I think it's going to be really beautiful. The reviews on this peel and stick stuff are great online -- have any of you tried it? I'm really excited to try this out!

A project I hope to finish up in the next few of weeks is the stairway wall. You may remember this inexpensive wood wall I did in the old house:
Inexpensive wood wall in stairway

We loved it so much I'm going to do it again, just with some tweaks. 

The landing to our basement in this house is quite a bit bigger, so it will make even more of an impact!:
Landing wall in stairway

Those frames have been sitting there since we moved in! I've had them for years (from IKEA) and every time I went to get rid of them (we didn't have room for them in the old house) I decided against it. I'm glad I did! They're going to look SO good on that wall when I'm done. I may have to do something fun with the light fixture as well. 

I've also been playing around with molding ideas for the long wall in our foyer:
Long foyer with dresser and round mirror

Right now I'm planning on going with a floor to ceiling idea like this one: 
Floor to ceiling trim squares/wainscoting on wall

I've always loved the full wall look and am excited to add it to this house. (It's just a larger version of this wainscoting I've done in the past.) I think that wall will be perfect for it -- I just have to decide on a color. I'm thinking white but may go crazy and pick a dark color. :) Our foyer gets a lot of light so I can go darker in there if I want. We'll see what I decide!

By the way, if you know a source for that photo let me know! I've had it saved for awhile. 

Now I'm off to find a new saw! I'm ready to dive into this projects. Let me know if you've tried that peel and stick wallpaper and if you have any tips! It's been so fun to dream up these projects for our new home! 



Thursday, 8 March 2018

How to prevent rattan baskets from destroying surfaces

Well hello there! How's your week going? Thanks so much for the kind comments on the new gallery wall! I'm back with a quick post about an issue I get asked about a lot. It's a big one people...it plaques many of us around the country. Here we go...

HOW do your baskets not tear up your built ins and shelves? 

See? Deep. Don't say I never delve into the real issues here. 😂

I have been asked that question a lot over the years. Nearly every time I share a project with rattan baskets in it I'll get emails and comments about how I keep them from destroying surfaces. 

I figured out this easy fix after using them in our basement cubby built ins (in the old house) years ago:
Built in storage cubbies

These were painted wood and after a very short time the baskets were scratching the paint and even messing up the wood trim a bit. We used these bins a lot and the constant scraping started to take it's toll. 

So I figured out a way to make them more functional for very little. I used brown felt:
Easy fix to prevent baskets from scratching

I did this project years ago and took pics at the time, but they're long gone. :) It's pretty easy though -- just put the basket on top of the felt and either trace around it (chalk works well) or cut around. Be sure to cut just a bit smaller than your lines.

Then you just use hot glue and secure it to the bottom of the basket:
Easy fix to protect surfaces from rattan baskets

I did it around all the edges and then a little dab in the middle if I remember correctly.

They've held up GREAT for all these years. Not one has even budged, and we used these baskets a TON. 

I'm finding new uses for these now, as you saw in our pantry reveal last week:
Organized pantry with baskets

These shelves are melamine but even those start to get torn up by rattan baskets after awhile. The felt completely protects the surface and allows to them slide super easy. Like buttah

These are the little fixes that I always find helpful so I like to share even the simple, quick projects with you! The felt will cost you a few bucks and a hot glue gun and glue will come in under $5 if you don't have one. Worth it to protect your surfaces!

So there you go -- one of life's biggest questions answered. Have any of you tried this? Any other ideas that work in your home? 



Wednesday, 7 March 2018

First Spring Open House at The Collective lhe + Makery

This first spring open house at the Collective lhe+ Makery has a lot of meaning for me,and I actually have a little story to tell you why.

For those of you who have been hanging out with me a long time, you might remember one of the very first shows I was a part of planning with Anne Marie at Nada Farm? If you are fairly new, you can see what the Nada Farm sales were like here and here. They are such fond memories for me. Right before the first Nada sale back in 2010, I had been  doing small shows and craft fairs, and selling on Etsy. I had been getting some income from them, but not making a lot. Many times, when I would do a show, I would barely make my $30 table, let alone cover my time and supplies. I wanted to make a living being creative, but wasn’t making enough money to make a difference or justify it and it made me feel like that maybe I either wasn’t talented, or nobody really wanted what I made. Even though I love my mom, your own family being your best customers doesn’t always feel like winning.

I met Anne Marie when she had come to a blog gathering I had organized, and she had asked me if I was interested in being at her show. At the time, I had been selling on Etsy, and even though sales were ok, I felt like a bit of a failure. My sales never seemed to compare with what other people had the appearance of making. I was feeling discouraged, but I had an internal nudge to do one last go, and I told her that I would try her show.

I said yes, but I was thinking “If I don’t make any money at this sale, this is it, and I am going to move in another direction, I’m done with retail.” Looking at that now, it’s funny, right?

Jennifer Rizzo window painting at The Collective lhe +Makery in Lisle,IL

So I did it, not really knowing how it was going to turn out, knowing it was an hour and a half drive one way, knowing I could be spending all of this money, and I wasn’t even sure if I was going to make any of it back . All I knew was negatives. I am so glad I took that chance. After the first day, I was blown away by the response. In fact, we were all struck a little speechless. At the end of the show, when the sales were tallied up, it was the very first sale I had ever had, where I didn’t just make my $30 table back, and had to pack up a little sad I hadn’t done better. I had made over a thousand dollars in two days, doing what I loved, for the very first time, and people bought my things because they loved them. They bought my art, and my jewelry, and my handmade things. Anyone who creates knows that selling something you made with your own hands is one of the best feelings in the world. I realized, maybe it wasn’t time to throw in the towel yet. How different my life would have been if I had not taken that one last leap of faith way back in 2010, and just called it quits.

Spring open house at The Collective lhe + Makery in Lisle, IL

Flash forward to 2018, after almost 10 years of retail and wholesale and a rocky start. Our spring open house at the The Collective lhe this weekend was more than I could have hoped for. It was so busy, I didn’t even get to grab pictures during it. Luckily, I took a ton of photos before. We talked and laughed, and had a great time. We also have two amazing women working with us, who are just the best ever, and who continually bless us, and our customers. Autumn and I collapsed at the end of the night, exhausted, but happy. It’s amazing how it has come together.

Flower bar at The Collective lhe + Makery

It brought back those Nada memories, and made me realize, that sometimes when it’s hard, and we don’t know where it’s headed, that we have to keep going. I’m glad I kept going. And, every time a blog friend or reader comes in the store, it makes me even happier I kept going.

Flower bar at The Collective lhe + Makery spring open house

I did grab a few pictures of how the shop looked beforehand to share with you. It was such a fun day. Everyone loved the make and take flower bar and made beautiful bouquets!

Angel wing floral selfie wall idea at The Collective lhe + Makery

We also had a sugar cookie artist with samples, as well as a chocolate samples and goodies, lots of giveaways, including our fun angel wing, floral,selfie wall.

Jennifer Rizzo selfie

I might have grabbed one with myself in front of it… because I’m a big dork like that. 😉

Spring retail display at The Collective lhe +Makery in Lisle, IL

We have such cute spring things, and another shipment coming in next week. I love how Autumn and I have curated everything that’s coming in. It’s so hard not to want to buy it all, and keep it for myself.

Bunnies and spring scented candles at The Collective lhe + Makery

It’s all bunnies and spring scents here, and pretty green and pink.

The Colelective lhe + makery

We played with texture and spring color by putting moss over the door with faux flowers.

It was so much fun getting the store ready for everyone.

Moss above th window at The Collective lhe inLisle

If you follow me on IG, you can see I painted flowers in the front window. I love how what would be considered vandalism in your teens, is now art in your 40’s.

Outside window at The Collective lhe + Makery

It was such a fun weekend, and we we were so blessed by the turn out. We can’t wait to host our next event.

The post First Spring Open House at The Collective lhe + Makery appeared first on Jennifer Rizzo.


Tuesday, 6 March 2018

A different kind of gallery wall

Hey all! I'm chugging away at projects around here and amping up for some big ones too. I'm trying to get our basement storage room under control before I start the big stuff though. I have this thing about messes and DIY -- it's hard to focus on a new project when I know there's a mess waiting for me. 

Soooo...I've been busy getting organized down there because we have a bunch of decor/craft items I have to store for now. Until I build built ins in (my office will be first), I just have to deal with having so much down there. I get excited when I find a spot for something that we have stored in that room, and that's where this story began! 

We have this large wall down to our basement that I wanted to do some kind of gallery wall on:
stairs with stained and white stair railing

When I was organizing the basement I found these "floating" frames I used on our old upper staircase:
Removing carpet off of stairs

I've gathered them from Michael's over the years -- I think I had 12? I call them floating because the photo or art sits between two pieces of glass so you can see the wall color behind it. It makes it look like the mat is the same color as the wall. 

I was planning to hang them on this wall in just a hodge podge like I used to do gallery walls -- I just hang them here and there until I like the way they look. But as I was sitting on the floor cleaning them, I got an idea. 

I recreated it for you because I didn't take a pic when I first thought of it:
Planning a gallery wall

You can get the idea maybe? I didn't do the best recreating this shot. 😂  I had different sizes right up against each other in random design, by accident. What I really like about it was that they were touching and not spread apart.

It gave me an idea, so I started in the middle with this random printable I made years ago: 
While we try to teach our children quote

It's the only large square frame I have so I figured it would be best in the middle. 

I didn't really take pics of the process because I wasn't sure till about half way through that it was going to work. But I started going down first -- and just kind of put the frames next to each other in a way that I thought looked good. I wanted them to touch but also wanted the whole thing to have some movement and not feel to rigid. 

I was only a few in when I knew I'd need some more frames. I ran to Michael's hoping they still carried these frames and they did...and on sale. Awesome! I grabbed a couple more of a two sizes and threw in some small square ones as well. 

This is where I tell you I'm not the girl that plans out a gallery wall. I know some people cut out paper in the same size as the frames and then tape them up to figure out a design that works. That's BRILLIANT. I am not that patient. ;) I would much rather fill a few (OK, more like ten) extra tiny nail holes after the fact. 

I was SO thrilled with how it looked as I went down the stairs, I did some counting and realized I had the exact number I needed to repeat the same design going up. I mean, that never happens. NEVER. happens. ;) 

Here's a peek of the wall going up now:
Gallery wall up stairs

The only bummer is I went to copy new pics on the printer to make them black and white (to match the others) and our printer was out of black ink. 

But you know...I don't hate the color photos mixed in! I may keep it this way:
Gallery wall with frames touching

If you really look you can see that the design going up is the same going down, just the opposite direction. (What was on bottom going down is on the top going up. Or something like that. I'm confused.) 

At the end I did have to stand there and stare at it a for a few minutes to figure out what I was doing -- ha! It gets a little confusing when there's no real pattern to the frames:
Gallery wall with design going down the stairs

I'm not as big into gallery walls as I once was -- I used to put them all over our house! I still love them but am finding I like them a little more structured than in the past. 

I think this way of doing one feels crisp and keeps it from feeling too crazy busy. I mean, there are 17 frames on this wall, in five different sizes! And yet this design is soothing to me:
Gallery wall on staircase

(Do you see my buddy on the stairs?) We just LOVE this!! I'm so thrilled with out it came out -- and it was a complete accident. ;) I really like that the frames touch. 

Back in the day when I was a big gallery wall fan, I'd also use a variety of frames (so easy to find second hand!) in different colors. I still love that look, but for our home I now prefer using the same frame. 

I mean...the mix of color and black and white is enough for me. ;) 
Gallery wall with frames touching

Next up, a big project on that landing wall! Can't wait!:
Gallery wall with movement down the wall

Do you have gallery walls in your home? Do you prefer a more streamlined look like me or a more organic look with different colors and frames? I think this is a nice mix of the two! 

I almost forgot! Here's a link to the frames I used -- they have a ton of different sizes online. They had four or five in the store. Michael's always seems to have their frames on sale which is nice. Especially when you're trying to finish a project so you can blog about it and you need to run and grab more. ;)

You can also see my small gallery wall I added around the thermostat in our small hallway! 

I also added a simple one in our master bedroom
Gallery wall around television


Friday, 2 March 2018

How to create a functional (AND pretty) pantry!

Hey there! I'm back with another tour of sorts...this one is probably my favorite "room" in the house. When I realized how big our pantry was I'm pretty sure I squealed out loud and did a fist pump or two. Our old pantry wasn't the smallest I've seen for sure...but it was a small closet size and I had to get creative to make the most of that space. (See the end of the post for more on that.)

This room has been quite the disaster since we moved in more than four months ago. I literally threw food and stuff on the shelves when I unpacked and said see you later. 😂 Since then we've just put stuff wherever it fits. Finding that one item we were looking for was always fun. It was a MESS:
Messy pantry before and after

There was absolutely no rhyme or reason to any of the shelves -- I quite literally just filled them up and knew I would deal with it at some point. 

Around the corner it got even better!:
How to organize a messy pantry

I was so excited to be able to add an outlet in here -- I planned to keep small appliances in the pantry instead of on the kitchen counters. 

Well when decided on placement of the outlet, I didn't think to ask how the shelves were going to be hung. So the outlet isn't on a wall where we have shelves. Wahhh wahh. I've figured out a solution to that (crossing my fingers it works) and plan to tackle that project soon! 

We're the non-coffee drinking family that has a Keurig...love it for quick hot water (it's always the perfect temp!) and cider, hot chocolate, etc. I had it on a small rolling cart:
Organizing a messy pantry

This room was such a mess, whenever I showed this side of the kitchen the light was always off:
White kitchen with wood and gray island

But now I'm happy to show it off!!:
White kitchen with gray island

This took FOREVER to organize. Well, at least most of a day. There's a TON of stuff in there! But when I have the time I find this kind of project cathartic and dare I say, even a little fun. I'm weird. 

Before I started organizing anything I did a couple quick projects a few weeks ago -- I installed a dimmer in here and also replaced the incandescent bulbs with daylight bulbs. I prefer daylight bulbs in rooms with no natural light: 
Boxwood wreath on door

Goodness it is SO much brighter in here! And the dimmer makes it so we can keep the light low for the animals in the evening. 

Of course I had to repeat my boxwood wreath on the pantry door like our old house! I really wanted to take advantage of the wall space in here so I hung my apron with a cute hook from IKEA and we use that wire piece for fresh produce:
Using the wall space in a walk in pantry

I used it in our powder room in the old house and almost got rid of it because I didn't have a spot for it here. I'm so glad I thought to hang it because it's GREAT for a pantry! It lets the air flow and gives us easy access to things like oranges, avocados, potatoes and bananas. 

I'll go through each set of shelves with you all cause I really thought about how we use this room. This space needed to have a higher focus of function over form...but I did think about the view most visitors would get (this door is open most of the time) as they walked by. So I did want this first row of shelves to be slightly appealing:
How to create a pretty and organized pantry

By that I mean anything that we keep in containers went over here like pasta and that jazz. I guess I should warn you -- this is NOT one of those gorgeous pantries that you'll drool over and then go -- "But WHERE is the food?" Ha!! I love those as much as the next person, but I've really gotten away from keeping so much in containers. For some items I love it -- for others I just don't find it to be helpful. 

And by the way -- I figured out where to put those cute herb/kitchen printables I showed you last weekend. I'm going to find some frames and hang them above this line of shelves!

Now organizer kind of gadgets...I'm totally into those. ;) On this side this is how I organized: 
  • I put anything pasta-related at the top -- I like pasta in containers just because they're easier to organize than the bags.
  • Most canned items (for dinners primarily) and boxed meals are here for easy access.
  • Our animal food goes into containers because we just find it easier to scoop from these instead of pour. And our dog only gets a measured amount each feeding. These keep the food nice and fresh too -- more so than bags I think.
  • I went through our kitchen towels (did you see that pile of them on top of the shelves in that pic up there??? I would literally wash them and throw them up there!) and only kept the ones I loved. Most of what I had up there were seasonal anyway. Towels and washcloths are now in the basket for easy access. My cookbooks are there too. I used a magazine holder to keep smaller books organized:
Tips for a pretty and functional pantry

The next row of shelves is where the bulk of the food is. Again, I wanted the stuff we reach for most to be closer to the door. 
  • Spices and cooking oils are layered on top with tiered organizers like the canned goods. These are life savers!! They make it so much easier to see what you have on deeper shelves. 
  • Breakfast stuff is on it's own shelf. I keep packets of hot cereal in a basket so we know when we're running low.
  • Baking necessities and sweets are on the next shelf. I tried to keep the foods we reach for the most often on eye level. I don't bake that often so those are best a little lower. 
  • The bottom baskets hold snacks -- bags of chips and crackers. I only added baskets to the bottom shelves because when we pull them out it's easy to see what's inside. (Up higher and you have to pull them all the way out to sort around):
Using baskets and containers in the pantry

As we move around we get to less food and more appliances and paper goods. This corner spot is nice and deep and holds a TON, but it's also harder to get to. In hindsight I would have asked for the corner to be squared off so these aren't so deep. But I'm not complaining!
  • Our small appliances that I use IN the kitchen are on the top shelf -- meaning those that I take out and use on the counter. This will make more sense in a minute.
  • Next shelf is alcohol -- I know it looks like a store. 😂 We used to keep most alcohol in our basement, which was nice, but we would buy more of what we already had because...out of sight, out of mind. We keep extra lime juice and mixes here too.
  • The next shelf is stuff we grab for lunches -- peanut butter, crackers, bread. In the bin I have the small lunch-sized stuff like chips. It makes it super easy to pack our boy's lunch in the morning!
  • The bottom is the random stuff -- there are always items you don't know what to do with! The bag holder could go on the wall but it felt in the way anywhere else. The little fabric basket holds our trash bags. Plus extra foil and storage bags are here too: 
Tips for organizing the pantry

And finally, the side I'm most excited about! I moved the shelves around here a bit to make this work.
  • Tea and hot chocolate are at the top
  • The second shelf is where I keep our K-cups (isn't that organizer so cute!) and our vitamins 
  • The third shelf is for appliances we use in the pantry -- and I have a project in mind to make this even more functional! I'll let you know if it works out! You can see that the outlet is on the wall to the right. 
  • The bottom shelf is for extra paper/plastic stuff and our trash compactor bags:
Storing appliances in pantry

Here's a closer look at that cute organizer for the K-cups! I found it in the check out lane at HomeGoods and thought it would work great. It is perfect!:
Cute organizer for K-cups

When we got the Keurig I realized it was much easier to keep our mugs in the pantry. I got this cute mug holder about a month ago and love that we can grab what we need right there:
Wire mug rack from Amazon

This room is the smartest and most functional in the house and I LOVE it! I love it even more now that we can find exactly what we need when we walk in. And it's so much nicer when we're putting stuff away too. I should've done this a long time ago!

I found the Groceries sign at an antique shop a few weeks ago (but it's not an antique) -- isn't it perfect? I love touches of green in our mostly white kitchen:
white kitchen with wood accents

There you go! This space is finally organized and working well for us! During the process I was a deer in headlights at times -- I would just stand in there and stare at the mess. But if you slow it down and really think about how you USE a space, it's easier to work it out in your head. 

And it found it helpful to remove EVERYTHING off the shelves -- every counter in our kitchen was covered! Then I went by section and added everything back in. I gave the shelves a good cleaning too. 

I would move all over again just for this pantry. :) It's amazing -- I love that we can keep more than just food in here. I did get rid of a few things and moved just a couple items to the basement. But overall what you see in the befores is what is in there now! We also keep the dog and cat food in this room (on the floor). 

Here's a resource list if you're interested in anything. We had everything but the mug rack and K-cup storage and I made the rest work in here. (Affiliate links included for your convenience!):
  • I can't find my sign online but this one is super cute and has the same wording!
  • I got the mug rack here -- most versions with good reviews in this design were SO expensive! This one still wasn't cheap but better than others (read reviews because some have hooks that are too close together and getting mugs on and off is difficult).
  • The baskets were from Target (I used them in our basement cubby storage) and they don't sell these exact ones anymore. These are SUPER close though -- same size and materials. 
  • These are the tiered can/spice shelves -- LOVE them and they make organizing these items so easy.
  • This round spice caddy is a favorite too -- it turns so you can find what you need.
  • You can see more about our timed cat feeders in this post!
  • I got my hanging wire shelves from HomeGoods but this one is very similar as well.
  • The wood and metal rolling cart we had in there was from World Market.
  • If you'd like to see more about how I organized our old pantry, check out this post
  • For more on the glass door I used on that pantry, you can go here:
Black pantry door with glass