...because home doesn't happen overnight.

Can I tell you how shocked, humbled, appreciative and inspired I am by all of your comments on the downsizing post?!  Really, they’re amazing.  And just what I need.  Would you believe me if I told you that I had fear of rejection after putting all that out there?  Well, I did.  I half-expected to get comments about how I wasn’t doing the right thing and that I should consider an attitude change as opposed to a career change. But that didn’t happen.  You all are so kind and encouraging.  I can’t thank you enough.  Ever.  If I could make all of you chocolate no-bake cookies and deliver them to you straight from the pot, I would.  I am so grateful for your support {I know, I’m sounding like a blubbering beauty queen cliché right about now} and it’s just further confirmation to me that I can do this.  THANK YOU.  From the bottom of my design-lovin’ heart.

As you might’ve guessed, things are pretty hectic around here.  Handy Hubby and I are in the process of listing our home.  We are going to try and sell by owner.  We listed and sold our first home {a starter home we had in Illinois…the home we lived in before buying this home to be closer to family} by owner, so we have some experience going that route.  Although, that was 3 years ago when the market was just starting to roll downhill.  We aren’t oblivious to the fact that real estate isn’t exactly flying off the shelves right now.  But two homes have sold relatively quickly on our street within the last 6 months, so we’re hopeful.  It will be a lot work – mostly leg and paper – but we’re prepared to do it.  We know our home will sell just not sure for how much or when.  It should be interesting.

Today I started whittling things down in the pantry.  Prepping and staging your home for a sale is much different than decorating.  Potential buyers are looking to buy the house and all it has to offer…not the stuff in it.  {Not to say we aren’t opposed to bargaining off decor if that’s what would get us a sale.}  It’s necessary to edit decor to show off the best things about the house.  The large, walk-in kitchen pantry has been one of my favorite things about this house.  I can stash all kinds of stuff in there, close the door and no one’s the wiser.  In fact, other than spices and cooking oils, we don’t have any food items in our kitchen cabinets.  And since I knew I needed to start somewhere, I felt like conquering a small room first would get my purging and packing wheels rolling.  Here’s what the pantry looked like before…

And here’s what it looks like now…

…after a little decluttering and reorganizing.  I ended up with 3 piles of stuff that didn’t make the final cut.  Recycle: broken down packaging, expired coupons and old recipes.  Donate: odds & ends we don’t use.  Gift: items I’m hoping a neighbor can use.  Wine, anyone?

My goal was to get most everything up off the floor and onto the shelves.  Cereal, vinegar and toilet paper overstock were the only things that wouldn’t fit onto the shelves.  Then I faced {if you’ve ever worked in retail you know what facing is} all the food items and tucked everything nicely into its respective basket or bin.  Some of you have asked about how I have the pantry organized, so I guess now is as good a time as any!  I try to keep all the heavy and canned goods on the bottom shelf.  That way if I or my kids drop them, they don’t have that much momentum crashing into toes. Plus, they’re some of the healthier things in the pantry that I like my kids to see as a choice. {Desserts, treats and baking supplies are kept higher up…out of kid sight…to keep them from being snuck into.  I’m mean, aren’t I?}

The other food items are categorized into baskets and bins.  There are breakfast, snack, bread, pasta, rice, gluten-free {Handy Hubby has been gluten-free for nearly a year!}, baking and treat baskets right now.  I like using loose bins to organize that way I can tweak things week-to-week as our inventory changes.  I just got groceries yesterday, so this is as full as it gets unless we’re hosting a big get-together.

The perpendicular wall of shelving holds items in the household category….kid art supplies, batteries, flashlights and a few cleaners.  Hopefully, keeping a few bins empty will let potential buyers see how much space there really is in the pantry.

On the third pantry wall {behind the open door} there is a dry erase calendar to track family events and work schedules, a hanging stepladder which conceals some large drawing paper pads and a rack system for storing the broom, vacuum extension hose and a small electric sweeper.

I’ve been spoiled by this large pantry.  There’s no doubt that downsizing our home will probably result in downsizing our pantry too…if we’re lucky enough to get a pantry!  That’s okay.  I’m up for a kitchen organization challenge.  I like sorting things almost as much as I enjoy interior design.  I plan on editing the contents of our kitchen cabinets before we move anyway.  Maybe tomorrow?

Oh!  And I’d like to mention I did all of this while talking to several banks about getting pre-approved for a home loan.  Let’s just say I could hear the bankers’ eyebrows raising over the phone when I told them our plan to downsize from a home that we ‘can afford’ to a home less than half the worth of our current home.

images:  1) Make Your Own Invitations all the rest) Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

21 Comments

22.February.2011

{clapping} Dana, I know I like you and your blog too much to have said anything negative. You are doing something that is so amazing and you both should be proud of yourselves….very proud of yourselves. Doing something you love in life is a great thing and not that many people do it because they fear changes or just don’t want to make the change. You are inspiring to me.

And I love your pantry. So jealous of that. Wish we had a walk in, but we only have a small little closet upstairs, but it works for us and I continue to reorganize it all the time when things get out of control.

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22.February.2011

I want to join the parade of support! :) It sounds like you are on a roll already, I admire your determination to follow your dreams.

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22.February.2011

Love your ideas for the different baskets! Just what I was needing to tweak my walk in pantry a little more! I would send a photo of mine to you but I don’t have a blog. I could use some input. I currently have 3 Rubbermaid clear storage boxes (the long kind) that hold my seasonal decorations on the top shelves. I have several other smaller clear storage boxes that hold other miscellaneous dishes. I surely would love more input as to what to do with those items b/c my husband and I plan to downsize as well. I like your idea of leaving some bins & space empty to show to the prospective buyers what room there is to store their stuff!! Great job!!

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22.February.2011

Oh yeah, I forgot to say that I look very forward to your future blog posts and photos on your downsizing efforts in other parts of your home which I can glean from in order to better prepare myself!! How about that Handy Hubby showing us his garage before and afters???

As Jen@TheDecorScene put it, I’m still {clapping} after reading your last two posts!! Thank you again!

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22.February.2011

Looks so great! I love all the wire baskets! Good Luck selling, keep us posted on your progress. I think we are getting ready to try the For Sale By Owner route ourselves…ugh I’m not looking forward to all that.

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Found your blog via I heart Organizing…love it!! I think it is so great that you are downsizing in order to live the life that you dream of. I recently have become very aware of how unnecessary many of the possessions we currently own are. I am on a mission to simplify my life and my home this year. I am trying to live a more green lifestyle one step at a time too. I’m your newest follower and can’t wait to “follow” you in your quest to downsize!

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23.February.2011

Love this post – it makes me want to go and organise!

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23.February.2011

I am jealous of your pantry. Our house does not have one so trying to organize the cabinets we have. The baskets were a great idea.

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23.February.2011

Looking good!

Now that I see your floor close up, I see that we had the same kind in our old place! We gave it a serious clean&shine using products from Armstrong, because it looked dingy in parts (like by the stove). I forget the exact name of the products, but one removed buildup, and the other made it shine like new. Your floor is newer, so it’s probably not as bad as ours was!

Everyone said we were crazy to sell in this market, but we had 2 offers in 11 days…don’t be discouraged by people who don’t share your vision!

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replied on February 23rd, 2011

Carole – Oh, thanks for encouragement! We’ve had so many eyebrows raised our way already – even from family. We’re hopeful.

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23.February.2011

I would buy your house just for the pantry! There is so much space in yours. Buyers will be blown away with that.

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replied on February 23rd, 2011

Elaine – Hope so! Fingers crossed.

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23.February.2011

Your pantry looked pretty good to begin with! :-) Where did you get the wire baskets? Love them!

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23.February.2011

I am looking forward to seeing all your other staging and prepping tips so I can follow suit. We have a small house and try to de-clutter every year but since my daughter came along that has been difficult, just in finding the time. We hope to sell our house this year so I have my work cut out for me :-)

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I think you did a fabulous job of prepping… I wish I had a pantry like that, and I’m sure potential buyers will think the same.
And silly bankers…just because you can afford something, doesn’t mean you need it. We Americans are a tad bit obsessed with BIG. bigger homes, giant furniture, huge burgers, 700 oz sodas… ;) We moved into a smaller home a couple years ago and I LOVE it. Sure there are trade offs (I hardly have a pantry now) but I have 2 less bathrooms to clean, several fewer rooms to heat and we actually use all the space we have.

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replied on February 23rd, 2011

Anna – Your smaller home sounds lovely! Even though we’ll have less space for stuff, I’m actually looking forward to maybe cleaning LESS bathrooms!! I, too, am getting a little disgusted by BIG Americana.

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23.February.2011

my sister sent me your blog awhile back and said “this house looks like you.” she was right. we just moved into a new house last june and have been working hard to add our own style to it. i love seeing your “tweaks” and i’m selfishly excited that you are moving to see what you do with a new place. one question though…will the barn door stay or go? i was so excited when you posted that project because my husband and i had just been talking about adding something similar to our basement when we finish it. so glad to see it is doable.

best of luck in your new adventures!

ps…you should do a post on tips for “for sale by owner.” we own a house int he city that we will be putting on the market in a few months and would love any info you might have to help us out. ;)

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replied on February 23rd, 2011

Jamie – Word is out on the barn door for now. If potential buyers say it is a must-have, then we’ll leave it for the sale. However, I’m sure it’s not the kind of thing everyone wants in their home so if a buyer says it must be removed, then we’ll remove it for the sale. We’ll just have to see. Great idea for the ‘sell by owner’ post!

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23.February.2011

So jealous of your pantry! We have hardly any storage in our kitchen, so I am always trying to figure out new/better/different ways to store things. So far, I don’t think anything’s working! Where did you find all your cool baskets and containers? I can never seem to find any that I like for a reasonable price.

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replied on February 23rd, 2011

Lindsay – All the baskets and bins either came from Target, Kroger, JoAnn’s or Michael’s. I measured the depth and height of each shelf and then shopped around for bins.

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07.March.2011

I had to do a doubletake on your “before” photos…they look like after photos!

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