"I do not claim that I can tell a story as it ought to be told. I only claim to know how a story ought to be told." -Mark Twain


Behind Closed Doors

I was going to title this post "What I Did This Summer". I guess that is the teacher in me coming out.
But in reality, it just took me a day, and "Behind Closed Doors sounds so much catchier! 

And, just in case you want to bow out now, this is part of what is behind that closed door!
When we moved in two years ago, this is what was behind that closed door. It is a closet that is under the stair way. The door opens up into our dining room. It appeared that the closet had probably been used as a coat closet in its former life. 
The room is probably about four feed wide and seven and eight feet deep (depending on the angle). It even has its own window. Even with the ugliness of the closet, I knew immediately what I wanted to do with the closet. It would become a dish pantry!
After all, it opened into the dining room and I had plenty of dishes to fill it. The picture above and below are as I unpacked my dishes when we moved in. I'm telling you, I knew I could fill that closet!

The first thing I did was to take out all the closet hanging rods. Then I used a gallon of "Oops" paint from Lowe's and the beadboard wallpaper from Lowe's and cleaned that closet up. It not only cleaned it up, it completely brightened it up. 
My Hubster also built some shelves to fit under the stair part. They are thick and sturdy. We bought two chrome shelves to go on one side of the closet and I piled the dishes in. For the two years we have lived here, I had the chrome dishes on the side where the window was. That side was a little deeper, so I thought that logically the shelves should go there. I cannot find my pictures of that stage of the closet, but believe me, the dishes were piled in there. 
But since I just piled stuff in randomly, there was no sense of order and I often had to really look to find what dish(es) I wanted. When I first put all the dishes in, I was just anxious to get them put up and out of the way. But after two years it was driving me crazy with the disorganization. 
So one day this summer I pulled out every last one of these dishes. I had them piled on every surface and all over the floor. I had them in several rooms as well. But it needed to be done. I moved the two chrome shelves over to the solid wall. Even though that side was not as deep, it is so much better having the shelves on that side. 
I bought several sheets of foamboard and cut it to fit my chrome shelving. Then I started to put things back in.....with some organization. I put all the glassware together on a couple of the shelves. I put the glasses down so that nothing would accumulate in the cups. 

I put all my cute little decorative bowls and ramekins on one shelf. 
All my big fun (or seasonal) bowls together. 
Vases are now easy to find all grouped together. I use the red pitcher for flowers, but I have a shelf just for pitchers too. 
I have two shelves of fun salad-size plates. Those are fun to pair with my solid color dinner plates for so many different looks. 
This shelf is mainly for odds and ends.....cake stands, a couple of vintage cookie jars, a bus from London and a few extra pieces. 
The bottom shelf holds all my chargers. Then I put all the tea cups from my Jewel Tea together in a basket and sat them on some of the chargers. It was a good way to put some odd and end pieces of those dishes together. 

Then those shelves that the Hubster built under the stairs...Well they hold all the seasonal dishes. The top shelf is full of crystal and silver. The second shelf has all the fall dishes. I have a huge set of Jewel Tea given to me by my mother, as well as some other random fall dishes. (I have no idea how I missed painting the edge of that top shelf. It has been that way for two years and I just noticed in this picture. Believe me, I will take care of that! Those kinds of things bug me!!!!!!!! Gah!!) 
The next built-in shelf holds all my Christmas dishes. Actually it holds my Christmas dishes as well as my solid reds. But in my (anal) mind that all goes together! 
Sorry, for the bluriness, but the bottom built-in holds a variety of dishes. The Randoms. (It was hard to take pictures in this closet. It is only four feet wide!) 
I used a vintage file sorter to "sort" my big platters. It worked out perfectly! 

Then I was left with a bunch of salad size plates for different holidays. Like I said, I love to mix cute salad size plates with big solids, and it is more economical to buy that way. But I needed a place to put all those. SO, I took all the holiday small plates and put them under the chrome racks. It is kind of (blurry) and hard to see, but it fills it up under both set of chromes. The perfect fit! 

By the end of the day the closet was organized and put back in a much better and efficient way. I can now just open the closet door and know exactly what I want and where it is. The dish racks are not in front of the window now and it looks so much better. I did not have to buy a single thing; I just needed to make better use of what I had. 
I will have to show you what I ended up doing with that window in the dish closet and what I put on that blank wall under it. Believe me, I used every square inch of my coat closet turned messy dish closet, turned organized dish pantry. 
(Not to mention the fact my blue and whites were all together in their own cupboard.) A place for everything and everything in its place! You never know what you'll find behind closed doors! 
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  1. I love what you did, it seems much better organized this way. I actually have a dish ROOM here at this new house. I am TRYING to figure out the best organization. I also think I may need tp purge some things. Right now I have everything grouped together: Fall, Christmas, blues, blacks, etc. It is working for now but I keep tweaking it:):)

  2. Excellent! I love organization like that, and I could not agree more with your choice to use the paint and bead board wallpaper to make it bright and pretty, too.

  3. Oh my goodness! You are so so organized!!! LOVE this space!!!! I feel like I need to purge my entire house!!!

  4. Two fabulous ideas here for me -- the foam board on the shelving that protects those fragile rims of the glasses and the platters in the filing rack. Genius!


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