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Still Life with Canisters

S’s mom wanted to know what to get me for Christmas. A gift certificate to The Container Store was my immediate reply. I believe she thought I was a little batty, but she acquiesced graciously. The array you see here is the result. What a fantabulous mother-in-law!

When S and I started fixing up our kitchen, one of the things we were desperate to address (beyond the peeling wallpaper and godawful cabinetry, that is) was organization. We’re lucky to have a NYC kitchen with ample storage space, but the kitchen itself is poorly laid out and the cabinets are…odd. Many are so deep that putting a can all the way to the back is as good as never having bought it in the first place—it disappears into a dark, shadowy otherworld. I have a habit of buying interesting-looking ingredients in specialty foods stores, but sometimes I wonder if I should even bother—if they drift too far to the back of the pantry, I forget they’re even there. One cabinet above the counter is pentagonal—the door is only 12” wide, but the inside spreads out to a full 19”. Try finding something on a shelf you can barely see when there are two extra corners for it to hide in!

I did a little research before shopping—I read this article about kitchen storage on eGullet, and found this guide from Tupperware to help me determine what size canisters I needed. Then it was on to The Container Store, which may just be New York’s most useful retail establishment. This is the Land of Not Enough Room, after all. As you can see we mostly bought canisters—having uniform, stackable storage should make it a lot easier to find things (no more rubber-banded bags of lentils, nor mason jars of barley), and it’ll all fit together so much more convivially. We also picked up a couple of 4-sort dividers, to store baking sheets and cutting boards vertically—right now they’re a mishmash of stacked and leaning items, all equally precarious. And the most exciting purchase: several wire basket-drawers on gliders, to fit inside the pantry shelves. Sadly, the narrow size was too narrow for our pentagonal cabinet, and the next size up was too wide for the door opening. I’m still a little uncertain how we’re doing to deal with that one. It may end up the repository for Things We Hardly Use.

Once I’ve got everything set up, I’ll post some before-and-after shots. Odds are it won’t be any time soon, though—as excited as we are to put our new purchases to work, the effort involved in getting there is procrastination-inducing, to say the least. Maybe we’ll be done by, oh, say, March?

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