Organizing in Mendota!

We finally have our pantry put back together.  Naturally, it took longer than we thought. 

Here’s what it looked like before…

It was a bit of a mess.  We emptied the contents onto the dining room table and I wondered how we got all of the stuff into the pantry.  Most of the items are on the dining room table but not all!!

We then cleaned and painted the inside of the small pantry area, and Mike reworked the support system to keep the shelves from sagging.   And quickly days and days later, we put it back together.     I continued trying to use what I have CAUSE I’M NOT WORKING!!  I did want a few labels.  I’ve been wanting to buy a label  maker and I almost gave in to the urge.  I resisted.  Instead, I pulled out my trusty chalkpaint can (if you’ve been reading this blog you know how much I love this stuff), and I sprayed something I already had — jar lids.   I am a home canner, so naturally, I have lots of lids.   

This opened up a whole new idea.  In addition to my pantry, I decided to create a spice drawer.  I had little jelly jar glasses because we did not pick berries this year and make raspberry jam.  (Thank you to Mr. & Mrs. Turkey and their turkettes who ate all my berries.)   I decided to repurpose these empty jars lying about as spice jars.  They were just the right height to fit in the drawer.

Check this out… I wish I had written the names on the jars neater but I was so excited I basically scribbled.   In fact, see that wet spot on the nutmeg…that would be drool! 

I have wanted a spice drawer for years.  Mike has offered to buy one, make one, etc, but for some reason, we just never got around to it.  Now, I’ve got one, and I didn’t pay anything for it.  

Here’s another close up of the little beauties….

I am envisioning all types of possibilities.   Interrupting thought…did I misspell any names above?    I could go down and organize Mike’s shop…or the garage…using chalkpaint and my new organization skills.  Or I could not do that.

So…back to the pantry. 

Here’s a picture of another way I used jar lids to identify what goes where in my old/new although still tiny pantry…

That shiny black basket was an old faded blue basket from 20 years ago in Franklin, Tennessee.  I bought it in my blue and mauve days when I decorated with baskets and geese and ruffled curtains.  I can’t believe I still have it! 

Here’s some larger jelly jars that I used for spices that were in bigger bottles.  Why didn’t I alphabetize them before taking this picture?

 I’d also read about chalkboard labels which can be purchased at Staples or Michael’s.  I decided to make my own using labels I already had. I just took them outside and gave them a quick spray of chalkpaint.  After drying about two minutes, I started writing on them. 

Here’s a shot of the labels….

  I use about six vinegars…they are all here in this little red box. 

Ok…it’s time for the pantry to be finished…

Here’s a comparison of the before and after. In just looking, there’s not that much difference.  The before is on the left and the after is on the right.  However, I can now find things!  

I know exactly what is in it and now Mike will know where to put groceries away that go in this pantry.  I have nine ketchups!  I can see them!

Also, the pantry has some additional utilitarian uses.  We have a spot for batteries, bags to be recycled and a fire extinguisher.  

I feel a sense of accomplishment on getting this task done.  Tomorrow it’s sewing day. 

Thanks for reading RiverCliff Cottage.     Please comment!    It’s not the prettiest pantry redo, but it’s an efficient pantry redo. 






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  1. Brandy VanHoy says:

    Oh Eva! I love your blog! Thanks for putting your posts on FB. Your house is beautiful!!! I hope you are enjoying your home time as much as you seem to be! I look forward to all the new things you show us how to do 🙂

  2. The spice drawer is fabulous! I think it would make an excellent Christmas present for someone in Leesburg – hint hint… 🙂 I have some bins in my pantry (colorful, non-clear ones) but A says they keep him from seeing what’s inside. I may just have to use your chalk-painted label idea for them. Where did you find the chalk that writes so crisply?

    • Roz…that is a great idea and one that I’ll follow through on at Christmas!! I hope I learn to write better. I found some liquid chalk that I’ve been using but for the lids, I used a 97 cent liquid paint stick as I could just wipe it off or respray.

  3. ps – I loved and cracked up at how you labeled your “punkin” spice.

  4. Mary McCroskey says:

    Keep writing and crafting… Love it

  5. I love the use of the paint and jars, fits the decor and feel of Rivercliff Cottage. You continue to show us about living simply but with a ‘rural chic’.

  6. Carol Strouth says:

    Hi Eva! I’ve been reading and enjoying your blog, but just too lazy to comment . . . Until now! You’ve inspired me with your pantry re-do and spice drawer. I’m not coming home tomorrow until I buy some chalk paint!

    P.S. I have an idea for your burlap. I saw a great burlap lampshade cover. It looked like a gathered skirt with a drawstring tied in a bow at the top. Sounds funky when I put it in writing, but it was adorable. You’ll have to trust me. (smile)

    • Hi Carol! Thank you for commenting….if you recall where you saw the lampshade, please let me know ’cause I’ve got a whole trashbag full of burlap almost window treatments hidden in my closet.

      The blog is fun….I’ve always wanted to do it, and why not now, and I’m so HONORED when someone reads it!! Thank you!!

      • Carol Strouth says:

        Okay, turns out I may have made this up! When I went back to find the lampshade I saw that it was a natural colored linen (soft I also saw several neat burlap items at So in my mind I combined the two and VOILA! A burlap lampshade!

  7. MamaLinda says:

    LOVE the chalkboard labels! And the punkin spice!
    Oh, and if you hand deliver that Christmas present requested above, you know I’d hope to see you 😉

    • Linda…if I get up there, I will absolutely come to visit you! Thank you for reading. It means a lot. Eva

      • MamaLinda says:

        *GASP!* I just noticed your extracts in the jar…brilliant! Mine are forever falling over, spilling, and making the entire cabinet smell like peppermint! I am SO doing this!

  8. Love this and gave me ideas for the wedding..thanks for sharing!


  1. […] When it dries, it’ll go into the little rosemary spice jar I made last summer. I’m still in love with spray on chalk paint.   I painted this lid and talked and talked and talked about it in this post. […]

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