Tuesday, January 17, 2012

An Organized Pantry in 5 Steps.

Hello all! I am back with the pantry before and after. My pantry is small. It's actually a large cupboard, rather than the walk in beauty of my dreams. But, maybe that's for the best. Less to organize and maintain.

I find that since cutting out most processed food, and aiming to eat more fresh, whole foods, I don't have the need to store a bunch of boxes and cans anymore. I have tried to streamline my shopping, and buy fresh fruits and veggies one or two times per week. We eat a TON of fresh produce.

I have been dreading the pantry clean out, and I'm embarrassed to say that there were things in there that had been expired for years!!! (Mostly canned goods, but some condiments found in the back too!)

Here is the space I am working with, and the new containers I purchased from Ikea a few days ago...

 My pantry. -Uh...Cabinet. :-)
BPA free Ikea containers for storage.

Here are the 5 easy steps I used for an organized pantry.
  • Clear out EVERYTHING, and dispose of old items.
  • Wipe down shelves.
  • Wash and dry storage containers.
  • Load back in and arrange in a way that functions best.
  • Label dry goods, and keep everything visible.
Here is the lovely before shot of my pantry. (*cringe*)

Yep. That's right, peeps. I'm keepin' it real! Just know that if I were the only one living here, angels would sing when I opened that cabinet, cuz that baby would be sparkling perfection! But alas...

Here's the first step.
 Clearing out and discarding the old.
After wiping down, I loaded everything back in, new containers labeled and ready to go!
 New pretty containers hold breakfast bars, nuts, snacks, and pasta and grains.
 Love it!

Finished pantry below.

I also had to deal with another problem that I kept forgetting to tackle (intentionally blew off). 
The previous owner put up some ugly plastic spice holders, and they were so stuck onto the cabinets, that when I re-painted, I decided to wait to paint the inside, until I dealt with removing them. (Lame?!)
 See those little stinkers? Ooh, and the HIDEOUS old oak finish on the cabs?
 I had to pound, chisel, and scrape!
 Now I get to sand and paint the insides, but NOT today. :-)
I don't need my spices in the pantry, I prefer to have them close to the cooktop, in a drawer.

Well, that was a glimpse of my day today. Who else is in mission organization mode this month? Have you been working in your kitchen too? I'd love to hear your tips and tricks for keeping things neat and tidy. 
Later this week I have to clean out the fridge and freezer, and the coffee and tea cabinet. Not nearly as much work as the pantry! (I hope!) 
Linking up to the following...


  1. I love it! It looks so nice. I finally put my spices in the drawer next to my stove, they roll around a bit but its still convenient. I have oak cabinets. We built our home in the 80's. I would love to paint them but..... not sure what route to take, try to paint them ourselves or hire it done??? In fact all of our furniture is oak. I'm thankful but really want a change.
    Sherry's Bees Nest

  2. Thanks Sherry! I know what you mean about the spices rolling around. I thought about getting one of those plastic drawer inserts to hold them in place, but then I found bottles that were square, or square at the bottom. I try to only buy that kind
    now. It's a little thing, but it seems to have eliminated the problem.

    I painted these cabinets a few years ago myself while my hubs was deployed to Iraq. I try to do BIG projects while he is away. It helps keep my mind busy. It was a huge undertaking, but my mom flew in for a while, and we did it in a week. She has been my painting assistant for years. Gotta love mom!

    We had oak cabs in the kitchen, master bath, and hallway. I have painted them all, with the exception of the hall. I let a painter do that this year.
    My quote for the kitchen cabs to be painted was over two thousand bucks, so I just decided to save the $ and do it myself. It was not hard, just super time consuming!
    The good thing is, Oak is a great solid wood, and looks transformed when painted. I just got tired of that honey orange stain on ours. If mine were a darker stain, I may have left them longer. But, I really like the results.

    I say go for it with yours! What color would you do?

    Have a great day!

    1. I have no idea what color! Me and color... I change my mind so often. I would probably go with an antique white, something very neutral. Wow, you got me to thinking! Maybe we should go for it!

  3. Ooh, these are great tips! I redid my pantry last year but we too haven't been eating as much processed foods so I'm sure there are other things that we can store in our wasted space. Thanks for sharing your ideas with us!

  4. I'm your newest linky follower from TDC-stop by for a visit!

    1. Hi Claire! Thanks for stopping by, and following! On my way over to see you now! :-)

  5. Do you have a link to those square large containers pictured?

    1. Hi there,

      The containers came from Ikea, but this was several years ago. I am sure that they have something similar, if not the same. Thanks for your question.


I love reading all of your thoughtful comments!