Remember last week when I showed you my newly made over drawer? Well soon after I tacked Enemy #2 (The “Tupperware” Drawer) and discovered that the problem was mainly an overabundance of lids. I am not sure how lids manage to multiply themselves inside of a sealed drawer, but somehow we had ended up with approximately three lids per one storage container. So after some very quick organizing and recycling, I was ready to move on.
The IHeart Organizing blog that I talked about last week was featuring a February Kitchen Challenge and I was feeling crazy-inspired by the beautiful pantries that she wrote about (hers, as well as the pantries of other readers. You can read about it here. My pantry, on the other hand, looked more like this:
The pantry had become a serious hazard; food was being lost into some kind of great abyss never to surface again. So I decided to take my inspiration and tackle this monster head on. Here are some more views of what I started with:
You can see that there was an incredible amount of wasted space, some semi-rotting squash leftover from my fall display bowl (I even grew those white ones myself!) and a random mixture of foods on each shelf with no real sense of order to it at all. I knew it had become ‘bad’ when I starting just throwing food in the general direction of the pantry after I got home from grocery shopping just hoping it would make some kind of smooth landing. Time for a serious intervention.
To begin, I took everything out of the pantry, assessed what type of foods we had that needed to be stored there, and came up with a plan for how to group foods together. This was done after grocery shopping so that I had a better idea of what kind of storage we REALLY needed (don’t assess this when your pantry is depleted!).
I decided that tin cans should go face up on the bottom drawer so that I could always see the label (instead of getting down on my hands and knees to find the can I need). I also decided to group baking items in bins on the top shelf since we rarely bake. Snacks for the kids were to be placed on the second drawer up since they could be easily accessed there by the little people. And the main staples could take up the three middle shelves. I measured my drawers (width, depth, and height) and set out to my local dollar store to find some cute and affordable organizing solutions that would fit perfectly into each of the drawers. Enter:
You will notice in my final pics that I decided to trade these blue bins for the same bin in red. The red worked better with the overall colour scheme of the pantry (by the way there is nothing ridiculous in saying that my pantry has a colour scheme). The next step was to clean the inside thoroughly and install some pretty contact paper that I had picked up at Walmart (on clearance, yay!) in order to pretty it up a little. The pantry cabinet, while functional, is over 18 years old so that good’ol melamine finish was showing a little wear.
The contact paper installation did involve a few little sticky-tricky moments. Don’t look too closely at the first shelf I did, but I must say that I got REALLY good at it by the last shelf. A few hints:
- First, measure your space very carefully and contact the contact paper correctly using both a measuring tape and the lines on the back of the paper.
- When going around tricky corners, try installing most of the paper and then drawing a little line in place to help you trim the correct shape (see pics below).
- Put the paper in place and then slowly begin to peel the back off while you gently press it down, working out any bubbles as you go.
Keep going until you have papered your pantry to your absolute hearts content (some beautiful pantry peeps have even papered or painted the backs of theirs for extra pretty! Check out the IHEART Organizing Pantry Roundup for some more gorgeous inspiration pics!
Now time for the key element: Food Organization. I sorted and organized my food into the new appropriate storage containers. I labeled the containers appropriately (I will write about making labels in a future post because this one is already way too long) and then placed them back in the order I had planned. Check out the finished project:
Here is a closer before and after of the bottom two drawers…
… the middle drawers…
…and of the top two pull out shelves:
I am pretty thrilled every time I open our pantry now and I LOVE being able to find what I need so easily. I have big plans for the inside of the doors (plans that may or may not involve DIY chalkboard paint… post coming soon:). And the best part was that I managed to create enough space by being superbly organized to free up an ENTIRE upper cabinet in the kitchen! Wow! That space will come in handy very soon when we undertake a little kitchen revamp that involves removing the doors from some upper cabinets…
One more before and after pic, just because I love them:
If your pantry has not received any love and attention in a long while, consider giving it some. It will pay you back in spades!
And remember, my housie friends, HOME wasn’t built in a day. Enjoy the journey!
Linkin this post up with YoungHouseLove Winter Pinterest Challenge:
Linkin up at
Check out the original INSPIRING PANTRY pin from IHeartOrganizing.