This past weekend, I found myself free of any social, youth sports or other commitments. Anyone who knows me knows that this is highly unusual for me! I decided to make the most of my time with a DIY Weekend Pantry Makeover.
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My pantry has been a source of frustration and shame for years! I’m lucky enough to have a deep walk-in with shelves galore. However, it’s been both a blessing and a curse. The huge pantry was one of the big selling points when we bought our house 11 years ago. With little storage space elsewhere in the house, it ended up being the place we tossed everything that didn’t have a place. Or anything we didn’t feel like putting in the correct place. When that happens for over a decade, you end up with a space like this:
I cringe just looking at these pictures! As you can see, there’s not even a semblance of order at this point. Things are literally falling off the shelves. With all of the stuff we had accumulated, it felt overwhelming to tackle a pantry makeover. So, I put it off. For a long time. Until I realized that this space was bringing chaos into my house, the place I seek to evoke peace at all times. To make matters worse, we have a teenage boy in the house who eats pretty much everything in sight. Every trip to Costco was causing me more anguish because I couldn’t find adequate space to store his snacks. It was time to do something about it!
My Pantry Makeover, Step By Step
Following the steps I laid out in my organization Beginner’s Guide, I found some inspiring photos and ideas on Pinterest to both motivate and guide me as I tackled the pantry. Then, with the help of my super-supportive husband, I removed everything from the shelves. And I mean everything!
The sheer amount of things we removed was staggering. Items from the pantry quickly filled all of our counter and floor space in the kitchen and sprawled into the adjacent dining and family rooms. We found multiple packages of opened or expired food we had forgotten about. I think I counted five boxes of baking soda, each one purchased at some point because I couldn’t find the others in the mess. I had definitely wasted money by being so disorganized. We found stuff that belonged in the garage and bathroom, which we promptly relocated. And we rediscovered small appliances, cookbooks, bakeware and other household goods we had forgotten about and not used in well over a year, so we made a pile for donation.
After the pantry was empty, I gave the shelves a good wipe down and then measured height, depth and width. Then, it was time to do a little shopping!
Finding the Tools for the Job
I knew I wanted to install a shelf liner, and with the number and lengths of my shelves I’d need a lot. We found large rolls of this taupe-colored grip liner at our local At Home. The price and ease of installation made it perfect for my project.
If you don’t have an At Home local to you, Amazon sells similar grip liner:
Another At Home find was this nylon basket, which at $8.99 was far less expensive than the wicker or woven variation. We bought several and used them to store bulk items, bottles and jars beneath the bottom shelves.
I found a similar set of three on Amazon:
For the shelves, we purchased two space-saving under shelf baskets to store bread and similar items:
along with two gravity can feeders and several clear handled storage baskets. The baskets are particularly good finds because they’re inexpensive, easy to move, easy to clean, and the full plastic bottoms protect shelves from drips and spill.
We also picked up several sets of clear plastic storage canisters for items like rice, pasta, sugar, flour, and grab-and-go snacks.
Organizing Like Items in Groups
For me, it makes sense to organize my pantry by grouping like-items together. I have breakfast foods in one area; peanut butter, jelly and bread in another; oils next to vinegars and so on. This makes it much easier and more efficient to retrieve items I typically use together. As an example, here’s my popcorn storage basket, complete with microwave popcorn packages, seasonings, popcorn bags and a scoop. When it’s time for popcorn, I can just grab the entire basket and bring it into the kitchen.
When I had everything just the way I wanted it, I took the most important step in any organization project: I stood in the doorway and basked in the glory of my newly decluttered, highly efficient pantry! What a huge change and impact in a space my family uses every day. Now, every time I open up the pantry door, I feel nothing but joy and peace. Why did I wait so long?
I welcome your thoughts and ideas on creating an inspiring pantry space. Leave me a comment below!