Mission: Pantry Organization

One of the disadvantages of living in an old house is a lack of closet space. Lucky for me, a previous owner did some rearranging and found room in our first floor hallway for a pantry. Bless their heart. Unfortunately, it’s not actually in the kitchen so when I’m putting away armfuls of stuff after making dinner I tend to just toss it onto the shelves so I can make as few trips as possible. Then I have groceries to put away and that stuff just gets shoved onto other shelves and before long I have fourteen cans of chicken broth because I didn’t see the ones behind the nine kinds of vinegar (<—– not an exaggeration. I use a lot of vinegar).

Also, I have pantry months. If you don’t have those in your part of the country, just count your blessings and enjoy not having to wrap up your pasta in Ziplock bags. So while I cleaned and de-mothed and threw out canned pineapple that was supposed to be used by June 2007 I decided to reorganize.



Better, right?

I put a plain old shoe organizer over the door and filled it with anything that fit. Now I can see if I have taco seasoning or cocoa powder without digging through my shelves.

I put the stuff I use the most right at eye level and the stuff I only need once in a while high and low.

I painted the left wall with chalkboard paint (oh how I love chalkboard paint!) and attached chalk to a string so I can keep a running list of stuff as I use it up.

I reorganized items by how often I need stuff – that middle shelf is things I use almost ever night for dinner. Because I put so much on the door I now have enough room to see what I have and stock up on things we use most often, like tomato sauce and couscous. I added the stripes to make things fancy – I’ve been looking at too many Martha Stewart pantries on Pinterest. The stripes reminded me of an old fashioned grocer.

I used $1 baskets and bins to sort things that go together – cookie decorating stuff, tea, seasonings, herbs and spices, my emergency candy (labeled: emergency candy).

I used two $1 shower caddies for onions and potatoes. They’re on hooks so I can take them off the wall and rinse them out when I inevitably forget about a potato and it ends up molding.

I put all my flours and sugars into sealed containers to keep the months out. I splurged and bought large, wide mouthed ones at Target because I HATE trying to pour dry ingredients instead of scooping them with my measuring cups. They were the only part of this whole project that wasn’t either free (I already owned the paint, brushes and tape) or $1 (the baskets and smaller plastic containers).

See that top shelf? That’s apple, peach, strawberry and cherry jam plus sour cherries for pies all homegrown and hand-canned by my mother-in-law. Are you jealous yet? Come over and I’ll make you a pie – after I force you to admire my pantry in person. Yeah, I might be just a little too proud of FINALLY getting this mess cleaned up.


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29 Responses to “Mission: Pantry Organization”

  1. raincheckmom says:

    WOW!What a great re-do! It looks fantastic!

  2. Amanda says:

    Beautiful! I love the yellow stripes. Mmmm cherry pie, the best cherry pie in the world…

  3. Sarah says:

    Um, wanna come over and organize my pantry? It’s also a closet, not in the kitchen, and bonus, is half a pantry and half a linen closet! I’ll pay you in babysitting and cookies…

    • bebehblog says:

      That sounds like a pretty good deal. And my “linen closet” is two drawers in a credenza and a plastic tub somewhere in my attic.

  4. Meg says:

    I looks great!!

    You’d laugh at my pantry. It’s so minimalist. Right now I have two eight-packs of canned tomatoes because my mom thought I might use them (I will, but it will take me a year), but generally, my pantry is Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard.

  5. Londonmum says:

    would you like to come to London and attempt the same in my house? Seriously, I’d pay the money to get you out here.
    In the meantime, there are lots of good ideas here that I am going to have to steal. I am fed up of buying canned goods to find out that I already had 6 of them hidden away at the back of a cupboard somewhere!

    • bebehblog says:

      Dude, a free trip to London is a WAY better deal than just organizing a pantry. For that I’ll do all your closets.

  6. Stacy says:

    Looks fantastic! I feel you on the vinegars, the entire cupboard above my stove is filled with vinegar, there are just sooooo many uses for them, cooking and otherwise!

    • bebehblog says:

      I’m not even counting the GIANT jug of vinegar I keep next to the washing machine so I can add it to the smelly laundry.

  7. Krista says:

    I’m impressed! Will you come do mine now?

  8. Leah says:

    Try leaving bay leaves out on the shelves to get rid of the pantry moths. I read that somewhere on the interwebs and tried it myself. I guess it works? Or it could be that I put all my stuff in containers now too.

    Also, yes, please come do my pantry after you get to everyone else’s. That looks amazing.

    • bebehblog says:

      I will try the bay leaf thing immediately, if only because it cannot hurt anything and I will BURN MY HOUSE DOWN if I see another damn moth.

  9. i’m super impressed!! great work, mama. this pantry is perfectly enviable!

  10. Jenn Smith says:

    Love your pantry. Your organization is inspiring, I am going to re-organize my craft room, and I was how you attached the baskets to the walls. I have lots of $1 baskets lying around, and think they would be great hanging on the wall. Thanks for the Inspiration.

  11. Brigid Keely says:

    I am nine kinds of jealous of your pantry. It looks GREAT. I love the paint job you did, and the over the door shoe holder is BRILLIANT.

    Our pantry holds our heater and the fridge. We’re hoping, next summer, to do some remodeling and carve some space out of Niko’s room for a pantry. Ideally, we’ll get our radiator heat working and dump the central heat/heater and move the fridge out of the pantry and have that freed up as well, but that probably won’t happen for YEARS if ever.

    Have you ever tried painting chalk board paint on glass? Especially glass jars?

    • bebehblog says:

      I saw chalkboard painted wine bottles on Pinterest the other day but I haven’t tried painting anything glass yet. But believe me, I’m gonna.

  12. this is amazing. when i saw your “after” pics it was like a weird endorphin rush… i am weirdly type-A like that.

  13. Denae says:

    I am jealous of your pantry. I dont have one. Much less such a pretty one.

    • bebehblog says:

      This is the first place we’ve ever lived with a pantry. It makes grocery shopping so much easier, just because I CAN buy 9 kinds of vinegar without having to store it next to the juice glasses in a kitchen cabinet.

  14. I love the stripes. I might just have to replace my checkerboard contact paper. It also reminds me of a medicine cabinet I saw in Domino once where they did wrapping paper on the back wall of a medicine cabinet. Looks great!

  15. Heather B says:

    oh. my. gosh. I’m having severe pantry envy over here. You are amazing!

  16. WOW!!!! That’s it, just wow!!!

  17. I think I just fell in love with you.

  18. Looks awesome! Seriously. Nice & organized & pretty. I wish I had a pantry!

  19. Kimberly says:

    I think I may pin everything here! I have two closets kinda-sorta near my kitchen that hold a mess of cooking/kitchen gear along with other junk (I think one is supposed to be a linen closet and the other a coat closet)… but you are going to inspire me to dedicate one of them to being a pantry. My grandmother’s old house had a HUGE walk-in pantry that I may give my third born for, but I can make do with a closet.

  20. Jenn says:

    What a fabulous re-do! I just did my pantry too but you have so much more space to work with and I love your basket ideas! I so wish I had a pantry this size!

  21. Suzanne says:

    WOW- what a transformation!! You *might* have just inspired me to organize mine. Maybe. No promises.
    Thanks for linking up- you rock! xoxo

  22. This looks amazing! Come to NC to do mine next?!

  23. […] to the side yard, then more steps down to the dark, dirty basement. First door on the right is the panty. Second door on the right is the coat closet. Second door on the left is the tiny downstairs […]

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