Pantry Reorganization

A couple of weekends ago we tackled reorganizing the kitchen. In reality, it was me. My husband gave me his opinion when I asked for it and the occasional “it looks great” when I was feeling overwhelmed.

I’d love to have a pantry that looks something like this,

but the reality is our kitchen isn’t designed to accommodate this space – maybe one day.

My primary objective was to move the pantry. It was in the bottom corner cabinet that was dark and cluttered. However, the project snowballed quickly. If we moved the pantry, something else would have to move in order to make space for the new pantry location. Before you knew it, I was reorganizing every shelf of our kitchen. And a project that was supposed to take me a couple hours took the whole weekend (and I’m still not done). Have you ever had one of those?

Here are a few before pictures. We decided to move the pantry to an upper cabinet that originally contained bar related items. This would accomplish our goals of more space and better lighting. After moving our bar items to the dining room as a placeholder until we get a locked cabinet, I emptied the existing pantry. New (temporary) location for bar items. Yes, it shrank. We cleared out the items we never drink. We have this great nook that I want to fill with a dry bar and floating shelves. We just haven’t found what we want within our budget so it may be a while. :(

Ok, back to the pantry.

The first step was to clear out and clean out the new space.

Step two was to evaluate and inventory our existing pantry items including deciding what to discard. I categorized the items similar to how I would find them in a grocery store (although I’m rarely in a grocery store these days since I discovered online shopping was only an extra $4.95): canned goods, snacks, condiments, pastas, cereals, baking ingredients, etc.

Next step was to assess and determine storage needs. A common problem in my household is that I reach for a snack to discover it’s just an empty box!!! Or the package isn’t closed properly and the food is stale. So this reorganization was a perfect time to introduce clear storage containers. This would be an easy way to resolve both issues and eliminate the frequent, nagging lectures to my husband and son. Win-win!! Yes, it was an upfront expense but I can use these for years to come! I used OXO containers from Target. However, after purchasing them, I found the containers below for much less at IKEA.

Next step was to organize – finally!

You can see I had a helper with this. She made it a little challenging at times but we had fun doing this together. She loved pulling things out of the drawers. Her guilty look is because she knows she isn’t supposed to be on the ladder. :) Now for the result…Our bright, newly organized pantry! I wanted everything viewable and easily accessible. The shelves are organized as follows:

  • Bottom Shelf – cereals, pastas, crackers, chips, trail mix and other dried goods
  • Middle Shelf – canned goods stacked and commonly used boxed items on one side and condiments on a Lazy Susan on the other side
  • Top Shelf – baking items and extras (all the items that are free with super double or triple coupon days) that are not needed on a daily basis

Below, I found these great no drill Rubbermaid Under the Shelf Baskets at Walmart to house snack foods. This way I can see when I need to restock! I moved the ziploc bags, aluminum foil and cling wrap to a drawer. With the corner space now available with the pantry move, we I moved the appliances to this area. It’s amazing how much more space it has. The larger dimensions allowed me to consolidate the appliances from a couple of different areas into this space. Our crock pot, coffee grinder, french press, espresso machine, blender, mixer, magic bullet, wine chiller and much, much can be found here. We may have to move a few things around to access the back items but we rarely use those so it’s not to bad. The hanging basket is only there temporarily until I can find a better place for it – like maybe the laundry room.

We went from an overcrowded kitchen to having room to grow by simply creating a plan to better utilize the space. And now that we have more room for the appliances, the kitchen counter has been cleared of all appliances except the coffee maker. It already feels more spacious!

No More Junk Drawer

Lastly, I feel compelled to share we no longer have a junk drawer in the kitchen. My husband tells everyone about this change because it made no sense to him. Somewhere, I read that if it’s not needed to cook or serve food or drinks then it doesn’t belong in the kitchen and they specifically called out the junk drawer. That was the most time consuming effort of this reorganization. It meant having to find a place for pens, batteries, light bulbs, outlet covers, handy tools, scissors, notepads etc. I have to admit, I like not having a junk drawer although we still have our junk room – more on that another time.

I think the key is to find what works for you. It took us living in the space to learn what was and wasn’t working and why. Now it finally feels like it’s coming together.

Next on the list for our kitchen is a storage solution for this messy corner. Thanks for taking the time out of your day to visit! I’d love to hear any suggestions you have on what you love about your kitchen that I can try! If you are interested in hearing more, sign up to receive posts by email!

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  1. Sue says:

    I LIKE!!! Love under the shelf drawers from WalMart, your clear containers and Lazy Susan and YOUR little HELPER!! Looks great!! I am just wondering how your stored appliances will work out after you pull out those in the back a few times. You might have to label where they go in the event they do not fit….I could not tell for sure by the photo. Just a thought!!

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