My Pantry Remodel/Reorganization Project
Every year in January and August, I have to change something in my house. I don’t know why. Something absolutely must be neater, more organized, prettier…just better! I always think that I am done, and then January or August rolls around again, and I find another project. January 2013’s project: The Pantry.
Lately, I’ve found myself on Pinterest (you can follow me here, or the blog here) looking at pantries. This one is pinned and repinned and repinned again on everyone’s boards. It may be the most popular pantry on Pinterest. Its nice, as are most of the pantries on Pinterest. After all, you’re not going to put your overstuffed ugly pantry on there. But none of them really addressed a couponer/stockpiler’s needs. I mean, they have cookbooks and appliances in there taking up prime real estate. They only have two cans of soup for Pete’s sake!
But after seeing the pretty paint, labels, and containers, I knew that something had to be done to my boring, ugly and gross pantry. I knew that I could remodel my pantry to be pretty, but at the same time maximize the storage space for our stockpile.
Here’s the before:
Being that we live in Texas, we have no basement, and the garage is off limits to food unless we want “friends” to move in. Plus, it gets hot in there. So the only dry food storage/stockpile place in the house is in the kitchen. Up until now, we’ve had the food stockpile in the pantry and in three different lower cabinets, including the one under the sink (our cleaning supplies are in upper cabinets).
In order to maximize the space, I needed to add a few shelves. Also, we had that trash can with no lid in there, and it just made the whole pantry gross. We would just throw stuff in there “to make baskets” instead of walking over and placing garbage in the can, and that would result in unintended splatter. Yuck. Plus, the 3 plastic 3 drawer bins that we had been using were breaking down, and one was difficult to access because of the curved wall, and we’d forget about stuff in there because we couldn’t see it. Overall, it was functional, but a functional disaster.
In order to fix these problems, I pulled everything out of the pantry. Everything. I stacked it on all of the counters and the kitchen table, and I cleaned, cleaned cleaned! I vacuumed each shelf, all along joints, the walls, the ceiling, scrubbed the shelves and the walls and the floor, taped everything and started painting. I knew I was going to have to repaint the shelves since they probably haven’t been painted since the house was built 13 years ago, so I decided to go with a navy blue to make the slightly off-white shelves really pop. I was leaning toward Charcoal for the walls, and then I decided that navy would go better with the decor in our house. Since our pantry is at a diagonal angle and can been seen from our den, I used the navy that we have in our window cornices and put it in the pantry. I chose Behr Premium Plus in Peaceful Night. This paint also includes primer, so that was one less step I had to take. It took only two coats on a wall that was never really painted in the first place. I was impressed!
After painting the walls, I repainted the existing shelves and trim. This past weekend, my brother came over to install the new shelves (he has a mitre saw). The pantry before had 4 built in shelves. There was about 3 feet of space below the last shelf to the floor, and two feet of space above the top shelf. I knew that I wanted to add two shelves under the bottom shelf (I never understood why there was so much open space there to begin with – its the same in our linen closet), and I decided to add only one shelf to one side of the pantry at the top. That way, I still had some space for tall items if I wanted to store tall things there.
It was important to me that the new shelves be as close to the originals as possible and look like they had always been there. I used MDF for the shelves, and I found trim casing that matched what the builder used for the support boards at Home Depot. Neil cut, glued, adhered, and screwed everything in place, and I caulked and painted. Those shelves aren’t going anywhere.
While you were watching the Super Bowl and eating yummy treats, I was painting the new shelves and getting this pantry ready to dry! I used oil-based Enamel on the shelves to match the rest of the trim in the house, and it took about 24 hours to dry. Then, I lined the shelves with white shelf paper for protection. This was not a quick project at all. It took almost 2 weeks start to finish.
While the shelves were drying, I went through everything and threw out things that had expired. I also went to HomeGoods, Bed Bath & Beyond and World Market looking for OXO Pop Canisters (I love these!) and decorative boxes, baskets, and bottles to store food in. I’ve used the OXO canisters for years, and I wanted to get some additional ones to store baking goods and snacks. Not only do they keep nasty critters out (and look good doing it), but they also help to get rid of bulky open cardboard boxes, because they take up too much space. I also labeled all of the canisters with fun labels that I found for free on the internet. You can print the ones that I used here, or google free printable labels and there are a ton! I just used Photoshop to put the different words on the labels, and then used my Cricut to cut out the circles on label paper that I got at Staples (with my rewards).
I found these fun jars at World Market for $14.99 each! I used my 15% off World Market Explorer Coupon to save a little bit additional. Enough to buy a pack of Gummy Dinosaurs for my little shopping companion! They work great to house loose candy, granola bars (get rid of the boxes!) and popcorn.
I sorted the pantry into categories by shelf. On each shelf, I made sure to put items that we use all of the time in the corner. That way, they wouldn’t be forgotten about since they get hidden from view with a corner pantry. The bottom shelf has canned goods. The second shelf is box stockpile (pastas, side dishes, crackers, cake mix).
The third shelf has a basket (from World Market) for cereal bags/chips/other open and bagged items (get rid of the open boxes! The bags are nicer looking and take up less space, just get some cute chip clamps). I also have a basket (HomeGoods) that has baby food pouches/toddler pouches, and other baby snacks. I picked up two of these boxes with the chalkboard on the sides at World Market. They were a little pricey at $25, but they were perfect to hold things in packets, like Lipton sides, tuna, and spice mix packets, and you can label the outside! I need to pick up a chalkboard pen at Hobby Lobby and decide on what to write first. The fourth shelf has a box for small baking supplies as well as OXO Pop Canisters with baking ingredients.
The baking supply box is awesome! It may just be the best part of the pantry! It corrals all of those little things that you need for baking that you can’t really stack or contain, like honey, vanilla, oils, vinegars, jello boxes, all of that little stuff. I found the box at HomeGoods along with the bottles for the oils, vinegars and syrup! I used the same labels from the canisters on the bottles.
The fifth shelf has snacks and beans/rice/pasta. Again, the canisters rock! I get most of mine at Bed Bath & Beyond, and I always use a $5 off $15 coupon. My Bed Bath & Beyond stores take expired BB&B store coupons as well as expired Buy Buy Baby coupons, so I had a ton of $5/$15 coupons to use. By using these canisters, I can see when I’m running low on something. It also helps us to eat what we already have because we can see it (Cheez Its look good!). The sixth shelf has a chalkboard box for tea/drink mix packets, cookies, sweetener, and then there’s my Dawn dish soap. The Dawn is in there because it can’t go in the garage (it crystalizes in cold temps) and because I want to keep it out of reach from our kids.
The right side of the 6th shelf is where I left it original height. I had that spider web cupcake holder that I could not find a place to store, and this was perfect! I also use it for some larger cereal boxes and the SodaStream!
Last but not least, the seventh shelf at the very top houses our condiment/bottle stockpile. It’s a great way to use that space close to the ceiling that’s normally wasted. Before, we were stacking boxes all the way to the ceiling, and they would fall down on top of our heads. Now, we don’t have that problem.
We always had this chrome hook for our lunch boxes, but it was on the wall inside the pantry, and it made it hard to get things from the far side of the pantry. I moved the hook to the door under the spice rack to eliminate that problem. It’s all about maximizing space!
One of the better decisions I made was to pick up this new trash can with a lid! Its a Storehouse stainless steel trash can that I picked up at HomeGoods for $40! It’s nice and big, and the step and lid means you HAVE to walk over there and place your garbage in the can. No more horrible basketball shots spraying stuff all over the pantry! Gross!
In addition to lining the shelves with shelf paper, I placed cabinet door felt pads left over from our refinishing project to the bottom of the boxes and baskets to protect the shelves. Also, I purposely put the bottom shelf as low as I possibly could, by putting the support trim directly above the baseboards, so that there was enough space to get a Swiffer Wet Jet under, but not enough space to store anything on the floor. I personally think places look more clean and neat when everything is off the ground.
Here’s the after all together:
This remodel was not cheap. It probably cost me around $400. I spent about $130 in building materials & paint, and the rest was the accessories. You could definitely do it for less by using containers that you already own or ones from the Dollar Store. You could skip painting or use paint you already have. I wanted my pantry to be uniform with the canisters that I already had, plus decorative with the baskets and other accessories. I did the project as frugally as I could but still keeping my vision in tact by using Store Coupons and shopping discount stores where I could. I also had a $50 HomeGoods gift card that I got for Christmas.
Overall, I’m really happy with the way the pantry turned out! When my son saw the finished project for the first time, he said “it’s Mommy’s Store!” Hahaha!!
Everything has its place! This is also going to help tremendously with meal planning, as I know what we have and what we need to use. We’re hoping not to have to buy many groceries this month, only sticking to fresh items on our list. We still have some overflow stockpile in kitchen cabinets, but it’s taking up considerably less room than it was. After a little rearranging, I’m pretty sure I can get it down to 1 1/2 cabinets instead of 3!
If you’re looking to spruce up your pantry, here are my tips:
- Completely Empty Your Pantry – This way you can get rid of things that are bad and take an inventory of what you have. If you’re going to install new shelves, it helps to plan them by knowing how tall your items are.
- Clean, Clean, and Clean Some More – Little Critters like to hide in pantries (totally gross) and they don’t like clean ones. When’s the last time your pantry has been cleaned out?
- Get Rid of Open Boxes – Invest in a little sack of chip clips like these and get a basket to store your bags of cereal, chips and crackers. It looks better and you aren’t wasting space with half-empty boxes.
- Protect Your Shelves – Don’t spend time and energy making your shelves look nice only to have them get scratched or stained. Line your shelves with shelf paper and use felt pads on baskets and boxes. If a spill happens, you can peel up the liner and replace it with a clean sheet without damaging your shelf.
- Get Cute Containers – There are lots of places to find cool containers! Check IKEA, Walmart, Target, Container Store, HomeGoods, Bed Bath & Beyond, the Dollar Store, even your local Thrift Store or shop your house! Cute containers will help motivate you to keep your pantry neat and organized longer!
I hope, after seeing this pantry remodel, you can see that a Couponer’s Stockpile pantry doesn’t have to be ugly or haphazardly stuffed with food. It can be neat and pretty!
If you like this pantry remodel, please pin to Pinterest by using the button below! Thanks!
Want to see more of my Pinterest Projects? Check out the entire series here!