Have you ever searched for DIY kitchen pantry organization ideas on Pinterest and been overwhelmed? I sure have! For years I have drooled over those amazing pics of beautiful pantries with matching labeled containers. Well friends, now I finally have one!!! Check out my pantry organization makeover to see my fresh and modern Pinterest worthy pantry transformation. Plus get tips from a professional organizer!
Invasion of the Pantry Moths
Several years ago my pantry was invaded my pantry moths. Have you ever heard of them or had them? Let me tell you they are no fun!!!
They come into your home as eggs in food packages and then hatch into larvae that turn into moths. They were everywhere and got into ALL of our food before I actually figured out where they were coming from.
I had to remove everything from my pantry, clean it all out and throw away most of my grains, nuts, and baking supplies. Since we started clean eating we have a lot of ingredients, but really don’t have a lot of snacks or prepared food so that was not an issue.
I bought some airtight containers as per the info I found on Google and started storing some of our pantry staples in them. I even attempted to make some labels, but that turned out to be a big fail and I gave up on those! LOL! I had somewhat of a system in place but never finished what was supposed to be my Pinterest worthy pantry.
Even though I knew where everything went, the males in my house did not, and they never put anything back where I intended it to live. So, it’s been a constant struggle over the years to keep the pantry as organized as I would like. It sounds like my spice organization nightmare that I posted about a few weeks ago.
As a lot of you know, I am on a mission to clean out and organize everything in this house before we sell it next spring. The pantry was on the list of items that needed a makeover. A few weeks ago, I decided to get it crossed off that never-ending list.
My timing happened to coincide with the Get Organized HQ Summit. The HQ Summit is a free week-long online event with over 20 workshops taught by organizing experts and bloggers! Even though I make it sound like I’m a total disorganized mess, I really love all things organization-related and this summit was right up my alley.
One of the sessions I tuned in for was titled Top Places That Need Organizing. It was taught by Lisa Trigsted who is a professional organizer and founder of Neat Freak McKinney. Coincidentally Lisa lives in McKinney, Texas which borders Allen which is where I live.
I loved her tips and immediately went to her website and Instagram page. There was so much inspiration for my Pinterest pantry makeover that I couldn’t wait to get started! I think Lisa’s session was on a Tuesday and I got to work that Thursday.
I’ve been messaging back and forth with Lisa and she was happy to share some of her expertise with SGM readers. I am weaving her tips into the steps I took to organize my pantry. Be sure to read to the end to see Lisa’s #1 tip! You don’t want to miss it!
Pantry Organization Makeover Steps and Professional Tips
1. Clean Everything Out
Take everything out of your pantry and go through all of it. Lisa says it is important to touch everything. Throw away anything that is expired. Donate anything you do not think your family is going to eat. Find a home for the things that don’t belong in the pantry. This would be an excellent time to read my post 10 Healthy Pantry Swaps to Clean Up Your Diet.
I made a huge blogger mistake and started taking things out before I took pics. The first two pics were taken as soon as I realized I had forgotten to take the before shots.
Things were not this neat when I started. I had already taken a lot out and started moving things around to get an idea of where I wanted everything to go when I was finished.
The little cart and the white storage shelf thing were items that I did not want to put back into the pantry. They were both always unorganized and were not really solving any of my storage problems.
2. Wipe Down Shelves/Paint
I removed the ugly shelf paper from the shelves and wiped them down. I bought some new shelf paper but decided to leave the shelves white.
My next step was to remove the border and paint. Who paints a pantry brown and puts up a border? What was I thinking 18 years ago? I think most people will be able to skip this step.
Removing the border required a trip to Lowes for a steamer. It was well worth it because it came down in about 15 minutes.
What a difference a little paint makes. So bright and fresh! The pics do not do it justice. It is beautiful! My friend Andie has this color on her bedroom walls and I just absolutely love it. It is Sherwin Williams Copen Blue and looks a heck of a lot better than the oops brown paint I purchased 18 years ago!
Before I took everything out, I did do some sorting to see what items needed containers and where they were going to go. The only reason I did this was that I already had a good amount of containers and somewhat of a system in place. Otherwise, I would have done all of the sorting/categorizing outside of the pantry.
Here are some of my categories:
- Grains, Beans, Pasta
- Canned Goods
- Potatoes and Onions
- Storage Bags
- Party Supplies
4. Containers and Pantry Organizers
Once you have everything sorted and categorized, it’s time to plan how you’re going to organize everything. What containers and other pantry organizers do you need? And where will everything be placed? Lisa says, “Think about creating zones: breakfast, lunch, dinner, baking, spices, etc.”
My first suggestion is to do what I did and start with what you have. Shop your house first! Then decide what else you need to purchase. There are so many different containers, bins, baskets, and other pantry organizers available.
“You don’t have to spend a lot to be organized! The Dollar Store has plenty of options. Just be sure all the containers match…all the same size and same color.” – Lisa Trigsted
Containers I Used
Most of the airtight containers I already had were from Walmart. They are the Better Homes and Garden Flip Tite Containers. I only had to purchase 2 new small ones for some of my grains. The OXO Good Grip Containers from The Container Store are also very popular choices. I have seen them used by a lot of professional organizers, including Lisa.
I use mason jars for my nuts, chocolate, chips, baking powder, and baking soda. Another new purchase was The Container Store’s Large Montana Glass Canister for my flour. I go through a lot of whole wheat flour and this is perfect. Before I had several bags of backstock on my shelves.
Another tip from Lisa is to place lazy Susan’s in corners and on high shelves. I don’t have shelves that wrap around a corner in my pantry, but I did purchase a lazy Susan for my vinegar and some other miscellaneous items.
When I was checking out the Neat Freak McKinney website and Instagram page I noticed a lot of white storage bins from The Container Store. They were very inexpensive and are awesome for keeping everything neat and organized. They are probably my favorite new addition to the pantry.
I bought several and need to get a few more to put next to the dog treats. I want one for backstock and one for Lisa’s #1 tip at the end of this post.
A key to this pantry organization makeover was the Expandable-A-Shelf from The Container Store. It has been a lifesaver for my canned goods and other jarred items. These were the items that the men in my life never put back correctly. (Yes, my boys do eat that peanut butter…my nut butters are in the fridge. :))
I already had the basket next to the lazy Susan. It is where we store our bread items. The two blue boxes are the Bigso Navy Storage Boxes from The Container Store. One of them has all of my party supplies and the other has my cookie cutters and other baking tools.
The floor basket was another idea I got from Lisa. They help hide clutter like lunch boxes, reusable bags, paper towels, etc. Mine is Threshold from Target. I have my paper napkins, thermos, garbage bags, and smores sticks.
The wire baskets are Better Homes and Garden from Walmart. I guess I don’t have to tell you what I use those for. 😉
The biggest mistake I made the first time I organized was to not finish the labeling. When everything is labeled it eliminates confusion. I had containers that were empty and never got filled with new stock because they weren’t clearly marked. We would just throw everything in baskets which led to items being buried. We bought doubles of things that we did not need because we couldn’t find them.
This time around I did NOT attempt to make my own labels. I found mine on AMAZON for under $15!!! The package contained 252 labels, 234 of them were printed, and 18 were blank. Way easier than the hours I spent trying to make my own. AHHHH!
My Finished Pantry
Measure – Measure your pantry shelves and floor before you go shopping. Learn from my mistakes. I went to The Container Store a total of 4 times in the 4 days it took me to do this pantry. Why? Mostly because I kept forgetting to take measurements and I had to return things or buy more.
Stock Up on Staples – If you are out of any pantry staples, make sure to account for them when you are doing steps 2 & 3. I made a list and went to the grocery store and purchased everything we were missing. I wanted EVERYTHING to have a home!
Tape Directions to Containers – I cut out the directions to some of my grains like quinoa and couscous and taped them to the backs of their containers. I never remember the ratios!
Lisa’s Number 1 Tip – “Eat First” Bin – “Have a bin for all of the opened snacks.- Nothing else can be opened until all of those are eaten up first. I think this is genius! I wish I would have done this when my kids were growing up. Love it!
Tammy’s Number 1 Tip – Go check out Lisa at Neat Freak Mckinney and go follow her on Instagram. She has amazing tips for organizing all of the spaces in your home and her shop has all of the resources she uses. So helpful! She travels everywhere and does phone consults as well. I will definitely be enlisting her help when we move. Thanks so much Lisa!
I completed my pantry organization makeover 3 weeks ago, and it is AHHHMAZING! Everything has remained organized because there really is no room for error. I also fit a few more appliances on my shelves than I had before.
I now have my Pinterest worthy pantry! I have to say it was fun and so worth it! I hope this helps you to organize your pantry. What is your favorite tip? Do you have any favorite tips not listed?