Every once in awhile, I just can’t stand the condition of my pantry. Nothing is in order, the plastic containers don’t have tops any more, and the floor is a jumble of appliances and big boxes. A couple years ago, I got the idea to put all the munchies in one big bowl, and to gather all the packets of sauces, jams, mayonnaise, etc. into big baskets. The result worked for a short time, a very short time! The last year or so, I didn’t want to go into my pantry, it took me ages to find things.

Now, it’s a work of art!

If you look at the first photo, you’ll see 2 deep, plastic shelf units. The units have 5 shelves and no room on the floor for storage. There was wasted space between the units where I stuffed my plastic bags, what a mess.

So to save my sanity, I decided to design a whole new pantry with 6 shelves and floor space for you appliance. This is how the transition happened. I emptied out the space, replaced the shelving and filled it back up again in perfect order. Well, it wasn’t quite that easy, but some of these ideas might work for you.

First, we measured the walls and found that several feet of wall space was being used by a movable cart, totally wasting 5 feet of wall space above the cart. Then, the plastic shelves were so deep that I lost things when they slipped into the back of the shelves. I found some items pushed to the back and duplicates were on different shelves, purchased when I didn’t know I already had it.

10 Easy Steps to a New Pantry

1. Assess your mess and dream your “gorgeous” pantry.
2. Design your new plan on paper, using exact dimensions, my shelves are 10, 12, and 14 inches apart.
3. List and purchase materials needed.
4. Order the shelves built and installed.
5. Empty the pantry into boxes or shopping bags and remove the old shelving.
6. Paint the walls a light, pretty color, probably your favorite color or a fun, shocking hue.
7. Have new shelving installed, affixed to the walls.
8. Purchase or “remodel” food containers with screw-top lids, adding attractive labels.
9. Sort your foods, appliances, plastic containers, etc. as you return them to the new pantry, not before!
10. Arrange everything in a “lovely” design that you’ll want to keep for years!

The best thing I did was to gather my plastic jars with screw-top lids together and turn them into lovely storage containers. Because I couldn’t remove the labels, and I tried everything, I covered them with orange Contac paper. Then the tops were sprayed shiny black and I had all new jars in which to store my unsightly flour, rice, pasta, beans and sugar bags.

Cube-shaped baskets were also sprayed gloss black and I filled them with packets, plastic food contains, bag clips and small things. After the baskets were set on my new, narrower shelves, I dressed them up with orange neckties to match my blog logo. “How divine!”, as interior designer Candice Olsen would say.

The project took only a couple days and cost about $225, mostly in materials for the shelving. Now it’s fun to open my pantry and see such a lovely sight. I even invite friends to peek in, can you imagine?

David says the word “easy” in the title of this blog isn’t exactly correct. Maybe “easy for me” might be better, as I didn’t do the building of the shelving, painting of the walls or hauling of materials. I know he’s right.
What would I do without him?