A Thoughtful Place: An Organized Pantry


An Organized Pantry

I know I am not alone in wanting to start out a new year organized and efficient. Our pantry {if you can call it that} is tiny. Now every good blogger should have some horrible before photos to show you. Sadly I do not. And truly it’s because I hit a breaking point and within five minutes had unloaded the entire pantry. That is sort of how I operate. So I have my “after” to show you and will happily pass along any tips I have for organizing a very teeny tiny pantry!


Here is our kitchen. I have since lined our cabinets so it looks like I need an updated photo! Do you see the cabinet to the left of the fridge? That is our pantry. Just the bottom two thirds. The top cabinet above it stores my crockpot, reusable grocery bags, and a couple of serving pieces.


…………………. the big picture


……………………….. the deets


Installing this hanging system on the door made the biggest difference. Being able to get those spices out of my pantry space and on to the door was a huge help.


Things I added to help me get organized and make the best use of my space:

  • hanging wire shelving system from Target {$35}
  • wrapping paper to line the back of my pantry {$1} Target
  • plastic drawer from Target {$8}
  • chalkboard labels . . . DIY just like I did here.
  • two plastic bins from Target to use as makeshift pull out shelves
  • ribbon trim { I already had}
  • three blue tins from Target $1 section {already had}
  • oxo containers {already had and LOVE}

So looking at this, I spent about $45. That may seem like a lot, but I priced having the ready made shelves put in {the ones that slide out} and I almost fell over. Some of them were $60 per drawer. This was also much cheaper than moving which was on option I suggested to my hubby to get a bigger pantry! So this $45 was very well spent.


……………..tips for pairing down


I have a little bit of a theory about a small pantry. Although I like to complain about it, it’s really not a problem. I have found that when I really get down to it, I don’t need that much in my pantry. I am a meal planner. I know what meals I will make for the week as well as what the kiddos will need for lunch. Because I meal plan, I mostly stick to fresh foods. I prefer cooking that way and find that I waste far less food if I know which five meals I am making that week. {Sure takes the stress away as well}. I also found that if I keep too much in the pantry either I never use it or it goes stale before I do. These OXO containers have been wonderful. I can see what we have and what we need more of.

Tips for Clearing the Pantry Clutter

  • take everything out of your pantry. Toss what you don’t use or need.
  • put things in clear containers so you can see your inventory
  • label so even the hubby knows where things go when unloading groceries
  • keep things in plain sight {like can goods} so you use them
  • place like items together
  • meal plan to cut down on the random buys that end up filling your pantry



………. make your own pull-outs

There was no way I was going to buy those fancy, expensive pull out shelves. But I desperately needed something like that. Things were getting shoved to the back and I could never find anything. A dear friend of mine, Jess, had mentioned she used these. I think it’s taken me three years to go pick them up myself. I LOVE THEM! I snatched up two from Target and I honestly feel like I have built in pull-out shelves.



This one is on the bottom shelf since it’s harder to bend down to and hosts my sugar, flour, etc. as well as paper goods and cutlery that we might need for parties or picnics.


These OXO containers are so awesome because the kids can open and close them to grab a snack and things stay fresh. I found when they were reaching into a bag or box, I would often find the bag half closed. These work great.



……………….….finishing touches

Just to make things a little bit pretty, I added a roll of graphic wrapping paper I had picked up in the $1 section of Target. I also added chalkboard labels and ribbon trim to the edges of all four shelves. I didn’t have polka dot ribbon trim so I took my chalkboard pen and added my own dots. It took all of five minutes. A lot less time than driving to Michaels for ribbon! Plus it was free!


Honestly, having this small pantry organized is dreamy. And it’s been functioning and staying clean for over two weeks now. When things have a spot, it’s pretty easy to maintain the organization.

…………………… other sources

There are so many wonderful bloggers out there who have done some amazing things with their pantry space. If you need more tips or pretty inspirational photos go check out some of these. I was able to gain a ton of great ideas for my pantry from reading these posts.

14 Inspiration Kitchen Pantry Makeovers over at Home Stories from A 2 Z

Kitchen Cabinet Tour from I Heart Organizing

Click the organization tab at the top of my blog for more ideas or you can click here


Sharing these tips and ideas with Cottage and Vine

Sharing with Tatertots and Jello


  1. wow, love how you organized everything! I'm such a sucker for having everything organized!

  2. Looks great Courtney! You know I love an organized pantry!!

  3. Very nice Courtney! I love the chalkboard labels and the wrapping paper. I am in the same boat with a small pantry and recently cleaned mine out. Seeing it look so nice definately motivates me to keep it organized.

  4. My pantry is a catastrophe right now, so I'm really loving how organized yours is! I'm like you in that I get impulsive in cleaning out spaces and sometimes don't get before pics. This just happened with my kids' linen closet. Now, can you come over and help me with mine? ;-)

  5. You are invited to my pantry anytime! Great makeover.

  6. You have some really great ideas and tips! I just love how organized your pantry is now!


  7. Great tip about the pull-out shelves, Courtney! They're perfect & budget friendly! Love your labels, too!

  8. Looks great! Love the "wallpaper" touch! Thanks for sharing and happy cook'n!

  9. It looks great girl! I have a teeny tiny pantry as well and I agree completely that meal planning is the way to go! I love the addition of the paper lining the back too!

  10. Gat job! ranizing m,y life is definitely on my list this winter! :) Great ideas. We have a very similar pantry, and I love the idea of lining the back with wrapping paper!

  11. Do I know how to spell today?? I meant to say 'great job' and 'organizing' is on my list! :)

  12. Can you still run your oxo containers through the dishwasher with the chalkboard labels on them? I love the look of the chalkboard, but I didn't know if the dishwasher would discolor or remove the label at all (not the writing but the actual label).

  13. I have a nice walk in pantry but it's a big mess & in dire need of a clean out. I hope to get it done this weekend. Thanks for the tips.

  14. ok-so you wanna come over & do mine? Yours is just beautiful! and totally inspiring me to get my booty in there and do mine. Girl-it-is-not-pretty.

  15. Thanks for the tips! I always lose things in my pantry too!

  16. Love all of your ideas! Everything looks great.

  17. Courtney, great question about the labels and OXO containers. I am actually old school and hand wash them. They can get a little bit damp since they are vinyl. But if I were to run them through the dishwasher I would peel them off and stick them back on after. They totally stick back on. {I just spray painted the vinyl paper that came with my Silhouette!}

  18. It looks great...so so organized!! I need to organize our kitchen. We don't have a pantry so space is limited! :)

  19. Looks so nicely organized! I like the touch of adding the pretty paper and ribbon. I'm like you. Everything needs its place. I spy those yummy butter waffle cookies!

  20. My pantry is exactly like yours and you gave me a ton of great tips! I was contemplating the pull out shelves but didn't know they were so expensive. I have bins in our pantry currently but I need these bigger, shallow ones that you have. $45 doesn't sound bad for something you use every day! Thanks for this post! And good point about the small pantry- exactly how much food do I need to keep on hand before it is just waste? My pantry is plenty big!

  21. Looks great! Just bought myself the OXO containers while Christmas shopping, love them too! Good idea on DIYing your own polka dot ribbon haha

  22. I was just thinking about ways to organize my pantry! Thanks!~

  23. This is awesome, C! I love what you've done. Makes getting food quick and easy :)

  24. Love it! I use those target bins in almost every room of the house including under the bathroom sinks, in cabinets for towels, under the kitchen sink for dishsoap, sponges, veg wash. Also in hall closets for toys, meds, toilet paper. U name it! ;) xoxo

  25. Hey Courtney:)
    Day 1 of the professional cleaning(after our fire) began in my house today so Im all about organizing and paring down right now. Where do you get the XOXO containers? I really like them.

  26. This is making me all hot and bothered...seriously! Great organization!! And you guys are such healthy eaters!! Where's the 17 boxes of cereal and Ho Hos?! :)

  27. Looks great, but you should consider putting all your dry goods like crackers and cereals in airtight containers. It will keep pesky bugs out, maintain freshness longer and look way more polished.

  28. An organized pantry gives me a serious attach of the warm fuzzies. We're really fresh eaters with meal plans, too... but I still wish my pantry looked half as nice as yours! Also, bonus, I thought I was following and apparently I wasn't so I'm glad I hopped over and fixed that. Have a nice night!

  29. What beautiful organization! It looks great!

  30. Looks awesome! Organizing my pantry is on my to do list for 2012. Hope to do this after our kitchen facelift.


  31. It looks amazing!!!


  32. Oh my gosh, your pantry kicks my pantry's arse... LOVE IT! Can I feature it as an upcoming Reader Space? Pretty please? It's so inspiring!


  33. Looks awesome! I'd really love some of your tips on meal planning! Think you could share???

  34. Well Courtney, I think you got it together all right :) Your pantry, whatever the size, makes perfect sense -so practical and useable. The bonus is all the cute little details (because you know storage needs to look good). Those pull-out bins are a great idea!

    Thank you so much for joining the party!

  35. This looks amazing! Love how you've totally maximized the space. And I see lots of tasty Trade Joe goodies.

  36. oh gosh, im so jealous of how your pantry looks.....!

  37. Wow, what a great post! LOVE your pantry makeover.

    I would love it if you linked your tips up to my organization link party this week. I know my readers would love to see them: http://thriftmeblog.com/lets-organize-2012-pantry-recap-link-party/


  38. Hi, I visiting from Jen's Heart of Organizing ~ but I'm staying! Did you purchase the wire shelving recently from Target? What section did you get it in? I have a glass door that's pretty, but I think I am going to paint the outside with black chalkboard paint and utilize the inside of the door like you did. Love it! Thanks ~**Karen

  39. Also a visitor from Jen at IHeartOrganizing.... I love your blog. I am in the process of reorganizing my pantry so this is perfect timing. Mine is a larger pantry but it's mostly empty since I don't buy a lot of pantry type items! It's a deep closet type space, though, and I am loving the pull out bins. Do you remember what size you bought? They seem perfect for utilizing the cavernous back portion of my pantry since I can pull out the 'drawer' and get to everything easily. Thanks for your inspiration

  40. If only I could catch the organizing bug:( Could you mail it to me?:) Your pantry is absolutely fab!

  41. Another visitor from Jen's blog. :-) I was wondering how you keep track of expiration dates after you put food into your oxo containers. It's the only issue I've had with my pantry but something I'd really like to do.

    Thanks for all the great ideas!!

    1. Hi Kenni! I actually just attach labels using scotch tape to make it easier to change out! You can check out my pantry here:

      Hope that helps! :)

  42. This is a wonderful post. I especially love the labeling on the shelving and bins. I am going to tweet about this post @HLMInterior. Thank you for your writing.

  43. I love the chalk board labels. What did you use to write on them to make them so vivid? If you use chalk, how do you ensure it doesn't rub off?

  44. Love all of your ideas! Everything looks great.

    pantry cabinet

  45. These are indeed great tips for organizing pantry cabinets. A lot of homeowners will surely be delighted to follow. It is really important to maintain organized storage systems such as these cabinets as well as closets Bergen (for example) for easy access of needed items. Thanks for sharing an informative article.

    1. One of my chores this past week was organizing my pantry. It was a horrible mess! Good thing I have bumped into this post. Really helped me a lot in organizing my pantry. House Cleaning Flemington NJ

  46. Can you link to the wire shelving on the door please? I can't seem to find at Target site. Thanks!

  47. I love your pantry and have made it my weekend mission! i already had two bins for the "pull-out drawers" just like yours and purchased the closetmaid hanging rack from target along with a few other tools. haven't been able to find the chalkboard labels or chalk pens yet but i will try staples. i'm trying to figure out how you attached the rack to the cabinet door. my door is pretty thin and am worried that it will pull out if i load too many things. is your door pretty thick or what's your trick?

  48. This is the Post that made me follow your blog. And what introduced me to contact paper. And w/ my own picks on baskets, chalkboard labels and contact paper, I basically followed your way and just completed this last night. I can send you a picture

  49. I loved the DIY slide out shelves. I wouldnt have thought of that. I'm in my planning process and I'm happy I found your blog.

  50. I was thinking of painting my pantry walls but I really do love the wallpaper idea! But I'm curious how you attached it to the walls? I'm a little iffy on using tape on the existing paint in case we sell....

  51. Loved your post so much I tagged it here: http://myorganizedchaosblog.blogspot.com/2013/04/spring-cleaning-and-organizing.html


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