Organizing the Pantry Hoard

Organized Pantry

Hello, Hello!  I’m in a fabulous mood today because the closets around this little house of ours are looking mighty fine lately.  Have you seen the linen closet?  The bins and the labels and the command hooks….make me giddy!  Ok, no they don’t, but I do enjoy opening those closet doors a lot more these days.

And now, finally, I’m done with getting the pantry organized too!

We moved into this house in 2009 (wow, pathetic – I just had to check with Nick on that year) and stuff made its way into various closets here and there, was arranged in some semblance of functionality, and then was left to its own devices for three years.

Since our biggest “closet” in the house (pre-master bathroom renovation) was our pantry, you can imagine how much stuff found its way in there.  Of course it held all the usual suspects of canned goods, small kitchen appliances, and dishware….and then it became décor central as well.   And then Nick’s beer-making supplies moved into the pantry…and various piles of coupons, calendars, a yard stick (crucial, by the way – I must have a yardstick nearby), some wreaths, some silk florals, a couple random baskets I couldn’t figure out what to do with…

Yeesh.  The top shelf was a particular disaster.

Pantry Before

But the other shelves weren’t exactly a picture of beauty either.

Pantry Before 2

The grocery sacks thrown here and there are nice, right?  Grocery sacks aren’t even stored in the pantry.  That must’ve been a particularly lazy moment of mine.

Pantry Before 3

Pantry Before 4

Pantry Before 5

It took me a couple organization attempts to get it just right.  I pulled a chair in there and camped out for a couple hours one evening (I’m such a wild child), staring at the piles, moving stuff around and wondering how to make the space work better for us.  Then I bought a few new baskets and organizers, moved several things  out and several in, and suddenly it makes a whole heckuva lot more sense in there.

Oh yeah, and I painted.   I even painted the cork board.

Valspar Granite Dust paint color in pantry

A painted pantry might be a little overkill, but hey! It looks GOOD.  And all those canned goods are secretly thanking me (Brave Little Toaster-style!) for classing up the joint.  I went with Valspar’s “Granite Dust”, which is a pale gray, and I used semi-gloss paint.  Hopefully gray walls will hide any can scuffs that might show up.

Pantry After 1

So here was the plan of attack:

I put “occasional use” items on the top shelf.  This includes our roasting pan, electric skillet, beer-making supplies, cake tote, platters, etc.


Tension rods for platter organization

Spring tension rods provide perfect supports for storing platters and trays vertically. (Found that idea on Pinterest!) 

The next shelf down from the top is our “place settings” shelf.  We have two sets of fine china – one of which is absolutely enormous.  The less used pieces in that huge set are stored on this shelf along with our “fancy” cutlery and placemats.  I may take the china out of the quilted storage bags so we will see it and use it more often, but I haven’t decided yet.  I also put our liquor on this shelf, since it doesn’t get used much.  Liquor is somewhat of an “entertainment” item anyway, right?  


As I was trying to figure out the best way to store placemats, I came up with this:

Rolled placemats in wine rack

Store placemats rolled

Roll the placemat set and store it in a wine rack. It worked great, but I didn’t want them sitting out in the dining room, and the wine rack I have is too big for the pantry.

But rolling the placemats still seemed to be a better option than laying them flat, so I stuck with that idea for now. 



Next shelf down is our canned goods, dry goods and snacks. 

Canned goods

Dry goods

Below that is the “baking and breakfast” shelf. It holds all the bulk baking supplies, mixes, tea, coffee, extra coffee filters, and cereal.

Baking mixes and bulk

I may or may not have accidentally knocked that baking soda box into my paint tray…

Canisters for tea and splenda


The bottom shelf holds the décor, since our everyday décor still lives in the pantry.  Baskets will help keep the decor organized, and a Command hook is now keeping that extra grapevine wreath in its place.  (Wreaths never know their place, do they? This one had been in the front hall closet.)

Command hook wreath storage

And there’s the yardstick.  You’ll never know how handy one of these is until it’s within easy reach on a daily basis.


And here’s the before and after:

Organized Pantry Before and After

Meanwhile, Avery’s a sick baby. 

The doc thinks she has a sinus infection.  We had a particularly tough evening last night when she woke up screaming with a plugged nose and then whimpered herself back to sleep on her daddy’s shoulder.  We’re doing the saline thing with the bulb syringe, plus infant Tylenol, and later today I need to pick up some antibiotics for her.

Hopefully she’s feeling better soon. It makes my heart hurt to see her uncomfortable. =(

This weekend I hope to tackle the next closet – the front hall closet.  If you’re still in a closet mood, stay tuned. 🙂



  1. Thanks Cynthia and Karah! It feels good to open the pantry now and see things arranged a little nicer and more efficiently. I'm also thinking of making my own little custom wine rack for those rolled placemats, but that's a project for another day. (And a new circular saw -one that actually works!)


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