Wednesday, February 8, 2012

47 Reader Space: A Thoughtful Pantry

Seen enough organized pantries yet?  Me either.  It's a sickness I tell you.  I. Can't. Get. Enough. 

Another fantastic gal that I have met through the blissful blog world, Courtney, runs a blog that always has a variety of goodness.  Everything from decor, inspiration, DIY projects, parties and organizing, there is always something fun to see.

And although I check it daily because I adore everything she shares, I may be a little partial to the organizing posts, which she always does incredibly well.

She recently shared her pantry project and I couldn't wait to share it with you!  I adore it so much!

First, lets just take a moment to gaze at her beautiful kitchen.... sigh.

Courtney doesn't have a large pantry {it's next to the fridge closest to the edge of the photo, only the bottom portion is used}, but you wouldn't know it by looking at her photos.  In fact, she did such a great job of maximizing the space she does have, all with some really great tips!

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

Here is a list of items that I added to help me get organized and make the best use of my space:

  • Hanging wire shelving system: Target {$35}
  • Wrapping paper to line the back of my pantry: Target {$1}
  • Plastic drawer: Target {$8}
  • Chalkboard Labels: DIY'd {shown here}
  • Two plastic bins to use as makeshift pullout shelves: Target 
  • Ribbon Trim
  • Three blue tins: Target: {$1}
  • OXO containers {already had and LOVE}

I spent about $45 above what I already had.  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 almost much cheaper than moving which was an option I suggested to my hubby to get a bigger pantry.  So this $45 was very well spent.

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, 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.

Here are a couple of my 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.

There was no way I was going to buy those fancy, expensive pull out shelves.  But I desperately needed something similar.  Things were getting shoved to the back and I could never find anything.  A dear friend of mine had mentioned she used these.  I think it's taken me three years to 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.

The 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!

Just to make things a little bit pretty, I added a roll of graphic wrapping paper I had picked up in the dollar 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 too my chalkboard pend and added my own dots.  It took all of five minutes, which was 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."

Hello!?  Courtney!  Are we long lost sisters?

  • She maximized the use of a small space by using the door.  Instant expansion!
  • She made her own chalkboard labels which gave the pantry a high end look on a dime.
  • She lined the back with decorative paper.  Going that extra mile is sure to give her a smile each time she opens the pantry door!
  • Can't say it enough.  Clear storage in the kitchen is always the way to go.  Instant visual inventory.  Could be my slogan...
  • She used stay fresh containers to give her foods a longer shelf life.
  • She pulled everything out and started with a blank slate.
  • She realized her budget and when the expensive drawer option was no longer an option, she found another way to make the system work.  6000 bonus points for that!
  • Labeling everything ensures the whole family is on the same page.
  • She meal plans.  This ensures she isn't over purchasing and is reducing the chance of wasting food and money.
  • She understands her space requirements.  This is SO important because when we over purchase anything {kitchen or otherwise}, that's when clutter is born.  Clutter happens when we have too many items in too small of a space.  She recognizes the capacity of her pantry and purchases accordingly.  Super smart girl!

Thank you so much Courtney for letting us crash your pretty pantry today!

Now it's your turn!  What do you love most?  Anyone feeling inspired to do a little pantry overhaul?

ATTENTION!!  Want to be featured in a Reader Space edition?  Have an awesome organizing story to share?  I am looking for projects that have made a positive impact to your life.  Please send your story and photos to and I would heart to feature them right here, on the blog!!  Photos should be high resolution and unedited.  Please include a description of the project, including any costs, inspiration, and how it has changed your life and routine for the better!  Oh, and no worries my friends, we will NEVER judge "before" pictures because that just wouldn't be nice!  Only love goes on at this blog!  More info HERE.


  1. Her kitchen is gorgeous!! I too am just enamored with organized pantries!!!

  2. ooh- We don't have a pantry but we have enough cabinets that we have several devoted to pantry-type storage. I'm thinking that several of these ideas could work well for us. I just need to find containers that make the most of our shelf size....

    Good job Courtney!

  3. I love her blog! That pantry is truly great. I love how she was economically able to make a space so lovely and organized. :)

  4. Using pull out bins as make shift drawers is one of my all time favorite storage solutions for deep pantry shelves. She did such a great job!

    I have a very similar approach to meal planning so I don't need a huge pantry either.

    Love the cute labels as well. :)


  5. Another gorgeous pantry that makes me want to utilize door storage! I really do need to just break down and buy those little wire shelves for the door already-- I say this every time =) Love it!

    Jenn @ Peas and Crayons

  6. Keep the pantry posts comin' Jen. I find a little gem in each one, and incorporate it into my own kitchen.

    I like the use of the bins to group like items. Simple and smart (and frugal!).

  7. Ahh! Jen, you made my day. So fun to see our little pantry over here. Such an honor. And, yes. . . I often think we must be long lost sisters! Have a great day and thank you for sharing this with your readers.

  8. Wow - that spice organization is just fantastic. Let's be real - the entire pantry is fantastic. I can't wait to use the hanging shelves in the pantry in our new house! Love this post just as much as the others!

  9. Wow!!!!!!

  10. I like the reminder of meal plans. Those do make a big difference!

  11. VERY nice kitchen and pantry! I'm glad to see someone with a normal sized pantry show how to be organized. Sometimes pantries I see online are the size of my kids' bedroom. LOL

  12. how did she attach the wrapping papper? I was thinking of doing wall paper in my pantry but it is so permanent.

    1. You can use those peel and stick drawer liners,they come in so many patterns/colors from a dollar store.

  13. That makes me want a pantry in general! haha, it looks great!

    Coley @

  14. Courtney is the bomb-diggity...two of my fave blondes in one place!!! Great post ladies!

  15. Jen this post came just in time for the inspiration that I needed. Wrapping paper on the inside of the pantry...I HEART that. :) I was trying to figure out what I needed to make my pantry prettier and wrapping paper is the answer. I didn't really want to paint and I didn't want to hang wallpaper, so this is perfect. I just did a small pantry makeover if you want to check it out. You inspired me recently with some baskets you bought and I went to Target and found the right size. :) You can take a look here if you want to see what I did with the baskets.

    But now I will be updating my pantry even more with wrapping paper. I'll share with you when I'm finished. :)

  16. I love that she uses the containers in place of pull out drawers, what does she do with the extra lids?! I have so many spare lids that have missed their match :)

  17. I am in love with that kitchen! It is absolutely gorgeous. I am dying of jealousy over here :D

  18. Thank you all for the sweet comments. I always attach things like the wrapping paper with either double sided tape or hot glue. Both come off easily. Wrapping paper is so darn light so it doesn't take much. And as for the lids of those pull out containers {good question} I toss them. I used to have a stack of random lids and have NEVER gone back to use them. Out they go!

  19. Boy, is she lucky! I wish my pantry could look like this...oh wait! It can! I've got to go, off to organize!

  20. Chantal from MontréalFebruary 8, 2012 at 5:04 PM

    Very nice kitchen. It looks like the food is going to be prepared with a lot of love.

    Jen it's so much fun to see the work of other ladies who take to heart the welfare of their family.I like that you add personal comments. It's like the teacher who is grading a paper (I work in a elementary shcool). You are the coolest teacher !!!

    1. Chantal from MontréalFebruary 8, 2012 at 5:16 PM

      Sorry I forgot the work you did in your pantry (I was tryin to make a post that made sense french person writting here) It's great. It gives me more ideas for my pantry. It's very encouraging.

  21. hi jen,

    just found you today...what a lovely blog!

    i love the labels that courtney incorporated.

    i have our pantry on my to-do list...i can see it in my mind, but not done yet. thanks for the inspiration...perhaps i'll send photos when it is done :)

    i shall continue to visit...

  22. Shirley said:
    Can you believe that my pantry is even smaller than hers? And it is very dark inside. I guess the pull out containers are the best for me.

  23. I really need to work on this who pretty labels thing. That would really help make sure everything gets put away correctly! And it would make things pretty :)

  24. I love her kitchen and the way she organized her pantry! I am definitely feeling inspired because our pantry is awful. I need to start with some of those OXO containers and label them like she did. Thanks for sharing this!

  25. I adore this pantry! I have at least twice this amount of space, but it's a giant mishmash. I'm going to use some of Courtney's tips to make mine pretty again. Thanks!

  26. I love the wallpaper idea - so much so that I may have to put some up in my pantry...tomorrow! For a more wallpaper-y permanent method, I'm wondering if you could use Modge Podge to affix it to the wall.

    I also find it refreshing to see a "real" pantry makeover with space constraints. Ours is 7.5" deep, so rows of clear containers may be the way to go.

    We just renovated our kitchen (very similar style to Courtney's, actually!) and in doing the research, in general found that the sizes appliances, cabinets, etc. that many deem "must-haves" in North America really are not. I think back to my year abroad in France, where I ate some of the best meals, which were prepared from what we'd consider a dorm fridge. Organization, the use of fresh foods, and meal planning make it possible.

  27. I am implementing the bins as makeshift drawers idea in the next day or two. I am a chronic over purchaser and could use the boundaries.

  28. A truly inspirational organizing project which looks good, too! It sure helps when meals are planned and there is minimal or no waste. Thanks for sharing!

  29. Pretty and functional all at the same time!
    If you are looking for additional items to help with pantry and kitchen storage in general, visit:

  30. Love seeing Courtney's beautiful and organized pantry here! Makes me want to run and organize my own pantry.

  31. I love this because it is the same size as my pantry and it's so hard to find good organizing tips for a pantry that size! I have also been contemplating those OXO containers for almost 6 months now!!! The pull outs are a great idea, I never thought of that, because she is exactly right, things get shoved to the back and are to hard to get to so they get forgotten. I am so excited and motivated to get to work on my own pantry!!! Yay! Thanks!

  32. I'm working on remaking a coat closet into a pantry - love her organization skills and cute labels. I love that she made a point of saying she doesn't buy more than what she really needs for the week, to keep from having the pantry overflow and make it hard to find things or have things go stale before she gets around to using them. The wrapping paper on the back wall was a great stylish and affordable idea!

  33. Okay, I have to say this:
    I have absolutely no freaking clue how anyone can be so neat and organized, but I seriously admire this skill! Pictures are brilliant too! <3

  34. Plastic pull out containers work wonders in my kitchen as well! A cute label on top and baking is so much more fun.

  35. I love this. I have a small pantry (actually just a cupboard) and I am always struggling to make it work. Those clear bins are such a great idea. I have a deep cabinet, and things are always getting lost in the back. Thanks for sharing!

  36. Love Courtney and her blog! She did a great job with her pantry, and she totally proved that it doesn't need to be big to be pretty and organized!

  37. Hello! I am a new follower to your blog and love it! The pantry looks so great!

  38. This is a very inspiring post, once I am done with the kids playroom the kitchen is next. I will definitively be coming back to get ideas from this post. She did a fabulous job

  39. Hi Jen! Yours and Courtney's post inspired me to blog about my pantry as well! I am all about keeping it organized, because it keeps me sane ;) I linked both of you to my post. Hope you enjoy it!

  40. LOVE your post!
    I adore the idea of wallpaper on the back of my pantry, but my husband hates wallpaper. I see that Courtney used wrapping paper. How was this applied? This might be the answer to my prayers.

  41. I love the labels you display. Beautiful!

  42. I just came across this blog and wish I'd looked for it sooner! I recently organized my pantry with the elfa multi-purpose bins and love the look. But I used my label maker to label the bins, but I really <3 these chalkboard labels. I know I'm coming to this post late, but did I miss where she said how she made them? Is it just as simple as brushing on some chalkboard paint on prefab wooden labels?
    Many thanks!!

  43. My "pantry" cabinet is the exact same size. I have been struggling with how to organize it and this post has motivated me to get going! Thanks.

  44. Can you please link to the wires shelving on the door? I can't seem to find it on the Target site. Thanks :)


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