Practical Pantry

by Chris on January 12, 2011

You can tell it’s the new year. We all have our trees down (or do we?), and we’re feeling the need to clean and organize. I, of course, am no exception. I’ve been drooling over some of the pantries through blogland, and it inspired me to kick my “pantry” into gear.

Case in point:

pullout pantry

I had actually started gutting one of the shelves when I realized I needed to take a picture (shame on me). As you can see, it required some attention.


One of the best rules I can pass along when organizing a pantry-like space is to purge—and purge often. I will admit that I practice what I preach until it comes to purging my pantry. I threw out a can of beans that expired in 2003. For the mathematically challenged, that’s 8 years ago. 

messy kitchen

Don’t panic. It must look like this before it gets better. If it doesn’t look like this, you’re not doing it right. :)

kitchen mess

Alright. So the kitchen is a mess. Now what do I do? Something I make a habit with as soon as I unload my groceries is to get rid of as much extra packaging as possible. Rule #2 (Purge was #1, remember?) is condense, condense, condense. Does that mean it’s rules 2, 3, and 4?


Whenever I buy something in bulk—and yes, it’s always gummy bears—I take it out of the messy, blobby bag and…


…place it into a container. I keep lots of sizes on hand just for this issue. It saves so much room!


Ready for the reveal that won’t mean much to you but makes a world of difference for me?

pull out pantry

By now I feel silly to even say it, but you know how much I love baskets, tins, and bins. USE them. There are moments where I will simply tear off the tops of boxes (see below), but I generally try to put individually wrapped items into a container. I swear by it.

kitchen pantry

I think it goes without saying that you should keep your products together. I try to break it into canned goods, snacks, dinner items, desserts. Don’t judge the boxed pasta. I hate noodles, so this makes it easy for me to make for the family.



From what I understand, if you throw out 3 old packages of hamburger buns, 2 packages of pita bread, and 1/2 a package of bagels, you will have more room for your bread. This brings me back to Rule #1—purge.

kitchen cabinet

If you’d like to see some more of the kitchen cabinets, you can visit here,and here. Perhaps you’ll find that inspiration to purge your pantry!



Chelsy@ Sweet Pea Kisses January 12, 2011 at 4:31 am

So, do you randomly go open the pantry now and say "Ahhhh"?? I really need to organize my "pantry" but it's so small I get frustrated. You may have inspired me though :)

Aura January 12, 2011 at 4:38 am

Girl, I don't even HAVE A pantry! Isn't that terrible? Just one terribly cluttered, stuffed cabinet. I keep all my rices, pasta, beans, etc. in big glass jars and keep them on the counter tops. I think they look pretty and they save me some space in my one tiny cabinet :)

Angie@Echoes of Laughter January 12, 2011 at 4:50 am

Doesn't it feel so great to have a newly organized and decluttered space! Great job! My pantry is one of my goals for this year…currently I call my pantry "the black hole." Angie xo

Jill January 12, 2011 at 4:52 am

looks great It is amazing what you can find hiiden a pantry, well mine anywya. I did my pantry last week, it feel so great

Holly @ Roller Coaster Life January 12, 2011 at 4:58 am

I am getting ready to move into a house with TWO pantries… pantrys?….

i love your organized pantry! we keep like things together, but most of it just gets moved to the top shelves because of the babies in the house!!

you hate noodles???? that is interesting!

House of Smiths January 12, 2011 at 4:59 am

You did SUCH a fabulous JOB! It looks great!
Can I say that you have some really yummy treats that I might be drooling over right now. LOL.
Sounds dumb, I know, but that's what a diet will do to ya, I guess. ha!

Thanks for sharing the play by play. I always love reading your posts, they are so great :)

~Shelley Smith

Out of Ours January 12, 2011 at 5:23 am

I hear you!! Can I admit that only 3 shelves of my pantry are currently organised and Dymo labeled? Guess I should start on the other shelves now I've seen you're all done. Robyn :)

Dream Mom January 12, 2011 at 5:54 am

Good for you for getting the pantry in order. I totaly agree about removing the packaging! I take everything out of the original package, lol.

Some of the blogland pantries are amazing. My two favorite pantries are the Delightful Order Blog(lovely Mom with four boys and a gorgeous house, really nice husband-and a nice lady from what I read on her blog) and the House of Smiths Blog with the pretty gray wallpaper backdrop to their pantry.

Giggles January 12, 2011 at 7:12 am

Inspirational…I did one before Christmas but need to do a few more now! Thanks for the reminder! I love it when it's clean!

Louley's Belles January 12, 2011 at 12:01 pm

Now why do I think those last pictures are pretty. Hello, motivation. Thanks!

Hoosier at Heart January 12, 2011 at 1:00 pm

Huge sigh of relief….that's so much better. A messy pantry drives me crazy and the "others" who live here just throw stuff in where ever. My pantry is shaped like yours but I don't have those rolling shelves and I can never find the stuff in the back. I need rolly shelves bad!!!

Kelly @ Much To Do With Nothing January 12, 2011 at 1:09 pm

Your pantry looks like the same size as mine. Only mine doesn't pull out. I don't know why they didn't make it that way, because all of my other lower cabinet shelves pull out. I guess I need to creat height and levels.
Good for you getting this done! Purging is GOOD. lol I think I have an 2003 can of cranberry sauce in mine. Ha!

Colleen January 12, 2011 at 1:21 pm

I love yours. Our is just shelves. I love you have the pull-outs in there. I have to do mine too. Not looking forward to that one but it needs it.

Colleen January 12, 2011 at 1:21 pm

I love yours. Our is just shelves. I love you have the pull-outs in there. I have to do mine too. Not looking forward to that one but it needs it.

Kelli @ RTSM January 12, 2011 at 2:17 pm

I love a nice organized pantry! Your's looks so nice:) I am pretty good at keeping mine cleaned out, but I did find a few cans that were about 3 years old when I cleaned out over Christmas!

Mandy January 12, 2011 at 2:46 pm

Looks great! And I'm just a tad envious of your pantry – so much storage!

Tanya January 12, 2011 at 2:52 pm

Great job!

I used to be so disorganized that your before shot was what I aspired to have! Here are some pantry before and afters from my kitchen:

Judy January 12, 2011 at 3:34 pm

I just organized my pantry too. Doesn't it feel so much better? After organizing like with like I found out I have 9 cans of chickpeas. Who knew.

Amber January 12, 2011 at 3:47 pm

I just like that I'm not the only one with Hamburger Helper in my pantry. . .

Melanie January 12, 2011 at 4:11 pm

I just showed my pantry on my blog too. I see you take the tops off of the boxes too. I am a firm believer that it makes it nicer and easier to get out of the box.

kristinwithani January 12, 2011 at 4:19 pm

I love the pull-outs. My wire shelves are a challenge. I know I have things hidden in the back.

Sally January 12, 2011 at 4:51 pm

I'm sorry but I can't get past the "I hate noodles!" Now I'm dreaming about creamy pesto over tortellini. OK, anyway, you pantry looks great. I love to throw things away, it's kind of addicting.

Irene Robertson January 12, 2011 at 6:05 pm

Excuse my phrasing, but organized kitchen cabinets are like an orgasm for me. When it comes to cleaning and organizing the home, there is NOTHING better.

Kassi @ Truly Lovely January 12, 2011 at 8:11 pm

Loving your little containers!!! They make everything look SO much nicer!

Jill January 12, 2011 at 8:33 pm
Pink Stitches January 12, 2011 at 10:27 pm

Fab organisation!
So wish I had a lovely pantry style cupboard like that a home!
Love looking at all the American foods as well we just don't get in the UK!

Sarah @ The Ugly Duckling House January 12, 2011 at 10:36 pm

I just did the same thing! Funny how everyone is feeling a little stir crazy at home lately. Perfect opportunity to get some organazation finished!

sharon January 12, 2011 at 10:43 pm

It's always so refreshing when you get an often used space in order and organized…until it gets messed up again. I guess it's the good feeling that keeps on giving…if you have the energy to keep cleaning! :)

Sarah @ Cozy.Cottage.Cute. January 13, 2011 at 1:00 am

Oh how I can relate to this. I did the same thing a few months ago. I ended up finding about triple of everything. Cake mix from 2002. It was disgusting.

Yours looks VERY nice and organized now. :)

Country Dreaming January 13, 2011 at 4:38 am

Great job! Looks splendid.

Hard job but it must be done!


Megan {Honey We're Home} January 13, 2011 at 6:12 am

Looks so great now- so much better to see what you have. Hopefully, making dinners are a bit easier too!

Dagmarette January 13, 2011 at 6:30 pm

Oh its amazing what you might find when you attempt the pantry clean up! I found something from a grocery store chain that hasn't been open for about 10 years now! eek!

Barb January 13, 2011 at 10:53 pm

Looks really good Chris. So, no more chastizing me for year old items. You found one 3 years old!! Nothing I like better than a good looking pantry.

Love Mom

Christi January 14, 2011 at 4:31 am

Great job! I went through and reorganized my pantry shelves last year at this time…now you have reminded me that it is time to get in there and do it again! Hopefully it will be easier this time, since we managed to keep things a little more organized after last year's efforts…I'll hope so anyway! :)

Pam January 14, 2011 at 12:23 pm

Awesome job! It looks so much better now! I wish I had a pantry, but you have inspired me to go through my "cabinets" :)

Kelly January 14, 2011 at 1:39 pm

I love that you find gummy bears in your pantry. Makes cleaning more fun!

Sammy January 14, 2011 at 9:36 pm

ok, now I'm just hungry! Looks yummy! I mean well organized. : )

Jenn January 15, 2011 at 4:13 am

That looks awesome! You've really inspired me to get to work! I'm linking this and a few of your other posts to my blog – thanks for the inspiration!

mommyinthemountains January 15, 2011 at 7:12 pm

I love those rolling pantry drawers. Jealous! I just redid my pantry too.
Check it out.
Nothing like the new year to make one feel like getting organized!

Andy January 16, 2011 at 2:56 pm

I am having a life altering moment. We have almost the exact same "pantry". WITHOUT the pull out drawers! And it is the BANE OF MY EXISTENCE! Reaching in there to dig for hidden treasure. Did you install the sliding shelves yourself, or did they already exist in there. I'm about to go hammer out the old ones myself today! I will pay whatever I have to to get those sliding babies. Thank you!

Audrey @ Foreclosed to Fabulous January 16, 2011 at 3:04 pm

Thanks for the pantry inspiration! I love your blog :-)

Pudel-design January 16, 2011 at 3:17 pm

Love your blog!
Please visit mine;)

Lovely greetings…

PS: I`m your new follower;)

Allison {Live Love Small} January 17, 2011 at 4:15 am

i totally agree with when you shop, you purge. first time here and can't wait to visit again. i'm a new follower. ;)

Robin January 17, 2011 at 7:12 pm

My heart just went pitter-pat with that organizing beauty! Now… I think I need to go do mine.

koosh @ candidkoosh January 20, 2011 at 11:00 pm

ok for once I see a real pantry. I love the pantries that have all the cute jars and everything is in the same type of containers, but its not really realistic. Someone needs to take the time to replace all the product. This type of pantry is real, and still organized. nicely done.

Sonal February 14, 2011 at 6:05 am

Love your blog…can you please share where did you get the pantry unit from have been struggling to find a good piece of furniture to use as a pantry.

Puanani503 February 26, 2011 at 8:57 am

You did awesome:) I'm looking forward to decluttering mine!

Peggy September 2, 2012 at 6:43 pm

I just did this to my pantry this week. I found some cute shelf pepper at target for $6 and now I just open my pantry and stare and stare. I can’t believe what a difference it made. I saw your blog from someone else’s link. I love your built in billy bookcases. Now I am wishIng I had a room in my house to do that!

Chris September 2, 2012 at 11:24 pm

I love it, Peggy! Shelf paper has come a long way since I was young. So much prettier now! Thanks for sharing!

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