Fixer Upper Friday: Pantry Renovation

I’m constantly tackling projects in the two fixer uppers my family bought in Pennsylvania. Ask any homeowner you know, and they’ll tell you that there’s no shortage of little home improvement projects that they have to do. Ask any owner of an old fixer upper, and they’ll tell you that those little home improvement projects are actually huge and totally, and I mean totally, never-ending.

My most recent project has been a pantry renovation in ‘fixer upper number 2’. I’ve always dreamed of having an organized pantry like the one in the picture above. As fate would have it, a radiator pipe burst in the ceiling of our current pantry, so I had no choice but to renovate. I had to remove everything from the pantry and rip the ceiling out down to the studs. Of course all of this was a total pain, but when life hands you lemons, the lemons have a silver lining, or something like that. So I looked on the bright side of things.

I don’t want to bore you with all of the details of the renovation. I just worked through it step by step. I put up drywall, opted for canned lighting (you can get the kits at any home improvement store), painted the walls, and bought wire racks. The fun part is looking at the before and after pics. Check out the transformation.

Pantry Renovation

Pantry Renovation 2

Progress in the Pantry

Progress in the Pantry 2


Now I’m in the process of creating the pantry of my dreams. If you’ve ever dreamed of a totally organized pantry, here are some tips I’ve learned along the way:

1 Start with a Blank Slate

I’m not just saying this because I was forced to remove everything from my pantry. This is actually an important step. Take absolutely every single thing out of your pantry. Repair any damage to the existing walls, add a fresh coat of paint, and step away. There’s almost nothing as inspirational as an empty canvas.

2 Easy Access

Take stock of the things that you and your family use the most. These items should be at eye level and easily accessible when you’re restocking the pantry. Rule of Thumb: Things that are difficult to get to, are also difficult to put away. If your most used items aren’t easy to find and easy to reach, your kitchen counter will suffer the consequence of clutter.

3 Group Items Together

Baskets and clear containers are key here. Some items, like flour, dry pasta, and grains are better stored in containers than in the paper or plastic packaging you buy them in. The added bonus is that they look totally pretty and neat on open shelves. While clear containers are perfect for storing one item at a time, baskets are great for storing multiple items that fall in the same category. For instance, all of your tea and coffee flavors can go in one basket, and sit right next to the basket that contains your growing collection of cookie butters, peanut butters, and jellies. The beauty is that these baskets will look intentional and totally organized side by side.

My pantry is still a work in progress. I’m still trying to figure out which method of grouping items works best for my family. I’m also trying to make it as foolproof and as lazy-proof as possible. Mothers of teenagers know what I mean.

What are some of your favorite pantry organizing tips?