Saturday, September 30, 2017

Small Pantry Gets BIG Makeover

I finally got around to organizing my small 4x4 pantry.  It only took me almost four years of living in our new home to realize I need to get organized in a big way.  My purpose was to get everything not used frequently on the top shelves and everything off the floor.  Here's a before and after pic of the disaster area.

Once I get something in my head, I search numerous blogs, websites and Pinterest until I find exactly what I want the space to look like.  Pinterest can by my worst and best friend all at the same time.  I wanted some of those canvas storage / laundry type tote baskets and a lot of bins/plastic containers.  I didn't want too many clear containers for this area.  They may keep everything organized and easy to find, but this is an offshoot of our laundry room and a heavy traffic area.  I still wanted to be able to keep all my stuff hidden from passerby's.  I store a lot of mixed items in my pantry with anything from food to toilet paper, cups, plates, cleaning supplies, canning items, etc.

The first thing I did was remove everything from the pantry, including the shelving and I painted the walls a pretty blue.  The exact shade is Blue Iris by Sherwin Williams which I picked up at Lowe's.  My entire house, (other than the kids areas) is the same neutral color, so this was my little place to add a little color and pop.  Surprisingly, I didn't have too many food items that were expired.  After the space was painted, I put all the shelving back up.

Prior to starting this project, I went to my favorite stores and started gathering my storage containers.  I found very inexpensive canvas laundry totes at Home Goods.  The medium and small size came as a two pack and the large ones were perfect to store light items on the top shelf.  I had to run to two different stores to find the same style/color and I think I bought everything they had because I have not seen them since and I'm a frequent shopper.  I also found very large glass containers that could hold my k-cups and some dry baking supplies which I buy in bulk every few weeks/months.  Those were a steal at $8 each, but again I had to run to multiple stores to find eight of them for my project.

I had a hard time finding the plastic baskets/bins.  I found grey ones with lids at Walmart, but I didn't know if I wanted grey.  I found similar ones in other colors at Target and Home Goods, but they didn't come with a lid.  I'm so glad I ended up buying the baskets from Walmart because it all coordinates so well now and the stacking option gives me so much more space on the top shelves to load up all the stuff I don't use as often.

There were so many great ideas on Pinterest for organizing cans.  I didn't want anything where the cans had to stack on top of each other in an upright position.  They always end up falling over and half the time land on the floor (or my foot).  I saw on one blog they used wood veggie crates, which were perfect.  I found nice sized wood veggie crates at Joann Fabrics and got two for $15 with my 50% off coupons.  A few coats of white spray paint and a few hours later, they were ready to go.  We're not fans of canned vegetables or fruits, so all of our cans are either soups or sauces and I can fit them all in one crate by laying them on their side.  We'll use one for canned goods and the other for potatoes and onions.

My last find was a wood three bin storage unit that I found in the children's section at Home Goods.  They had them in all different colors and they are stackable, but I only needed one.  I put some casters on the bottom and it fit the space perfect.  I'll keep all the kids regular go to stuff in there.  I was going to build one of these units, but this met my needs, was already a size that would work for the space and the bonus was I didn't have to paint anything.  Yay me!

I put everything I don't use often on the top shelf such as an 18 pack of paper towels and gigantic Tupperware. I can pull both totes down with little effort.  The grey baskets with lids worked perfectly for storing tissues, plates, cups, lightbulbs etc.

I put my medicine, extra coffee/tea/cocoa and glass jars with coffee, tea, flour, sugar, etc. on the second highest shelf.  I figured my kids won't be drinking any coffee or baking any time soon, so there will be less chance of them breaking if I can keep them out of their reach. Fingers Crossed!

Another space saver are the magazine holders I found to store Ziploc bags and various foils/wraps. Next was trying to tackle the never ending supply of sports water bottles.  I don't even know where they come from, but I had to have had at least 50 of them in my pantry prior to organizing.  The remaining 20 that made the cut fit nicely in two canvas totes.  Everything else in the pantry now has a place in either a storage tote or a basket.  Love how organized it all is.

After a week of moving baskets around to figure out where I put what, I decided it was time to add some labels.  Chalkboard labels and a chalkboard marker to the rescue and now I can easily find exactly what I'm looking for when I enter the pantry.  The one's I bought were plain black.  I added a white border around the edges with a white Sharpie Oil Paint pen.  I pried off the clothespin on the backside, drilled some holes and added some thick white string and attached them to all the totes and baskets.

Now my small pantry looks organized and one of my favorite rooms.


Materials List

Home Goods

  • Large Canvas Totes - $15 each
  • Extra Large Canvas Tote - $17 each
  • Medium and Small Two Pack Canvas Totes - $10 per two pack
  • Large Glass Jars with Lids - $8 each
  • Large - Wood Three Bin Storage Unit - $70
  • Magazine Organizers - $8 each


  • Mainstays Medium Decorative Basket with Lid #0786523871199 (choose Medium) - $6 each
  • Mainstays Large Decorative Basket with Lid #0786523871199 (choose Large) - $8 each

Miscellaneous Stores

  • Wood Veggie Crates - Joann Fabrics - $15 regular price (used a coupon for 50% off)
  • Chalkboard Tags - Michael's - $1.50 for a two pack
  • Gallon of Satin Paint - Lowe's - Blue Iris by Sherwin Williams (HGSW1326) - $24
  • Pack of small casters - Home Depot - $5


  1. Oh I love this! My pantry is about the same size, I may have to add this to my list of projects. Also on my list is your mini mudroom. I have the same small section of wall! Great ideas and great posts :)

    1. Thanks Lindsey! I would love to see some photos if you finish either of these projects :)