Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Little Pantry Makeover

When we moved into our new home in July, I was so excited about certain features of our new home. One of my favorite places was the kitchen pantry! Finally, I had a place to store our food in an organized, out-of-the-cupboards way.

But almost 7 months later, I was getting a little frustrated with the beloved pantry.

The shelves, although roomy are extremely deep. I had put a lazy-susan on one shelf to help with my spice containers.

But overall I had a hard time seeing just what I had on hand.  The poor top shelf was just a pile. 

It was time for a change – so, we took a trip to IKEA (my go-to place for all organizational needs). We measured the pantry, being careful to write down all the dimensions. I like to know all the details before exploring our options. I also entered the magical land of IKEA with an open mind. I wasn’t tied down to only looking at kitchen solutions. Most of IKEA ‘s products can be used for multiple functions. On this trip, I also purchased some recycling containers that I plan to use in a totally different way in our basement

My husband loves the display floor at IKEA – Jeremiah, being the curious guy that he is, opens all drawers, cupboards and cabinets. Eventually, in the closet section, we found the perfect solution.

The ANTONIUS shelving unit fit our pantry measurements exactly. The frame for the 4 drawer structure was only $9.99. There were two different options for drawers – plastic bins or wire baskets. I chose the wire baskets so that I could easily see what was in each drawer. The baskets were $2.50 each.

We removed one of the shelves from the pantry, and my husband quickly assembled the shelving unit.
It was a perfect fit.

Now it was time to reorganize our food. My kitchen counters were piled high with pantry items.

Although my counters looked like a grocery store conveyor belt, it was the perfect opportunity to sort and rethink placement in the pantry. 

The baskets, even though they are made for clothes closets, were the perfect sizes. Cake mix boxes on their side fit.

Spice containers stand easily in the basket – I may be adding some easy to read labels to the top of the containers.

After packing the baskets, I was sad to pile up all the leftover foods on that huge top shelf. There had to be another way. Jeremiah put in another shelf for me, maximizing the space at the top of the closet. Much better!

It was the perfect amount of space to store my coupon stock of ranch and mustard.

I had previously purchased a few other items that made the pantry super functional. My pot lid hanger from IKEA screwed to the door works perfectly. In our previous apartment, I had this on the inside of a cabinet door. Sad to say, I do not think IKEA sells this any more. But I'm sure there are other similar solutions out there.

Next to my pot rack is a simple wreath hook -  I purchased it at Dollar General a while back when Christmas items were 90% off. 10 cents for an over the door hook that holds my aprons and sometimes lunchboxes.

To hold my plastic bags, IKEA has an inexpensive solution. RATIONELL VARIERA comes in multiple colors for just $1.99.

I was pleased with the transformation, but still needed a solution for my cans.

 Walmart had pop can organizers for just $5.97. I purchased 2, stacking them to the right of the shelving unit.

I placed the larger cans on the top.

To finish the pantry and add a decorative element, I decided to attach some labels to the wire drawer.

 I am obsessed with the $1 section at Michael’s – They had adorable vintage looking frames. The only problem was the fact that they were purple.

I love bright colors, but purple does not match my red kitchen. After a little red spray paint and some printed labels, I was giddy with excitement over my adorably organized pantry.  Printing the words on graph paper added a little more sparkle. Using zip-ties, Jeremiah helped me to attach the little frames directly to the wire baskets.

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The difference is significant – and I must admit that I am more excited to cook dinner each night. I know where each ingredient is – and I am more aware of those items that have been hiding in the back of the deep pantry.  After adding the organizational elements, I was able to store twice as much stuff in the pantry. 

So, if you are feeling that you need more room, you may just need more organizational tools.  And this is definitely cheaper than tearing out walls and building new kitchens.

Pantry Makeover Cost:
ANTONIUS shelving unit frame  (IKEA) $9.99
4 Wire Baskets  (IKEA) $2.50 each
Added shelf (used wood from shelf removed) FREE
4 Vintage Frames (Michaels) $1.00 each
High Gloss Red Spray Paint (on-hand) FREE
Zip Ties to attach frames (On-Hand) FREE
Bag Organizer ($1.99 IKEA) On-Hand
Pot Lid Holder  (IKEA) On-Hand
2 Pop Can Organizer (Walmart) $5.97 each
                                                TOTAL                           $35.93

This project has also got me searching for more deep caverns that need organized – all it takes is a little creativity and a little help from IKEA (Read about my last IKEA trip here).


  1. This is just the neatest! I love this!!! I like the way you show step by step and.... the total cost! Excellent idea, I plan on sharing! You are just the neatest!

  2. In one of the first pictures, I was like I want that lid holder. Way to burst my bubble!
    I am going to send you a picture of my pantry one of these days. I don't know what to do with it...
    Yours looks awesome by the way!

  3. I am really digging this. My food cabinet is the closet type with the pull out shelves. Who designed this crazy thing? I cannot see a thing. It stays in a jumble no matter what I do. I love your idea! Wire baskets would work so much better. Love the can idea also. Your blog is wonderful.