Organization Smack down: Pantry reveal


Today is the day! I finally get to show you that I, Sarah, can be organized.

For those of you just joining us, I recently put the smack down on myself to get organized, and I started with my kitchen pantry

Let’s all take another look at the before:

kitchen pantry cupboard organization messy


Now, before I show you all my pretty “after” pictures I’m going to first show you all the steps I took to get this pantry organized.  I was happy relieved to hear that some of you are also struggling with disorganization, so maybe some of my tips will help you out.


The first thing I did was empty out the entire pantry and wipe down the shelves:

kitchen organization clean shelves


I don’t have a lot of counter space in my kitchen so I put all my food and things on the dining room table.

kitchen organization before mess

Wowza, that’s a lot of stuff.


Now, when one empties the contents of a once-disorganized-pantry one tends to find many interesting things.

For example:

kitchen organization red plastic cups

kitchen organization mystery powder

kitchen organization expiration dates


Um, yeah.  2010?  Really, Sarah?  Really?  Shameful, just shameful.

Hopefully it’s clear to see that the next step was to sort through the contents of the pantry and throw away all the expired/unwanted items and also set aside the food I was never going to use (remember the gravy?) to bring to our church’s food pantry.


Once I was left with the food I wanted and needed, I separated it into groups.  The way you choose to organize your food really depends on your needs and what makes sense to you.  I could have copied the organization of some other dream pantry, but the chance of keeping it organized would be slim.  I knew that if I was going to conquer my disorganization I would have to really custom organize my pantry to my needs and wants.

Here’s how I grouped my food:

kitchen organization shelf sections


After I had grouped my items I needed to make sure that they would all fit on the teeny-tiny shelves.  So, I took a shelf out of the pantry and arranged the items on the  actual shelf to make sure they would fit.

kitchen organization pantry shelf


After I knew all my items would fit, I started to spruce of the shelves themselves—with a little Con-Tact paper.

kitchen organization contact paper 1

I’ve never used Con-Tact before, and honestly thought it was a dated idea.  However, when I saw this cheery color and fun pattern at Target I thought “I’m going to make Con-Tact paper hip again.”

If you’re like me, and have never used this before, it’s super simple!  You just peel off the back and stick.  I peeled a small bit of backing off at a time, which made it easier to make smooth.

kitchen organization contact paper 2


To get the little air bubbles out, I simply used an old gift card to smooth them:

kitchen organization contact paper 3


And because I was too lazy to cut the Con-Tact paper to the exact size of the shelf, I just used an X-acto knife to trim the excess.

kitchen organization contact paper 4


kitchen organization contact paper 5

Much cuter, right?

*I apologize for these poorly lit indoor photos, but I was organizing at 11 o’clock at night*


To organize the pantry I used white baskets from Target and this Snapware container set (also from Target).  You get all this for $20.00, which I thought was a good deal.



To add labels to the containers I actually had to think outside-the-box.  I wanted something that I could change easily, if the contents of the container changed.  Initially my plan was to buy some black vinyl and write on it with chalk pens.  But, the vinyl cost $10 and the markers were $6 and Dave helped me realized that $16 for labels was a bit ridiculous. 

So, here was my plan B:

I bought these small wooden craft ovals for 29 cents each…

kitchen organization wood ovals


…got out my trusty can of chalkboard paint…

kichen organization chalkboard paint

…and painted those suckers.

kitchen organization chalkboard labels


Et Voila! 10 labels for $2.90 which is a steal compared to the $16.00 I was about to shell out (thanks again, Dave, for being the voice of reason!)

kitchen organization chalkboard paint labels


Add a little hot glue, and you’re in business!

kitchen organization hot glue labels


And now for the moment we’ve all been waiting for (wow, I hope this isn’t one of those situations where you build something up too much and then everyone thinks “oh, is that all?”)

kitchen organization upper shelveskitchen organization lower shelves


I know it doesn’t look like some of those amazing inspiration pics I posted earlier, but I did the best I could with 15×15 shelves!

Let’s get a closer, shall we?

kitchen organization cans shelf

I used this two-tier lazy Susan to make the most of my space. But from the looks of it I might need to invest in a stronger one eventually.

kitchen organization pasta shelf

kitchen organizatio pasta shelf close up


kitchen organization cereal shelf

Before this organization I never had space to put my cereal in the pantry, it used to sit on top of the fridge.  I’m happy to have all my food in one place now!

kitchen organization cereal close up


kitchen organization tea shelf

kitchen organization tea shelf close up

Everything has a place!

kitchen organization baking shelf


kitchen organization lily shelf


Because I had to adjust the height of some shelves to fit my new containers I actually had to take out one of the shelves.  That means that the paper plates/cups/utensils had to find another home in the closet.  That works just fine for me since we hardly ever use those things.


One of my favorite parts is this awesome white board organizer I found at Target on clearance for $10.00.  It hangs on the side of the pantry over the microwave.

kitchen organization memo board

It will help me with my meal planning, and will help me keep track of those little things that can easily slip my mind (like staying organized!).

I mounted it using push pins so I could easily take it down and write on it.

kitchen organization memo board push pins


Oh, and did you notice in the “before” picture how there was also a big mess on the microwave cart next to the pantry?  Well, I cleaned that up too!

kitchen organization microwave area


I moved my cookbooks and recipes to the window sill that had plenty of space.

kitchen organization cook books


Well, that’s it! I’m happy with the way it turned out because I know that it works for me.  The real challenge, of course, will be keeping it organized!


Next up on my smack down list is the linen closet and it’s a doozey!


PS: Did you notice those cute little flags on the top of the site?  Did you notice one of them is for facebook? That’s right, we’re facebook official now!  I’d love for you to “like” my page!


I’m linking up my new pantry at:



  1. Nice work Sarah! I live in a pantry-less, pathetic amount of storage kitchen {rental} right now {cereal on fridge too} and everyday I debate whether or not to spend a little $$ to buy a freestanding pantry. Would be so nice, I know!

  2. I noticed your pennants RIGHT AWAY!
    I’ll just on over to link our FB pages :)

    Love your re-do. It’s amazing how well you organized it!
    Nice job!
    ~ Dana

  3. Love the after. Super job. And I will absolutely FB like you!



  4. It seems like a lot of work but it was worth it! It’s so organized now! And I laughed so much at this “mystery powder”! What could it be? Flour?

  5. Looks so great! I’m impressed :) Love the chalk board signs.

  6. Hi,
    I am happy to be your newest lf follower. I am coming over from the linky followers blog hop. If you would like to follow back, I can be found at

  7. Looking so much better…you had some good ideas. Come by today because your breakfast cups have been featured at NIFTY THRIFTY TUESDAY…feel free to grab n starfish feature button for your blog.


  8. Great job Sarah. I think we do our best work at 11pm!

    Anne xx

  9. i am so doing this!! i have little packets thrown in my cabinet..a basket would organize and declutter. thank you. i am officially motivated!!
    i am also your newest follower..pls follow back if you can.

  10. woot woot! don’t you just love having all your baking stuff together ;-)

  11. Wow! That’s impressive! I always start reorganizing anything by emptying it completely too! Nice job!

  12. Looks great now – so much easier to find what you need and already have! (:

  13. That’s something I need to do and that’s get organized. I am here from the blog hop. I am following with Linky would you follow back. Pat

  14. Great minds think alike, mine got the “the business” last week too.

    Happy new follower from the hop.

    Hope that you pop by today and check out my photography class and giveaway :0)

  15. Hi,
    I am a new GFC follower. I found you on a grow your blog hop. I would love for you to stop by my site and follow me as well. Also check out our giveaway for a $170 Technogel Pillow if you are interested. Thanks

  16. Love the idea of using the craft ovals. I’m in the process of buying a bunch of clear jars and cannisters for the same purpose and wasn’t sure what I was going to do for lables. Great idea, and love that it’s cheap!

    P.S. I’m your newest linky follower

  17. must be so happy! eat out for couple of nights so it stays like that!!!

  18. Who doesn’t just eat up a good pantry makeover? It actually made me open mine up and take stock! :)

    I found you through Dwell on Joy, btw. Great blog!

  19. Isn’t it so refreshing to go through things and get rid of stuff? I did the same thing just a couple of weeks ago and I love how it all turned out. Oh, and speaking of expiration dates, I found some cinnamon that expired back in Dec. 99. Yeah, amazing, but true:

    Anyway, great job on your reorganization — I especially loved the shelf liners; makes me want to revisit my cabinets to dress them up a little bit.

  20. Thanks for stopping by my blog.. your ideas are so cute – This has totally inspired me to lay smack down on my own messy closets!! I’m following you now too ;)

  21. love, love, love it. You used some ideas that truly appeal to me. I love the chalkboard painted labels. You are very organized. Looking forward to redoing my pantry now.

  22. Love the after. Great job!

  23. Love the after. Super job.

  24. Where did you find that style contact paper?? I’ve been searching everywhere!

Speak Your Mind