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Pantry Cupboard Makeover

Over the past week I have been busy overhauling my pantry cupboard and I am pretty excited to share the results with you today. It’s probably not going to be featured in the pages of Martha Stewart Living or anything, but I have made some serious improvements to the functionality of this space and I am pretty dang excited about that!

Life is busy and anytime I can streamline something in our home it’s cause for celebration. When things are organized, life runs so much more smoothly don’t you think? The kitchen is the most used space in our home and I feel so much more sane when things in order.

So today I am going to share with you how I tackled this big ole deep cupboard and whipped it into shape!

We are fortunate to have this large pantry cupboard …It is tall and the cupboards are deep which sounds great but is actually tricky to organize and use on a daily basis.

I am grateful to have so much storage space, but it wasn’t being used to it’s potential. The biggest problem was that the cupboard was so big and deep, it was challenging to know where to put things and how to access the space effectively. I took this photo to give you an idea of the size…you can see how things easily get lost here!

We  invested in some pull out drawers a few years ago for the bottom cupboard and that was a pretty big improvement but things were still a bit of a jumble. Here is a before picture:

What I noticed is that I didn’t really have a rhyme or reason when it came to what was living where in the cupboards. I sort of had zones for things, but no clearly designated spots for anything. And my mantra is “a place for everything and everything in it’s place” It’s a cliche for a reason!

I really hated how we had open bags and boxes of food that were closed with clips and just stuffed randomly in whatever space was available on one of the top two pull out shelves. I had put some of our dry goods in some containers, and mismatched tupperware, which was a step in the right direction but had major room for improvement.

I had recently seen a few pantry makeovers, like this one from Courtenay at A Thoughtful Place, and I had decided that I wanted to start taking our commonly used non-perishable food items out of the packaging and store them in matching containers. I have been doing this with our cereal and baking supplies for years and it works quite well for us. I was really coveting these OXO pop containers…

but they are quite expensive and when I tallied up how may I would need for what I wanted to do, the price tag was out of my comfort zone. However, I know from experience that sometimes when I balk at the price of something and go for a cheaper version, I end up with buyers remorse. While I was pricing out different containers, I noticed it was cheaper to buy them in sets vs. individually, but the best price I could find on the OXO ones was this set on Amazon for 128.99…not cheap considering I would need multiple sets! Then last week while at Costco I spotted these 8-piece sets on sale for $59.99. To say I was excited was an understatement and I quickly grabbed two of them. This was the motivation I needed to kick start my pantry re-organization!

Our pantry cupboard is beside another smaller cupboard that has drawers behind cupboard doors and this was where I kept all of our baking ingredients (flour, baking soda, chocolate chips etc) tools (measuring cups, mixing bowls) and bakeware.

I decided to re-make this space as well because I wanted to keep all of our food together in the pull-out drawers of the tall cupboard and I thought these smaller drawers would be a great place to stash appliances like our Crock Pot and Rice Cooker.

So I emptied out both the tall cupboard, top and bottom, as well as the drawers. As with any effective re-organization process, things have to get worse before they get better. My kitchen was not pretty! I choose to do this task while the kids were at school, which gave me several uninterrupted hours.

As I was taking things out of the cupboards and drawers, I made 3 piles – keep, donate and sell. I was really strict with myself and decided to let go of things that we didn’t want or use. This applies to both food and kitchenware, for example I had to be honest about the fact that if I hadn’t used our juicer in the last 4 years, I probably wasn’t going to, so into the “sell” pile it went. Before I tackled the process of hauling everything out of the cupboards, I should mention that I hand washed each and every one of my new containers so they could have time to air dry while I was sorting.

The only downside I can see to these containers is that you can’t put them in the dishwasher. Also, learn from my mistake and don’t submerge the lids in water…its REALLY hard to get them dry if you do and I had to wait a few hours to make sure there was no moisture inside.

So after I had washed the containers and purged the cupboards and drawers, it was time to start putting things back. I had several different sizes to work with so I had to take some time to figure out what should go where.

I also knew that I wanted to label the containers, because we have a gluten intolerance in the family and it’s important for us to know which items are “Stella Friendly”. Now, this is the part of a project where I can become my worst enemy…why you ask? Well because in a perfect Kerri world, my new containers would have pretty little labels with some cool farmhouse-ish font. But I have learned that in the interest of time and getting stuff done, I have to not sweat the small stuff. My new favorite way to label is to write directly on a container or storage bin with Sharpie Paint Pens.

I actually don’t love my handwriting, so there is some degree of letting go of perfection involved here! Another mantra of mine (this one is new to me) is “Better done than Perfect”.  An added bonus to having all of our dry goods in these clear containers is that I can now easily see when we are low on (or out of) things and then add it to the ole shopping list.

Once I had the Containers filled, I gave them the place of honor on our top pull out drawer…

and then it was time to go about putting everything else back as well. I put more of our dried goods  on the second pull out shelf, and I tried to group things in a way that made sense to me.

I picked up two of these cute mesh bins from IKEA for our potatoes and onions…

and then the bottom pull out shelf became the new home of all of my baking ingredients and also our soda stream because that is the only place it fits!

I was already using some of these Rubermaid containers to store our baking supplies so I bought a few more to keep these consistent. No point replacing perfectly good containers… I haven’t labeled these ones yet, but will use the Sharpie paint pens on them as well.

Now I have all of most commonly used dry goods all in one place and that makes me so very happy!

I put our rarely used items (like our fondu pot and turkey roasting pan) up in the top cupboard. I also put some of our bulk items from Costco up there, my stash of Trader Joes cans of wine, etc. I also had to put our griddle and waffle iron up there as they didn’t fit anywhere else.

And last but not least I re-organized the smaller bank of drawers beside the deep pantry cupboard.

I have my baking tools like cooling racks, rolling pins, measuring cups and mixer in the top drawers.

and then I have baking dishes, cake pans, mixing bowls, cookie cutters and small appliances in the bottom drawers.

This pantry cupboard makeover has made a huge impact on the functionality of our kitchen. I am so happy I took the time to re-vamp this space and am in love with the new OXO containers. So here’s a little re-cap:



Hopefully this has given you some ideas to tackle your own pantry cupboards if they are needing a little TLC! If you have any comments or questions, just leave me a note below. If you are a Vancouver local and are in need of some help organizing an area in your home, give me a call or shoot me an email, I would love to help you!


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