Before and After Closet Pantry Organization with Zero Dollars Spent!

Hi there beautiful people. I’m super excited to share a little project I did while I was visiting my sister in Ontario this past month. She recently moved into a new home and hadn’t set up any organizing systems yet. She was waiting for me! Isn’t she awesome. She knows how much I love doing these things. And I absolutely love organizing kitchens, especially pantries. Pantry organization is the stuff of my dreams! I love giving everything a place to call home. And for this pantry organization project we didn’t buy anything new. Everything we used came from around her home, saving us all kinds of money. Yes!

Before and After Closet Pantry Organization with Zero Dollars Spent!

My sister’s pantry is the closet type. Not a walk-in but still pretty roomy with a lot of potential. Before starting any organizing project, ask yourself what that space needs to do for you. How hard does it need to work? Since my sister has a pretty small kitchen her pantry really needed to be maximized.

Her pantry needed to do the following:

-house all the food staples

-house her Costco sized toilet paper, paper towel and tissue boxes

-hold her vacuum, broom and mop

-have space for storing dog food

-make room to store all her food storage containers as there isn’t room in the kitchen cupboards

-have a space for storing the lunch bags for my sister and her girls when not in use.

No problem! I love a good challenge. Here’s how this entire process started. A good before picture makes my heart sing.

pantry organization before

A few closer shots. No homes means everything just gets thrown in wherever. That’s how chaos ensues. It will get you if you aren’t careful!

pantry before

Who can relate?

pantry before

pantry before

Next in the organizing PROCESS (if you are new here be sure to check out my system) is to remove everything from the space. This is where things start to get really messy. Don’t panic.

Hi Gracie dog! We blocked her off to keep her from being underfoot in the mess.

pantry organization before

pantry organization during

You’ll also want to consolidate like items with like. This can be extremely eye-opening. Check out my sister’s food storage container collection below. Once we combined it from all the spots it was stashed I couldn’t believe the stack.

too many storage containers

At this point I texted a picture to my sister (she had to leave for an appointment) and told her that this was WAY too many storage containers for anyone to have. I piled it up on the floor and waited for her to come home to decide what she wanted to keep. The funny thing was that when my sister got home she looked at the pile and seemed sad. It took me a minute to realize that she thought this was my purge pile and I was getting rid of all of it. Ha! I think she was relieved when I showed her the empty bin I had set aside for her containers and told her she could keep whatever she’d like as long as it fit in the bin. Boundaries are your friend!

She did a great job consolidating!

pantry organization after

Now it’s time to start the game of Tetris and figure out how to fit everything back inside.

pantry organization empty

I designated the top shelf for the overstock of tissues, toilet paper and paper towel so it wasn’t taking up prime real estate.

My sister also had a lot of packaged snacks taking up a lot of space. So I tossed the packaging and emptied the contents into one big snack basket. This saved a TON of space and makes it super easy for the kids to grab what they need without making a mess. You know how kids are. She had this great bin on hand that worked perfectly for this purpose.

snack basket

We added a bin to the bottom of the pantry to contain the dog food and supplies. Containing them keeps them from spreading out and overtaking a space. Also see that Costco popcorn box? I cut the top of it and reused it to store all my sister’s empty grocery bags that she reuses. These previously didn’t have a home so this is a great inexpensive solution to keep them all in one place. Not seen in this picture but added later to the back is a bin for everyone’s lunch bags when not in use. Easy access for the kids is a win!

pantry organization

We added some chalkboard labels to identify where everything went so hopefully the kids would be on board with putting things back. A girl can dream, right?!

pantry organization after

pantry organization after

pantry organization containers

And we designated a bin for chips because our family loves our chips!

pantry organization after

Isn’t the pantry lovely now? This picture below was taken pre-labels.

Before and After Closet Pantry Organization with Zero Dollars Spent!

Before and After Closet Pantry Organization with Zero Dollars Spent!

Ahh I love a good before and after picture especially of some pantry organization!

Also hang your brooms and mops up out of the way so they don’t take up floor space. A simple nail does the trick.

This little pantry organization project took me under two hours to complete. I think it turned out great and we met all the criteria we set out to accomplish without spending a dime! Now obviously my sister had some bins around the house that we could use but even if you don’t you can purchase inexpensive bins at the dollar store. Or even cardboard boxes do the trick as well. Organizing does not have to be expensive!

I hope these tips help you to get your own pantry organized. Have fun with it!

You may also like:

My own small organized pantry

Giving your home space to breathe



Filed under: Before and After, Containerizing, Kitchen, The Organizing PROCESS


8 Responses to Before and After Closet Pantry Organization with Zero Dollars Spent!

  1. 1
    Ann says

    Well done! I’m impressed you got so much in there without shelf risers or those baskets that hang off the bottom of the shelf, which incidentally are great for storing container lids, or water bottles laid horizontally. Tall water bottles take up so much space in cabinets. Pantry envy—I don’t have one.

    • 1.1
      Laura Wittmann says

      My sister actually bought those baskets that hang off the shelf for her linen closet. I think she was going to go back for some for her pantry. They work well to add additional space for sure.

    • 1.2
      Tricia says

      Where did the vacuum go?

      • Laura Wittmann says

        The vacuum is in the after, not in the before. With all the organizing we did, we were able to make space for the vacuum!

  2. 2
    Whitney Pendell says

    Before and after pictures are my favorite! Since April I’ve been slowly organizing the office at my new job, and some of the cabinets haven’t been organized for over 50 years. The before and afters of those spaces are amazing and SO satisfying! I love how you did this using things on hand and yet you still got that cohesive, clean look. Bravo!

    • 2.1
      Laura Wittmann says

      Thanks Whitney! Oh my it sounds like you have a big job on your hands cleaning out those cabinets. Must be super rewarding!!

  3. 3
    Verena says

    Great job Laura….wish you were still in Kitimat…could use your help 🙂


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