a pantry makeover

I’ve been putting it off.

Organizing the pantry, I mean.  When the fabulous Shelley from House of Smith’s prettied up her pantry, I was totally inspired.

And overwhelmed.  Really?  My pantry needs to look that good?  I mayyy not be able to pull that off.

Now…the fabulous (because she really is fab!) Shelley wasn’t telling us we all had to stencil our pantries…she was creating a functional and beautiful space that worked for her family.

And that I totally dig.

We began hosting/cooking for teens and college kids on Wednesday’s the fall of 2003 (yep, we did).  We took about a year off after having Gray, and the last few years we’ve been having them only in the summer months.

We LOVE having them….but because we never cleaned out our need-to-feed-30-teens-at-any-given-moment stocked pantry, and we had two additional little people to feed, it got out of hand.

Like this out of hand….



So last week, after a regular trip to the grocery store, I physically had nowhere to unpack the groceries.

I proceeded to sort of lose it, ripping expired food and multiples outta there.

Poor food.  It may have been mistreated in the making of this post.

But….I channeled my inner-Shelley, and although I had zero intention of painting or prettying, I was ready to get to work.

13 bags of trash/multiples/canned food to donate later….


Now we’re talkin’.

Wanna hear some things I learned along the way?  Ideas I had on how to make a small pantry work for my entertaining fam of 4?

And if I’ve kept it that way the last 2 weeks?


–Go on and empty your pantry.  TOTALLY.  Make 3 piles….to keep (which also is the “find a container for it” pile), to toss, and to donate.

Think TLC’s Clean Sweep with less dust and paint.

–Be brutal.  If it’s been in there for more than a year, it needs to be tossed or donated.  Really.  I know one day you might have someone over who needs key lime jello mixed into some recipe, but you know what?  You can go to the store that day and get some.  Or fix them something else.

This part was exceptionally hard for me and Matt…but at the end of the day, one family doesn’t need to stock 14 cans of evaporated milk for the one time a year they make fudge for the neighbors.  Someone else can be using/enjoying it instead of it wasting on our shelves.


–Assign each shelf a food group/type.  Y’all know how it goes….if it doesn’t have a place, then it doesn’t have a place.  And it will love to clutter your counter.  I decided on these

  • paper goods/pitchers/cereal
  • dry goods (rice/flour/sugar/oatmeal, etc.)
  • pasta/adult snack tray (I realize that sounds kind of wrong…but you know what I mean…this is where I keep my oatmeal, protein bars, etc.)
  • cooking (boxed mixes/quick rice/soup mixes/canned goods) & 2 more snacks the kids can reach
  • baking (cake mixes/jello mixes/choc chips, etc.) & jars (syrup, peanut butter, honey, etc.)
  • kids snack drawer

I should also interject that we live in our home.  It’s almost never very tidy, and when it is, I feel like I’ve worked all day to keep it that way.  BUT…we are working on purging things we don’t need so everything has a place, and can be put away.  I find I’m much more creative and excited to tackle projects when it doesn’t look like Taz has flown through my living room.

So….this is do-able.  I promise.


–Invest in some decent storage.  This is, I believe, key to almost any good organizational system out there.  For instance, before this little redo, I would buy a box of pasta (or any type of food, for that matter) and as it scooted to the back, it scooted its way out of my mind.  So…I would buy another.  However, if you only have 3 containers for pasta, it’s quite easy, number 1) to find and number 2) to see when you’re out or running out, and number 3) only buy what will fit into your containers–because that’s all we need anyway.

–This is random and not pantry-related…but invest in some good, organic veggie pasta.  You gotta get the good kind…that doesn’t just contain food coloring.  Seriously, it tastes exactly the same and it sneaks in another serving of veggies for you and the fam.


–You can buy a few specific snack/cereal/pasta air-tight containers, but also shop your house!  I used an air tight canister I wasn’t using for the kids’ goldfish (or snack of the week), a rattan caddy for sauces and peanut butter, and an Ikea basket to hold all of my clutter-y mixes/bags.

Again, now I find myself looking directly into that basket when it’s time to bake.  If chocolate chips aren’t there, well then, they’re not there.  They’re not hiding in the deep abyss of the pantry.



–Give your kids a shelf or a spot in the pantry.  A place they can learn to serve themselves snacks, with your approval, of course.  We’re big into teaching our kids to learn how to take care of themselves (and others) early on…this includes meal time.  They help cook, (obviously Ava less than Gray), take food to the table, bring plates to the dishwasher, etc.  It seemed natural to have a place for them so they can continue to learn independence.

With this does come the grabbing a capri sun and a handful of goldfish every 1/2 hour, but that’s just another opportunity to teach them about eating healthfully and to ask permission before helping themselves.


This also helps mama out when she’s packing lunches/snacks.


No, we don’t just feed the kids goldfish and cheezit’s….these go alongside their fruit and veggies.  :)

I’m sure some of you have seen that incredible fridge snack drawer, too.  We’re working on some to-go fridge snacks, too.

You can’t stop me now!


–If the task of creating a gorgeous pantry seems daunting, work on function first.

This makeover was strictly functional, with a little pretty thrown in with the containers.  If I had wanted to do something amazing, I would have painted or stenciled, or added some wallpaper.  For the time being, we needed function over form.

I needed to be able to unload my groceries, y’all.

I did throw in a little personal touch.  I’m working really hard on losing the rest of baby-Ava weight (and it’s been a long, slow go, but it’s happening!), and I loved the idea of filling my pantry with motivational quotes (Leen The Graphics Queen, here I come!), but until then, I propped one of my favorite vintage books on the snack shelf.

“Do Something.  Be Something.”

You got it.


–Stick to your system.

Now that this pantry is all organized, I think we’re actually saving money at the grocery store.  I certainly haven’t had to buy any pasta or snacks…because I can see them.  They’re right there, on shelves 3 and 4.

–Be flexible.  Obviously, I’m going to buy something every now and then that doesn’t fit into a specified container.  If it’s random, that’s fine….the pantry now has room to accommodate specialty items.

But if it becomes a regular in the casa de West, it’s getting it’s own spot.

I sure hope that helps you tackle the state of your pantry!


I’m sure now that we can close it, we’ll paint the pantry door to match the laundry room door.

And you’ve GOT to watch on Facebook today for a sneak peek of something new and super cool in the kitchen!


And I know, I know, you’re ready for the dining room reveal.  It’s coming, I promise.  We ran into a little issue with the table (not the one pictured above)…it’s all good, but I’m sure it will be Monday before you see the whole she-bang.

I’ll be back later today with the J & A Giveaway Winner and don’t forget to get all your furniture projects and features ready for All Things Furniture tomorrow!

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44 Responses to a pantry makeover

  1. Stephanie August 24, 2011 at 11:15 am #

    That looks great, and I love your kitchen. Now if only I could get motivated! :)

  2. Heather @SimplyCottageLove August 24, 2011 at 11:15 am #

    I Love it! adult snack tray *snicker* That’s a great idea. I love getting rid of all the boxes and having the snacks easily accessible to the kids. Such Beauty!

  3. Carol Leah August 24, 2011 at 11:19 am #

    Oh how I’ve missed you and your type-A self! ;). That looks awesome and you’ve inspired me to re-organize mine. It’s been on my to-do list for…well, I won’t say how long, I might shame myself in this public forum. ;). Thanks for posting! Love you!

  4. Emily@Decorchick August 24, 2011 at 11:29 am #

    Oh my it looks beautiful Shaunna!! I love a pretty pantry! And your home is just amazing!! And because I need one more exclamation mark in this comment….I can’t wait for the dining room reveal! :)

  5. Chere August 24, 2011 at 11:35 am #

    Love the kitchen and pantry makeover, any hints though on that pic you have on the wall that says “Family Rules”? I have a material covered corkboard in the kitchen and have been wanting to change it up. Thanks for any input!

  6. jen August 24, 2011 at 11:38 am #

    oh my gosh…AMAZING!! I am doing this!! :)

  7. Gloria August 24, 2011 at 12:06 pm #

    Wow, looks great! I have the tiniest kitchen in the world and no pantry, so I have to be very creative in my storage. I need to make a system though and some good storage containers would really help.

    You’ve inspired me!


  8. Rita May August 24, 2011 at 12:09 pm #

    It looks beautiful. Why close the door? Where did you put your canned goods?
    Good job!

  9. Danielle Driscoll August 24, 2011 at 12:14 pm #

    Love it! Wish I had a proper pantry to store everything – still have horrible 60s cabinets that fit nothing. One day we’ll get to totally renovating the kitchen. Love what you’ve done.

  10. Catie August 24, 2011 at 12:21 pm #

    Great job Shaunna! I am a firm believer in everything having its place. I’m not really one to have much clutter around. This especially goes for my pantry and fridge. You’ve inspired me to pretty up my pantry a bit. Thanks for sharing! It’s always nice to see a post with pictures of “real” life. : )
    ~ Catie

  11. Emily August 24, 2011 at 12:23 pm #

    Your pantry is inspiring! Mine is the same size and I have always felt like it needed to be bigger to be beautiful! Where did you get the kids snack drawer? I love it!

  12. Dorothy August 24, 2011 at 12:24 pm #

    Shaunna, your pantry looks lovely. Good for you! However, I must tell you, in the clutter/mess department, you are a beginner. You want a major pantry project? Come to my house! Bwa ha ha ha.

  13. andrea August 24, 2011 at 12:53 pm #

    beautiful … i need to do a thorough cleaning too … i might just be inspired!! can’t wait for the DR reveal … waiting on pins & needles! :)

  14. Heidi August 24, 2011 at 1:11 pm #

    You’ve inspired me. I’m a couponer (NOT an extreme one like that crazy tlc show….) which means I buy food in bulk when it gets super cheap/free, than go months without having to buy that item. This makes food storage difficult. But I’ve toned down the couponing lately (just too busy) so the top shelf of my pantry isn’t filled with Fuze drinks anymore so I think I should go give it a good cleaning!!! I love doing painting projects and decorating projects, but my FAVE thing is a good organization project!! :)

  15. Comeca Jones August 24, 2011 at 1:43 pm #

    I adore your makeover!!!

  16. Gail August 24, 2011 at 2:02 pm #

    Looks amazing! You’ve inspired me…my pantry is in a desperate state of disorder! So many good tips too! Thanks!


  17. Deborah August 24, 2011 at 2:54 pm #

    So organized!
    Great job!!

    Deborah xo

  18. Sarah August 24, 2011 at 3:11 pm #

    Oh my, my pantry could use an overhaul. I’m overwhelmed just thinking about it!

  19. Jill @ Craft in a Northern Town August 24, 2011 at 3:39 pm #

    This couldn’t have come at a better time for me! Our pantry is a nightmare. I hate it. With a passion. Thanks for the motivation! It looks fab!

  20. Doughty August 24, 2011 at 3:54 pm #

    Love it! Very inspirational. By the way – my son’s name is Gray too. Well, it’s Grayson, but we call him Gray.

  21. Jessica August 24, 2011 at 4:06 pm #

    Love it!! Especially those glass and silver jars. Now I just need a pantry to organize! Yep–I live in a delightful 1908 home with NO closets! No coat closet, no pantry, no utility closet. Going out of my mind with clutter. This inspired me. Less stuff = less clutter. Thanks!

  22. I Play Outside The Box August 24, 2011 at 5:29 pm #

    I am so jealous!!!!!!!! That sure is quite an improvement. Wish mine looked the same. lol

  23. Kristin @No Ordinary Cole August 24, 2011 at 6:58 pm #

    Thank you so much for these tips! My pantry is deep so adding containers would be so helpful.

  24. Julie Jansen August 24, 2011 at 7:31 pm #

    Great job on the organization of your pantry.

    Will you share where you found the beautiful glass containers with the gorgeous silver lids that are on your dry goods shelf? I have a serious case of envy going on.

  25. Kelsey @aslolife August 24, 2011 at 7:44 pm #

    I love organizing things though I must admit, it does tend to get messy again after awhile (i.e., definitely don’t look in my cupboards right now! I love using containers and baskets in the pantry but always have a hard time spending the money on them, but they just look so pretty and organized when you’re done that it just might be worth it!

  26. Ava August 24, 2011 at 10:20 pm #

    What an amazing improvement. Looks gorgeous! Now following xx Ava

  27. gina August 25, 2011 at 5:25 am #

    You have inspired me to organize my pantry! I, too, have been scared to tackle mine thinking it had to look like Shelley’s. Loved hers, wanted one like hers but my is just a cabinet. It’s deep and dark! Bet my throw pile will be huge. Your pantry looks great!!
    Thanks for the inspiration…..just what I needed!

  28. Heidi August 25, 2011 at 7:25 am #

    Okay – you did it – I AM going to clean out/organize my pantry TODAY! Thanks for the inspiration/motivation!

    • perfectlyimperfect August 25, 2011 at 8:33 am #

      YAY, Heidi!! That’s awesome…you’ll feel amazing after…promise! ;-)

  29. Jan August 25, 2011 at 10:01 am #

    Okay, now this I could do! I have that same wire shelving system, you’re giving me hope that it can look pretty with a little bit of organization and work. Definitely pinning. . .

  30. Beth August 25, 2011 at 12:07 pm #

    Ah, I love a good organizational overhaul. Looks great!

  31. Kacey August 25, 2011 at 3:07 pm #

    You are fabulous! I have organized and reorganized my pantry and it never looks as neat as yours. My poor husband can never find anything because I’m forever moving things around in our kitchen. Hopefully one of these days I’ll figure out something that works and stick with it!

  32. Lynne August 27, 2011 at 9:24 pm #

    Lovely job! I started to work on mine, got sidetracked finding containers I liked then had a baby and there it sits!! I am going to do it now! Where did you find the wire baskets on your top shelf and hanging on the wall? Love them! I also have those same stupid wire shelves. Where did you find the basket that hooks on or the kids shelves.

  33. Leslie August 28, 2011 at 6:16 pm #

    Hi..Your pantry looks great! What is the item hanging to the left on the wall? Wooden handled item…

  34. Janae August 30, 2011 at 9:52 am #

    LOVE the pantry! It looks GREAT! I also was inspired by Shelley @ HOS and painted the interior of my pantry (just paint, no stencil) and am working on procuring containers to organize!

  35. Angela September 4, 2011 at 9:25 am #

    Thanks for inspiring me!

  36. Michelle February 25, 2012 at 5:09 pm #

    Love this! What a great makeover with the jars, crates and baskets. I have given you a feature over at

  37. Princess Kate March 6, 2012 at 12:47 pm #

    Absolutely love what you have done with your pantry. You not only inspired me to do my pantry, you inspired me to donate a lot of the unused food I had to a local food bank. Thanks for the great inspiration and th donation idea.

  38. T Green February 5, 2013 at 3:54 am #

    If I may ask since I did not notice anyone else doing so…where did you find the sliding metal drawer you put the kids snacks in? Do you know what company makes it or by what name it is sold under? I did not know these were available! And would really love to find one for my super small pantry closet!

    The Green Family~

    • perfectlyimperfect February 6, 2013 at 7:57 am #

      Hi there! We got the drawer at Lowe’s, I think! I’m not sure on the name…I’ll try to find out for you! :-)

  39. June February 21, 2013 at 11:48 am #

    Hello, I like how you not only showed how to organize your pantry but also explained why you did that way. The helpful hints were a nice touch. I see from the date of this blog post was Aug 11, have you decorated the inside since then? Just curious. However it looks great as is!

  40. Michelle June 29, 2013 at 10:16 pm #

    Love your little silver scoopers that you have in your jars! Where did you get those as well as the large wire baskets?

  41. cost of importing car from usa to uk October 18, 2014 at 11:59 pm #

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  1. pantry makeover | Maple & Magnolia - August 31, 2011

    [...] putting off tackling the pantry until last week when I was inspired by one of my favorite blogs, Perfectly Imperfect. Check out Shaunna’s pantry [...]

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