Before & After: This Cluttered Pantry Gets a New Life with Just $100 Worth of Supplies

published Apr 10, 2023
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Kitchen pantry before reorganizing.
Credit: Lisa Salem

Beautiful pantries that look more like an art installation than a real-life organizing solution are certainly drool-worthy. But a careful pantry organization that works efficiently can be just as nice to look at, too.

Without changing anything about her client’s pantry’s structure (no new paint or updated shelving), Lisa Salem of Light at the End of the Clutter transformed the space into something anyone would be pleased to use. 

Lisa’s client was inspired to make a change because she was “feeling overwhelmed with the space and was having a difficult time finding things when needed and therefore repurchasing items she already had.” 

The pantry was cluttered and lacked organization. “It was in need of systems being put in place, to create more functionality,” says Lisa.

In about three hours and with a mere $100 spent on supplies, the pantry became an organized powerhouse with systems put into place that would allow it to stay that way. 

Credit: Lisa Salem

Here’s how Lisa details her process.

“First, all items were removed from the space and separated into general categories, then subdivided and sorted more specifically,” says Lisa. Working alongside the client, they discarded anything that had gone bad or discussed which items she needed easy access to. 

“Once I had a plan in place, I began to organize all the different categories onto the shelves by placing high-use items at eye level in easy-to-access areas. Items not accessed as often, plus extra stock, were placed up high. Heavier items — such as flour, rice, etc. — were placed into rolling bins on the floor,” says Lisa. Then, containers and bins were labeled for quick identification.

The most challenging aspect of the project was how time-consuming it was to check items’ expiration dates. Additionally, it was tricky “trying to plan out where each category would go on the shelves in order to maximize the space as best as possible while also creating a balanced look for visual appeal.”

Credit: Lisa Salem

Lisa’s favorite part of the project is “how much more functional the pantry will be” for her client. She also loved the contrast between the black and white storage baskets and the labels. Overall, Lisa feels that the pantry now “looks calming, is functional, and has some great style.”

For anyone looking to overhaul their pantry, Lisa suggests this: “When you are ready to tackle the project, start by going through your pantry to check for expired items and donate any non-expired items that you feel you will no longer use to friends/family or the food bank. This will clear out extra space and give you more room to work with.”

She also recommends taking everything out, sorting it into categories, and creating a plan on where to put items back before doing so. “The most important part is to measure your spaces before you buy any new storage bins! Labeling also works wonders!” says Lisa, adding that if you want to simplify things, you can hire a professional to do this all for you. 

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This post originally appeared on Apartment Therapy. See it there: See How a Pro Organizer Gave This Cluttered Pantry a New Life with Just $100 Worth of Supplies