This Pro-Approved Pantry Hack Will Be the “Best $13 You’ve Ever Spent”

published Dec 18, 2023
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Food items on pantry shelves
Credit: Don Farrall for getty

Stop me if this scenario sounds familiar: You’re hunting for that rarely used but very specific and necessary ingredient for the recipe you’re whipping up. The pantry is dark, the light switch is far away, and the recipe requires the item now, at this very moment. Inevitably, you have to pause cooking to go on an exhaustive search through your pantry. Sigh.

If this sounds all too relatable to you, you’re in luck. It turns out that professional food stylist, cookbook author, and Studio A La Carte owner Diana Yen has an ingenious solution to this common issue in her earthy Ojai home

Yen has over a decade of culinary experience, so she knows a thing or two about how to make the kitchen work for you. When she was reimagining her bland kitchen, it dawned on her to revamp the pantry, too. “I had a pretty drab pantry, but because I cook for work, it’s important to be able to access and see everything in there,” Yen said.

Credit: Diana Yen

Yen installed rechargeable motion-detector lights on each shelf of the pantry, a trick another homeowner said was “the best $12 she’d ever spent.” Yen’s solution is unique because she can be completely hands-free when accessing the light — all she has to do is open the pantry door or wave her hand. Although she didn’t share the exact lights she used, this pack of bar-shaped LED motion sensor lights looks similar to what she has. It comes in three different colors of light, at just under $13!

“Now I can see everything,” Yen said. “It makes it feel so much fancier and showcases all my special food items I’ve gathered from trips. Putting everything into clear bins and jars has also upped my pantry game.” When it comes to kitchen organization, sometimes it’s the smallest tweaks and tricks that really make all the difference.

This isn’t the only cool feature in Yen’s kitchen (or home, for that matter). To see more of her gorgeous and clever spaces, visit the full home tour on Apartment Therapy

Buy: YLXS 30-LED Motion Sensor Under Cabinet Lights 2-Pack, $12.78