Pantry Makeover: Small Space, Big Impact!

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Finally, about a month after I promised I’d blog about this on social media, I’m sharing my pantry makeover! Thank you for your patience:)

Oh my gosh you guys. I’m about to lay it all out here with this post. I would consider myself a pretty organized person. Clutter makes me crazy. And cranky. Order makes me so happy. But yet, THIS is what I’ve been dealing with for years, my friends…

I mean. <insert face palm here>

Those of you who know the tv show Friends (btw – is there anyone out there who DOES NOT?!), our pantry is my version of Monica’s closet. Except the difference here is – instead of locked and never seen by anyone until that episode, our pantry stays open ALL THE LIVE LONG DAY. That door is constantly opened, whether it’s while I’m cooking and grabbing ingredients (which is also all the live long day, especially with the kids home in the summer!), or looking for a snack, or getting Charlie a treat, or his food bin, or grabbing some paper towels. Point is, this hot mess was on display for all the world to see pretty much 24/7.

I finally had enough after I painted the interior doors black and realized how much potential was there. Yes, it’s itty bitty as far as pantries go. (It was actually the hall closet when we moved in here, but after we tore down all the kitchen walls to open things up, we had to turn it into a pantry). But that is no excuse. It was time to give this little closet some much needed love. But of course I wanted to do this on a budget, so ripping out the entire wire shelving and starting over wasn’t going to happen. I figured I could use the same back piece, the same metal brackets the shelves rest on, but just upgrade those wire shelves to wood, and paint the whole inside white to brighten it up (it was blue on the sides and had chalkboard paint on the back from years ago).

I also decided while I was at it, why not replace the skinny 1965 baseboards with the much improved baseboards we’ve put in the rest of the house. My husband thought it was silly at first, since it’s just a pantry, but it really does make a big difference!!

I lucked out and found a piece of 1in x 16in x 8ft wood at Home Depot which would be pretty much the perfect dimensions if I cut it into four pieces. I stained it with Minwax Provincial (to match my kitchen shelves) and simply swapped out the wire stuff for these wood beauties. (We also drilled the wood shelves in place in the holes in the brackets). Between that and the fresh white paint, it was already looking a ZILLION times better in here.

I picked up some plastic bins from Target (perfect time of year, with kids off to college – they were on sale for about $5 a piece I believe?), and two fit perfectly on one shelf.  The top left bin contains oils, broths, vinegars, sauces, etc. Top right has starches: rice, pasta, tortillas, etc. Middle shelf bins have snacks. Then the bottom shelf has some different flours in glass canisters, and cereal in tall containers. I also have more baking stuff in giant glass canisters on my kitchen counter and open kitchen shelves, so that helps. And we have open shelves with lots of baskets for stuff like apples, bananas, onions, garlic, potatoes, etc. When you have a small space, you definitely have to get creative! The wire door shelves are the same ones I had in the before (not sure where we bought them originally – it’s been 13+ years), but I decided to pour all that stuff in mason jars and label them! Oh man, do I have quite the love affair with my label maker. Once I start, I can’t stop!

Having these mason jars really help me keep track of what’s getting low, and they look so darn pretty too, right?! Someone on Instagram asked where the food was, but honestly, it’s here! Over the past couple years our family has made some changes to our eating habits – we’ve gotten into eating a lot less processed food, and a lot more “real food” – so that helps keep the snack bins from exploding with stuff like chips, store bought cookies, etc. A win-win for this mama!

And now, things are looking just a *little* bit better these days, huh? 😉

The last thing that really changed the game for this pantry makeover was the lighting! I ordered these from Amazon:

And talk about the greatest thing ever! They come with a remote, timer, dimming options – I LOVE these guys. They’re battery operated and stuck up there with some double sided foam tape (comes with them!). I’m going to buy some rechargeable batteries so I’m not constantly using batteries up. Honestly though, we don’t use the lights all the time, just when we need to look for something.

So that about wraps up the pantry makeover! Here’s one last before and after, because it’s just so fun;)

If you have a small space pantry too, I hope this gives you some inspiration! I don’t even mind my view from the kitchen when the door is open now – ha!

This was done in one weekend, without spending much money, and I cannot even tell you how much happier it’s made me. Totally worth it. Also, thank you for all the love on social media for this cutie, and I hope I answered all your questions! Oh! Forgot a couple things – the recycling bin is now hidden in the kitchen island, and the keurig is downstairs on storage shelves – we rarely use that, especially in the summer. Vinegar is under the sink, as well as foil, parchment paper, wax paper, etc. Next thing is to buy one of those inside cabinet mount things for all that stuff. Ok, NOW I think I’ve answered everything;) Feel free to comment with anything I missed! Have a wonderful day!




  1. Looks great… I have pantry envy. 🙂

  2. Mary Anne says:

    This is beautifully done! Isn’t it amazing how paint can brighten a utilitarian space !? During the winter, I emptied the Guest room closet, tore out some makeshift shelves, and painted it a bright white. After installing some top shelves and a hanging rod…donating most of the “stuff” stored in there…it’s a nice little space! Sometimes it’s the little things that we see that can bring a smile to the day! (It also keeps me from cluttering that little closet up again! It looks so nice now!)

  3. I LOVE that you referenced Friends!! 🤣🤣 BEST. SHOW. EVER!! PS: the pantry looks super cute too! 🙂

  4. Your pantry looks fabulous!! Was nice to hear from you again today. Hope your kids have a blessed school year & maybe you will have an opportunity to post more. Always fun to hear what you’re up to!

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