Apartment Living BlogApartment Living › Pretty Pantry – Guest Blogger!

This week we are celebrating the top five entries in our photo contest by sharing a post from their own blog sites. Today we have Shelley Smith talking about how she redid her pantry to make it into the Pretty Pantry that we all now know and love.

Pretty Pantry Organizing How-To’s with

The House of Smiths

Hello! My name is Shelley and I am the author of the blog, The House of Smiths.

Our blog is all about our family’s We’re so excited to be here, sharing a little bit of our kitchen pantry makeover process with all of you!

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When we first moved into our new home, we thrilled just to HAVE a pantry at all!  It was the first place we lived in that actually allotted a designated spot for JUST food! 🙂  Although this was a fabulous perk, we were quickly turned onto the fact that the pantry can rapidly become one of the busiest places in the house.

Case and Point: Our Pantry BEFORE


Our Pantry was always stuffed to the brim with paper goods, large counter top appliances and food that we could hardly get to half of the time.

So with a little creativity, and a LOT of help from IKEA, Walmart, and our local thrift stores…

we finally got this space in tip-top, extraordinarily organized condition.

And here’s how we did it!


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Our first step was to pull out EVERYTHING we had in our pantry.

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I found these 3ft pieces of trim and thought they would be a subtle, great way to jazz up the shelf fronts a bit.

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After about 3 coats of primer, we used some wood glue and adhered the trim on the fronts of all the shelves.

After the wood glue dried, I putty-ed up the cracks and painted all

the shelves and molding semi-gloss white.

Next came the fun part!  COLOR!

After sorting through about a hundred different gray’s,

I picked out a gray I thought might work well in this small space.

Flagstone from Olympic.

Not too light, not too dark, and just enough warmth.

I got it home started painting the walls and fell in LOVE with this color! The gray popped perfectly against those white shelves!

After all of that painting we still wanted to have a fun element in the space, I decided to print out this fun, trendy quatrefoil design in vinyl, to back the walls with!

You can also use a small stencil if you’d like, to get the same effect!

So fun right!?  I LOVE this pattern!

After that, we started loading everything back in, but now, in a very organized manner 🙂

Here are some great tips for getting YOUR pantry organized on a budget!

*Remove ALL food/electrical/bulky items that don’t get used or eaten on a weekly basis

All other products should be moved to another “food storage” location, if possible.  This way, when you need to “restock” on pantry items that are low, you can easily refill them with your stored products and keep your “everyday” pantry clean and free of unnecessary clutter. If you don’t have ANY other space, utilize empty dead space on the floor with cute functional containers that you can easily pull out, that allow for extra storage.

* Place all items that you DO want or need to store and don’t use everyday… up high

I found this wire basket at my local second hand store for $1.00.

I placed our ice cream cones, drink mixes and rarely used… but still needed sugars in this basket.


The more you label things, the better you’ll be at making sure your hard work doesn’t go to waste!

Containers or other storage items you’ve chosen to organize with will have a better chance at being refilled with the RIGHT products, things will stay more organized and you’ll find yourself  “cleaning out the pantry” less and less.

*Categorize your Pantry

Baking Supplies, Snacks, Paper Goods, Canned Products… and so on.

It just makes sense… right? 🙂

This little crate was found at a thrift store for $0.50 cents.

I just added a vinyl label to the front.

I keep all the baking powders, vanilla and such in here.

Any SMALL products that tend to go scattered all over the pantry, in due time.

*Protect your Work!

I used these inexpensive furniture self stick pads to put on the bottom of all my “thrift store” organizational storage finds, that had rough bottoms or edges. I also lined all the pantry shelves with white contact paper to protect the paint for as long as I can. It might sound a little “fussy” to do all this for a pantry and more work and money, now… but it will keep you from having to take the time to retouch up paint in the future!

I HIGHLY recommend these two things.

*Make pantry items accessible and easy to “see”

Your pantry can be as cute as ever but if you can’t get to the items you need, or even SEE what you have, then what’s the point?

I used hanging bathroom shower caddy’s that I found at a big box store for organizing all of our spices.

*Keep things you use OFTEN at eye level for easy use!

The things you use EVERYDAY should be easy to access. Once again, try to label things and make sure that it all makes sense. If you have noodles in one area… then your sauce should be it’s sidekick!

Other food products that I use on a regular basis that can’t really go in containers are stored BEHIND the larger items.


*Lose all those bulky BOXES!

Our family goes through a TON of cereal.  And everyone likes different kinds.

So I didn’t want to waste my money on a bunch of different containers that I KNEW would always be half full and have tons of cereal dust crumbs in the bottom. But I ALSO knew that I HATED all the cereal boxes that would pile up in our pantry… making it look cluttered and smaller then the space already was!


So I used this wire crate, and ditched all the cereal boxes! Nothing fancy…But it works great!

*Keep Heavy, Less Used, Clutter Prone items down low.

Things like my large bottle of oil, vinegars, soy sauce, season salt… and such are stored low and hidden.

I don’t want to have to go to my “alternate storage place” to grab these items, but I don’t need to SEE them all the time either. So we found some vintage wood milk crates and used them for easy creative storage.

They just add a fun personalized element to the regular storage go-to containers for pantry’s.



And again… Here’s the BIG PICTURE! 🙂

In conclusion…

*Make YOUR pantry work for YOUR Family!

Everyone has different ways of accessing their food, and how they like to keep it stored.

But I promise that if you find functional, easy, clearly marked, (and beautiful doesn’t hurt either) storage solutions for your pantry… you will be LOVING life, so much more!

For more fresh, creative, budget friendly organizing and decorating tips, come visit us at thehouseofsmiths.com!

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  1. Atlantic Station Apartments says:
    Wow, this was a very informative post. Little trivia: Other cultures actually refer to their cafeteria or canteen as the ‘pantry’. Anyway, thanks for these great, great tips. Placing appropriate images really enhanced the point being delivered.
  2. Heidi Ward says:
    How did you “print on vinyl” that pattern to put on the walls? Thanks.
  3. I love this pattern! Where did you find it online, and how did you print it on vinyl? Where did you get the vinyl to print it on also?


  4. Andrew G. Hopkins says:
    Hi, great tips. I like to cook, but I am not very organized. So I’ve got spices and the other stuff everywhere. 🙂 I found this article very useful. Thanx for sharing. Andrew
  5. Where did you buy those containers?
  6. *Pinned!* Thx so much for a great storage solution post Shelley! I have an almost identical pantry. (Before, not the after) I also love the grey and white with trefoil pattern. Using it for my built ins in the living room. May as well do the same with my pantry. For those asking about printing the pattern on vinyl… if you have a stencil cutting machine… Cricket, silhouette, etc a few of options to print and not cut your design. Buy the rolls of vinyl. You have to have the proper printer though that will allow print to vinyl. I am checking out your blog, Shelley!
  7. Michelle Baxter says:
    Could you tell me where you bought your tall cereal containers.
    • Lea Erbskorn says:

      Hey Michelle! To find these types of food storage containers, check out Target, Walmart, IKEA, and other large department retails stores. We hope this helps! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

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