The Organizing of a Walk-In Pantry

My dearest friend, Wanda, (whom I have known for 14 years) has one of the coolest pantries in town.

Not only is it a walk-in room with a regular door, she had it designed so that the side that faces her kitchen (which normally would be a wall) opens with two more sets of bifold doors so she and her family can access those every day items they need while cooking or heading out the door for another adventure.

She desired a system to maximize the storage she was already blessed with.

 In the course of an afternoon, we implemented several organizing solutions:
  • Minimize items by elimination. Keep the best of the best of something and donate the others.
  • Group ingredients. Store items of similar type, size and shape together to make them easy to locate.
  • Categorize for for efficiency. Items were arranged by size and frequency of use. Large items in bins on the floor and daily use items at arm's reach.
  • Store transparently. Most every staple that is commonly used was removed from the manufacturer's and store packaging and put into the clear Tupperware containers. Loose packets, bags of nuts/chips (etc.), and individual snacks are easily accessed without rummaging through all the food.
  • Rethink location. Are there things in your pantry taking up prime real estate space that could go in the garage or another closet (mop/broom/vacuum) or under the sink (trashcan/extra bags)? Move them.
  • Utilize hooks. Hang store shopping bags, aprons, potholders.
  • Anticipate restocking. Keep a shopping list on the refrigerator door to immediately add items as you need them. This is what I use (from Target):

(I apologize if the pictures are grainy. There was only incandescent lighting in this room.)

So, let's get going, y'all!

Here is a view of the before pantry from the regular door entrance.

(Wanda told me to apologize to y'all for the mess, but that she needed my help
and so she left it like this just so I could spend time with her! Isn't she sweet?)

The first thing I made Wanda do Wanda and I did was clear this room!
Then, I wiped the shelves and mopped the floor
(while SHE chatted on the phone! Perfect timing for a phone call, wouldn't you say)?

Then I did a happy dance for the cleared out space!
(Where'd my face go? It's just as well, no makeup.)

I can hear an echo...echo...echo...

"Hey! Guess what, Wanda? Go take a look at the rest of your house!"

Stop crying.

Start sorting and tossing.

And re-containerizing all this stuff.

Uh...I can't cope.
I am going to go get a pedicure. I'll be back after a while, Wanda.
And, I told you to stop crying.

"Why aren't you using all these loverly Tupperware Modular Mates?"
Let's put them to use, shall we?

Wanda's and my time together wouldn't be complete without a run to Wal-Mart.
We picked up 8 of these.
(Can you see the basket? Couldn't find a bigger picture, sorry!)

and 5 of these.

Put them to use and about 4 hours later...remember the before?

here's the AFTER.





My goal for her was to get things off the floor, and/or into bins so her house cleaner could mop thoroughly.

On the left, in the bin: party goods, the right bin holds disposable containers and foil bakeware 
she uses to take meals to people.

Beverages before and after.

Extra spices shelf before and after.

Big ol' honkin' pans that don't fit in her kitchen cupboards,
that are used infrequently are stored behind the door.
On the floor, in a bin, are candles and candle holders.

This is Dimitri. 
"Hi, D!" {Pat pat.}
He gets a spot for all his stuff in the pantry, too.

"Here is your basket of Pampered Pooch products, D."
(Do you see that he gets his own JAR of Skippy peanut butter?)
His dog food is in the hinge-lidded bin under the basket.

Here's how we used some of the other baskets. 
I am a mean organizer friend.
I told Wanda that she could only keep the amount of cookbooks that would fit in one basket.

And she did it!
Group hug!

What we put in some of the other baskets.

The left side has the daily-use items: cereal, snacks, spreads, drinks.
The right side stores baking and cooking supplies.

Snack bin with bamboo clothes pin bag clips.

Her glorious collection of Modular Mates.

All done!

And don't my toesies look nice?

I had fun with you, Wanda!
The next space at your home?
Your teenage son's bedroom/hangout/game room.

This calls for a trip to Ikea, girl.

Speaking of Ikea, my next post is a guest review by my very own sister on Ikea cookware...

Stay tuned!!

I am at Gina's adorable cottage for

It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.  
~Ralph Waldo Emerson



  1. Wow, what an amazing pantry. The organization looks great!

  2. Hi there. You are needed in my home asap. Son has returned from universtiy and the house has gone from almost tidy, to dumpsite.
    I love the pantry clearout! What a great storage space to have !I onlyhave about a tenth of that space for my food.

  3. Woot! Honorable Mention!
    Wow... I *love* me some Tupperware containers!!
    What? No Penzeys Spices?? :(
    I have the same cookbook! (The Kids Cookbook)

    I'ma miss my walk-in pantry in 3 weeks hence... I'm a pretty good organizer, but you may have to come help me organize a smaller space...
    is it wrong of me to hope that someday I'll have a walk-in pantry again?

    Great job, girls!!

  4. Amazing job, what a wonderful pantry!!! So much space, love it,Kathysue

  5. Oh my goodness this pantry is amazing! I can't even begin to tell you how jealous I am!

  6. No offense to Wanda, but that looks like a full days job to me, Leslie! Great size and I love her wood floors. I have a pantry cabinet and then we have space in our garage for the bulk type stuff. The baskets and bins really helped.

  7. dream..a walk in pantry-not in this great grandmother had one in her old Victorian house..I Loved it...oh to have everything in one spot...

  8. This is my first visit to your site...I liked the makeover on the pantry...I drema of a pantry that big...but I have a teeny tiny organized it must always be!

  9. Oh I love this! It makes me want to organize in my kitchen. It's not even that big of a mess, but I want to pull everything out and reorganize it anyway.

  10. Wanda is a lucky woman to have you as a best friend! You did a great job with her pantry. You were smart to include the "before" photos--it would be easy to say that a pantry as large as hers could never be anything but organized and beautiful, but of course that's not true. Sometimes I think that the more space I have, the less organized I am!

    I know you're going to Gina's next month. . . maybe you should start traveling around the country, helping us all. What do you think??

  11. I'm with Richella; put me on the tour, please!!!!! I am so impressed with that pantry!! I am almost envious!! It's a work of art now, thanks to her BFF!! So Cool!!

  12. grateful for you!!!

  13. Hey, Lezlie! You're like a magician! Love all the storage ideas!

  14. Ooops! Leslie! Sorry about the spelling. I have two friends who are Lezlie's!

  15. Wow. Wow. Wow. Yes, please come here next. My "pantry" is also home to the water heater and washer/dryer/laundry area...not nearly as awesome as that! Great job!

  16. SUPERB!!! Miss your Purge Parties. :( This inspires me that it's time to touch up my foyer closet and pantry. They're not quite exactly the same as when I first organized them for the party. :(

    Thanks for stopping by. Don't worry about our phone connection. I was hoping to push it up anyhow. We'll try again next week.


  17. First of all...excellent job. I love me a good organizing project. But I'm not completely understanding the doors that lead to the shelves. Is it too far to walk into the pantry from the kitchen? Maybe I need to go back and read it again.

    Wanda needs to get some big girl panties (just kidding Wanda....I am sure Leslie will have me crying when we meet for our Cottage Room Redo!) Lisa~

  18. Dude! I need you to come organize my pantry, and my hall closet and my master closet and my laundry room... um... well... you get the point ;)

  19. Leslie, you are a wonder. Looks fabulous. So do you! Susan

  20. Boy, do I need one of these makeovers. When I put food in clear plastic containers, for some reason it "disappears" from my children's vision and they open a new box/bag :/.

  21. I LOOOOVE your blog- I'm so excited I found it! The design is awesome and I'm wishing for this pantry right now... I found you through your comment on The Speckled Dog's post about a meetup for southern bloggers and just wanted to say hi. I'm in upstate SC and your newest follower! : )

  22. I love that your dog has his own jar of peanutbutter. When I fix peanutbutter and crackers for a snack for the kids and I, the dogs also each get one.

    Just found your blog and can't wait to discover more.

  23. I'm doing just this very thing today. I don't know about Wanda, but with me, I end up with a mess in six months, anyway. I did just get a label maker at Costco, though, and it makes me feel incredibly organized just looking at it :)

    (I LOVE Dimitri.)

  24. Amazing job, what a wonderful pantry!!! So much space, love it!


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