Before and After: A Narrow Pantry Is Transformed with Only $100 in Supplies

published Jun 29, 2023
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Pantry before organizing: shelves are full of goods with no real organization, looks somewhat messy

It’s hard enough to cook dinner for a family of five when ingredients are easy to find, but when your pantry is disorganized, just opening the door can be enough to make anyone opt for DoorDash.

Jessica Dianne (@jessicadiannexoxo), a mother of three, hated feeling stressed when she opened her pantry. It was “extremely difficult to find the ingredients” she needed, and she was tired of accidentally buying grocery duplicates because it was hard to tell what she had in stock. Food languished and eventually expired in the depths of her narrow pantry, which meant wasted space and money. Jessica wanted meal planning and prep to be efficient and easy, and she knew a pantry overhaul was in order. 

Jessica’s first stop was HomeGoods. She walked in with a budget of $100 and left with everything she needed to transform her pantry. Because her shelves are deep, Jessica opted to create “drawers” out of white bins (here’s something similar from Amazon). She also bought a sturdy wooden box to store potatoes, a beautiful oil and vinegar cruet set, and linen-lined wire baskets for the floor (this is a great alternative from Target). For the rest, Jessica used items she already owned, including a flour crock from Target and plastic pantry containers.

Once home with supplies in hand, Jessica removed everything from the pantry and discarded expired food. She sorted the remaining ingredients into categories (breakfast, snacks, baking, etc.), and placed each category into a bin. She then cleaned the cabinet shelves and floors with Mrs. Meyer’s Multi-Surface Cleaner

Then, beginning at the top of the pantry, Jessica added bins until she found a system that was both functional and aesthetically pleasing. She grouped all the cans to make them look neater. It took some puzzling to find the ideal configuration, but Jessica says she’s “very happy with how it all turned out in the end.” 

The whole enterprise took only two hours, start to finish, which seems astoundingly fast for a pantry project. It helped that Jessica knew exactly what she wanted from this refresh.

For anyone looking to complete a similar project, Jessica offers this advice: “Get very specific with your goals and the overall feel before you begin. And take measurements, so you know what size bins or containers you need.” 

Jessica wouldn’t change a thing about this project, aside from “maybe adding labels.” It’s exactly how she wanted her narrow pantry to look, she says, and “with a family of five, I am impressed with how much I can organize into this small space now.” 

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