Before and After: See How a Pro Organizer Expertly Reorganizes This Newly Built Pantry

published Oct 27, 2022
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Before: A white pantry filled with food items

Moving into a new home can be extremely exciting. Bringing in your belongings and decorating every room to your liking are often major priorities when you start out. But there’s another task that can greatly improve and impact your home: establishing successful organizational systems.

Kim Newman knows this firsthand, as she recently moved into a newly built home with her family. She finally had the kitchen and pantry of her dreams. Now, the only thing missing was setting it up and getting organized. She called on Alison Moulder, a professional organizer and co-founder of Simplicity and Style, to help organize numerous spaces in her home, including the pantry, which needed a streamlined system in place.

“This large, walk-in pantry with custom-built shelves housed not only food, but also serving bowls and platters, a coffee pot and other small appliances, and pet food and supplies,” says Alison. “We wanted to organize the pantry so that it was both functional and beautiful at the same time!”

Before the project began, many items were easily lost on the back of shelves, with no real system for the way things were being stored, shares Alison. “Additionally, the variety of food and pantry items was creating ‘visual clutter’ and space wasn’t being maximized to its full potential.”

With a budget of $500-$600, Alison and her team got to work. 

“We began by taking literally every item out of the pantry and sorting each into categories,” says Alison. “When we organize pantries, one of the first things we do is to remove the bulky packaging to save space as well as take stock of our food items. We also tossed trash and expired foods, and created a ‘box’ of items to be relocated to other areas of the house (for most families, various items somehow end up in the pantry that actually belongs elsewhere in the home).”

Then, they set out to categorize food items, such as canned goods, baking, chips, and other snacks. Paper items, medicine, vitamins, and supplements followed. “We created individualized bins for each category so that everything was gathered in one place and easy to access,” says Alison.

“Once the pantry was entirely empty and items were sorted, we placed the organizing products that we purchased beforehand into the pantry,” she adds. “This allows us to see the big picture of how everything will fit in to maximize the space in an aesthetically pleasing way.” 

Bottled items, like oils and vinegar, were placed on turntables while canned items are stacked on expandable can risers so that everything is easily accessible, she explains. Other pantry items, like cereals and baking supplies, were decanted to save on space. And everything else was placed in labeled bins and baskets. 

“We always place less frequently used items on the higher shelves, such as backstock cleaning supplies and paper goods, as well as small appliances that aren’t used daily,” says Alison. “Additionally, corners can be tricky spots to store things so we love to use turntables so that items can easily be reached. We always utilize the floor space too! Rather than letting items just pile up on the floor, we used several large baskets to hold bulky items such as drinks, pet supplies, and paper goods. This keeps things organized but visually clean as well.”

The whole project took five hours to complete and products were sourced from The Container Store, HomeGoods, Target, and Walmart. “We love how bright and clean it all looks when you open the door! We always try to utilize several different textures for our products when we organize a space this big, so we chose woven baskets, clean white and acrylic bins, and white and brown rattan baskets for the floor, which added just the right amount of contrast while still creating a streamlined look.” 

In the end, the best part was seeing the clients’ reactions. “Our clients loved the new space and we do too!” says Alison. 

For those looking to get their pantry organized, Alison recommends setting aside time and to dive right in. It’s important to have a plan in action and to streamline the aesthetic with products that pair well together too.

“And lastly, don’t give up,” she says. “Creating a home you love is important and takes time and dedication so keep working until you have a pantry you love!”

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