Before & After: Pantry Organization Project

Although I finished my pantry organization project, my plan was originally to organize my Craft Room / Home Office combo room, and I sorted enough to clear a space on the floor and began working on the closet. I knew a lot needed to be removed, like a bookcase that I wanted to put into the pantry.  So, after unloading half of my closet, I transported the bookcase to the pantry, and took on the pantry organization project.

This is the “before” pic.

Pantry "Before"
Pantry “Before”

My pantry is in a closet off the kitchen, and I like to simply turn off the light and shut the door, ignoring the mess within.  For the past few months, I’ve been keeping my new groceries in the kitchen where I can find them rather than deal with the full pantry.  Obviously, I managed to cram all my bulk purchases in here from my last Costco visit.

I measured the bookcase and the space available for it.  The bookcase is 25.5″ wide, and the space available is 27″.  I unloaded all the stuff from the main area, scrubbed the floor with Lysol wipes, and then moved in the bookcase. It was a very tight fit.

Over the weekend, I reloaded the pantry.  Pulling out what does not belong, throwing away expired food (seriously, if I haven’t used it yet and it’s expired, I don’t need it), and then putting it all back.  And I even put away the foods (canned goods) that I had setting on my counters because I didn’t want to lose them in the pantry.

This is how it looks now.

Pantry "After"
Pantry “After”

In addition to the bookcase, I added a red rug from my bathroom.  (I have new items for my bathroom that I’ve been procrastinating using – and I’m glad I did, otherwise I may not have had this rug available!)  My hope is that with a pretty rug there,  I won’t load up the pantry floor with stuff.

I placed an order for a tiered expandable shelf for the canned goods on the top shelf of the bookcase.  Right now, the middle shelf of the bookcase is holding my Tupperware cake taker, a thermal casserole carrier and my Godiva hot chocolate set from Christmas (gift to myself).

The bottom shelf of the bookcase is holding my boxes of cereal.  And the lowest shelf on the right is holding quite a bit of stuff.  In the back corner next to the bookcase, I have my stock of paper products – boxes of tissue, paper towels, napkins, etc., to the right (if you were in the pantry), I have my bulk food items, and then closer to the door, I have my unopened plastic wrap, aluminum foil wrap, and other things in that size box inside that drawer.  On top of the drawer, I have a basket with my vacuum cleaner bags and attachments.  The shelf above that is mostly food.  I guess I could have done some more rearranging before taking the picture, but I was anxious to get moving.

Finally, here is a picture taken after the tiered shelf for the canned goods arrived and I had the chance to use it and rearrange things again.

Pantry - Final "After"
Pantry – Final “After”


Thanks for reading!  Have a good week!


My Organizing Journey

It took me awhile to move out on my own.  After graduating from college, I returned to my parents’ house, toting along with me my four years’ accumulation of dorm room necessities.  Organizing my belongings into the room I grew up in was difficult, especially since I have always been a bit of a shopaholic, and I liked to purchase new things for my future home.

I initially enjoyed my apartment, with its two bedrooms and spacious bathroom.  I worked two jobs – one full-time and one part-time – and didn’t have much spare time to maintain it.  Then, I began graduate school, and the time I could have used for maintaining my home was better spent on reading and studying.

Sometime in 2002 or 2003, I discovered Flylady (Marla Cilley).  I’m not sure how I learned about her, perhaps it was a newspaper article or word of mouth.  I enjoyed the testimonials, routines and reminders, but I didn’t care for some of her “musts”, i.e., you must shine the sink, you must wear lace-up shoes, etc.

Despite my being not fully on board with all Flylady’s teachings, and needing to get organized, I founded a local Flylady support group.  We did Portable Project afternoons, where we got together with our various portable projects and worked on them while chatting.  One time, we met at my apartment, and one of the ladies helped me with my home office, while another lady worked at my kitchen table sorting through her plastic bags full of paper.  Although there was a core group of us who got along well with each other, the group grew, and interpersonal issues became a problem.  The ladies grew tired of the drama, participation decreased, and within a few months, the group was gone.

I never was able to get my apartment fully organized, so when I moved in 2005, a couple boxes were full of loose papers destined for my office.  I organized my move as well as I could, knowing I could not be in all places at the same time, and I numbered and labeled all my boxes with their destination rooms, and I had a master list of the numbers and their contents on a legal pad.

I was employed full-time during the move, and in addition to having a mover transport the furniture, my family and a couple friends helped move the boxes and get them to the appropriate rooms.   This reminds me – I thought I was being smart by labeling one essential box “Front Closet”, and it got buried in the front closet and it took me months to find it, because organizing the front closet just wasn’t that important.  I guess next time, I’ll label it “Essentials”, so it is easier to keep track of.  But I digress – because I only took a couple days off work, the main priority was to get me settled in and set up enough to function properly.  And so it went, working and having to-do lists to help remind me to get things done.

Although I’ve had a couple periods where I have made a big push to get organized, I have not successfully done so.  In 2012, I took on a project where I rearranged half my furniture – not just within each room, but some things moving from one to another.  This caused more upheaval, as the contents of my desk, for example, of the piles on and around it, etc., also had to be sorted and relocated – or not.  Another item I wanted to move, my coffee table, lingered for a long time before I finally moved it to the basement (in 2013).  I loved using that coffee table.  It has one drawer in it, and I could have an ocean of paper under it, on top of it, and have the drawer completely stuffed!  Despite the coffee table’s absence, my living room is still a haven for paper and clutter.

After a long period of not working, I began a new job in January 2014.  I was ecstatic because adding some structure to my days and a steady paycheck would really help me pull myself and my home back together.  And then one day, I opened an e-mail from Flylady, and she talked about how many people find inspiration from other organizers, fascinating ideas on Pinterest, and then she specifically mentioned Alejandra of  And so, for the past couple of years, I’ve been learning from Alejandra. Her system helped complete the puzzle for me, but learning still did not get the work done.

myorganizingjourneyObviously, my organizing journey is not over, but I am thankfully beyond “just beginning”!  In upcoming posts, I hope to share about getting organized, but I have other priorities, typical chores like laundry and dishes, fitness, working a full-time job, etc. Somehow I have to take the time to make progress on the organizing front so I have some news to report.

It’s good to state these goals in writing. Now I just have to build consistent habits. Thanks for reading and being a companion on this journey!