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First Things First: A Pretty and Organized Pantry

Love these ideas for making a kitchen pantry organized and beautiful! Click through to the post for all of the details!

If there’s one thing I learned from living in the townhouse, it is that having spaces that function well are a must. The lack of storage space meant that we had to maximize every inch that we had, and by the time we had lived there for seven years, I think we had accomplished that mission pretty well.

Love these ideas for making a kitchen pantry organized and beautiful! Click through to the post for all of the details!

our old pantry in the townhouse

Organized pantry with decanted baking items, pasta, and spices

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A Pretty and Organized Pantry

One thing that surprised me about moving into the new house, then, was that even though our spaces are bigger for the most part, they aren’t necessarily more functional… at least not yet! Nowhere was this more evident than with our new pantry.

Love these ideas for making a kitchen pantry organized and beautiful! Click through to the post for all of the details!

the pantry in the new house right after we moved in

First, since I had turned a coat closet into our pantry at the townhouse, the new pantry was actually smaller, which was fine. What was not fine, though, were the wire shelves, which were in the pantry and in every other closet of the house.

Love these ideas for making a kitchen pantry organized and beautiful! Click through to the post for all of the details!

I had never had wire shelves before– the ones in the townhouse were metal before we replaced them– and I quickly learned that they were pretty much the least functional things ever. My stuff was falling over, the brackets used to hold up the shelving were getting in the way, and there was definitely nothing pretty about them.

So the pantry was added to the “first things first” list, and we set out to make it both more beautiful and functional ASAP.

Adding Removable Wallpaper

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.

One of the things I promised myself I would do in the new house is pay more attention to details. I think it can be little details that really make a space, so even in the pantry, I wanted to add a little something extra that would be a nice surprise when you opened the door.

I opted to use this removable wallpaper, which I think adds the perfect amount of interest to the back of the pantry.

Love this beautiful removable wallpaper! Click through to the post for sources!

Have you ever tried to install removable wallpaper before? I hadn’t! It ended up being a little trickier than I thought it would be, but (spoiler alert!) I love the end result!

Supplies

To install our removable wallpaper, we used:

Step 1- Draw a line where your first row of wallpaper should line up.

After we had cleared out all of the wire shelving and patched the holes, Donnie measured 20.5″ (the width of the wallpaper roll) from the wall and used a level to draw a straight line from the ceiling to the floor. This line is very important because we need to make sure our first row of wallpaper was straight. If it was crooked at all, it would make it harder to line up subsequent rows of wallpaper.

Step 2- Line up the first row of wallpaper.

Once we had our line, I lined up my first row of wallpaper, with one side against the wall and the other side matching up with our line. I left an extra inch or two of wallpaper at the top, overlapping with the ceiling, as per the instructions on the box. (I would trim this off later.)

Love these ideas for making a kitchen pantry organized and beautiful! Click through to the post for all of the details!

Step 3- Remove wallpaper backing and smooth.

Next, I would pull away about 12″ of the wallpaper backing at a time and use a tool like this one to smooth the wallpaper into place. This sounds easy enough, but it is trickier than it looks! Let’s just say I was thankful that the wallpaper was removable!

A few times there were bubbles under the wallpaper that I couldn’t get rid of, even with my fancy little tool, so I would have to pull up the wallpaper, reposition it, and try again. Other times I found that I had veered just slightly away from my straight line, which made the rest of the wallpaper crooked, so again, I had to pull it up, reposition, and smooth it out again. It was definitely frustrating at times, but I kept working away at it until I finished the first row and had it straight.

I used a box cutter to slice off the excess wallpaper, both at the ceiling and the baseboard, and it was time to move on to the second row.

Love these ideas for making a kitchen pantry organized and beautiful! Click through to the post for all of the details!

Step 4- Line up your next row.

If your wallpaper has a pattern like mine did, you’ll want to make sure the pattern on the second row of wallpaper matches with the first. Once you match up the pattern, you’ll continue the process of pulling away the backing and smoothing down the wallpaper bit by bit, repositioning when necessary. Admittedly, my second row was not lined up perfectly, but it was close enough that no one would notice, especially once the shelves are installed.

Love these ideas for making a kitchen pantry organized and beautiful! Click through to the post for all of the details!

Step 5- Repeat for as many rows as needed.

I only ended up needing 2 1/2 rows of wallpaper. Since I didn’t need to use the full width of the wallpaper for my final row, I measured the width of the wall that was left, then cut my wallpaper down to that width + a couple of inches for buffer just in case. That just made it easier to work with, and I could save the extra wallpaper for a future project.

Again, I lined up my pattern, and smoothed the wallpaper into place, trimming off the excess on the top, bottom, and sides when I was finished.

Love these ideas for making a kitchen pantry organized and beautiful! Click through to the post for all of the details!

It may have been a frustrating experience trying to get everything lined up just right, but I loved the end result!

Installing Shelves

I am just a smidge obsessed with the IKEA ALGOT shelving system. We used it in 3 closets in the townhouse (our pantry, master bedroom, and my craft room) and are planning to use it in many closets in the new house, including the pantry. It has many storage options from wire mesh bins to shoe racks, to pants racks, and more, but we opted just to use the shelving in the pantry.

[FYI… IKEA recently discontinued their ALGOT system and replaced it with BOAXEL, which is very similar.]

To install the shelves, we simply attached the wall uprights at the correct distance apart…

Love these ideas for making a kitchen pantry organized and beautiful! Click through to the post for all of the details!

…placed the shelf brackets at the heights we wanted them, and put the shelves into place.

Love these ideas for making a kitchen pantry organized and beautiful! Click through to the post for all of the details!

Getting Organized

Once the shelves were in place, it was time for the fun part– getting organized! I think I must’ve been craving some color after living with so many white walls the past few weeks, because I immediately went for my mint colored bins from Target. I picked up some additional ones in blue since they no longer have the mint, and I’m loving the color combo!

Love these ideas for making a kitchen pantry organized and beautiful! Click through to the post for all of the details!

I also picked up some party tags at Target and used my Silhouette Cameo to cut some lettering. I hung them from the plastic bins with twine I had on hand, and I had cute, coordinating labels!

Love these ideas for making a kitchen pantry organized and beautiful! Click through to the post for all of the details!

Since my labeled spice jars and food containers from the townhouse pantry were still going strong, I kept them as is– why mess with a good thing?! 🙂 (I use a riser like this one to hold the spices.)

Love these ideas for making a kitchen pantry organized and beautiful! Click through to the post for all of the details!
Love these ideas for making a kitchen pantry organized and beautiful! Click through to the post for all of the details!
Love these ideas for making a kitchen pantry organized and beautiful! Click through to the post for all of the details!

And I even still had room to store some of my small appliances like my CrockPot, KitchenAid, and electric skillet.

Love these ideas for making a kitchen pantry organized and beautiful! Click through to the post for all of the details!

I love that the ALGOT shelving really helped us maximize our space and made the pantry so much more functional. And the wallpaper makes me grin every time I open the pantry doors.

Love these ideas for making a kitchen pantry organized and beautiful! Click through to the post for all of the details!

The pantry may not be the most exciting transformation in our whole house, but it is one of the ones that makes our day to day lives easier and less frustrating– we can find exactly what we need, there is a spot for each item, and everything stays neat and tidy!

Love these ideas for making a kitchen pantry organized and beautiful! Click through to the post for all of the details!

Do you have any favorite tips for keeping the pantry organized? I’d love to hear them in the comments!

If you’d like to follow along with the rest of our First Things First series, you can do so in these posts:

Our New House: The “Before” Photos

First Things First: Installing Hardware

First Things First: Creating a Home Maintenance Plan

First Things First: Choosing Mattresses

First Things First: A Pretty and Organized Pantry (You’re here!)

Have a wonderful week, friends!

Small Signoff

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.

63 Comments

  1. Carrie Willard says:

    Wow you have inspired me. I am cleaning out my pantry TODAY!

    I dislike the wire racks too – the only good thing about them is that they don’t collect dust, and food particles can drop to the floor below and swept up.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Very true, Carrie!

      ~Abby =)

  2. Brittany Wise says:

    This turned out so cute! I loathe our wire shelves, too. I wish the homebuilder had allowed us to upgrade them to something more useable.

    PS. I love the sign above 🙂 🙂

    1. justagirlabby says:

      So glad I’m not alone on the wire shelves, Brittany! 🙂 I wish the same thing! Thanks so much and have a great evening!

      ~Abby =)

  3. Marian Elizabeth says:

    What a transformation! I love your little touches, like the wallpaper and the little tags for your containers.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thanks so much, Marian!

      ~Abby =)

  4. Stephanie says:

    So pretty! I dream of the day I have a pantry and can do something like this. Your obsession with the IKEA shelving = my obsession with Container Store’s ELFA systems.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thanks so much, Stephanie! Haven’t tried the ELFA systems but I’m sure they are fabulous! LOVE the Container Store!

      ~Abby =)

  5. Jackie pippin says:

    Solution to a messy pantry. I want a place for everything and everything in its place. My husband never returns anything to the same place twice. Soooo! We have a rather large laundry room to which we added shelves. I gave my husband his won pantry. We have a separate kitchen cabinet for spices, herbs, oils, etc that we both use.. But for his chips, jerky, and other things that I don’t eat, he has his own pantry. I also have mine (in the laundry room) that I can stock with my tuna, soup, energy bars. Mine is very neat and I never have to open his!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Sounds like a great solution to me, Jackie! 🙂

      ~Abby =)

  6. Lindsay @ Lindsay's Sweet World says:

    SWOON!! That’s all I have to say about that!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Aw, thanks so much, Lindsay!

      ~Abby =)

  7. Sarah @ The Teacher's Wife says:

    It turned out so well, Abby! I am definitely going to check out removable wallpaper for my little girl’s closet when I get to that stage of her room makeover (it’s going very slowly – ugh!).. One question, does your pantry stay that neat and tidy most days? I’m always so frustrated that my family doesn’t put things back in their right spots and I am trying to nudge them along without being a jerk about it and without me having to tidy everything myself constantly. I need some ideas on how to get my family on board with keeping things neat and putting things back where they found them – LOL! 🙂

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Ooh that will be pretty in your daughter’s closet!

      As far as the pantry staying tidy, it doesn’t always look exactly like this, but mostly it stays neat. Sometimes we’ll buy something that doesn’t fit in one of the designated containers, so we have to make a space for it somewhere and it doesn’t look as cute, lol. Donnie is a bigger neat freak than me, though, so he does a good job of putting things back. We mostly do the individual snack packs for the kids (this is largely because my son’s school requires their snacks to have a label on them so they can check for allergens), so the boys are mostly taking stuff out of the pantry, not really putting things back in. They do leave their snack packages on the island or the coffee table a lot, though, and I’m always getting after them for that! Maybe someday they’ll be trained (and then their wives will thank me ;)! Have a great week!

      ~Abby =)

  8. Oh, this is truly inspirational! I like the decor as well as the organization. I am wondering if you have any tips for getting the letters on the spice jars. I can’t figure out how to get tiny on the cameo to cooperate. After seeing your pantry in the townhouse I ordered the jars from World Market and IKEA. They have set in my closet for months!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Hi, Jeanne! It can be tricky to do smaller cuts on the Cameo. I just try to make sure I pick a thicker font so that my letters don’t end up too skinny. Then I just use the cut settings recommended by the software. Sometimes when my blade starts to get dull it has trouble with it, so I make sure my blade is sharp and that there aren’t any stray pieces of vinyl stuck on it (which has definitely happened to me before!). I hope this helps! Have a great day!

      ~Abby =)

  9. Oh, I love this! I have pantry envy since our little house doesn’t have one, but you’ve given me fantastic ideas for our next house! I never would have thought of wallpaper in a pantry, but I love how yours turned out!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Aw, thanks so much, Melissa!

      ~Abby =)

  10. Okay – you are inspiring me. I’m thinking of rooms that could use this removable paper. My office perhaps! Hmmm…

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Yes! Dooo it! 🙂

      ~Abby =)

  11. Everything is so cute! I’m in an apartment and stuck with wire shelves. I’ve been thinking about laying something across them, like a thin piece of wood.
    And I love your step stool. I’m short, but the best place I have to store my crockpot, rice maker, and other appliances like that is on top of my cupboards. I have a metal fold out chair that I use to reach them, but the stool is so much cuter!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thanks so much, Lauren!

      ~Abby =)

  12. Hi Abby!!

    Such a great post and your pantry looks awesome! The colour of the wallpaper and the colour of the baskets match so perfectly.

    Hope to see some new post of the house soon! so excited!!

    Love

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thanks so much, Nadine! Hope you’re having a great week!

      ~Abby =)

  13. Oh Abbey! What a pretty pantry! I can’t wait to use your ideas on my new pantry (whenever I finally get to decorate it) I keep counting the days till we close and I can put my stamp on it, but I can definitely give you the credit for the awesome idea!!! Who knew that a pantry could be so pretty. Really love the wallpaper.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      You are too sweet! Thanks so much, Beth! So excited that your new adventure will be starting soon, too! 🙂 Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  14. I really like what you did to the pantry. The wall paper is fantastic. I love wallpaper but honestly I’m scared to death of installing it.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      It definitely was more challenging than I was expecting, but the pattern I chose could have added to it as well. I still feel like it was worth it but don’t blame you for being scared! 🙂

      ~Abby =)

  15. Michael Perkins says:

    Ah, your pantry is great. I recently discovered the drawbacks of not having enough storage space in the kitchen and I have to say that from now on I will focus my renovation efforts on that aspect first. I love the way you arranged everything. Great job!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thanks so much, Michael! Hope you’re having an awesome week!

      ~Abby =)

  16. I love it! The wallpaper is the icing on the cake and how great that it’s removable so if you ever want something new, you don’t have to go through such a hassle. Not like that will ever happen 😉 Can’t wait to see what you do with all the other rooms!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Aw, thanks so much, Samantha! I’m really happy with how it turned out! 🙂

      ~Abby =)

  17. It looks really cute! But I have to say your “before” pic, though not as pretty looked nice too. If you saw my pantry, you would die, lol! And mine was “organized” with boxes and labels and such, but it does not look anything like this. But then I have a couple of kids, so maybe that’s why, haha!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Aw, thanks so much, Juloe! Kiddos certainly make it challenging! 🙂

      ~Abby =)

  18. Your new pantry looks great! So organized. & pretty. Mine is packed full from top to bottom. Been trying to figure out how to make it work better for my family.. This post has inspired me to want to replace my wire shelving as.well, the brackets take up too much space. Thanks for sharing. Can you tell me what kind of food containers you have? I haven’t been able to find any that are airtight other than the oxo brand, but they are expensive.
    Thanks again!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Hi, Dawn! Our containers are from IKEA. We’ve had them a little over a year now, and they have been great for us. Happy organizing!

      ~Abby =)

  19. Rev. Suzanne L. Taylor says:

    We have those dreaded wire shelves all over our home, too. My solution was to get some thin sheets of wood and cut them down to make shelve covers. It solved the problem of thing remaining erect, and I can take them out for easy washing. I will eventually remove the wire shelving from the pantry, paint it (it’s long and deep) and put in wood shelves.

    Your pantry is just gorgeous, Abbie!

  20. Ana Grey Niumata says:

    I love it! So beautiful and beautifully organized! We don’t have a pantry in our apartment now, but when we move into a house next, I hope to have one and organize it in a similar way!

    Love the sign and the bin colors! I have the mint color bins as well and use them in the cubbies under my son’s changing table! Those bins are the best!

    Can’t wait to try wallpaper too!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thanks so much, Ana! Those bins really are the best! Have a fabulous week!

      ~Abby =)

  21. Susan Castillo says:

    Where are your canned goods from before pantry in the after pantry? Looks great.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Actually, when I went to organize my canned goods, I realized that many of them were expired (ick!), so I pitched them. We don’t use many canned goods (obviously, since they sat for so long, lol), so the ones I do have are in one of those mint bins on the shelf. I hope this helps! Have a great day, Susan!

      ~Abby =)

  22. I have wire shelves too. I cannot stand them! I recently tweaked the pantry and was itching to add some cute wall paper and swap the shelves out. We will swap them out for a more flexible system eventually. In the mean time we added some thin sheets of wood over the shelves. I covered them with white contact paper. Adding the thin wood solves the problem of things tipping over. The white contact paper just makes it easy to wipe the shelves when needed. I haven’t published my blog yet but here is a link to a post with a picture: https://overcomingchaos.com/2016/10/10/our-pantry-closet-transitional-makeover/.

    Your pantry looks amazing!

  23. momof3misses says:

    Love this! I do have question about the shelving. Can you change it up a bit to change your needs? We installed a shelving unit from Home Depot for my daughter when she was younger and needed more shelves than hanging rods. Now since she’s older and has more dresses there isn’t enough hanging space.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      You can! The brackets pop into holes in the uprights and can be taken in and out and moved whenever you need to. So you could easily reconfigure your closet at any time. I hope this helps!

      ~Abby =)

  24. I love clutter-free spaces and this one is perfect! Excellent job Abby 🙂 I wish I had a pantry to organize!!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thanks so much, Demi! Have a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  25. Camilla Buckley says:

    I have a pantry w/ wooden shelves. I needed to come up with something for the counter area to go behind the small appliances. I used a black & white checked contact paper. It was perfect because it is washable. I’m selling my house right now & everyone has loved the pantry.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Ooo! I bet the wooden shelves are just gorgeous!

      ~Abby =)

  26. Looks amazing Abby! I so need to post pics of my pantry! It was one of the first things I organized after we moved in too (I’d lose my sanity with a messy pantry!) but I still haven’t shared pics of it and we’ve been in our house 3 years! Oh my word. SO impressed you got yours done and posted so quickly. Love it all! xo

  27. That’s a great improvement! Great job Abby 🙂

  28. I LOVE this idea! Going to be adding it to my to-do list 🙂

    1. justagirlabby says:

      So glad it was helpful, Aubrey! Have a great week!

      ~Abby =)

  29. the IKEA shelves confuse me :/ So complicated when trying to buy them. Can you explain how you buy things? Like, do you have to buy the back brackets all separately then each shelf? What’s the easiest way to measure the space? My pantry is in a corner of the room so inside it makes an L with wiring shelves.

    Thanks so much!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      You have perfect timing! I literally just wrote a post about how to measure for the ALGOT system today. It is here: https://justagirlandherblog.com/ikea-algot-closet-system/ . You are correct– in the store each piece is sold separately, which is nice because it allows you to create whatever setup you want, but also confusing because there are so many possibilities. Hopefully today’s post will help! Have a great day!

      ~Abby =)

  30. Kristie Hill says:

    I swear I posted this comment already, but came to see if you answered and can’t find my comment. So here goes again:

    I just moved into a new home too and I’ve loved watching you build/decorate your new home! I especially love your organizing home posts (your closet and your pantries). My previous home was a wreck and I want to be more organized this time around.

    I’d love to see more of your kitchen organization. Where do you keep your canned goods? How does your storage work for pots and pans?

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Hi, Kristie! Kitchen organization can definitely be tricky. I don’t have a cabinet tour of my new kitchen yet (it’s on the list! :), but I showed every cabinet and drawer in my last kitchen here: https://justagirlandherblog.com/how-to-organize-a-small-kitchen/ . I can take a stab at your specific questions, though. When I was organizing the new pantry, I went to put in my canned goods and realized that almost all of them were expired. I really just don’t use canned products very often. The few we still have are in one of the mint colored baskets next to the spices. Our new lower cabinets have a slide out shelf, so I have the pots and pans on one of the slide out shelves and their lids below them (it is the cabinet to the left of our range). I should also mention that I probably have less kitchen stuff than most people. The kitchen in our last house was small so I kept kitchen items to a minimum on purpose so that it wouldn’t get cluttered, plus I’m not much of a cook, so I just use the very basics. I hope this helps! Hopefully I can get out a post on our full kitchen organization soon. Have a great day!

      ~Abby =)

      1. Kristie Hill says:

        Hi Abby! Thank you for taking the time to answer my specific question. I should have known you already had a post on the rest of your kitchen organization. Durh. Loved it, gave me lots of good ideas.

        I was actually embarrassed at how much expired food I found in the pantry when we moved. There was a box of stuffing that was over a year old. opps! Must be better at that. Now I just need to decide on a kitchen color scheme so that I can go pick out coordinating storage bins. Love the ones you got from Target

        I too had a small kitchen. I try not to have kitchen tools/gadgets that only serve one purpose. That helps.

  31. Just placed my order for the wallpaper. I’m so excited to spruce up my pantry. I have those same plastic container that I almost posted to sell. I stored my kids lego’s in them. Now that they are teenagers I didn’t think I needed them. I’m going to use them now in my pantry, thanks!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Yay! Hope you love it! 🙂

      ~Abby =)

  32. Elizabeth says:

    Am in the process of reorganizing my pantry. In researching I found using matching containers and the same labels for everything made everything organized. I replaced the containers (mostly) and made labels by tracing a cup, cutting out the circles and writing on them with a black permanent marker. I hung some labels by punching with a paper punch and hanging with a paper clip. The others I attached with clear package tape. I am going to buy the stepped can storage as I don’t like hunting in the bins. The bins are great for packaged items though. Thanks for all of your ideas!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      So glad they were helpful, Elizabeth! Have a wonderful week! <3

      ~Abby =)

  33. Hi Abby! I love all your blogs and the ones about your move are especially handy as my 2 kids and I prepare to move to our new house. we were supposed to move in a month but i broke my leg and had to have surgery a couple of days ago. so I’ve been stuck in bed stressing about all the packing I have to do until I saw one of your emails in my inbox. Now I’m looking at all of your posts and dreaming about how fun it will be too organize my new house, rather than stressing about everything I’m unable to do right now. My sanity and I really appreciate you! ?

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Oh, wow! You’ve had a lot on your plate! Sending hugs and wishing you a smooth and easy move. Enjoy your new home! <3

      ~Abby =)

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