The Pantry Gets a “Back-To-School” Makeover

The Pantry Gets a “Back-To-School” Makeover

The rumors are true!  A Windy City Momma TOOK the summer off!  But now that the kid is back from camp and the house is a mess, so it’s time for A Windy City Momma to get back to work!

My first project: A Chaotic Pantry.

As self-proclaimed “Foodies” who love to cook as much as we love to eat out (okay, he cooks and I eat), we have quite a collection of FOOD! There’s only one slight problem, there is so much shoved in our narrow but deep pantry that I can’t tell what’s actually in there.  As a result, I continue to buy the same “stuff” because  I can’t find what I need in the pantry.  So I asked Organizer Sandy, an incredible resource and lovely lady, how I should start this daunting project.   She tweeted that I must: “Take everything out of the pantry.”

Yesterday, I decided to dive in and take her advice.  The first step was to figure out what I already had and what, if anything, I really needed. In the end, I wound up learning quite a bit about my family’s eating habits and about me! First the Wordless Wednesday pictures:


Actually, no one (including me) can find anything in the pantry because there is just too much in there. So, I decided to get organized…

The Pantry: Cleaned and Cleaned Out

Yeah, about that…



Seriously, it took me eight hours and a very long and involved trip to The Container Store to conquer the Foodie’s Pantry.

One question….

Step 3: Keep it that way!

So what did I learn?

  1. Our family loves storage containers (tupperware, sandwich bags, gallon sized plastic bags etc.)  We have so many of them that I decided to get rid of a lot.  They were out of control
  2. We drink A LOT of tea including green, white, black, chai, diet, ginger, dandelion and the list goes on and one.  And, since purchasing the Keurig, I have even more tea and have added all sorts of coffees to my selection.  (Note to self: DO NOT BUY ANYMORE TEA!)
  3. We love peanut butter and can’t seem to stop buying it
  4. We love sugar, flour, pasta and rice (including risotto):  I had to donate quite a bit of unopened dry products just to be sure that we had enough room in the pantry for what was already opened.
  5. We love spices and nuts.  I could have dedicated an entire shelf to these dried goods
  6. We don’t eat a lot of salty, crispy snack foods but BOY (!) do we LOVE chocolate!  We have a huge assortment of bittersweet, semi-sweet, dark, milk, white, powdered, hot, cold and chunked chocolate.  It may be time to investigate how old some of the cooking chocolate is and get rid of the chunks left over from our “dating years.” (Almost 15 years ago.)
  7. We have too many canned tomatoes and not enough tomato soup (or any soup for that matter.)
  8. We really need to stay away from bulk stores like Costco, or Sam’s Club.

Project “Get the House Ready for School” continues.  After finishing the pantry, I decided that I needed to take a few days off and concentrate on my writing. Baby step…baby steps People!

Next stop?  The bathroom shelves and drawers–I have heard that there are some scary prescriptions hanging around since the 1990’s.  Tsk, tsp….



  • Awesome job Renee!! It looks great. Isn’t it amazing how long it can take to really organize something well? It will take maintenance to keep it looking this way. Our families don’t always think about all the work it took us to get something to look so nice…. lol Thanks for the shout out!

    • Renee Keats

      I CANNOT believe how long it took me to complete this task! So, there is inspiration not to let it get that bad again! A little decluttering is a lot easier than doing it all at one time. Lessons to live by… Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  • Looks amazing! We don’t have a pantry so thankfully it’s harder for us to get this way, but I sense a kitchen purge coming on…

    • Renee Keats

      I can honestly say that purging the pantry was hard work but I LOVE the outcome. Please let me know how it goes! Thanks for checking in and commenting!

  • Well done! And by that I mean the post and pantry makeover. This might be my favorite yet. It’s honest, it’s inspiring, it’s awesome like you!

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