Our newly remodeled pantry is just sparking organizational joy for me left and right, and I’m so excited to share all about how we updated this little space to be as functional as possible for our evolving needs as a family and how re-worked our overall kitchen organization in the process. Tiny, tiny space, big win!
Left: After; Right: Before
I’ve talked about this before here on the blog a lot, but as many of you know by now my mom is kind of an efficiency expert. Function and organization are her jam, and when she suggested that we update our pantry to be a more functional space before baby arrives, I have to admit that I was immediately skeptical that any improvements to this tiny space could be made. The pantry sits right between the kitchen and the laundry room and is a very tight 4 ft. By 3 ft. wide space with an 8 foot ceiling – when you add shelving into that mix, the amount of space you have to walk around shrinks significantly. It’s always had shelves in it as you can see from the before picture above, but aside from shoving every kitchen appliance and any other random kitchen wares we had onto said shelves, we’d never paid this space any attention. And it showed. It was such a chore to shove a bunch of clunky little appliances aside and haul an appliance or baking dish off of the shelf every time we needed to use it, which of course, meant we used some very useful and beloved appliances much less than we’d like purely because it required too much effort. Or in my case, too much effort and a step stool. But there were shelves, so when my mom suggested we reimagine the space, I thought, “how in the heck could we do anything but throw a bunch of shelves in here and hope for the best?” I should know by now – don’t ever underestimate Anna Miller. With her, there’s always a way and she always has a plan.
After considering all pantry remodel options from a good old fashioned DIY pantry/closet system to all of the companies that design and install pantry systems like this for you, we decided that we really wanted it done right, done well, and built to last so we never have to update this space again. With that in mind and after having a wonderful experience working with them on a closet project in our house a few years ago, we decided to have California Closets give this pantry the facelift it needed to maximize the small space’s functionality and organization. And we’re so glad we did because they knocked it out of the park!
Below is a list of what we wanted to accomplish in this space.
New Kitchen Pantry Organization & Remodel Ideas
- A more efficient, organized shelf design that maximized the space we had and specifically catered to the appliances and kitchen wares that we wanted to store in here.
- An L shaped countertop area with outlets where we could have the appliances we use most out, plugged in and ready to use at all times.
- Drawers for all of our snack food and dry good storage.
Our California Closets Pantry Details
Shelves: Classic White
Drawers: 3 open drawer boxes with slab fronts, birch ply interiors and their Futura soft close drawers
Shop Our Pantry & Kitchen Organization
Below is how we updated our kitchen organization as we shuffled things around in this process.
New Organization Ideas for Our Kitchen
- Reworked and reorganized the kitchen cabinets and drawers for better storage solutions, organization and max efficiency.
An important note about this project and the “after” pics you see if the finished space: normally when we do reveals of our finished, remodeled spaces I’ll at least style or “fluff” the space a little bit and cut down on any clutter for eye candy’s sake, but for this particular project I really wanted to show you guys this space exactly as we’ll be using it, with all of the appliances out as we’ll have them and all of the organization we’re doing in here as it will live on after this. I use pretty seagrass or hyacinth baskets and other pretty storage vessels for organizational purposes all over our house, but that just didn’t feel practical for this space. I didn’t want to have to be pulling out baskets to get to what I needed. I also absolutely love the POP containers from The Container Store with the airtight seal and we’re using a few of those for different purposes in the pantry and kitchen (they’re super handy and so easy to use), but I just didn’t think it was practical for us to use them exclusively in here for all of our dry goods. I just couldn’t realistically see us emptying all of our dry good boxes into them after shopping. I wanted everything organized, but also accessible for our family and even friends to navigate with ease in our everyday lives. So hopefully what you see doesn’t feel too unpolished to you! But again, this space is really small and because of that we have to make the absolute most of it, in as organized a way as our real lives will allow.
With that said, below is a rundown of how we organized the remodeled pantry!
ON THE COUNTER:
- Bottle Warmer
- Coffee Maker
- Bottle Sterilizer
- Milk Frother
- Coffee Grinder
- Bullet Blender
- Wire Under-Shelf Basket for Produce
RIGHT SET OF SHELVES:
- Top Shelf: China
- Next Shelf: Baking Dishes
- Next Shelf: More baking dished, serving bowls and serving platters
- Next Shelf: Microwave & Vases
LEFT SET OF SHELVES:
- Top Shelf: China
- Next Shelf: Vitamins and medicine
- Wire Under-Shelf Basket: Produce
- Next Shelf: French press, honey jar, cream and sugar vessels, salt and pepper shakers
- Next Shelf: Coffee mugs, coffee filters, sealed POP container of coffee beans
- Next Shelf: Baby bottles and formula
- Remaining Shelves: Left somewhat empty for all kids cups and dishes
Shop Our Pantry & Kitchen Organization
A California Closets Review & Comparison
I also wanted to mention that before we made the final decision to use California Closets again for this project, we thought it would be a good idea to explore at least one of the other closet system companies out there. And for the sake of transparency and to help in your own pantry or closet remodel pursuits, I thought I should tell you that at the recommendation of friends we met with Classy Closets before we went to California Closets and I have to admit, the experience wasn’t great. They came out and essentially told us that they’d do much the same thing that was in there already – laminate shelving that was slightly reconfigured to eliminate some inefficiencies in the current design/layout of the shelves. No suggestion of other materials or laminate “finishes” we could add in to elevate the design, not much enthusiasm for our idea to add drawers or baskets for snacks, no suggestion of how we could integrate a real countertop space with outlets to plug appliances in right there in the pantry. It kind of felt like pulling teeth instead of like they were giving us their expert insight and guidance. So, we moved on and found that California Closets was the perfect fit for this project.
During the planning phase of the project, my mom and I visited the California Closets showroom in Scottsdale, which was actually so much more helpful than even I anticipated because there are so many great closet and pantry ideas and examples displayed around their showroom. It gave us so many more concrete ideas about things like counter height, drawer size and style, materials and more. So helpful to see it all in person and size it all up! From there, we finalized the design and all of the measurements for the counter and shelves, and they came and demo’d our existing pantry and installed the new one in a day! How awesome is that? The one thing they don’t really do is patch and paint – you’re kind of on your own for that. But after the pantry was installed, C and I patched the walls where they needed patching from the old pantry demo and then we had our usual painter come in and paint, which was super affordable since it’s such a small space. So that’s a little peek inside what it’s like to work with California Closets on a project like this, and like I said we’ve worked with them twice now about 5 years apart and it was pretty much the same process both times, with awesome results both times!