Pantry Goals

20 Pantry Before-and-Afters to Inspire Your Homebound Clean-Out

Now's the time to tackle all the cans, boxes, and bags that fall on your head when you open your pantry.

March 13, 2020
Photo by James Ransom

Now more than ever, home is where many of us are seeking refuge and solace in light of the novel coronavirus. This is a tough time, but we’re here for you—whether it’s a new pantry recipe or a useful tip for your kitchen, here are some ideas to make things run a little more smoothly for you and your loved ones.

Chances are, you've been told to stay inside your home for the foreseeable future—and amid the most pressing concerns for you and your family, cabin fever is looming large.

What better way to spend your lunch break than to finally tackle your pantry? Consolidate duplicates, put flours and sugars in airtight containers, and get all the spices lined up and ready to season the dry goods you're planning to prepare this month.

If you need some inspiration to get you started, or are looking for ideas on how to better organize your pantry, behold some truly impressive pantry makeovers, courtesy of Instagram. These before-and-after pictures photos prove it is possible to tackle even the most overwhelming of pantries—no matter how big or small—and keep things neat, efficient, and organized.

1. An Instagram-Worthy Pantry Makeover

Is this even the same pantry? It went from a cluttered, disorganized mess to an Instagrammer’s dream. We’re loving all the practical, see-through storage containers, complete with labels, as well as those charming oil and vinegar bottles.

2. A Beautiful Basket-Packed Pantry

Behold, the power of baskets. This before-and-after proves that you can truly transform your pantry with a few baskets. Oh, and don’t forget the pantry step shelf to easily view your spices and/or canned goods.

3. A Big Upgrade for a Skinny Pantry

If you’re working with a skinny pantry space, you’ll want to bookmark this makeover. The DIYers upgraded their little space with deeper shelves and a lovely green paint job, as well as baskets, bins, and storage containers galore.

4. An Overhaul of a Room-Sized Pantry

The bigger the pantry, the bigger the potential mess! It’s wonderful to be able to store a lot of food, but not so much when everything is thrown onto shelves willy-nilly. This makeover, which uses of all sorts of baskets, bins, jars, and containers, truly is #PantryGoals.

5. A Total Pantry Renovation

As if just organizing a pantry isn’t a huge enough task by itself, these homeowners completely renovated theirs. The effort was definitely worth it, though, because the sliding door and wooden shelves add such a charming, rustic touch. We’re digging the paper towel storage shelf, too.

6. A Life-Changing Pantry Purge

If you’re not into the whole wicker basket idea, you’ll like this next pantry. This stunning before-and-after proves that sometimes you just need to get rid of everything you don’t use, to create more space. Everything is neat, organized, and, most importantly, visible—without any of the traditional baskets.

7. An Impeccably Organized Closet Pantry

All we have to say about this makeover is, wow! In the before picture, everything was a jumbled mess, but the after image could be in a magazine. How cool is it that the appliances get their own shelf?

8. A Lovely Farmhouse-Style Pantry

Those little wooden scoops set our hearts all aflutter. This pantry makeover is truly impressive. Before, everything was thrown together without a thought, but now everything is sorted into baskets and jars. The under-shelf wire drawers are an ingenious way to maximize limited space, too.

9. A Boldly Labeled Storage Room

If you use labels like these, your kids (or partner) will never be able to say they couldn’t find something again. This string of photos takes you on a whole journey, from when the pantry didn’t even exist to its final glory, complete with bold, brilliant labels on every jar and basket.

10. A Lovely Decorated Food Nook

Most of us don’t have an inch to spare in our pantries, but after you purge and organize, you may even find yourself with extra shelf space. We like the idea of adding a few decorative pieces to personalize the area—just so it doesn’t feel so utilitarian and can “spark joy” in your life.

11. A Watercolor Haven

Who knew a pantry could be taken from storage necessity to design-zone? The addition of a watercolor wallpaper in this pantry makes it look worthy of hanging out in. Plus, all the coordinating labels are so satisfying.

12. A Serious Transformation

Okay, usually pantry transformations have some semblance of order beforehand, but this before photo really threw us for a loop. The things falling off the shelves really add to the wow factor of the reveal, though.

13. An Already-Organized Pantry

Speaking of organized before photos...this pantry was pretty neat and tidy pre re-org, but the shuffling of baskets and rearranging of cans is even more satisfying to behold.

14. Monochrome Clean Out

If you're into minimalist pantries, this is the one for you. Somehow this owner went from bags of Doritos and boxes of Cocoa Krispies to sleek, see-through canisters of flour, sugar, and other staples. Purge away!

15. The Actual Dream Pantry

This space was worthy of coveting before a makeover, but the addition of clear turntables on the open shelves and wooden bins to corral clutter makes it even more beautiful.

16. The Epitome of Organized

This transformation, according to the organizer, is due to the power of "decanting" all boxed and bagged items. When you take things out of their store-bought packaging and put them into clear containers, your world gets a whole lot more organized.

17. Hidden Spaces Pantry

At first glance, this looks like a standard reach-in pantry—shelves on the inside, and some handing storage on the door. But, surprise! There's some extra space on the side when you peek in, perfect for squeezing a couple extra bins and containers.

18. Mason Jar Maison

Clear containers in the pantry don't always have to be rectangular, they can be whatever glass jars you have on hand. This pantry owner created lots of space and visual interest by putting all her grains, flours, and pastas into jars, and two-toned shelves make it feel pulled together.

19. All Uniform Everything

This large pantry space is made even more appealing by creating uniformity among all the items. Clear containers sensing a theme?), coordinating jars, and new spices of all the same brand make the space feel far more pulled together.

20. Out of The Darkness and Into the Light

This reach-in is made instantly brighter by the addition of white bins and clear containers. All the dark packaging on the store-bought items made it hard to see exactly what was inside, but no more!

This article originally appeared in January 2019. We’re re-running it because we've found lots more stunning pantry makeovers to share.

Which pantry transformation did you enjoy most? Let us know below!
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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

Freelance writer, product tester & baking enthusiast.


Mar August 25, 2019
Okay- so where do you put the box when you decant into these lovely containers but it doesn’t all fit? Or you are running out of something and by a backup package. I’m all for keeping things neat and cleaning out so I know what I have and what is expired, for labeling and certain bins, but the “life changing purge” pantry is the only one that doesn’t seem staged and unrealistic.
Bess January 26, 2019
That salad bowl tho. And the board and small bowls....Love them! Does Food52 sell them?
M January 22, 2019
What I've learned from this: the sexiest organized pantries are those that had a lot of space and were mostly a matter of tidying.

And that pantry room before shot looks like a future shot of the after. Even with baskets, a mess will descend!