The first time I spotted today's reader space, I instantly yelled out, "YUMMY!"  And not because of the food that was pictured...

First, I will completely admit that I have a bit of pantry envy going on right now.  A walk in pantry would be a DREAM.  My in-laws have a large pantry with counter and appliance storage and it is straight up heavenly.

But beyond the excitement that I have over all of the space that Melissa has to play with, I really appreciated how she really took her pantry space to the next level.  To me, there are two phases in organizing.  Phase one is the practical phase.  Clearing out the space, purging, sorting, assessing... Phase two is the fun phase!  Painting, projecting, labeling, putting your personal twist on things.  This is a phase that sometimes is overlooked, but to me, it is a key part of the organizing process.  It is the part that will ensure you LOVE the outcome.  And it will also be that motivating factor to maintaining all of that hard work from phase one!

Melissa has a gift for making any organizational project beautiful.  She shares her stories over on her blog, A Prudent Life, and I always find myself hanging out there for awkward amounts of time when I visit.  What can I say?  I am a fan!  And her pantry had great bones to start with, but she wanted to organize it and give it a makeover.  She opted to focus on her pantry while participating in a past One Room Challenge, and the result is simply stunning.  She is here today to share more details, and I have a feeling you will find a love for pantries that you never knew you had...

What is the main function of the space?

"Going ALL the way back three years, the first function of the space was to sell us this house! We weren’t planning on building right away, but when we stumbled upon this floor plan with this pantry, I knew we HAD to make it happen! A few weeks later, our old house was sold and we were building.

Then over time, the pantry lust wore off and we took it for granted, which means it turned into a clutter zone. The primary function of the space is now pretty storage for food and entertaining items."

Any superstar tips for keeping it organized?

"Yes! The number one thing for me always comes down to labeling. When items have clearly defined homes, they tend to find their way home more often. Number two is making the space look great. When a room is beautiful and a reflection of me, I want to keep it that way. Functionally, two spaces could be exactly the same, but if one is pretty and one isn’t, my natural tendency is to keep the pretty space tidier. I’m sure that isn’t true for everyone, but you’ve got to go with what works for you!"

What items did you find were essential when organizing this space and why?

"The right containers made a huge difference for me. For 15 years, I haven’t wanted to “waste money” on matching containers for things like sugar. It always seemed like it was going to be SO expensive to buy enough of them. As much as I’m obsessed with some of the decorative touches in our pantry, hands down the best money I spent was on the Flip-Tite containers. Because they are flat-sided and stackable, they don’t waste any space. Plus, they are more simple to open and close than any plasticware I’ve ever seen. Since I LOVED them so much after buying a few, I kept going back for more. Making the grocery list is easier when you can quickly see if you need tortilla chips without digging the bag out of a basket. I use those containers daily and they were well worth the investment!

All that gushing aside, the 'right container' for your project doesn’t have to be a splurge. The white and gold bins that look like metal are actually plastic bins from the Dollar Tree that I spray painted to match the color scheme of the room. The gold 'coffee' and 'recipe' containers were the steal of the century at IKEA. The larger one was dented so the whole set was on clearance for $2! A coat of spray paint and a couple labels later and they are perfect. No one but me (and all of you!) will ever know the back of my extra K-Cup storage is dented."

What did you do to go the extra mile and "make it pretty"?

"Oh my, I may have gotten a little out of control with this part!!! I touched pretty much every surface with the goal of making it prettier! My very first decision in the space was to add white penny tiles as a feature wall. It was the highest cost part of the space, but I think it adds great character to our newer construction home. We always try to save on most projects so we can splurge on things that make a big difference like this.

We also added crown molding, cabinet hardware, new lighting and of course, the big chalkboard wall!"

What items did you DIY to stay on a budget?

"There was SO much DIY going on to stay in budget! The biggest DIY task was the installation of the tile wall. I did it all by myself, which was an amazing feeling. We saved a TON over having a professional come install it. It did take some time, but I just pulled up Gilmore Girls on Netflix and let them distract me from how sore my arms were by the end!

I also realized how much savings you could get by purchasing items in silver and gold-ifying them yourself. The light fixture and cabinet hardware were purchased new and then immediately painted. For the hardware, I wrote a separate post about how I saved 84%."

How has this new space impacted your life for the better?

"Let me count the ways! Seriously! On the surface, it’s easier to find what we are looking for, and the space is fun to look at. We’re also wasting less food and money because everything is organized. We know what we have and aren’t buying duplicates.

But more important than that, it is indescribably awesome to have a space in the house that feels like a true representation of me. I’m sure all of you can relate that decorating a home is a long process. We’re always tweaking things, or rearranging, but I’ve never had a chance to plan out a room and make decisions based 100% on my designs. Bless my husband, I know he thought my ideas were wacky a few times along the way, but he gave me free reign within the budget and didn’t even freak out when I painted the handles of our refrigerator gold. In the end, all my crazy ideas came together into something fabulous. So as silly as it sounds, my pantry makeover gave me a huge confidence boost!" 

And there you have it friends!  Another feel good organizational makeover is in the books!  That tile is beyond incredible.  But the heart that Melissa put into this pantry is what really captivated me.  She really paid attention to important details, touching everything and creating a cohesive feeling within all of the organizational and decorative elements.  She did a great job pairing splurges with saves, dollar store storage and penny tiles work beautifully together.  And we can't ignore the chalkboard wall!  The dramatic black paired with the beautiful golds and whites really creates a great balance in the space.  Clear containers help with quick inventory and prevent food waste, while the open shelves keep everything easy to access.  Especially because it is all so nicely labeled.

A virtual high five paired with an iHeart hug and a thankful smile goes out to Melissa today for sharing her sweet and inspirational pantry project.  You can always find more details and sources within her post here.  She is participating again in the next One Room Challenge and I can't wait to see what she does next! 

*  All images courtesy of A Prudent Life
ATTENTION!!  Want to be featured in a Reader Space edition?  Have an awesome organizing story to share?  I am looking for projects that have made a positive impact to your life, big or small.  They can be anything from an organized drawer or cabinet to an entire room.  Please submit your story and photos to, and I would heart to feature them right here on the blog!!  Photos should be high resolution and unedited.  Please include a description of the project and how it has changed your life or routine for the better!  Oh, and no worries my friends, we will NEVER judge "before" pictures because that just wouldn't be nice!  Only love goes on at this blog!