Simply Done: Back to School Pantry Ready

Aug 2

Happy August! So many great things happen or kick off this month and it’s the start of favorite time of the year. August 1 is when we start thinking about returning to school, to routines, to football season, to holidays and time with friends and family, to fall colors and smells…it’s the gateway month to everything amazing! At least that’s my opinion. I’m not a huge fan of spring and summer. Definitely a fan of fall and winter!

One of many hot topics come August 1 is getting back-to-school ready…and that includes thinking about another school year of packing snacks, lunches and getting organized for easy weeknight dinners. I love helping families organize or refresh their pantries and we had the pleasure of organizing this new beauty…

But before I share the afters, let’s talk about where we started.


We have been helping this family settle in after a whole-home renovation. A couple months ago we unloaded their pod and organized the kitchen. It’s beautiful!

As we suggest to every family we unpack and space plan, we prefer they live with their pantry for a bit before we bring in organizing products. I like to see a pantry in its raw, unedited state after you have been using it for a couple months and loading it with food. The more experience you have living with it, the easier it is to figure out the pain points or what’s been working well too.

After living with the pantry for a bit, I returned to check it out and here’s where we were…

This pantry has a large upper section with doors that tuck in on the left and right, a surface for small appliances and then three large drawers below. The shelves in the upper section are only 12″ deep so I had to be strategic about what we brought in. Since this is a pretty modest pantry, we decided to keep some overflow stuff in a nearby cabinet (connected to the kids bathroom) and the bulk of overflow will end up in a few garage cabinets. We’ll get to the garage later.

She wanted to containment to be simple and mostly clear, which I appreciated because that also means you don’t need to label the heck out of everything and you have some wiggle room.


I love how this one turned out! Starting at the top – they make smoothies and drinks most days so we wanted to keep proteins and add-ins at the top. She also mixes in chia seeds, hemp seed, flaxseed and the like so we added containers for these along side the baking ingredients. The two other shelves were a great spot for some canned and jarred items, coffee pods, breakfast makings, nut butters and jams, etc. Just a small volume here for ease of grabbing with the overflow in that bathroom cabinet. I also adjusted the shelves in order to get the blender to actually sit together…

( baking containers | turntables | handled bins | cereal containers )

I love the handled bins – these are a Container Store made product and I have been loving their simplicity. They come in various depths and widths and they have a removable dividers. I like the discreet handle on the front too!

For the kids snack drawer, I repurposed her existing bins and just space planned a bit…

( drawer bins )

There’s a variety of snacks in here the kids cab grab to eat at home or mom can grab for lunch makings.

The next drawer down was space planned and all I added were a few clear expandable dividers. I moved her Oxo snack containers off to one side so that the dividers could be used correctly here. Works much better! And I relabeled the Oxo’s too…

( oxo containers | expandable dividers )

When it comes to chips and snacks, not everything makes sense in a bin. Before we added the chips to this drawer, for example, she had about 10 bags of half-eaten chips. We always find chip bags can have a large volume…or that it fluctuates. Better to just confine them with dividers than to put them in a basket or bin.

But, that’s just my thoughts!

The spice drawer had been on my mind since we unpacked her kitchen. I used my favorite acrylic tiered organizers to tidy up the drawer a ton. Wish I had the before of this one. Forgot to snap it. But essentially all the spices were just sitting in the drawer rolling around…

( acrylic spice drawer organizer )

You can customize this set to the width of your drawer…or even just use part of the drawer. I overlapped these to fit the entire width in this case…


While I was working in the kitchen, two other team members were sorting out and organizing the playroom. I’ll share that project soon, but the playroom is another great spot to work on as we head back to school.

This year I have three different BTS start times and three different schools / cities. Graham (incoming junior) heads to school August 7, Natalie heads back on August 16 and my big Aiden heads to college at the end of the month. This is a big month for us and am excited to experience all the emotions. Hope you’re all doing well!

Back soon with more!



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