Paula’s Pantry

Let me tell you a story. It’s about a lady. A lady named Paula. Paula has a messy pantry. Paula is stressed. Paula wants to know how to get organized and make her life better and more enriched. Paula is so smart. So Paula calls me.

Here’s the tale of how I took Paula’s Pantry from “Please Help” to “Perfection”.

I walked into a lovely, warm home that houses a lovely warm family. The matriarch of the family was named Paula. She approached me with controlled enthusiasm and slight embarrassment. “I’m fairly organized,” she said with a mixture of pride and frustration, “so I just don’t understand how I can’t keep my pantry organized and functional. We waste so much food as a family and when it’s time to grocery shop or cook, I just don’t know where to start!”

“Let me guess,” I said with slight trepidation, “because of your food disorganization you have become affected by Perfection Paralysis and end up not cooking, wasting food that you couldn’t find and often making poorer decisions for your health.”

She looks at me annoyed and shocked… “How did you know?”

“Well,” I say, “because most people go through this and SO HAVE I. But that’s why you called me, right? You’re already on the right track and together we will make this space pleasantly perfect.”

After surveying the pantry, Paula and I set a date and made a plan and ordered the proper containers because as we all know, you can organize as much as you want but without the proper shelving and containers, items will flow back into each other and not stay in their defined zones. Especially when dealing with multiple members of a family, as in Paula’s lovely abode.

The day of our organizing appointment approached and Paula and I were excited, thrilled and incredibly READY to get going. The FIRST thing we did was to remove all items from the pantry. We threw out expired items and grouped the food into all the different appropriate categories. “Andrea? Should we put this ranch seasoning in the seasonings bin or should I leave it on the counter since I’m using it tomorrow for dinner?” Paula asked with tired confusion. She was beginning to exhaust her brain because the amount of decisions made when organizing can stump and wear out even the most energetic of us. “Why don’t we make a bin for you of JUST the ingredients you need for what you are cooking this week?” I recommended. “This is why I hired you!” she remarked with glee. I smiled, thankful for this fabulous job.

We placed the containers in the space, just as we had decided in the custom plan and we began the fabulous final step of filling the containers with food items. At the end, we had lots of food and paper goods still left, especially of the bulk buying sort. But alas! Don’t fret my dear readers! We had anticipated this issue and had ordered the best organizational hack and had it built and ready to go. What was it you may ask? Are you on the edge of your seat? “Just tell us!” you say! It was a custom sized shelf from The Shelving Store designed and created JUST for my client’s specific needs. What’s that dear reader? You’ve used shelves before and they’ve disappointed you? I know, I know, that’s why I’m so pleased to have found The Shelving Store. They have MANY different options for height, width and depth for all specific spaces. Paula’s absolute favorite thing about them is their custom shelf liners and add-on pieces. Many of my clients LOVE keeping major back-stock so this shelving solves those storage problems that naturally arise. “I had no idea this shelving was so fabulous Andrea! I’m going to order more for other rooms in my home!” comments Paula as we step back and check out the perfectly pleasing back-stock organization. Again, I smile and give thanks for this job.

All that is left is labels. Paula chooses the more budget friendly route of using a regular label maker although she knows she always has the option to call me for a fancier, more custom vinyl label option. Once the labels are placed and the trash and recycling are taken out, Paula pours the two of us some bubbly and we cheers to an incredible day’s work and more importantly, the fantastic future her organized pantry now offers her.


It’s a rainy Sunday. I am prepping for my week ahead and putting the final touches on a client’s space plan. My phone beeps and wakes me out of my organizing stupor. Awww, it’s from Paula. “Hi Andrea!” it reads, “you have truly changed our life! Mealtime is calm and easy now, I’ve lost FIVE lbs from eating healthier and not getting takeout due to pantry paralysis and everyone who comes over comments on how gorgeous my space is!! My favorite is when I show folks my back-stock storage on my gorgeous shelving. When can you come back?????” I smile, flip through my calendar and start dreaming of the next space I will do with Paula.