we cleaned and organized our cottage pantry in one afternoon with a very small budget
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Cottage Pantry Organized On an Itty Bitty Budget

Guys, I really needed to get my cottage pantry organized. Like really really needed to get it cleaned up. When I told Mr. FPM we were going to work on it while we were on our March vacation break at the cottage he said “what pantry?” I had to remind him that the dark, messy,…


Guys, I really needed to get my cottage pantry organized. Like really really needed to get it cleaned up.

one messy pantry, one afternoon, no budget - our cottage pantry re loved and organized

When I told Mr. FPM we were going to work on it while we were on our March vacation break at the cottage he said “what pantry?” I had to remind him that the dark, messy, gross, space under the steps in the kitchen really was a pantry. He was onboard.

When we furnished, decorated and updated our little cottage by the sea last Spring we really didn’t pay much attention to the closets or “the pantry”. So we are slowly working on cleaning and organizing them this winter.

The “yucky room under the stairs” aka the pantry is really an important room for us. We don’t have a garage or a basement or a main floor closet or a big kitchen, so the pantry has been housing tools, paint, ladders lots of bits of tools, our favourite HomeRight Finish Sprayer, an air compressor and much more.

The house is over 100 years old. I’m pretty sure it has not been painted in that time. It was pretty dark and gross. We did discover that there was a light in there that we thought was not hooked up, so that was a bonus right off the bat.

Here’s what we started with. This is not pretty. But its real. No, we are not known for our organizational abilities. The before pictures are scary. Don’t be afraid.

pantry before


This is SO embarrassing…

pantry before


I told ya! Scary. And did you notice that huge pipe going through the middle of the room? Thats the chimney – yes – the chimney, and yes, its safe. But ugly. I can’t do anything about it but I can clean up this mess!

First thing first – empty this space out!

Cottage pantry organizing

My thoughts exactly! Phew. Do we know how to start a vacation or what?

We went to the pub for supper after this! (true story)

Here is the empty space. Pretty right?  Yes, that is a trap door to the basement. No I have never used it. Yes we have an old house. (another embarrassing picture)

Cottage Pantry

I did not have a budget for this reno, and we’re being all Dave Ramsay lately and watching our money, so we did it all with what we had and a few purchases, we only spent $50.

We scrubbed it out and painted it with a perfect shade of white that we spent hours picking out. actually the ONLY paint we had enough of in the cottage so that was the deciding factor on colour. It was our trim paint, so BM Cloud White. So, no cost for paint.

While Mr. FPM painted I sorted all the bits and pieces, and put like with like and boxed up anything that we long longer needed here at the cottage to take home. I don’t think we needed 3 hammers. Just saying.

pantry before - painting

I received a lot of questions about this photo 1) where did I get that cute pillow, its from Society 6 and you can order it here, its from my sweet artist friend Lucy at Craftberrybush and 2) No, Mr FPM is not spray painting the room, he could not because of the chimney pipe, he does have a Homeright Sprayer in his hand (it is our fav sprayer, we actually have 2 in the pantry) best sprayer ever if you are ever looking for a sprayer check it out. link to it here, or read more about it here.

After painting we hung the new light. We found this light on the sale table at a local hardware store. I love how it gave a nautical feel to this little space.

Cottage Pantry Light

We could not do much about the huge metal pipe from our chimney barging through, so just ignore that. k? It is pretty much impossible to take a pretty picture with a large chimney pipe in the centre of your picture but, it is there, so its there.

Painting the old pantry - he's a keeper


We put all the big tools in the back and fashioned a very fancy curtain with drop cloth and push pins. Fancy right?

Cottage Pantry Re Organized

We hung my super duper lucky find on the wall. This metal hanging bin was originally 119$ at Wicker Emporium, but there was a dent (that I could barely see) so it was marked down to 30$ – SCORE. Works well in here and the baskets are removable so we hubby was happy to be able to grab some tools all together and work on projects.

Cottage Pantry Re Love on a real life budget

I painted the stripe on the wicker basket with FAT Paint to liven it up a bit. It took less than 2 mins to do. Easy update. See how to here on this post.

Practical but cute accessories in our cottage pantry

Our pantry still holds tools, large dishes, linens (because I’m the crazy lady that likes cloth napkins and my nan’s linen table cloths at the cottage on occasion) it houses some food, but mostly all that overflow stuff. We did this mostly in one afternoon and finished the following morning and wondered why we had waited so long.

Lunch Served Daily Sign

I love the little touches we added to make it a little cuter. I painted this “lunch served daily” tray to add a little cuteness. We rent out the cottage during the summer and I’m hoping our guests like the little touches too.

We love how easy it is now to grab a tool or linens. I’m so glad we took the time.

I know its not adorable and cute like most pantry’s are these days, but, its functional, cute enough for the cottage pantry and its no longer scary, and we did this all on a real budget. I hope it gave you some ideas or inspiration on how you can clean up your pantry or a closet. Do you have any scary closets? Are we alone?

Total Cottage Pantry Organizing Cost:

Paint $0 – used leftover trim paint on walls and shelves. BM Cloud White

2 wicker baskets – $0 – already had (painted FAT Painted stripes on them for a little something something)

3 white plastic baskets – $6 Local dollar store (would have purchased more, but this is a small town and I bought all they had)

Runner – $6 – Walmart

Metal Vintage Looking Baskets – $30 – REG $119 On scratch and dent sale table at Wicker Emporium (score)

Nautical Light – $12 – REG $22 on sale at Kent Building Supplies

Red Hooks – $5 – from my shop Front Porch Mercantile

Thanks for popping in today, we have a few more cost saving cottage posts coming up soon too!

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Have a fantastic day friends!


we cleaned and organized our cottage pantry in one afternoon with a very small budget







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  1. I really enjoy these type of real life make over’s. A little bit of effort goes a long way! Love it!

  2. Love ever detail you give about the cottage. Love your creativity and innovation with the buget. It look so. much. better. I think that people really appreciate a tiny budget make-ever like this b/c, let’s face it…………….Americans don’t need more temptation to “have it now and have it perfect” via debt.
    So, yeah to you and your mister!

    1. Thank you Kim, sometimes I get really intimidated about posting because I am on such a tight budget, but, I try to be honest. The only way we can have a cottage and a home is to rent it out and to be on a tight budget. Its not flashy beautiful, so thank you for taking time to comment, I really appreciate it!

  3. Wendy, I love your pantry ! Looks very countryish and nautical. Where did you find the wooden whales ? Glad you are getting to enjoy your cottage this winter !

    1. Hi Sue, thank you so much! I bought the salad tongs in Atlanta last year at Anthropology. Once a year I go to the conference there and I buy 1 little thing to bring home. This was my 1 treat last year. BUT, someone told me that they saw similar in Halifax at Attica. I have not seen any other anywheres. I kinda love them, thanks for asking. :)

  4. What fun to read your post ! And to recognize that even seemingly impossible spaces can be better organized and tidied…thanks for inspiration and economical suggestions.

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