Pantry Pre-Painting Checklist


Nothing transforms a pantry like painting.  Use the checklist below to prepare yourself for your next painting project. For complete list of details, visit, 6 Steps to Take Before Painting Shelves

woman painting pantry wall
  1. The first thing to do is dream about your perfect pantry!  Allow research time to look for colors, ideas, textures, and wallpapers for your end vision. Getting excited about your project will keep your energy high to carry you through. If you are just doing a straightforward paint job, than proceed with the next steps.
  2. Plan a loose timeline for your project.  Consider breaking your project down into stages. You can clean out and prep your pantry space in one weekend and paint another weekend. Realize that it takes time for paint to dry in between coats.  Shelf paint needs to "cure" before putting heavy objects back onto shelves.
  3. Pre-inspect the space to be painted.
    ☐ Check for walls that need priming.
    ☐  Check for mold and mildew or water damage.  Cover with special stain-blocking mold and mildew paint, but find source of problem if possible.
    ☐  Is there anything covered with wallpaper or contact paper?  You will need to decide to remove, cover or paint over.
    ☐ Wall damage/dings need to be filled in with spackle.
    ☐  Check the condition of the pantry shelves.  Do they need to be replaced?  
    ☐  Are any shelves removable or will you have to paint around them?
    ☐  Are there any awkward or hard-to-reach spaces that will require special tools?
    ☐  Is anything covered with oil-based paint?  You will need to take special precautions if you want to apply latex over oil-based paint.
  4. Purchase paint supplies after you complete the pre-inspection. This should cut down on trips to the hardware store since you have a plan for what needs to be done.
  5. Remove all items from pantry. Don't try to paint around things, it really does all have to come out. This is a good opportunity to check expiration dates and ultimately re-organize the pantry.
  6. Sweep pantry out; vacuum and remove cobwebs. Paint doesn't stick to dirt and dust bunnies! You also don't want dirt falling into your paint, which would mess up a smooth surface.
  7. Wash pantry down with special grease-removing cleaner.  Even if you think you can't see crud, it's there.  Any microscopic debris can interfere with new paint adhesion, a good cleaning is the best place to start.
  8. Remove light switch plates, registers, and any other obstacles.
  9. Carefully examine the walls for repairs.  It's not uncommon for drywall to not be finished. Shortcuts happen in closets, decide how much fixing you want to do.
  10. Lastly, arrange a time that you can work through the painting part of the project uninterrupted.  

Painting a pantry or kitchen can be overwhelming. Having a focused list takes some of the stress away. Know that you are not alone in having tackled a pantry painting project. If you have a good tip, please share it below. For the newbie pantry painters, have fun with your painting project!

About the author 

Renee Matt

Renee is a former kitchen designer, home remodeling enthusiast (having lived through several DIY projects), and an Iowa farmwife. Renee is passionate about preparedness, garden skills, and knowing where her food comes from. She uses her technical background and expertise to bring the Everything Pantry website to life.

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