How to Install an Off-the-Shelf Pantry System

Improved pantry cupboard designs can make meal prep a little easier. We'll show you how to build a kitchen pantry off-the-shelf storage system in a few hours.

Pantry Makeover
Project Overview
  • Working Time: 4 hours
  • Total Time: 4 hours
  • Skill Level: Beginner

Doesn't everyone dream of perfectly organized pantry shelving ideas? And now it's as easy to turn those dreams into reality. Gone are the days when you needed a custom-built organizational system. With a few tricks, an off-the-rack system works just as well as custom kitchen pantry designs.

We'll show you how to customize your system to fit your family's needs, whether you have a small kitchen pantry or large. After that, installing the system is simple. Attach horizontal tracks and vertical supports to wall studs, cut shelves to size, and snap into place.

Amazing Pantry Makeover Ideas

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Tape measure
  • Stud finder
  • Level
  • Pencil
  • Cordless drill
  • Power screwdriver
  • Bolt cutter


  • Pantry system with hardware, we used Rubbermaid FastTrack
  • Replacement end caps


  1. building Pantry Shelving

    Measure and Plan

    You must come up with an organizational plan before you begin building a pantry. Measure the space—including total length, total width, current distance between shelves, etc. Then determine what kind of storage your family needs. Once you have a plan in mind, remove all food, kitchen items, shelves, and kitchen pantry drawers. Also remove doors so you have more space to work.

    Editor's Tip: What kind of storage you need depends on what you plan to store in your pantry. Bulk items, like paper towels and warehouse buys, require 16-18 inches of storage space. General items, such as cereal boxes and canisters, need 12-14 inches of space. And canned or bottled goods require 6-8 inches.

  2. building Pantry Shelving

    Install Horizontal Tracks

    Use a stud finder to locate wall studs. Install the horizontal tracks in your studs with a drill and the mounting hardware that came with your storage system. Use a level to make sure you're installing the system straight. If no studs are available, drill holes and install wall anchors, instead. A power screwdriver speeds the installation process.

  3. building Pantry Shelving

    Install Vertical Supports

    Once the horizontal tracks are in place, hang vertical supports, no more than 32 inches apart. Install the supports as you did the horizontal tracks, either drilling directly into the stud or installing with wall anchors.

  4. building Pantry Shelving

    Cut and Install Shelves

    Use a bolt cutter to cut shelves to the desired length, based on your kitchen pantry plans. Be careful as you work, the edges will be sharp. Install shelf brackets into vertical supports. The desired height of each shelf will coincide with the plan you made in the first step. Place shelves onto brackets and snap them into place.

    Editor's Tip: You can also have your hardware store cut shelves to size. Go in with the measurements you need, and the store can cut them at the same time you buy the closet system.

  5. building Pantry Shelving

    Add Finishing Touches

    Finish shelves with end cap pieces to cover any sharp edges. If desired, add custom add-ons like drawers, pull-out shelves, and baskets.

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