8 Small Pantry Ideas to Free Up Space in Your Kitchen

Stay organized even in the smallest pantries with these smart tips to maximize space.

blue kitchen cabinet storage

Anthony Masterson

Between cramped corners, poor lighting, and multiple people rummaging through contents daily, small pantries can be tricky to keep organized. If you’re working with a small or practically nonexistent pantry, it can feel downright impossible to make room for everything, let alone keep it tidy.

Fortunately, there are plenty of small-pantry storage ideas. Between simple DIY projects and innovative solutions, we’ve rounded up ways to make the most of what you’ve got. Get inspired with the following small pantry organization ideas for your own home.

01 of 08

Use Available Space

kitchen pantry snacks
Tria Giovan

When pantry space is at a premium, it’s important to be resourceful. Turn cabinet doors into extra storage with shallow shelves. They can be affixed to the inside so long as there’s clearance for the door to close. Dowel rods keep small items, such as spices and condiments, in their place. Arrange larger bags and boxes of snacks directly on the shelves of the cabinet. To optimize vertical space, especially if your small pantry lacks adjustable shelving, stack cans and containers whenever possible.

02 of 08

Opt for a Track System

blue theme pantry organization with shelves labels
Adam Albright

Whether you’re working with a small closet or a bit of blank wall space, a customizable track system can do wonders to keep pantry goods organized. These closet systems can be installed by a professional or on your own if you're handy. Open shelves and pull-out drawers can be added and adjusted as your needs change. To optimize track shelving in a small pantry, decent ingredients into food-safe containers and incorporate a lazy Susan for condiments and risers to organize cans.

03 of 08

Repurpose a Closet

shared laundry and pantry cabinet

Marie Flanigan

Think outside the box, or even the room, when it comes to organizing a small pantry. While most food items belong in the kitchen, overflow can be stored off-site if necessary. Give new life to a closet in the mudroom, laundry room, hallway, or basement if it’s temperate. Store bulk buys, such as cans and bottles, for anything you need to replace in the main pantry on a regular basis.

04 of 08

Squeeze in a Slim Pantry

white pull out pantry

Laura Moss

For tight spaces, a narrow pull-out cabinet can be a game-changer for pantry storage. Purchase standalone rolling units that fit the dimensions between gaps anywhere in the room, or install one as part of the cabinetry for a camouflaged look. On the slim shelves, line up cans of soup, boxes of pasta, and bags of snacks by category. Before heading to the grocery store, simply slide it open and do a quick scan of inventory. Everything should be clearly visible and yet hidden away when not in use.

05 of 08

Install Pantry Drawers

blue kitchen cabinet storage

Anthony Masterson

Deep cabinets might seem like an asset, and they do make sense as a spot to store pantry goods, providing plenty of room for bulky boxes of pasta and cereal along with big bags of chips. However, smaller items like cans and jars undoubtedly get lost in the mix. Prevent expired food by installing pull-out drawers either in lieu of shelves or directly above them. Roll the drawers out to see exactly what you have on hand without making a mess or winding up with food waste.

06 of 08

Contain Everything

small walk-in pantry

James Schroder

Even in a small walk-in pantry, decanting non-perishable goods is a smart move to save as much space as possible. Everything from pasta and cereal to rice and lentils and even crackers and chips can be stored in airtight canisters to get rid of bulky or awkward packaging. Use coordinating bins to house snacks, including individual grab-and-go items. Even pantry-friendly produce, such as potatoes and onions, can be sorted and kept in baskets. In addition to maximizing space, this method allows you to see and reach for anything you need with ease.

07 of 08

Include a Few Floating Shelves

pull out pantry in a blue kitchen

Ed Gohlich

If a pull-out pantry doesn't have enough space to fit your family’s needs, add some shelf storage nearby. Hang a handful of floating shelves to hold everyday items such as tea bags or the snacks that kids ask for regularly. Since they’ll be out in the open, consider decanting the items into matching jars or bins to keep visual clutter to a minimum. While you’re at it, follow this method for anything in the pantry. Airtight food containers not only keep things fresher longer, but they also help maximize space, especially if you can stack them.

08 of 08

Employ a Piece of Furniture

hallway pantry cabinet

Edmund Barr

This idea is ideal for temporary situations, such as if you’re renting or saving for a future kitchen renovation. A stylish stand-alone cabinet can serve as a perfectly hidden pantry. Find one with doors that fits your style, space, and stuff. You can even recycle and refinish a vintage find to keep storage personal and eco-friendly. Within the cabinet, sort your stuff by category to keep your small pantry organized.

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