8 Smart Ways to Create a Pantry in Even the Tiniest Kitchen

updated Dec 10, 2022
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(Image credit: Federico Paul)

As much as you try to declutter, you still need to stock a certain amount of stuff in your kitchen — flour, pasta, beans, cereal, and sugar, for example — to actually make it useful. So even tiny kitchens need pantries.

What to do if you don’t have the walk-in kitchen pantry of your dreams? Here are a few ways to squeeze something in.

1. Repurpose a bookshelf.

Stick an old bookcase in the kitchen (cute paint job optional) and load it with your dry goods and produce for a DIY “custom” cabinet. You can even make yours as cute as this one from The Elli Blog, because the labels are free to download and print.

Download the same labels: Farmhouse Kitchen Pantry Labels from The Elli Blog

2. Go between the studs.

I am dying to do this in my kitchen: Open up the wall and build some shallow cabinets between the studs. Julie, from Live from Julie’s House, added hanging doors, which means she doesn’t even need clearance space to swing them open!

See how she did it: Pantry Between the Studs at Live from Julie’s House

3. Use your wall.

If you have a wall, you can have amazing pantry organization! This sturdy pegboard we made for Kitchn is total proof. The best part? It’s 100 percent customizable so you can set it up with as many shelves or baskets as you need.

4. Slide it next to the fridge.

Build a narrow roll-out cabinet to stash spices and dry goods in that skinny wasted space between the fridge and the wall, like Savannah and Mallory from Classy Clutter did. Note: If you’re less handy, you can buy something similar at shops like The Container Store.

See more: DIY Canned Food Organizer Tutorial at Classy Clutter

5. Rethink the coat closet.

Hey, you can always hang your jackets on a coatrack and then transform that hall closet into a pantry by adding shelves and bins. Diane from In My Own Style had a double-wide closet to convert, but the idea works the same if you have a single, more narrow coat closet.

See the conversion: How I Transformed a Coat Closet Into a Pantry at In My Own Style

6. Hang dry goods from your upper cabinets.

Screw a few Mason jar lids into the bottom of your upper cabinets and you’ll have instant storage for a few dry goods. Just keep it simple, like this shot from HGTV.

7. Devote a cabinet

If you don’t have a ton of space, dedicate one upper cabinet just to pantry items. If you want to make it look pretty, matching containers and labels did the trick for The Social Home.

See more: Dollar Store Pantry Makeover at The Social Home

8. Hang shelves anywhere you can.

Think beyond your basic kitchen cabinets and shelves and add even more shelves anywhere you can. Consider hanging shelves on the sides of your cabinets, or even installing narrow ones along your backsplash between your counter and your upper cabinets.

Where do you store all your pantry staples?