5 Brilliant Little Ways to Make Your Pantry (Any Pantry!) Feel Bigger than It Is

updated Jul 18, 2020
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Credit: Diana Liang

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Your pantry might just be the most valuable real estate in your entire home. Whether you have a spacious walk-in one or it’s just the tiny cabinet next to the fridge, no pantry will ever seem big enough. Luckily, there are a few extra-smart things you can do to make it feel larger and give you more storage space. We’re talking things beyond shelf risers and lazy Susans. Intrigued?

Here are five clever little ways to make any pantry feel a lot bigger than it actually is. 

1. Use any and all wall space — no matter how small.

Your walls are there to help — even if they don’t have shelves on them. Add hooks (and maybe even hang baskets from said hooks!) anywhere you can. This goes for narrow walls and even the walls of your cabinets. If you’re working with a cabinet, try adding some Command hooks and then use binder clips to hang up spice packets or other little bags.

Credit: Tess Wilson

2. Stack bags and store boxes on their sides.

Plastic bags of rice and beans can take up far too much space when they’re scrunched up. Store them flat instead, and they’re easy to stack neatly! Also: Store boxes on their sides. Yes, the pantries you see on Pinterest have everything line up so that it’s facing out, but Pinterest is not real life. This method will take up less space and allow you to store more.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

3. Use tension rods.

If you store baking sheets, cutting boards, and muffin tins in a huge pile on your pantry shelf, set up some tension rods and store them vertically. You’ll obviously save a ton of room, but you’ll also save yourself a lot of frustration in the future. If you’re working with just a cabinet, add a tension rod in the back and you’ve got an instant shelf for spices.

Related: 3 Brilliant Ways a $3 Tension Rod Can Help Organize Your Kitchen

Credit: Minette Hand/Apartment Therapy

4. Use the door.

Dealing with a cabinet-turned-pantry? The back of that door can be outfitted with Command hooks (can you tell we love Command hooks around here?) and used to hang pot holders, which would otherwise be in the way. If you’re blessed with an actual door to your pantry, consider an over-the-door organizer, which can hold spices, unopened bottles, or even that collection of water bottles you’ve managed to amass somehow.

5. Make things able to slide in and out.

It’s a fact of life: Anything in the back of a shelf is sure to get lost. That’s why we almost always like drawers better than shelves. If you can’t install drawers, consider baskets, which can slide in and out when you need to see what’s all the way in the back. And if you have a pantry with a floor, put the stuff in the back on wheels — yes, even your small appliances.

There are obviously lots more smart ideas. We want to hear yours! Please share in the comments below!