The 5 Worst Ways You’re Wasting Space in Your Pantry

updated May 22, 2022
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lisas pantry makeover

When it comes to our pantries, we can’t afford to waste a single inch of space. (Of course, we don’t want to jam so much in there that we can’t see what we have — because then we end up buying duplicates or letting things spoil, which we also can’t afford to do!)

More than any other storage spot in your kitchen, the pantry is an exercise in balancing form and function. We want things to look pretty, but not at the expense of being able to store everything we need to, while also finding what we need when we need it. See? A balancing act! And so, today, we’re here to talk about the biggest mistakes we make that cause us to waste space in our pantries. Here are the worst pantry space-wasters.

Credit: Sarah Crowley

1. Not using turntables in corners.

Pantry corners can either be the trickiest spots or the most efficient, and it all depends on whether or not you put turntables there. By placing turntables in your corners, you make dead space usable and simultaneously make bottles and jars accessible. A non-skid turntable ensures that nothing slides around or falls over. 

Credit: Lauren Kolyn

2. Not storing items in square containers.

Round containers might look nice, but they don’t make the best use of space. Opting for square or rectangular ones allows you to place items close together, whereas round ones simply don’t nest together. We love OXO storage containers for their good looks, stackability, and ability to keep food fresh.

Credit: Lauren Kolyn

3. Not taking advantage of vertical space.

This one refers to a few things. First: Use the height of all your pantry shelves. Adjust the shelves and use shelf risers to get the most out of each one. Also, don’t skip high-up storage just because you can’t reach it. Pull out the step ladder and use those spaces to store seasonal items or overflow stock.

Credit: Tess Wilson

4. Not filing boxes correctly.

Rather than placing boxes on your shelves so that you can see their fronts, file them like books. This way, you’ll actually be able to store more while also being able to see what you have.

Credit: Marge Perry

5. Not using the walls and the door as storage opportunities.

Even a few inches of available wall space can be turned into storage. See this walk-in pantry above? We love how the homeowner added super-shallow shelves along the wall on the left. These shelves are a great place for small jars and specialty bottles. If you have a door to your pantry, use an over-the-door shelving system to creates storage space out of thin air. In a cabinet-turned-pantry, you can attach a small caddy to an inside wall and use it to hold small sauce or spice packets.

How do you make the most of your pantry space? Tell us your space-saving ideas in the comments below.