Genius Ways to Create a Pantry in a Pantry-less Kitchen

MyLove2Create/HometalkWhatever happened to pantries? These convenient mini (or sometimes not so mini) storerooms were a standard feature in houses built a century or so ago, but now? Many post-1950s homes have dining nooks and powder rooms galore, but no dedicated pantry area. And in modern apartments and condos, it's even worse -- there's just a basic galley kitchen functional enough for cooking and eating but without a smidge of extra space for food storage.

Not to worry, though. We hereby present 8 genius ways to create a pantry, even when, as Gertrude Stein famously stated, "there's no there there."

  1. Closet. If you happen to have an unused -- or underused -- coat or storage closet in the vicinity of your kitchen, you're in luck. Hang a few sturdy shelves stocked with a set of clearly labeled matching containers to organize your pasta, beans, grains, and the like. The space underneath the stairs is also great for this purpose.

  2. Laundry room. Unless you are an absolute cleaning product maven, you may well have a goodly amount of empty potential pantry space just a-waitin' to be filled ... in a section of your laundry room. Use the cabinetry which is already in place or add your own up-to-the-ceiling cupboards.

  3. Kitchen office corner. Way back in the 90s, many interior designers somehow saw kitchens as the ideal place to sit and pay your bills and take care of paperwork. Now that the kitchen office (not to mention paper) is so very pre-Y2K, why not turn it into something that's always useful -- a compact pantry?

  4. The inside of your cabinet doors. While this concept won't really add storage space, it works brilliantly to organize what you already have. All you do is hang shallow shelves on the inside of your cabinet doors (make sure that your door hinges can handle the extra weight) for small items that can get lost in a larger space. For example, as an anchovy addict, I'd be sure to put at least half a dozen of those teeny-tiny glass jars of anchovies in mine.

  5. The inside of your cabinet doors II. Easy to do, easy to remove, here are 2 fantastic ideas for renters or homeowners alike. Attach command hooks or clothespins to the inside of cabinet doors. Use them to hook or grab bagged cake mixes, snacks, or what have you. Alternatively, try hanging a shoe organizer over the door -- the pockets are just right for stowing spice jars or juice boxes.

  6. A stretch of wall. The walls of your kitchen are likely crammed quite full with cabinets and appliances. But what about framing off some square footage along your dining room wall? Then you can build yourself a custom pantry with discreet sliding doors. If you don't have enough time or woodworking skills for this project, call in a carpenter to take it on.

  7. Beside the fridge. That unused strip of real estate between the side of your refrigerator and the wall is the perfect spot to insert a tall narrow slide-out or roll-out "pantry." In fact, we've seen kitchens purposely designed with 3 rollouts all lined up in a neat row, offering at least as much room for cans and boxes as a traditional separate pantry.

  8. Kitchen island. Not just a breakfast bar, not just for meal prep, the base of your kitchen island can be packed with enough shelves and bins to include "very practical pantry" in its job description. Don't have a built-in island? Why not construct a movable one on wheels?

 Laura Firszt writes for

Updated July 24, 2018.

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