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How to Organize Your Kitchen When You Don't Have a Pantry

How to Organize Your Kitchen When You Don't Have a Pantry

Over the last year, I've discovered the social media platform, Instagram! It's a great visual tool to bolster your business, connect with others, and get some great inspiration from like-minded folks. I have a regular follower who frequently likes and comments on my squares. A few weeks ago she inquired about me doing a post about kitchen organizing when you don't have a pantry because that is one of her struggles. So this post is inspired by this sweet and supportive follower!


Here are my suggestions:


1. Get a shelving unit

Utilize a free-standing shelving unit to corral everything from dry goods to your bulk purchases. You can camouflage things with the use of bins as seen here and it's a great place to display some of your favorite serving pieces or pretty glassware.




2. Get creative inside cabinets

Here you'll see a few examples of creatively organizing your cupboards. Using the backs of cabinet doors to install hooks, shallow shelves, and bulletin boards increased the function of this space ten-fold. On the top shelf, you'll see a two-tiered lazy susan which utilizes vertical space and makes reaching those high items that much easier. And those labeled bins are a nice way to give your cabinets a clutter-free appearance, provide uniformity, and an additional pop of color! 





3. Mount an under-cabinet shelf

Often times when you don't have a pantry you resort to storing things on your kitchen counters. Let's free up the countertops and get some added storage by mounting a shelf underneath your cabinets. It's a sneaky way to get more space and it's great that it's in arms reach of your prep surface. 



4. Add built-ins around doorways

This is a clever example of using built-ins in a kitchen. Here you'll see some really smart shelves that were constructed around a doorway. This might be considered varsity-level DIY, but even just installing one wall-mounted shelf over a door can give you the same effect. It would be a great spot to stash a basket full of holiday table linens, specialty cookbooks, or extra paper towel rolls. 



5. Get a cart on wheels

Adding a storage cart on wheels or even a bar cart is a neat and inexpensive way to give you some extra storage options. Use it to stash frequently used items such as produce, bread or spices. Just wheel it over to the prep space when you need it and tuck it into a corner when you don't.




6. Purchase a freestanding island

Having an island in a kitchen can be a luxury, but so many older kitchens weren't designed with one. If it makes sense, you might want to consider swapping out your kitchen table for a freestanding island. They can provide seating as well as storage. Also, I love the baskets shown in this image. Whether you have an island or not, exploring the idea of some cute baskets tucked around your kitchen can give you a smidge more storage. 




7. Put an armoire in the kitchen

I love a good upcycle idea and repurposing an old armoire to serve as a kitchen pantry is genius! Unlike the open shelving I mentioned above, this baby has doors so you can close them if things aren't looking as neat and tidy as you'd like. And how cool that this one was customized to include shelves, hanging space and pull-outs. 




8. When all else fails, look elsewhere

There are just some instances where you can't maximize another square inch out of your kitchen. When that's the case, it makes sense to look somewhere else. Often the next logical location is the dining room which is usually adjacent to the kitchen. Stealing space from your hutch or credenza is a smart solution. It makes sense to store bulky, infrequently used appliances like mixers and waffle makers that would be more cumbersome to have to lug up from the basement. Keeping them in the dining room makes access easier and safer. You can also store overflow foodstuffs from your last Costco run in the dining room rather than having these extras taking up precious real estate in your cupboards.




I hope this gives you some ideas for making the most out of your pantry-less kitchen. Creativity and out of the box thinking can go a long way in helping you maximize your storage options.


And remember, I'd love for YOU to follow me on Instagram. I'm always open to blogging ideas from my followers!



Categories: Home Organizing


  • Those are some really good ideas, Sarah! I see one for a current client. (I've mentioned adding storage to her kitchen island but not baskets, specifically. It always helps to show them a picture.) I have no pantry, per se, but then, I've never had one. I have a lot of kitchen cupboards, though, which work fine for me.
    2/28/2017 10:59:55 AM Reply
    • @Hazel Thornton: I do love a good basket! They're pretty, yet functional. I hope it works out for your client.
      3/15/2017 1:31:26 PM Reply
  • So many creative ideas! My old kitchen had a broom closet that was turned into a very slim pantry and most of my food items were in our basement. When we renovated, I made sure that a pantry closet was included in the plans! An absolute necessity for anyone who likes to cook or cooks on a regular basis.
    2/27/2017 3:43:35 PM Reply
    • @Stacey Agin Murray: Those skinny pantry closets are the worst! I'm glad you finally got the pantry you deserve and need!!
      3/15/2017 1:30:46 PM Reply
  • I thought I was doing well until I saw example #3 - I could definitely do better!
    2/27/2017 2:17:24 PM Reply
    • @Janet Barclay: I thought that idea was pretty clever myself!
      3/15/2017 1:28:31 PM Reply
  • I love when I can use the backsplash area to store items. Previously, before we redesigned my kitchen, I would use a magnet strip mounted to the wall for all my chef knives. I also hung test tube spices/herbs on the wall to hold a small amount of each herb/spice as well. It looked great, and I didn't need to take up valuable cabinet space. Thanks for sharing. Instagram is great for sharing these ideas with little wording. =)
    2/27/2017 1:50:07 PM Reply
    • @Sabrina Quairoli: Ooh, I love your ideas for going vertical! I've always been a fan of the magnetic knife strip. Glad it works for you.
      3/15/2017 1:29:57 PM Reply
  • Great post Sarah! Although people can't fathom not having a pantry, that luxury isn't found in every home. Very creative ideas that should inspire those that don't have a designated pantry a few ways to create the space for their items!
    2/27/2017 12:32:30 PM Reply
    • @Liana George: When we remodeled our kitchen, we didn't have room for a walk-in pantry, but I definitely made sure we had a large block of cabinets designated as pantry space. It makes such a difference!
      3/15/2017 1:29:22 PM Reply
  • Building kitchens without pantries should be a crime! They are such a convenient space. Alas, we don't all have them. I have found the armoire trick to be very helpful. You can get a smaller one if you have a tiny kitchen. I've also worked with clients to transform a hall closet that was close by, and to use the back of the door to the basement to add a large can rack. You've gotta use what you've got!
    2/24/2017 9:28:48 PM Reply
    • @Seana Turner: Love that hall closet, idea! Especially in New England, we tend to have those hall closets close by for coats and boots. And I definitely think you should add "pantry police" to your resume, Seana! ;)
      2/25/2017 10:04:28 AM Reply
  • Great post, Sarah, i also have a kitchen without a pantry, so i bought a free standing one, and i keep large overflow in my basement on a shelving unit. Having just what you need in the kitchen is must as well.
    2/24/2017 9:29:32 AM Reply
    • @Jill Robson: Bummer about your kitchen-less pantry, Jill! :( I'm glad you found a solution that works for you!
      2/25/2017 10:05:24 AM Reply

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