Surviving small kitchens : No pantry? No problem!

Our “Surviving small kitchens” post today is about an essential part of the kitchen, you may or may not call it by its name, but chance is if you are using it to store food, crockery, or spices then it is called : pantry.

So whether you are lucky enough to have a whole room, or a couple of shelves it is still  a pantry (as per the dictionary definition at least!)

I mentioned previously that my kitchen didn’t come with enough storage space, or in other words with enough cabinets. Before moving in, I kept telling myself just live with what you have till you can re-design and remodel a new kitchen, your own, but the organizing person in me couldn’t settle with what I had. By simple calculations, my stuff would never fit in those 4 or 5 tiny cabinets, so I decided to repurpose a couple of Ikea bookcases we already had into open shelves pantry, and till date I still consider this as one of the wisest decisions I made in the last 10 years.

Here is how my open shelves pantry look like, well till last week!

pantry before 1 final

A more detailed look

before collage final

It was working, but it still missed something. I needed it to have more space, I needed it to be more organized, I needed it to be better.

I didn’t like how I stored my appliances on lower shelves and that my youngest daughter could reach them, I didn’t like how I  didn’t have enough space store my baking supplies (I don’t have a lot, but still I want them on display). The one thing I didn’t like most was the microwave taking up precious counter top space, and this is when I decided I had to visit Ikea!

I decided to buy a trolley, for many reasons, most important of which it is mobile! So I went with the Udden metal one, a nice size, sturdy, with sleek metal finish. I also got 2 Grundtal shelves, so I can store my appliances up high away from little cheeky fingers reach. Well, enough talking here is how my it looks like now. ( Please excuse the strange photo angles, small kitchens problems perks!)

Pantry after 1

I basically used 3 kinds of containers: Ikea 365+ clear containers, they come in 3 different sizes, I also used those baskets from Daiso with a handle so they are easy to pull out, and finally a set of 8 red-lidded containers from Tchibo, which are great for nuts and kids snacks.

Pantry after 6

On the upper shelf, I keep all dry food: pasta, rice, legumes, flour, breadcrumbs, etc.. On the second shelf, on one side I keep all cereal, pancake mix, sugar, and bananas. On the other side, are all cans like beans, corn, mushrooms, tomato paste as well as cooking essentials: oil, salt, pepper (spices are stored somewhere else), vinegar, etc..

As you can see I don’t label my containers, and that was after a lot of hesitation, but I actually keep changing where I store everything, so labels wouldn’t work for me.

One tip, is to empty food from its container (like pasta, rice, corn flakes), it minimizes clutter and gives a sense of uniformity and homogenecity to your pantry.

pantry after 2

On the lower shelves, I store stuff I won’t be scared if my daughter reaches, on the 3rd shelf: my daughters sweets, snacks, and breakfast food cake, muffins, cereal bar, porridge, etc… I also keep sealing bags clips, coasters, empty bottles, and my daughter lunchbox. Then comes drinking water bottles, and Tupperware on 4th shelf. Finally on the bottom shelf, I keep my trolley bags (a genius invention you could check out here which took grocery shopping to another level, but this will be later in a separate post) on one side, and on the right side a basket with all extra stock of cookies, milk, juice cartons, and whatever didn’t fit in the upper shelves.

pantry after 3

Tupperware, can be a real nightmare, I went through phases, but I suggest the following:

  1. Go through all your Tupperware, any lid without a box, or a box without a lid is to get rid of.
  2. Any box you didn’t use for 6 months, that is stained from tomato sauce, or that is too small to use is also to get rid of.
  3. Stack remaining boxes without their lids, they would take a lot less space
  4. Store all the lids together next  to the stack of boxes. I use this container from Tchibo specifically for Tupperware lids, but a magazine holder can work like magic.


On the right side of the pantry, are the 2 Grundtal shelves with all my kitchen appliances. I keep all the kitchen machine accessories in a small basket next to it.

pantry after 4

Underneath the shelves, is the Udden trolley (I assembled myself) home for my microwave and Panini grill. The trolley has 1 shelf where I keep mixing bowls and cutting boards nicely stacked in a magazine holder. The lower wire shelf, holds 2 baskets for potatoes, onions, and garlic (the only fresh produce I keep out of the fridge). I keep all lunch bags in a box next to the trolley.

Pantry after 5

I like to have many cutting boards, to each its own use, I use the wooden one for raw meat and chicken, a plastic one for onion and garlic, a third for veggies, and the last smaller one is for fruits, I make sure each has a different color.

pantry after 9And here is how my pantry looks like now,  from another view,

Pantry after 10And of course the before and after everyone.

Final pantry collage

So here it is, from zero pantry, to a well stocked one, I didn’t have to remodel, or install cabinets, just repurposed shelving units and took it from there. How about you? Do you have a pantry? Is it organized? or do you keep food in separate cabinets? Let us know, send us photos, or let us know if you need help with pantry solutions, we would love to help!

Have a great day everyone,


One thought on “Surviving small kitchens : No pantry? No problem!

  1. Pingback: Surviving Small Kitchens:Go up! Vertical storage ideas | theorganizingqueens

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s