An organized pantry indicates a happy kitchen. But what happens when you run out of space? All those spices, jars, vinegar bottles, and boxes of cereal have to go somewhere. Once your dedicated storage space reaches max capacity, it’s hard to ignore your kitchen becoming one cluttered mess.
The solution? Get clever with your pantry overflow—try one of our storage alternatives below. With a little creativity, you can carve out the necessary space to house all of the pantry items you need. And the best part? Most of these solutions don’t require any heavy lifting or help from a contractor.
Repurpose a cluttered closet
Can you think of any underused closets in your home that can serve as a pantry?
“I have seen condos in which the homeowners have taken their boots and jackets out of the hallway closet and turned it into a kitchen pantry,” says Nectaria Kladitis, a broker at Re/Max Hallmark Realty in Toronto.
A mudroom or basement could also serve the same purpose.
“This area would be used for bulk purchases of food and consumable items—like napkins, paper towels—and even some not-frequently-used kitchen appliances,” says Andrea Walker, owner and certified professional organizer at Smartly Organized. This kind of space is often referred to as an overflow pantry.
Install floating shelves
If you haven’t jumped on the open shelving bandwagon yet, consider bringing this trend into your home. Put that empty wall to use and install a few floating shelves alongside the cabinets that already exist.
By moving your plates, bowls, and glasses—which will look pretty stacked together—out of your cabinets and onto floating shelves, you’ll have more room for items that don’t fit in your pantry.
Floating shelves ($199, Pottery Barn) in wood, glass, and metal are quite popular options and don’t cost a lot of money to install.
Most amateur DIYers can source floating shelves from a local home improvement store and install them, but you can also go the custom route.
“Hire a company that specializes in kitchen cabinetry, and ask them to measure, design, and install shelving that fits your needs,” says Caleb Liu, owner of House Simply Sold in Orange, CA.
Warning: Don’t go overboard. Overspending on cabinets is one of the mistakes that can derail your kitchen reno.
If you don’t want to go through the process of installing shelves, consider purchasing a prebuilt, free-standing storage solution.
“Instead of using your kitchen storage for dishes or glassware, move those items into a hutch, and turn your kitchen cabinetry into pantry space,” recommends Marty Basher, a storage design expert with Modular Closets.
If you have room in your kitchen or dining area, grab this tall hutch ($306, Lowe’s), or source one with a vintage feel from a flea market or estate sale.
Walker says she’s even used an old-fashioned TV armoire.
Get smart with cabinet organizers
Everyone looking to maximize space in their pantry should bring in some cabinet organizers. Walker recommends risers, turntables ($14, Amazon), and bins for all your bottles and jars.
Also, remove the packaging to reduce the amount of space needed.
“So many snack items come individually wrapped that ‘decanting’ them into a bin saves considerable space,” Walker says.
Consider a mobile pantry
We bet there are a few spaces in your kitchen that could be used for pantry overflow. One of those spaces is the area between your countertop and your refrigerator. Basher recommends purchasing a narrow metal rolling cart ($95, Amazon), which can slide in and out as you need it.
If you have a lot of space in the center of the kitchen, a mobile kitchen island ($200, Amazon) is another option.
“This type of kitchen organizer can be used to store canned food, spices, cereal boxes, chutney jars, and so on,” says Amalia Otet of Storage Café. “It’s a simple solution that can make a ton of a difference when trying to make a small kitchen space work.”
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