DIY Project: Efficient Pantry Storage

Moving from a home in the country (with a huge garden & food storage to match) to a home in the city took some adjusting. But at least I still had a garage for storage.

A recent move to an apartment brought on a completely different set of challenges. But I loved the process of downsizing and making my life simpler. I took on the task with gusto – utilizing every space for efficiency.

The first challenge was finding room for my pantry. The kitchen held everything I needed – except the food! I was determined that, just because I now lived in an apartment, I needn’t give up my food storage system. Preparedness is built into my DNA after years of raising a family in the Midwest.

Thank goodness for The Container Store. I found tons of products to spark my imagination and almost everything I needed to create an efficient use of space.

Granted I did not always use the items for their intended purposes – and I have to say their elaborate shelving system is far too spendy (besides, I couldn’t go around drilling holes in the doors). But still, being able to do most of the shopping in one location was time effective as well.

Food Pantry

To the left is my final (and ever changing) Food Pantry.

Here are some of the items I utilized to make the most of the space I had:

Shoe Racks:
The closet I wanted to convert into a pantry only had three shelves. If you look closely at the photo, you’ll notice that only the top three shelves are made of wood.

So I employed two sets of wood framed, wire shoe racks, designed to be stacked one on top of the other. They make a sturdy shelving unit that fits perfectly into the remaining bottom half of the closet space. This gave me efficient storage for cans and boxed foods. And there’s even room underneath on the floor for water bottles.


Stepped Risers: Spices Riser & Hanging Basket
I found a variety of sizes I could use with canned foods, baking goods and spices. This makes the labels easy to read, so you can find what you are looking for quickly. And a hanging shelf basket offers a place to keep loose bagged foods, such as dried beans, rice and seasonings.

Food Storage Containers:
For staples such as flour, sugar, pasta, dried fruits and nuts, it saves room and keep food fresh to use stackable containers.

Open Baskets with Handles

Open Baskets with Handles:
It never fails, all those smaller items tend to always get shoved to the back of the shelf, until we forget about them, or worse yet purchase more of the same thing, since we think we’ve used it all. These baskets allow me to keep items contained in one place, easy to find, and keep track of inventory.


Wire Over-the-Door Storage Rack: Door Food Storage
The door storage systems at The Container Store were too expensive for my taste – plus I didn’t want to drill holes in the apartment door. But I was able to score an inexpensive over the door-hanging wire unit from Miles Kimble, which allowed me to make use of that wasted door space. If you decide to use something similar to this, I recommend using it for light-weight packages of foodstuff, to keep it securely hanging against the door.

Sometimes challenges open our mind to possibilities we wouldn’t have otherwise dreamed up. So I hope my pantry project inspires you in some small way, as well.

What organizing tricks have you used for your food storage system? I’d love to hear about it!




  1. Kathy

    Wow – my pantry is a mess! Thanks for the inspiration. And the ideas…..

    • indy

      Glad you found it helpful Kathy! It’s an ever-changing project as the food inventory changes, but having a foundation to work with makes it easier. Good luck!



  1. Preparedness: Where to Begin? | Indy Quillen - […] canned food each grocery trip, then add in some dried beans and powdered milk. Soon you’ll have a full…

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