What do you use for a pantry?

cathy13May 8, 2006

What do you use as a pantry (especially if you don't actually HAVE a pantry)? I'm in an older home that doesn't have a closet type pantry like I had before. I've been using a cabinet for some staples, but would really like to free that space. What have you all tried? How is it working?

Thanks! -Cathy

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We are finally in a home that has a real pantry, although it's still not what I would've designed!!!!

However, in one of our previous homes we had no pantry and a very small kitchen with very little storage. What did we do? We used our linen closet for our pantry!!! And it was off our living room!!! We also put canned goods in our garage on shelves. We used every nook and cranny of that home for storage in very creative ways!!!

My parents have a walk-in pantry and I've decided that is what I want - someday!!!!!!


    Bookmark   May 8, 2006 at 2:32AM
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We don't have a pantry. In fact, I've never lived in a home with a pantry.

Sheryl has mentioned my first two thoughts. Under the bed storage could also work. I think it really depends upon what you are wanting to store.

Is it time to alter you shopping habits? No extra bedroom closets? I don't think small kids really need much closet space (I fold all of their clothes) so maybe you could use that for a while. The top of a front coat closet is usually a good spot for extras of something. It's not usually that usful for something needed daily.

I just use kitchen cabinets, but I buy very little in bulk. It means I have to monitor the DH closely on his Costco trips, but with a grocery only 6 blocks away, I really don't want 50 pounds of flour or rice taking up space.

Under the kitchen sink can be a good place for canned goods. I always kept flour, etc. in the fridge when I lived in a humid climate.

Oh, man, it's late here and I'm just prattling on.


    Bookmark   May 8, 2006 at 2:59AM
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The house I grew up in had a pantry, but it was used not for storage but for the refrigerator, because the kitchen was so small. My current house has a small kitchen, not much storage. It's a never-ending battle to keep my countertops uncluttered. Right now, here's what's laying out on the counter: wooden cutting board , round urn with utensils, coffee maker, coffee, ripening fruits and vegetables, toaster oven, toaster, and an assortment of cereal boxes. I store food in a closet in my family room, but it's not close to the kitchen. The good thing is that when I have to get something from this closet, I have to run down and then back up six stairs. On a busy day, it's like having a stairmaster! I was just telling my mother, I'd love to add a room on the side of my house, not very big, just the size of a hallway, next to my kitchen. And I would line it with shelves so that all my appliances and stored food would be handy! Any architects out there?

    Bookmark   May 8, 2006 at 9:37AM
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I have a very small kitchen. Luckily, we live close to the grocery store, so I don't keep too much extra food around. But I did need some more storage space than what was in the kitchen. We have our office off the kitchen, so I put an old bookshelf next to the door to the kitchen. That holds extra water bottles, soda, etc. Then, we have a long table that has the typewriter, papercutter, scrap paper and breadmaker on it. I have to be able to sit there and type (not too often, though), so I put a few sets of those small metal stands with pull out drawers under that table. I still have legroom, but also space for storing extra cans and boxes of things. I also keep some of the recycling under there.

I also try to figure out what really needs to be in the kitchen (what I use all the time). The extras I store elsewhere or get rid of - extra kitchen towels, tablecloths, placemats in a dresser in the dining room, extra paper goods and plastic bags on a high shelf in the office, in the winter I keep extra bread in the unheated storage room off the office.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2006 at 12:55PM
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My "pantry" is the back of the basement door. I have a coated wire rack there, rather like the one I've linked to, only mine is mounts directly to the door and is bigger. This stores all our canned goods. I also have a coated wire storage piece for wraps (plastic, foil, waxed paper) hung on the wall leading down to the basement.

We keep paper goods in a closet in the dining room and sometimes put them behind the sofa in the living room.

Like at least one of the posters above, I live in an old house with very few closets. My kitchen is the biggest of all of my friends, but it's quite small by today's standards at 12x12. I try not to buy too much at a time, as there are no less than four big grocery stores on the way home from work and a smaller grocery store a 10-minute walk away. Anyway, I like fresh produce and meat, so I'd be there anyway.

Here is a link that might be useful: wire

    Bookmark   May 8, 2006 at 2:21PM
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I used to have one of those wire racks, and it held a ton! Good suggestion!

Now I have a galley kitchen. There is just space beside my refrigerator for what is called the "Thin Man pantry". It is a set of shelves on rollers. I searched for a while and the best price I got was 69.99. (Sorry - can't remember the name of the dealer!!) It really holds a lot.

Here is a link that might be useful: Thin man pantry

    Bookmark   May 8, 2006 at 4:48PM
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Is that Door/Wall Storage System for $39.99 (link "wire") the same one that is sold at WM?


    Bookmark   May 8, 2006 at 6:29PM
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When I married dh, we lived in an apartment with a really small kitchen and no pantry. I made the coat closet a pantry by adding wire shelves and the hang over the door shelving. We used a tall chest for extra plates and pots and pans.

Since there was only two of us at the time, I also used under the table as extra storage by only keeping two places to sit. It worked.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2006 at 7:20PM
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Let's see:

In the past we've used coat closets; linen closets; bathroom cabinets (to hold Lots of toilet tissue and kleenex).

Also check out armoires of all sorts and kinds. Ikea has lots of them for various prices and kinds.

We now have a very small pantry closet in the kitchen. We maximized the space by adding wire shelves to the door and a very small rolling cart under the last shelf to hold vegetables. And the bottom of the pantry closet holds the liquor bottles!

Be creative!! :)

    Bookmark   May 8, 2006 at 9:36PM
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Postum, I have been contemplating the Thin Man Pantry for some time. Are you happy with it? Is it sturdy?

    Bookmark   May 10, 2006 at 3:33PM
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Hi mustangs - yes, it is very sturdy. The wheels roll smoothly, and really it is not bad looking (though not going to win any beauty contests). My cabinets are oak and I got the oak finish one - it is almost an exact match. I use it mostly for canned goods (DH is a big Costco fan - buying in bulk) and have not had any problems. I use one shelf for medicine, band-aids, etc.

I moved my fridge out a little away from the corner wall so it would fit there, and it is almost invisible. It is one of the few online purchases I've made that I can say I am *completely* satisfied with!

    Bookmark   May 10, 2006 at 5:10PM
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Postum, Thanks so much for taking the time to give me your experience with this product. I'm off to measure (again) to see if I can accommodate this piece. I am thinking about next to the refrigerator in my laundry room. Now I use the above the w&d for extra pantry items. I would love to free up some of that space.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2006 at 5:16PM
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I have a pantry cabinet (floor-to-ceiling cabinet with four narrow-edged shelves that pull out) for canned goods and two sets of plastic garage-type shelving at the bottom of the basement stairs for water, soda, and bulky things. They're not pretty, but they hold a lot.

When I was single I had the luxury of a "real" pantry in my apartment (it was in a converted, 1920's era two-family house). It was narrow, but good-sized and included drawers, shelves, and even a window -- I had no closets, mind you, but I loved that pantry!

    Bookmark   May 11, 2006 at 9:53AM
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My parents used a linen closed for bulky items, but for canned goods my very handy dad built a storage unit along one side of the steps going from the kitchen down to the basement. It was just deep enough for one large can (about 4"), and about 5-6 shelves high and as wide as about 5-6 steps, so it actually held quite a bit. He put sliding wood doors on it and since it was so narrow it never hindered our use of the stairs.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2006 at 2:16AM
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Interesting thread. I have a small closet in my kitchen that functions as a pantry. In my family room, I have a large closet that I share with the kids...toys and games and serving platters and roasting pans all share the same space. I also have a shelf in the basement for the larger appliences that don't fit in the kitchen (deep fryer, waffle maker etc.). I am not happy with the set up, but it is better than nothing at all.

We are in the process of designing our new house, and I must admit, that it is ALL about the kitchen. I am willing to sacrifice most any other space to create the pantry of my dreams. It will be a small room attached to the kitchen, with open shelving and a long counter top for pies to cool. If you have the opportunity to see Chef at Home on the FoodNetwork (Canadian), his pantry is what I am aiming for. I also love Ina Garten's pantry on the Barefoot Contessa.

I'll continue checking this thread for some more great ideas to "borrow" ;O).

Keep the ideas coming...

    Bookmark   May 14, 2006 at 12:52PM
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I'm fascinated to see the comments on the Thin Man pantry. I have a spot like that in my kitchen, and have considered getting one of those.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2006 at 1:28PM
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We are living in an apartment while remodelling the moat (and dungeon) at the castle and the small kitchen was getting me nuts. I had a wood bookcase left over from an office move which is 7 feet high by 42 inches wide and 12 inches deep. Just fits in near the table. what a life saver, pots, pans, cook books,two wicker baskets 12 inches deep with fabric lining for misc. Big pottery goes on top. I am going to put this in the back of a closet when we move back. We also brought along a former upper cabinet; put it on the floor, dh topped it with 1 1/2 inch scrap wood and it stores extra appliances, etc. The problem with pantries can be that whatever you want its in the back. In the remodel we are opting for shelves that pull out and you have access to both sides. sort oflike a sideways book shelf.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2006 at 1:40AM
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Ok, I'm feeling spoiled. I didn't realize that some houses have no pantry???? I feel for all of you. I guess you really do have to get creative. My sister once had a house built and everyone overlooked a pantry. The builder's only option at the time of discovery was to cut into the sheetrock and make a 3" shelf with a door. My sister was so devastated as she was the great entertainer/cooker.

I have a normal pantry now but my last house had the ultimate pantry. Totally inappropriate for a small house. It was a 5' x 5' walk-in, fully shelved from top to bottom on three walls. Back then my kids were young and extremely nosey. I ended up putting a chair in my pantry and would have sit inside with the door closed just to have a private telephone conversation. Man, I miss that pantry :(

    Bookmark   June 1, 2006 at 7:46AM
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Marge 727 - I am howling at your comment, "while remodelling the moat (and dungeon) at the castle". It just struck me so funny!


    Bookmark   June 1, 2006 at 8:03AM
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It feels like the prince and I are living in exile--he is the contractor who goes to work there everyday, I go in to help clean up and do stuff after work, and then we go to the little apartment in a completely different neighborhood. I went over to the castle to pick some of my roses to bring to the apartment.
But you do learn how little you need to be comfortable. There are whole families with 4 kids living in these 2 bedroom apartments. They shop once a week, and don't stock up on 3 years worth of canned goods, they launder often and don't need as much clothing. With limited space, you don't keep towels or clothing that have seen better days.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2006 at 10:10AM
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There was a door in the kitchen that was sealed off on the other side by the previous owner. They left the kitchen side open and finished it off with trim and shelving. It's very neat and looks totally intentional. It's the only place I keep my food and it works out great. If you wanted to, I'm sure it would be only a weekend project. Good luck!

    Bookmark   June 1, 2006 at 2:32PM
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I used to have a little pantry I bought when I was living in Germany, they don't have a lot of cabinets space over there. So, I ordered one of those little pantrys with four shelves. It was small but held quite a bit. I used to put my canned goods, pasta, spices and staples in it. After moving it several times, though, the base broken on one side and I decided to get rid of it. My SIL at the time wanted it and I gave it to her. I'm thinking of getting another one or one of those small china hutch-type cabinets and put things in the bottom part of that. I bought a house with a small kitchen and don't seem to have enough cabinet space. I hate having to go to the store so often.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2006 at 2:12PM
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I don't have a lot of cupboards in my kitchen. I keep a minimum amount of supplies in my kitchen. Anything that I stock up on I keep on a set of shelves in the basement. I pretty well only keep things that I use daily in the kitchen. Everything else is downstairs. If I am cooking a meal I will go and get anything I need from the basement. My freezer is in the basement as well so I will collect everything at once (or send the kids down for it lol ;-).

    Bookmark   June 5, 2006 at 9:39AM
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