Solution for bad pantry design

edb2nFebruary 24, 2014

We have a tall pantry cabinet that is 24" deep. While it offers lots of storage, everything past the first 6" or so is hidden in the dark recesses of the cabinet. So there are all kinds of spices, oils, etc. that have permanently disappeared into Pantry Purgatory. We aren't going to replace or rebuild the cabinets, but I wondered if anyone has used these (or something similar). I know we would lose some space because of clearance for the runners and all, but we should gain a lot of usable space.

Here is a link that might be useful: Easy Glider Drawers

This post was edited by edb2n on Mon, Feb 24, 14 at 13:38

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Hmm, I bet there are some interesting solutions posted online somewhere, have you tried a google search them clicking on the "images" tab to scroll through the pics?

My first thought would be to cut the shelves back a bit and put a basket system on the doors.

How wide is it? Could you cut out a corner of each shelf to make an L shape and use it more like a step in pantry, but without being able to actually step into it?

The pull out shelves/drawers are a good option. You can also try bins to group things together and make them easy to move if needed.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 3:05PM
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Check out the insert offerings Ikea offers. If you are reasonably handy you could get a lot more capacity from these per dollar.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ikea cabinet organizer inserts

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 4:50PM
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Do you have removable shelves in your current pantry? If so, you can remove them all and install a pull-out system.

My 24-inch pantry has pull out shelves that can be adjusted to any position. There is a long 1x1 in each of the back corners and on each side in the front and they have evenly spaced little holes all along the length. The shelf glides have little pins that fit into any of the little holes so the shelves can me moved up or down.

I found something similar online ...

Here is a link that might be useful: Adjustable pantry pull-outs

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 5:34PM
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I agree, you need pull-out drawer/shelves. I'm not sure IKEA ones would work as they only seem to 12" wide, but there are others. As Williamsen stated, Google "pull-out shelves" and look at the "images" to see what will suit you.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 7:34PM
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Great idea for the Google Images search, Williamsem. I will do some research tonight.

It looks the Ikea ones don't come in the size I would need.

Thanks a bunch for the suggestion, Jellytoast. I couldn't figure out how to make pull-out shelves clear the face frame. This is so simple; it should have occured to me already! I believe I can cut down my current shelves and engineer the system you described. And it will be cheaper and make better use of the space than the gliding baskets.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 11:18PM
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How about retrofitting rolling shelves on top of what you already have? That's what we did with our old cabinets. We had this done by a local cabinet maker in our old kitchen. The top drawer is original, but the two trays are retrofits:

This shows one of the old cabinets from the back after we took it out. You can see that there is quite a bit of waste, but still it was much more useable than crawling around on the floor and digging in the back. In your case, it would be so much better than going in there with the search team and the floodlights so you can find the spaghetti sauce! The height of the sides of the roll out trays can be any height you want. These shelves held pots and pans, but in a pantry you might want something a little taller.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 12:30AM
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I didn't put any pull out shelves in my 25" deep pantry cabinets. One holds crockpots, mixers, glass platters & servers, blenders, etc. But one holds all my grocery items.
We used can racks in it to hold most cans. Doesn't work with tuna or tomato paste cans though. We ordered a stainless steel rack online, but we found that the cheap white racks from Walt-Mart worked better. Larger cans go on top of the racks. All the cans in the rack roll down so the oldest cans get used first. Cans not in a rack are a pain. They have to be moved forward to add new cans to the back. It really doesn't take me that long though.

Pasta and other boxed items go in the two lower drawers or next to the racks.

I have seen some metal pullout baskets at Bed, Bath & Beyond. Some have two levels.


    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 3:20AM
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Other shelf.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 3:21AM
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Don't want to hijack, but I noticed all of you have cabinets for pantry storage. We have a pantry closet. I loved the one in the old house (with wooden shelves), but the new house has coated wire shelves and I hate them - they sag, stuff falls through, they're only 16" deep in a 23" deep closet, and the builder refused to make the closet deeper to make a walk-in pantry. It backs up to the end of a huge coat closet (doors 90 degrees apart) so there is room to go deeper, and in fact he said 29" doorway was too narrow to do a walk-in but he put a 3ft deep linen closet in the master with the same 16" deep ventilated shelving installed on the back wall, I have to stand in there to get at anything!).

Any ideas to make my pantry more usable?

My mom has 1970's era cabinets, I love her pantry, it's more than 2ft deep, double doors with attached shelves for spices and such, and still has deep fixed wooden shelves inside, she stores multiple boxes of pasta, crackers, rice, cans, jars, paper towels, small appliances, etc. in there and has no trouble digging things out since she buys multiples of smaller things and puts them organized by type one in front of the other, just rotates older stuff to the front as she buys more, and the larger things (appliances, paper goods, etc.) take up the full depth. Only things in the very top (separate) cabinet (like over fridge) get lost in the back, the pantry cabinet is only 6ft tall.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 9:50AM
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ajsmama, maybe you could post a picture of your present set-up?

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 10:02AM
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Thanks, suzannesl. That's a good idea, too. It would be a little simpler to install, but would probably cost more because I would have to buy or build drawers. I'm going to see what I can come up with.

Peke, those can things are neat. It's nice that it automatically gives you the older ones first.

ajsmama, I would definitely replace all of the wire shelves with wood. Wire shelves are terrible. I've replaced all of the ones in our closets with wood. You can also get a rack to fit on the back of the door to hold cans and smaller things.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 11:33AM
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One thing I saw that seemed to work well is to put lazy susans in the corner shelves. A fairly easy and cheap solution so things don't get as lost.

Some of the things on this website seem very useful too:
There's a 20" pull out drawer listed....

    Bookmark   February 26, 2014 at 12:03AM
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Wow! I think I need those "Houck" ones for my 24x24" pantry. I've considered Ikea solutions before, but thought I'd have to do too much finagling. But I love the simplicity of the Houck one. Is that what you actually have in your pantry, jelly toast?

    Bookmark   February 26, 2014 at 1:10AM
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edb2n & ajsmama, how wide are your pantries/cabinets ?

    Bookmark   February 26, 2014 at 1:53AM
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The closet is 32" wide inside with 29" door. I'm too embarassed to post pix, it's such a clutter (even have stuff on the floor - my Kitchenaid in box, griddle in box, wafflemaker in box with bags of rice, flour, sugar in front).

    Bookmark   February 26, 2014 at 3:27AM
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It's a 24x24 cabinet (not sure about the height. Maybe 60"). But the usable space inside to clear the face frame is about 22"x21"

I don't know why this never occured to me before, but I'm just going to get full extension drawer slides from Home Depot, cut down the shelves so they'll clear the face frame, and install a pillar at the corners to attach the slides. Pretty much a homemade version of the "Houck" system. They won't be adjustable up and down, but I don't care about that. We've lived here 9 years and never once adjusted the shelves.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2014 at 11:27AM
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kirkhall, mine are very similar, but they are called "Easy Trax" and they were an upgrade feature with my cabinets. They work great! My pantry cabinet came with four slide-outs, but I ordered another one later because I realized I had a lot of wasted space. I like that I can adjust the shelves to whatever height works for my storage needs. Like edb2n, I don't feel the need to adjust the shelves all the time, but I did set them to fit the things I normally buy and now I'm good to go (and should I suddenly feel the need to buy those tall economy boxes of cereal, I know I can adjust the shelves to fit them!) I can fit a TON of stuff in my pantry, even though it is only 21 inches wide.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2014 at 2:04PM
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I am so jealous of you people with these pantry problems. That means you have a pantry!

    Bookmark   February 26, 2014 at 2:13PM
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LOL, deedles, I'm so jealous of people with actual pantries, rather than pantry cabinets!! (I almost posted "panty" cabinets!)

    Bookmark   February 26, 2014 at 2:20PM
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There was a good article in "pantry design" in one of the Fine homebuilding magazine Kitchen and Bath issues about a year ago. Some good ideas in that article.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2014 at 2:43PM
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