Pantry Storage: closet vs. pull out cabinets

drybeanOctober 21, 2012

Hopefully getting close to finalizing my layout, but I'm debating what to do for pantry storage.

I can either have a reach in closet, with adjustable shelving, or two 15" pantry cabinets with roll outs. The closet would be 40"w x 24" deep. I see lots of posts discussing the merits of pull out pantry cabs, but are those preferable to a closet? It seems that a closet would afford more storage, which is what I need.

I don't pantry load a lot of food, but I do need a place to keep paper towels, seldom used appliances, etc. My kitchen is small, so I'm trying to maximize storage.

Any insight? I'm picturing something like the photo on the link. I might also throw my microwave in there.

Here is a link that might be useful: Houzz pantry idea

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For me the closet wins:

1) It's more flexible to suit what you have at the time (the pullouts take a lot of the space, plus limit what will fit where)

2) You'll be able to see most everything at once.

3) You don't have to have the shelves 24" deep (in fact, I'd recommend against that), which means you could also have floor and wall space to use.

4) And wouldn't a closet be less expensive?

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 1:52AM
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Ditto what RHome410 said! :-)

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 2:02AM
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Double ditto!!

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 2:28AM
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Another vote for the closet. Also make sure to have your electrician install an outlet in there since you said you may keep your MW in the closet. Even if you end up not keeping your MW in there, it's good to have the flexibility of an outlet in the pantry. I keep my MW in my pantry, and love that location - I am not a frequent MW user, and I find the machine not that attractive in my kitchen, so I like it in the pantry.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 8:29AM
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Sophie Wheeler

A pantry in an existing closet is thousands cheaper than pull out pantry cabinets. Thousands. With the saved money, you can configure that closet to utilize shallow L shaped shelving to maximize the visibility of the contents.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 10:07AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

closet hands down.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 10:25AM
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Many thanks! I was thinking a closet was better in terms of storage, but I couldn't find any posts that specifically discussed it. Thought I might not be thinking it through fully. Obviously a walk-in pantry would be the ideal (for me, anyway), but there is just no room in this space.

Excellent idea to have shallower shelves and electrical outlets. We aren't frequent MW users either..mostly oatmeal in mornings and reheating leftovers on occassion. I think in pantry still beats sticking it in base cabinet and having to crouch.

It isn't an exisiting closet, but it is an existing pantry cabinet, so the framing required should be pretty minimal.

It will be in the space that is currently occupied by the top two cabs in this photo. Door to hallway has been removed. Fridge will be next to pantry.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 11:18AM
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Well yes closets are cheaper than cabinets. But my experience has been a bit different. At least 1/2 the time (likely more like 75%), when doing a remodel, people ask me to remove the closet and replace it with cabinets. Often it is in the top five things they want done! These are usually closets that less than 36" wide outside down to as small as 24". In every case they have shelves that are 21 to 24" deep so anything but the big pack of paper towels gets difficult to store. The other thing is they gain 6 or 7" of run by losing the walls.
I love built in pantry storage but generally suggest it at 36 x 48 (interior dimensions) and up which is a harder amount of space to come up with.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 1:21PM
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The position of the door/alignment of the door/area the door opens into has great impact. Our pantry is 35 wide by 23 deep but incorporates the slant of wall above stairwell heading downstairs in the home. it is positioned off to the side in the kitchen....the space could be done "better"except for the angle at the floor,and the location keeps it actually as "extra" space, so I'm not motivated to redo something that is a bonus to begin with. If a closet pantry is in the main footprint of the kitchen I do think jakuvall's points are valid,as well as how the frequent open/close of a door will impact the kitchen dynamics.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 2:13PM
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Thanx for posting your "idea" pic, drybean.

I'm working on submitting a layout and recently thought a closet makes more sense to me as well.

The photo helped me visualize it, and I appreciate seeing the comments that your post received.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 8:00PM
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We kept our pantry closet - but added a pocket door (still haven't fixed up the closet, but love my pocket door!)

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 8:03PM
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Jakuvall-Your experience is interesting to me. WHy not just have a closet at the end of the cabinet run? I guess there would have to be a way to incorporate it so it doesn't look like just a drywall box? I think that having shallow shelves is key, so that the stored items are visible and accessible.

Herbflavor-Like you said, extra storage space is usually a bonus. Makes it hard to complain, even if it isn't quite perfect.

tmy-here my original pantry ispiration:

Contemporary Kitchen design by Boston Closets And Organization Marie Newton, Closets Redefined

I would love storage like that!

a2gemini-I would love a pocket door. But I guess you have to have at least a 60" space, right? Room for the door + the pocket?

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 8:11PM
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My door is only 24 so better not gain topics weight!
(I run marathons so not likely)
Our pocket door was added during the remodel Our GC knew I was I to no good when my hands started rubbing together and I would say What about this....

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 9:24PM
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Drybean- your inspiration pic points to the problem, that it's a nice functional pantry that is part of the architecture it works and it belongs it is also at least 5 and I'd bet 6 feet wide, big enough to step in, and have shallow shelves on the sides.

The ones I see that are a mess are unde 3 ft wide and have deep shelves. Make the shelves shallower and they storeless than a cabinet with roll outs, but they are cheaper. If they are needed architecturally, for aesthetics, fine. If not, remove them and you not only gain space and storage but flexibilityin layout. An extra 3 feet of wall to manipulate in a layout can help a lot in a reconfiguration remodel.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 9:41PM
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My experience is different than the good advice here.

I had a 36 wide 24"deep black hole with straight shelves, not configured in a u or anything else. Very difficult to find anything and I used to reorganize it every couple of years.

Post reno-we have 2 15" wide pullouts, with adjustable shelves, many shelves, and strong hardware. They seem expensive. They are loaded and now I can find everything. After one and half years, dh and I have memorized the location of every little thing. I do store tons of groceries, all very accessible, and use every inch of space well, little wasted air space on top, sides of things.

It is way more expensive and less flexible. I can't plug in small appliances. I could store larger items but I'd lose grocery storage. Works well for us, ymmv.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 10:34PM
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westsider, can you posta picture of yours so we can contrast it with the others? thanks

    Bookmark   October 24, 2012 at 12:18AM
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