Fill Awkward Gaps In Your Kitchen With This Sneaky Storage Solution

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You know that little space beside your refrigerator? The one you thought was for making olives, grapes, and other rolling food disappear? Well, it turns out that a lot of people have a much better idea for that skinny, seemingly useless space: roll a pantry into it. Okay, not a full pantry, but a selection of things you use frequently or want to keep nearby. These little carts are a great way of doing something useful with unused space, blocking the olives you'd otherwise have to fish out with the loop end of a metal skewer, like some kind of reverse antipasto basketball.

These aren't just for the fridge gap, either. Chances are you have a gap of some size between your washer and dryer, or you could make one by scooting them away from each other. Can you think of a better place for the literal laundry list of detergents, fabric softeners, pre-treatments, spot treatments, pet odor removers, laundry boosters, wool-washing liquids, Borax, washing soda, bleach, the purple shampoo you bought to remove yellow bedding stains, and that weird bar of solid laundry soap you bought at the farmer's market? Whew. You're going to need a bigger gap. A rolling pantry would serve in other rooms as well, though possibly renamed: craft room cart, carport cupboard, mudroom rack, you might be inclined to get one for every room.

Pre-fab options you can buy today

There are tons of options you can buy and just slip right into place, from Amazon's best-selling $32.39 LUMAMU Slim Storage Cart for Small Spaces to Rev-A-Shelf's Base Cabinet Filler, which can cost as much as $537.95. Quality is, of course, all over the place. The LUMAMU cart gets very good ratings, despite reviews that indicate it is a bit unstable and less than sturdy. Rev-A-Cart's entire line of products, on the other hand, look as if they were designed to hold gold bars and jugs of lead (or whatever you keep your lead in), and they're priced accordingly. It's the difference between a discount store solution and an expensive built-in, and discount store finds will often get you 90% of the way to your goal for 10% of the price.

You have an enormous range of materials, styles, and purposes to choose from as well. Plastic, wire, and thin metal models on casters will be less solid and are for storing lighter items. Wood shelving in a sturdy frame can handle a lot more, a big bottle of cleaning vinegar, for example, and enough baking soda to neutralize it in 100 dirty ovens or 1000 science fair volcanos. You should be able to find something to match your decor, in color if not in material. Rev-A-Shelf alone has purpose-built versions for hand towel organization, trash disposal, tie/belt/scarf racks, ironing boards and supplies, and many more.

Easy DIY rolling pantries

If you decide to have a go at making your own rolling storage cart, you can create something that exactly fills your space and complements your decor with the right paint and perhaps trim or molding to make the shelf look at home, like on these Slim Rolling Can and Spice Racks from LTD Commodities for $60 each. YouTuber Isabelle LaRue shows you how to do it as a simple DIY project using 1x6 pine boards ($15.98 per board at Lowe's), some salvaged casters, and some screen trim ($9.98 per eight feet). She essentially builds a bookshelf that fits the space by her fridge, then mounts casters on the bottom and creates "rails" from screen molding to keep things on the moving shelves. LaRue added a Command hook as a stop so that the cart can't be pulled out completely and end up tipping over. You can use the spare Command strips on your robot vacuum to keep it from getting stuck.

A few tweaks might make LaRue's approach even better. A neat alternative to the Command hook would be to use drawer slides as tracks for the cart, in the same way that makers of hidden doors sometimes do. The shelves could be strengthened by using support cleats rather than simple butt joints. If your cart is next to a countertop, it would be a breeze to make the top shelf level with the countertop to create an interesting space for fruit-veggie storage.