11 Creative DIY Pantry Ideas To Expand Your Kitchen Storage

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Small kitchens are cozy and homey but often come with limited storage space. Their pantries are sometimes confined to a few shelves or cabinets, making it tricky to store enough food to feed an entire household. Luckily, there are tons of tricks to make small kitchens more spacious and mini pantries more functional. With a good organizational approach and a few additions to your layout, it is possible to expand and optimize pantry storage.

Pimping out a pantry doesn't have to be an expensive task. There are various ways you can categorize supplies and add additional storage without breaking the bank. However, if you're willing to splurge, there are even more opportunities to maximize your food storage. Below are 11 ideas to help you keep your pantry in order while adding more shelving for various dry snacks and ingredients. Many of these projects require minimal supplies, needing just a few tools or materials from local retailers to complete. None of these projects should take more than a few hours, giving you the storage space you need as fast as possible.

Organize snacks by type in labeled desk organizers

Desk organizers come in many shapes and sizes, making them useful beyond office spaces. You can pick up various desktop supplies from Dollar Tree for a couple of bucks each, such as these plastic locker bins, rectangular and square organizers, stacking drawers, and more. Buy multiple sets of each to hold and group pantry items by category or brand. The bins are good for holding bulk ingredients, like bags of rice, noodles, and cereals. Line up granola bars, instant noodle packets, and other miscellaneous food items in the organizers, and use the stacking drawers to make use of vertical pantry space.

Add a center cabinet if you have empty counter space between the upper and lower cabinets

Cupboard pantries are common in compact homes, but there's often a gap between the upper and lower cabinets. Turn some of this into concealed storage by installing one of The Home Depot's assembled cabinets. Pick a style identical to your current cabinetry to ensure a cohesive look. You'll also need to purchase cabinet hardware. Gather all necessary tools before beginning; including clamps, a drill or driver, drill bits, a hammer, a level, a stud finder, and a tape measurer. Pack with pantry staples or create extra storage by using it as an appliance garage

Assemble a thin, rolling bookshelf to slide into narrow spaces

If your kitchen has some gaps between appliances, cabinets, and walls, you can DIY rolling, pull-out pantry storage to make use of this dead space. Measure the dimensions of the gap and order a rolling shelving unit slightly smaller than the gap. You can use a bookcase, pantry cart, or another miscellaneous storage unit — so long as it has flat shelves wide enough to store bagged, boxed, and canned goods. IKEA's viral BILLY bookcase is perfect for pantry food storage, but you will need to add some rollers. Ensure your rolling storage is sealed against moisture to avoid mold and mildew growth.

Install spice racks on the inside of pantry doors

If you hang it in the right place, IKEA's BEKVAM spice racks can add storage all over the house. Instead of placing this rack on your already-limited pantry shelves, drill small flathead screws onto empty wall space or the back of your pantry door. Hang the IKEA BEKVAM or another similar spice rack on the screws, slotting them into the brackets on its back side. This adds storage space without taking up pre-existing shelves. It's already designed to hold spices, making it the perfect shape and size for holding your favorite flavoring ingredients.

Transform a cabinet drawer into a neatly organized pull-out pantry

Your small pantry may be full, but there could be extra cabinet space if you move dishes and cookware around. Clear out a deep kitchen drawer and measure the height. Most base cabinets are around six inches tall, so you'll need containers short enough to fit in the closed drawer. Arrange the plastic containers in the drawer, and pile your cans, grains, snacks, and spices by type inside. Be sure to choose clear glass or plastic containers with clear lids, such as Amazon's $34.99 plastic storage bins.

Attach small wire baskets to empty wall space and fill them with your most-used items

If there's an empty wall in your kitchen, use wire baskets to add extra shelving. Order Amazon's $19.99 four-pack of farmhouse-esque black baskets, and attach the hooks to the wall. Hang the baskets on the hooks — they hold up to fifty pounds of produce, spices, and other ingredients. If you don't want to damage your walls by drilling holes, use Amazon's $13.99 removable adhesive hooks, though these won't be as sturdy. They can only support up to 33 pounds (and not for long periods), so don't use them to hold heavy pantry goods.

Use tension rods to keep cans lined up, so they don't slide around and get jumbled

Organization is key to making the most of limited pantry space. Delineate between food categories and pantry goods by sliding a tension rod between similar items in pantry drawers. Walmart carries a four-pack of tension rods for only $3.69, which are adjustable and can fit drawers between 9.8 to 15.7 inches deep. Put these rods between items that often get mixed up, or roll into each other, to help keep them in line, and maximize the space you have.

Set up lazy Susans in pantry corners

Make the most out of your corner cabinet storage areas by tucking a lazy Susan into each one. Lazy Susans are common household products — they're rotating trays that make it easier to reach items without knocking over or reaching around other things. You can find these trays at most major retailers, like Walmart and Target, or make your own using two round pizza pans and a pack of marbles from Dollar Tree. Simply lay one tray flat, facing up, and dump the marbles in. Put the other tray on top, and it'll spin over the marbles.

Get sliding trays for deep pantries, so you can use and reach all the available space

Corner shelves aren't the only hard-to-reach spaces in pantries. Some kitchen cabinets and drawers are over a foot deep, making it difficult to see or grab items in the back. Use a tape measurer to find the dimensions of these spaces, and purchase sliding pull-out organizers to fit. Amazon carries these $28.50 to $41.99 adhesive trays ranging between 10 to 16 inches wide. When stocking your trays with pantry goods, place heavier items in the back to keep the tray from toppling when pulled out.

Put an over-the-door shoe hanger on the back of your pantry door

If your pantry is enclosed behind a traditional-style door, purchase an over-the-door shoe organizer from Amazon, Target, Wayfair, or another popular retailer. Pick a design with clear pockets so its contents are visible, and make sure each pocket is wide enough to hold common pantry goods. Simply fit the organizer over the back of a pantry door and fill it accordingly. Use Amazon's $12.99 double-sided adhesive fastener to grip the bottom of the organizer to the door so it doesn't swing around when you open it.

Stick adhesive organizers on the inside of cabinet and pantry doors

If there's empty space on walls or doors in your pantry, purchase Amazon's $11.69 adhesive plastic organizers to hold various dry snacks and ingredients. Each organizer holds up to 4.75 pounds so just be wary with what weight of items you pile inside. The included adhesive should hold up well, but you can always purchase Amazon's $14.99 double-sided adhesive tape if you want extra or more reliable support. Make sure you place these organizers where they won't obstruct doors or shelves.