Small Pantry Organization ~ Top 5 Easy Ideas

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Rachel Stone

small pantry organization ideas

Hello friends!

 Organizing a small pantry space can be quite a challenge. Does your pantry feel organized and easy to use? We knew that ours could use some work.

I believe with a little creativity, we can make a wonderfully functional pantry space in a small area ~ And YOU can too!

Today, I want to give you my top 5 ideas for organizing a small pantry space. I will show you how these ideas transformed our pantry.

 Plus, if you read to the end, I have added an additional bonus tip!

Small Pantry Organization Video

In today’s visit we will:

  • Assess the pantry we have and make a plan.
  • Shop Marketplace, thrift stores, and antique shops to find pieces to organize with.
  • Add a fresh coat of paint and DIY projects to brighten the space.
  • Set up our “new” pantry!


Here is our pantry/laundry room/tool storage area. This space is multi-functional with the “pantry” being the tall shallow cabinet you see on the left.

All storage beyond the pantry and deep freezer is for Matt’s tool storage since we don’t have a garage.

Nestled between the freezer and the dryer on the right is the appliance cabinet. These two cabinets are the current sum total of our “pantry”.

My first goal is to expand our pantry area with a free standing (unfitted) cabinet on the left. I’ve been scouring Marketplace for a narrow (antique if possible) cabinet.

Rather than having cabinets built (which is expensive), an unfitted piece is gives me the freedom to reconfigure a room, and the piece can go with us to another home if we move.

This rather rickety appliance cabinet came with the house and was probably built by the original owners in the 60’s. The “top” is a sawn down interior door, which makes me smile!

As this is a budget makeover (and the cabinet exactly fits this space) we’re going to accept the challenge to make it look as good as possible!

I’m also dreaming of a cozy old world style food storage nook (with more lighting) on top of this cabinet to maximize our storage space. This will make this area feel more homey.

Tip #1 Make the best use of your existing shelving.

Canned Goods Pantry

This tall “canned goods” cabinet is perfectly shelved for canned goods and provides lots of great storage. The inside needs re-organizing and a fresh coat of paint! Here is where I’d like to introduce our vintage green color we’ve used elsewhere in the house. Plus the hardware needs updating…

Before & after! Much better already! We already had these copper handles on hand, they just needed some polishing up!

In re-organizing this tall cabinet I condensed our canned goods onto the same shelves to keep like things and like shapes together.

Small items were corralled into a tidy basket, as well as “messy” items like plastic shopping bags we will reuse. In the picnic style basket I created a “kit” for cookie baking with cookie cutters, food die, and sprinkles ~ very handy!

On the very bottom shelf you see the long, narrow basket these are great for packets or tins of things.

For decor on top of the cabinet I used my grandmother’s old wall phone and a ($3) thrifted split oak basket with faux autumn florals.

Tip #2 hunt unfitted cabinets on marketplace or in antique stores.

a cabinet i used for small pantry organization

As you can see I’ve found a lovely antique oak cabinet as a wonderful pantry extension. I love what this piece adds to our pantry!

Β The cabinet fit the space perfectly and what I couldn’t see when examining the pictures online is that it has gorgeous wavy amber glass ~ so beautiful!

wavy glass in a small pantry cabinet

The cabinet was $50, much cheaper than having custom cabinets built, and a very fair price for an antique oak cabinet. It has just the homey touch I was hoping for!

Another benefit of free-standing pieces like this is that it can be rearranged unlike built in cabinetry. Also, if you move to another home you can take it with you!

If you are searching for these online try typing in: “old cabinet”, “book shelves”, or even “hutch”. Many times the seller doesn’t know/care what they have.

When looking at a piece in person, check that the piece seems sturdy. Food storage can add a lot of weight. Also I try all the doors/drawers to see they work well.

For decor on top of the antique oak cabinet I used my grandmother’s ceramic rooster and hen ~ these were in her kitchen for as long as I can remember.

The colors work so perfectly here, and it’s a joy to use things that have special meaning!

Tip #3 Use Floating Shelves on open walls

Floating Shelving in a small pantry

Fun story on these floating shelves! Matt found these tossed in the dumpster on a job-site several years ago. He brought them home, added the shaker pegs for me, and we painted them green.

A benefit of shelves like these (besides being able to customize the color) is they can be placed to make previously awkward spaces useful.

They provide a shelf to store items and pegs for hanging things like ironing, hats, jackets, aprons, etc.

I have decided to use ours for drying herbs we grew in the garden.

Tip #4 Use wall baskets in nooks and small areas

One of my favorite ways to make good use of vertical storage is to use wall baskets. They fit in small areas where even a floating shelf might not fit.

These baskets are flat on one side and have a handle at the back making them perfect for storing all manner of pantry items.

The thrift store is a great place to look for wall baskets; although they are fairly rare. I’ve found some pretty wall baskets on Amazon if you’re interested.

Small basket for pantry organization
This little wall basket was thrifted for about $3 and is holding extra boxes of matches.

Tip #5 Use hanging baskets for storage

hanging basket for a small pantry organization
This wire hanging basket was my grandmothers and held fruit in her kitchen. Now it graces our pantry holding extra potatoes and onions.

Hanging baskets are another efficient and attractive way to organize your pantry.

They can be hung from the bottom of a cabinet or from the ceiling. This frees up your counter space.

Not only does a hanging basket provide more storage, it helps free up floor, or counter space.

Here is a similar hanging basket I’ve found for you.

Our Small Pantry: Final reveal BEFORE & AFTER

I’m pleased with how everything came together especially since I wasn’t quite sure how the individual pieces would look as a whole.

What is your favorite idea we shared today? Do you have ideas that have worked well in your small pantry?

Let us know in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!

Bonus tip! Increase your lighting to make the small space easier to use

By adding more lighting to your smaller spaces you’ll not only be able to see what your doing better, but the space will appear larger ~ and more welcoming!

For decor on top of this appliance cabinet I’ve added an antique block print table runner from India (found at a local antique store for $5!) as a interesting backdrop.

Then for more lighting I discovered an Art Deco style stained glass lamp at the thrift store for $10.Β  This lamp adds such style and cozy ambiance!

There’s an ironstone bowl full of eggs, a wall basket with garlic cloves, and the antique Dutch canister is holding seed stalks from the Thai basil Matt grew in his garden this year.

This is my favorite spot in the pantry ~ now this space feels like part of the house!

candles decorate a small pantry

Friend, I appreciate you coming along and hope you enjoyed this pantry organization/makeover and especially that you found some fresh ideas for using in your own pantry! Thank you for stopping by and until next time,

Take Care,


Pantry Organization & Decor Products ~ My Amazon Choices

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Author: Rachel Stone
Rachel is passionate about creating a comfortable and beautiful home for her family. She also loves to share the lessons she is learning with her wonderful audience both on this blog and her YouTube channel.

13 thoughts on “Small Pantry Organization ~ Top 5 Easy Ideas”

    • Thank you, Miss Monique!
      That was a fun project to work on and has definitely inspired more cooking and baking! We appreciate you dropping by to visit.
      Warmly, Rachel

  1. Hey Rachel! I enjoy receiving your emails because they are always informative and also a gentle reminder that I need to sit, relax, and learn a few new ideas. It is always a pleasure being with you. Celia

    • Good afternoon Miss Celia,
      It is a pleasure to have you along as a guest at the Stone Cottage Home! It is encouraging to hear you find these visits helpful and inspiring, that’s our goal.
      May you have a blessed Autumn!

  2. Hi Rachel ,
    You did a lovely pantry makeover . I like the freestanding cabinets . The use of the hanging baskets and small shelves adds charm & space. Great decorations.

    • Thank you Mi Mi!
      We enjoy having you “visit” and see what we’re up to. Thank you for stopping by!
      Love, Rachel

  3. This is so very pretty, organized and functional. I always look forward to seeing your posts and videos on youtube. You are so creative and I love your home and decor! You and Matt did a great job! Thanks for sharing your home and decorating ideas.

    • Hi there, Miss Christie!
      We’re so glad you take the time to visit, and appreciate your kind words and support. We both are finding much more inspiration for baking and cooking with this cozy new space!
      Thanks for visiting and happy Autumn!

    • Hi Miss Debbie!
      We’re so glad you enjoyed your visit to the pantry, it really did turn out to be quite cozy! Thank you for stopping by.

  4. The Pantry turned out great sweetheart. You are slowly transforming our home into a lovely haven. Thanks for all you do for our home Rachie.

    • Thank you, Matt.
      I couldn’t have done it without your help. Thank you for helping me transform our home ~ I love working with you!

  5. Catching up on your lovely videos. You and Matt always come up with the most cozy, chic, and functional spaces! You make even a trip to grocery store to stock up for food supplies look enjoyable. I love your idea of bringing in a free standing cabinet to create more space. The vintage cabinet you found looks so lovely with all of the canned goods lined up inside.
    I have small kitchen cupboards and have a hard time with being able to see what food/spices I have due to everything being piled in. I do have a small, awkward, corner in my kitchen nook and I found a free standing solid wooden cabinet for $70 to use for a pantry to put in that corner.
    Loving your concept of use what you have…instead of feeling the pressure of going out and buying the latest home decor item full price. As always, can’t wait for your next videos.

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