How to Organize a Pantry, If You Don’t Have One

City-dwellers know all too well the hardship that is having to deal with a small kitchen. At the top of this list is the absence of a pantry and having to deal with the repercussions of such an inconvenience. Personally speaking, my fridge doubles as a pantry, housing everything from cereal boxes to packets of gum (yes, really). And while I have grown quite accustomed to this way of life, it’s neither sustainable nor practical. 

So how does one get around said dilemma? Clever storage hacks and a few tricks of the trade are some of the ways—organizational items, crafted with small-spaces in mind, are another. Ahead, we look to a few helpful changes you can make at home, to carve out a pantry, or some semblance of one. 

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Mount a Pegboard

Lacking shelf space? Pegboards are an excellent way around this common storage issue—short of having to actually install a set of shelves. Affix one to an empty wall and let your creativity reign free. Bring in an eclectic assortment customizable shelving options, such as baskets or hooks, to establish a storage solution that can play to your specific needs. For true organization inspiration, check out our favorite pegboard ideas.

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Streamline Your Spice Containers 

There’s nothing worse than rummaging through a bin or cabinet, mid-cooking, in search of one spice or another. Small-space dwellers may not have the luxury of a spice cabinet (or a drawer, for that matter), but there are definite ways to work around that. First things first, ditch the mix-and-match container situation and invest in a streamlined alternative. Here, a neatly catalogued vial system keeps a slew of spices in line and conveniently on display, bypassing the need to have to sort through ambiguously labeled jars and boxes.

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Embrace Negative Space

When it comes to small spaces, it’s all about getting creative with how and where you store your items. Thinking outside of the box is a big one here. Have room above your kitchen cabinets? Store your less-frequently used gear and culinary supplies on top, utilizing lidded baskets to keep clutter at bay and your items free of dust. Think: extra paper towels, cleaning supplies, and other like essentials. And yes, the top of the fridge works as well.

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Eliminate Original Packaging 

Adopting an analogous storage solution can help offset the loss of space, which more often than not, stems from grouping an eclectic array of diversely-sized boxes and containers together. By switching over to a cohesive arrangement, you will find that not only is it easier to keep things clearly visible, but that it also eliminates a great deal of the mess that often results from crumpled or torn packaging. 

Pro-Tip: Use flat, rectangular containers in lieu of glass jars for easy stacking! 

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Group Like Items

The obviousness of this aside, grouping your pantry essentials by likeness can help combat clutter and promote a streamlined storage solution. Not necessarily thinking along the lines of pairing items such as spices, canned goods, or cereal boxes together, but, approach it by grouping the more commonly used elements in one bundle. Pair packs of pasta with jars of tomato sauce, canned beans with rice, and so on and so forth. 

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Bring in Outside Help

If your kitchen allows for it spatially, bring in an additional source of storage by way of a versatile cart—bonus points if it comes on wheels—earmarked to hold your most readily used items. Coffee carts are one such example (a plus for those who lack the counter space) but, we’re also in support of using them to hold kitchen textiles and various other pieces, which may otherwise not have a home. 

Talulah Rolling Storage Cart, Urban Outfitters, $129.00

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Compartmentalize 

Tall cabinets? Don’t waste valuable real estate—utilize stackable bins and baskets to create makeshift shelves, and for a more versatile and convenient method, bring in the slide-out variety. If you find that you’re still in need of additional space, opt for an over-the-door cabinet organizer.

Bonus Tip: Adhere a shower caddy or hanging baskets to house fresh fruit, to make the most of an unused corner. 

Bronze York Open Wire Stackable Basket,The Container Store, $24.99

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