11 Ways to Organize a Small Kitchen Without a Pantry

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Frazzled feeling, clutter overwhelm, and confusion around the whereabouts of your kitchen essential…These are just some of the challenges you’ll undoubtedly run into if you have a small kitchen with no pantry. 

Fortunately, even the tiniest of kitchens can be functional and orderly. You just need a spot of creativity and a couple of tweaks. 

When it comes to a small kitchen, the key is to make the most of your space. That includes wall spaces and surfaces and the gaps between your appliances or cabinets—which are all potential areas for storage. 

Keep reading for more kitchen safe-spacing hacks you might not have thought of before. 

1. Cabinet to pantry conversion

If you don’t have a panty, why not convert one (or a couple) of your existing cabinets into a makeshift pantry? 

When deciding which cabinet will serve as your new pantry, consider its positioning, accessibility, and how deep or wide it is.

Typically, an overhead cabinet will be more accessible. Having to bend or crouch constantly when you’re reaching for kitchen essentials isn’t exactly ideal. 

If you only have a corner cabinet, think of adding a Lazy Susan. You’ll be able to fit more in your cabinet and have easier access to food.

Don’t disregard the tops of your cabinets. The tops are great for storing foods you don’t often use, and by storing them in fashionable jars or containers, you can add some personality to your kitchen. You can also add clear stackable containers and jars to your cabinet pantry for storage.

2. Drawer to panty conversion

A drawer can also be a pantry alternative if your drawers are deep and wide enough. 

Lower drawers are generally better, as they can take the additional weight. I’d recommend using drawers for dry food. If there’s enough space to add a drawer liner or divider (like this one here), that’s even better, as they can help divide your drawer space and keep things organized. 

3. Install a pegboard

I adore pegboards. They are so versatile and so easy to install. Set one up on any free wall space, and you can turn food storage into beautiful décor.

Add baskets, hooks, wire file holders, and shelves to your pegboard to store spices, pasta, fruits, or other food items. Installing the board close to where you do your food prep allows easy access to your kitchen essentials. 

Here are two excellent pegboard options from Amazon:

4. Add shelves to your walls

Look for open wall space and install wooden or metal floating shelves for storage. You should be able to find them at any local hardware store, and they’re typically relatively easy to install. 

Metal or wooden shelves are more robust if you want to store heavier loads. Select a couple of matching canisters, food jars, or bins to place on your shelves as storage.

Alternatively, place more aesthetically pleasing vases and bowls on your shelves and use the free cabinet space as a pantry. 

Try to get narrow taller canisters or jars to make the most of your shelf space, and choose clear or decorative jars to add some additional flair.

This 4 Piece Kitchen Canister Set and Pirouette 4 Piece Kitchen Canister Set from Wayfair are good examples of canisters that you might want to consider for your wall.

5. Use your fridge

This may sound peculiar, but don’t discount the sides and top of your fridge as storage options.  

You can always add storage baskets or containers to the top of your fridge or use the sides of your fridge for storing spices. You can also find great magnetic spice jar options that make your fridge funky and colorful.  

These impressive Impresa 15 Pack Magnetic Spice Jars from Amazon are in a hexagonal glass shape. Not only do they attach with high-strength magnets, but they come with 60 handy spice labels. 

If your fridge is close to your cooking space, having the jars at arms’ reach can serve as both functional and space-saving. 

6. Bookshelf or sideboard conversion 

Have a bookshelf or sideboard handy? Try adding a freestanding bookshelf to the wall or floor if you have space in your kitchen. Alternatively, you can put your bookshelf or sideboard close by if you have an open-plan house.

Add upcycled jars, containers, and baskets to your bookshelf to store your kitchen staples and food essentials. This will add the much-needed pantry space your small kitchen needs. 

A sideboard or credenza is a better option if you prefer to have hidden storage. You can also use the top of the unit to place any kitchen appliances. 

Here are a couple of sideboard options from Wayfair:

7. Narrow portable pantry cart with wheels

A portable pantry cart is a great way to store any staples and ingredients you use daily. 

Choosing a narrow pantry cart will allow you to store it between cabinets or appliances or in a cupboard until you need it. Wheel it out, use it as a prep station when cooking, and move it out of sight when you are done. 

Look for a pantry cart with multiple layers for additional storage, and if you can find a narrow cart, this will make it easier to stow away. If your pantry cart has a top, you can use this as extra counter space or as a serving station when entertaining. 

Some of these carts come with racks, drawers, and hand towel rails to accommodate additional items. 

Here are a some options from Wayfair that you might want to consider:

8. Use counter space wisely

Even if you lack counter space, you can use some areas for storage. 

Add a small shelf above your countertop against the wall for storing and displaying spices, oils, or snacks. Alternatively, place a striking mirrored tray on one end of your countertop for your staples. 

By choosing a tray with handles, you can easily move the staples around the kitchen when and where you need them. 

You can find numerous attractive trays options online and in stores similar to this Rectangle Glass Accent Tray or Coward Vanity Tray from Wayfair. 

9. A rolling island pantry

A rolling island is similar to the portable pantry cart but usually offers additional storage space and is often considered an extension of your kitchen

The top of your island can be used as a workspace, and the drawers and cabinets increase your pantry storage space by tenfold. 

Choose a size that best fits and suits your kitchen and budget. 

Here are options from Wayfair that you might want to have a look at: 

10. Closet conversion

If you have a coat closet (or something simialr) near your kitchen, converting this space into a pantry can provide you with extra storage room.

Add suitable shelving with some baskets or bins, and maximize your space with a storage organizer on the back of the closet door. 

11. Bar cabinet/cellarette conversion

If you own or purchase a bar cabinet on wheels, you can use it to store dry goods that you use on an ad-hoc basis. You could keep it in a closet or a different room and roll it to the kitchen when you need. This is great things that you don’t need on a regular basis.

Cellarettes can also be attractive and come in various styles, so placing them in or near the kitchen adds some personality.  

Here are a couple of examples of collarettes that could work for your space:

Final thoughts

As you can see, there are many ways to repurpose what’s already available in your space if you don’t have a pantry. Use or take inspiration from these ideas, add some personal creativity and transform your kitchen into a space you can enjoy. 

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