How to Turn a Closet Into A Pantry

Do you have a lot of clothes in your closet that you never wear? Or maybe you have some space in your apartment that isn’t being used to its full potential. If so, then transforming your closet into a pantry may be the perfect solution for you!

In this blog post, we’ll discuss some tips on how to do just that. So keep reading to learn more.

closet to pantry before and after
closet to pantry before and after

How Do I Get Pantry Space Without a Pantry?

If you live in a small home or apartment, chances are you don’t have a lot of extra space for a dedicated pantry.

But that doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself to a life of cereal boxes and half-empty spice jars. There are plenty of ways to create pantry space without sacrificing valuable square footage.

One option is to repurpose a closet. Closet shelves can be removed or adjusted to create space for taller items, and the door can be used to store frequently used items like chip bags and paper towels. More details on how to do this below!

If you don’t have an unused closet, try using an empty dresser or chest of drawers. The top drawer can be left open for easy access to items like snacks and canned goods, while the bottom drawers can be used to store larger items like pots and pans.

You can always make a pantry space in your basement, garage, or attic space, too – the options are endless! You just need to think outside the box.

With a little bit of creativity, you can turn any room in your home into a functional pantry space.

What Are the Qualities of a Good Pantry?

A good pantry should be cool, dark, and dry. Ideally, it should be kept at a temperature of 70 degrees or below. It should also be on a lower level of the house, away from appliances that give off heat.

Likewise, it should not be in an area that gets direct sunlight, as light can degrade the quality of food. The only light that a pantry should see is when someone is inside looking for an ingredient. In addition to these conditions, it is also important that a pantry be free from humidity, as this can lead to mold growth.

By following these guidelines, you can create a space that is ideal for storing food.

Transforming Our Closet Into a Pantry

I am so proud of my husband. Yesterday, he worked all day building shelves in my closet. Our food storage has quickly outgrown the small closet we had it in, which is definitely a good thing, so we were in need of a bigger, better pantry.

empty closet front side
empty closet front side

Okay, here’s my empty closet, left to right. It was just a plain walk-in, with two wire shelves to hang my clothes on. But look at all of the space being wasted!

empty closet left side
empty closet left side

So, we took all of my clothes out and joined my stuff with hubby’s in his smaller closet. Then Jerry diligently set to work building shelves to make better use of the space.

Here’s what it looks like now:

repurposed closet to pantry with canned foods
repurposed closet to pantry with canned foods

That’s what I’m talking about! Floor to ceiling shelves all around. We’re talking 10 feet tall here, I just couldn’t fit it all in the shot!

pantry with canned foods buckets and homesteading books
pantry with canned foods buckets and homesteading books

Jerry even so thoughtfully put a step ladder in there for me, (though I still can’t reach the top two shelves).

He also built a bookshelf for me. Guess he was tired of walking around the piles of books stacked on the office floor!

repurposed closet to pantry with canned foods and buckets
repurposed closet to pantry with canned foods and buckets

Yes, I definitely needed more bookshelf space! He thinks of everything. He even measured my tallest books to make sure they’d fit. Can’t beat a custom bookshelf! He’s such a sweetie.

I am SO incredibly pleased with the way it turned out. So much room!! This project definitely made the most of this pretty small space. Oh, and the best part… since he built these shelves out of scrap wood we had laying around, all it cost us was a box of screws.

How to Turn YOUR Closet Into a Pantry in 8 Simple Steps

This will not only make your life easier, but it will also help you to save money and reduce food waste. Here are some tips.

1. Start By Assessing Your Current Closet and Pantry Spaces

To start, take a look at your existing closet and assess how much space you have to work with. If possible, try to remove any non-essentials such as clothing or off-season items to free up as much space as possible. Once you have a good idea of the available space, you can begin to think about how best to utilize it.

2. Declutter and Purge

Turning your closet into a pantry has lots of benefits. This will allow you to store non-perishable items, such as canned goods and cereals, out of sight. It also frees up valuable cabinet space for items that are used more frequently.

But first, you need to declutter and purge – both the kitchen cabinets and the closet. Start with the closet you are planning on turning into the pantry, since this is likely the most cluttered space.

When purging your closet, be sure to donate or dispose of any clothing or shoes that you no longer wear. You may also want to consider adding new cabinetry to the kitchen for pantry items. This will provide extra storage space for items that are not used as often.

Don’t forget to clear out space in your kitchen, too. Sure, you can just go ahead and transfer all of your clutter from the kitchen into the new closet pantry – but it’s best to start with a fresh, organized space that contains only what you need – and nothing that you don’t.

3. Relocate the Closet Items

Next, you’ll need to relocate the closet items since they won’t have a home in the closet anymore. This can be done by using closets in other rooms like the basement, office, or living room. This will help to free up closet space for your pantry.

4. Spackle, Smooth Out Walls, and Paint (If Necessary)

If necessary, use a spackle to fill in any holes or cracks in the walls. Then, smooth out the walls with sandpaper until they are completely even. If necessary, paint the walls with a white or light-colored paint to brighten up the space.

5. Install Adjustable Shelving

One of the most important things to consider when converting a closet into a pantry is storage. Shelves are essential for maximizing space, but not all shelves are created equal.

Adjustable shelving is ideal for a pantry because it allows you to customize the height and width of each shelf to fit your specific needs.

Thermo-infused, laminated shelves are also a good option for heavier items like canned goods and appliances.

If your closet is on the smaller side, you may also want to consider installing pull out shelves. This will give you easy access to all of your pantry items, even if they’re at the back of the closet.

6. Add Lighting

One important step in creating a functional pantry is to add lighting. This will help you to see what you have on hand, and make it easier to find what you need. Battery operated LED lights are a simple and affordable option, and they can be installed in just a few minutes.

7. Organize Food Items by Height to Fit in the Space

One way to organize your food items so that they fit in your closet is by height.

This can help you to save space and keep everything organized. For example, you can put the taller items on the top shelf and the shorter items on the bottom shelf.

You can also use baskets or containers to group items together. This will help you to find what you need quickly and easily.

8. Stock the Pantry

The final step in turning your closet into a pantry is to stock the shelves. Depending on the size of your closet and the amount of food you typically keep on hand, you may need to purchase new storage containers.

Choose airtight containers made from durable materials such as glass or plastic.

Label each container with the contents and date so that you can easily find what you’re looking for. Be sure to rotate your food regularly so that nothing goes to waste.

What To Use to Organize Your Closet Pantry

If you’re like most people, your closet pantry is a cluttered mess. Luckily, there are a few simple organizing strategies that can help you get your closet pantry in order.

Adjustable Organizers for the Back of the Door

Adjustable organizers for the back of the door are a great way to keep things tidy and organized.

These organizers come in a variety of sizes and styles, so you can find one that fits your needs. They’re perfect for storing spices, cans, boxes, and more.

Plus, they make it easy to see everything at a glance and grab what you need without having to search through a cluttered pantry.

Bins and Baskets

One of the easiest ways to organize your closet pantry is to use bins and baskets. Bins are great for storing items that you don’t use very often, such as seasonal clothing or extra bedding.

Baskets are perfect for smaller items, such as socks, underwear, and accessories. Label each bin and basket with a list of contents to make it easier to find what you’re looking for.

Airtight Food Storage Containers

One easy way to organize your pantry is to invest in airtight food storage containers. These containers come in a variety of sizes and can be used to store anything from dry goods to leftovers.

Plus, they help keep food fresh and prevent pests from getting into your pantry. Airtight food storage containers are an inexpensive way to get your pantry organized – and they’ll help keep your food fresh, too!

Stackable Can Rack Organizers

One way to create more space is to use stackable can rack organizers. These racks can be placed on top of each other, creating additional storage without taking up extra space.

Plus, they’re great for organizing cans of food by expiration date or type. Whether you have a small pantry or a large one, stackable can rack organizers are an easy and efficient way to get organized and create more space.

Wire Under Shelf Baskets

These baskets attach to the underside of your pantry shelves, providing an extra layer of storage. They’re perfect for storing small items like spices and oils, as well as larger items like cereal boxes and cans of soup.

Best of all, they help to maximize your space so you can keep your pantry organized and clutter-free.

Craft Carts

One way to combat this problem is to use craft carts. These versatile storage carts are perfect for organizing your pantry or kitchen, as they provide ample storage space and can be easily moved around.

Additionally, the clear plastic drawers make it easy to see what is inside, so you can quickly grab what you need.

Large Bins for Snacks and Bulk Foods

One helpful way to organize your pantry is to use large bins for snacks and bulk foods. This way, you can easily see what you have on hand and quickly grab what you need.

Plus, it helps to keep things tidy and uncluttered. When choosing bins, look for ones that are clear so you can easily see what’s inside. Also, make sure they’re sturdy enough to hold the food items you plan to store in them.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for a way to free up some closet space, consider transforming it into a pantry. With a little bit of effort, you can create the perfect storage area for all of your food and supplies.

By following these simple tips, you can make the most out of your small pantry space and keep everything organized and easy to access. Have you created a pantry in your home? What tips would you add?

23 thoughts on “How to Turn a Closet Into A Pantry”

  1. I love the idea of closet to pantry and hubby did a great job!!! Now please address the issue of unsafe canning practice so you and your family can stay healthy to enjoy your hard work. First you need to remove all the bands on your canning jars and check that jars are sealed. DO NOT reapply. next, don’t stack anything on top of your jars. This way should a seal break you will know when you go to use it. After canning, and jars are cool, at least 24 hrs, remove your jar bands and leave them off. HAPPY CANNING 🙂

    • Hi Sandra,
      Thank you. It’s actually quite safe to store the canning jars with the bands screwed on. 🙂 I have stopped stacking the jars directly on top of each other, but now put a piece of cardboard between layers. I always test the lids on the jars by unscrewing the band and pulling on the lid with my fingers before opening, just to make sure that the seal is still good.

  2. I had converted my living room closet into a nice organized mini library. It came out really well. Instead of having my books storage all over the house I now have them in a nice display. Oh I still use book shelf’s for other things then just BOOKS.

  3. This is a really great idea!!!! I cannot do it where I am now. But once I am in my OWN home I will surely do this. Again… Such a smart idea!!!!! Thanks for sharing.

  4. I’m renting right now (so that I don’t go into major debt buying a home). My favorite feature of this place is an incredible deep, huge closet with built in shelving in the spare room. It is perfect for food storage. I’m glad that other people don’t mind storing food in closets too. 🙂

  5. This is awesome! Very inspiring.

    I just discovered your blog today, and I LOVE it. I’m so interested in homesteading, and reading about your journey has been really fun.

  6. It looks fantastic. And I love that your cookbooks fit in there too! For an organization lover like myself, it is wonderful. Enjoy!

  7. So fun!!! Someday I’ll have actual pantry space. As it is, our food storage overflows to under the house (we’re in a mobile home right now) and hubby has to go down anytime we need anything.


  8. I would love a pantry like that.We live in a very old house with no closet space.You must be so happy to have such a nice place for all that food storage.Wow!!!!!

  9. Excellent! We recently did something similar with a small back room, though we opted for some boughten shelves for the time being. I was interested in reading one of your back posts, that you do stock up purchasing at Aldi too. I have to say though, that even though their prices have gone up, it doesn’t seem to be as much as everywhere else, around here anyway.

  10. So Kendra, do you ever use this food in the food storage, by that I mean do you buy extra when you go the the grocery store and then rotate this stuff out so it doesn’t go bad after too long?

  11. green with envy over here! I am still waiting for more shelves to be added to my closets…I am about to do it myself!

  12. Awesome!! 😀

    (although, may I suggest a lip or strap on the shelves where home-canned glass jar stuff is? being that there are kids in the house… if we knew we were staying here, that’d be on my own honey-do list)


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