10 Food Storage Ideas When You Don’t Have a Pantry

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Not everyone has a pantry. Some houses just weren’t built with one. When it comes to having a pantry, they are nice to have, but not a necessity in the prepping world. In fact, we are capable of turning any space into a pantry. Because prepping is so important, I have come up with 10 food storage ideas when you don’t have a pantry. In case you missed this post, What You Need In Your Food Pantry

Food Storage Ideas When You Don’t Have a Pantry

If you don’t have a pantry for your food storage, don’t worry! Here are 10 ideas that will make storing your extra food a breeze!

10 Food Storage Ideas When You Don’t Have a Pantry

#1 Use an Old Bookshelf

An old bookshelf can become a great place to store your food. Even in a small kitchen, you can stick a bookcase in there along one of your walls. Load your shelves with dry goods, canned goods, and even produce. I would recommend getting a bookshelf from the thrift store or Facebook marketplace if you don’t have one and want a cheaper option. I wish we had an IKEA here, they have some pretty inexpensive and sturdy bookcases that could be used to store food. If you get the taller ones, please attach them to the wall for safety reasons.

#2 Store it in the Walls

Trust me here, I’m not crazy! You can take out part of your wall in between two beams and then place shelves in between the beams that you can use to store your food. This is a terrific option if you have a tiny kitchen and just can’t place another thing into it. Additionally, you can add some hanging doors to hide what you have in there. This can be done fairly easily and with limited funds. Be sure to watch out for electrical wires in those walls.

#3 Pegboard Food Storage Ideas

If you don’t want to tear apart your wall, you can use it to create your own pantry. Securely attach a pegboard to your wall. Create a pantry with baskets and shelves that will work with the type of food storage you have. You can create shelves for your canned goods, and place baskets on it for your produce. You can also use file holders to store things like spaghetti noodles or cutting boards. 

#4 Repurpose Your Coat Closet

I had a friend who didn’t have a pantry, but she had two coat closets. One by the front door and one by the backdoor. Instead of using both closets for coats and things, she uses one closet as a pantry. Add shelves in your closet. You can buy some basic wood boards and create shelves to hold baskets, canned goods, spice, or most anything you want in your makeshift pantry. 

Read More of My Articles  11 Basic Baking Items You Need In Your Pantry

#5 Utilize an Enclosed Porch

You have to be careful what you put on the porch, especially if you can’t regulate temperatures in your porch area. However, you can put up storage shelves to store your extra canned goods, cleaning supplies, or things you frequently use. You won’t want to have things in the freezing cold or super-hot temperatures periods. If you can keep it reasonably cool or warm throughout the year, this is an option to store your extra stuff. 

#6 Food Storage Ideas in the Basement

Using your basement for your extra food storage is a great idea. However, you will want to keep your food off the floor and be sure you have a rotation plan in place so you don’t forget what’s downstairs. One thing I have found about storing extra food in the basement is that sometimes you just don’t feel like going down there to rotate your food. But, if you are someone who can stay on top of it even when it’s out of sight, this is a fabulous option. In fact, there are several ways you can store food in your basement:

  • Build a pantry in your basement. You can build a room down in your basement solely dedicated to food storage. 
  • Add bookshelves. If you have extra bookshelves, you can create your own pantry out of them in your basement.
  • Hang shelves. If you don’t want things on the floor at all, you can use the walls and create shelves in your basement. 

Years ago, I had a basement and it was a great food storage place, as well as a great place to store extra coats and blankets, hygiene products, emergency preps, and more. Then, Mark and I downsized to a smaller home and now we don’t have a basement. My dream would be to have a pantry that is 14-feet by 14-feet. It’s not going to happen, but I can dream, right? Such is life. My home is much smaller but easier to clean.

#7 Hang Goods Under Your Cabinets

Screw mason jar lids into the bottom of your upper cabinets. Then you can have some instant storage for the things you have. I wouldn’t suggest doing a ton of stuff stored this way due to the weight. But, this is a good option for people with limited storage space. 

Read More of My Articles  20 Staple Pantry Items for Making Cheap Meals

#8 Place Shelves Anywhere You Can

When it comes to prepping, you don’t have to just figure out what to do with it in your kitchen. In fact, your whole house can become a food storage haven! Hang shelves wherever you can think of to store extra food and prepping stuff. Here are some places you can hang extra shelves in your home:

  • Build shelves on the sides of your cabinets.
  • Narrow shelves can be placed along your backsplash between the cabinets and counter.
  • You can add extra shelves in closets.
  • Put up shelves behind your toilet.
  • Anywhere there is a wall, you can add a shelf for storage.
  • We have items stored behind our entertainment center in the master bedroom. Who would have thought?

#9 Build Your Own Pantry

For example, you can build your own Free-standing pantry by watching YouTube! If you have somewhere to put it, you can always build your own, or several if needed. 

#10 Use Baskets and Containers

There are so many ways you can store extra food and essentials. Use baskets and plastic containers to store food in hard to reach cabinets so that you are using all of your space. You can even use plastic bins that you can scoot under the bed, couch, or shelves. Store it, stack it, and hide it however you can. 

Other Food Storage Ideas

Looking for other food storage ideas? Check out some of my other posts that are all about food storage!

10 Food Storage Ideas When You Don’t Have a Pantry

Final Word

It can be tough to find all the right places to store your extra food. Some of us live in small houses, some in apartments, and others just have a hard time going up and downstairs. When it comes to food storage, make it logical and efficient for you! If you need to build more shelves, do it. If you want to store it in an empty bedroom, do it. The best thing you can do is be creative as you figure out how to store it any way you can. May God Bless this world, Linda

Copyright Images: Glass Jars AdobeStock_266580193 by Anjelika Gretskaia

31 thoughts on “10 Food Storage Ideas When You Don’t Have a Pantry

  • December 20, 2020 at 7:13 am
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    We have 3 bedrooms, I took one as my craft room. We put shelves in the closet for a pantry. It is now overflown into the craft room. The craft room has also become a storage room for whatever my husband can’t find a place for. His shop outside is full and so is the front porch. And then there are the boxes stacked in the bedroom and living room.

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    • December 20, 2020 at 7:34 am
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      Hi Deborah, oh my gosh, the craft room is now overflowing! I have 3 bedrooms and an office. One of the bedrooms is a queen bed guest room with 6-gallon buckets of wheat lining one wall. I have a grandkids guest room with two-triple bunkbeds. I’m thinking of getting rid of the bunk beds since the grandkids are getting bigger and busy with jobs so they don’t visit as much. I would make that room a more organized food storage room. LOL! I want to simplify my life with less stuff. I will keep my emergency stuff and food storage. But we have stuff we haven’t used in years. I want less stuff. Linda

      Reply
  • December 20, 2020 at 8:11 am
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    We took one windowless wall in our guest room and built heavy duty shelves on it. We put framing along the top shelf to hang sliding closet doors. This is now a pantry and holds a lot of our home canned food storage.

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    • December 20, 2020 at 8:21 am
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      Hi Kathy, WOW!! I love hearing this! It would be so organized! Love it! Linda

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      • December 20, 2020 at 9:38 am
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        Thank you, but I’m working on the organized part

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  • December 20, 2020 at 10:00 am
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    MAKE END TABLES W/TABLECLOTH OR OTHER COVERING
    GET THE FRUIT BOXES FROM SAM’S OR OTHER STORES THEY GO UNDER BED & STACK, THEY ARE HEAVEY DUTY ALSO CARD BOARD MILK BOXES ARE HEAVT DUTY ,ALSO LIQUIOR BOXES,CUT DN TO SIZE FOR JARS ,THEY COME W/SEPARTION FOR JARS OR STACK CANNED FOOD IN ,THEY DONT GIVE US GOOD BOXES FOR OUR JARS ANY MORE
    ONLY LIMITED BY YOUR IMAGINATION
    ALSO CK W/ BAKERY DEPT FOR PLASTIC BUCKETS THAT ICING & STUFF COME IN ,THEY ARE FREE & LOTS OF TIME YOU GET ICING ALSO ! THEY HAVE GOOD SEAL !
    AND BE SURE TO GET THE JAR SEALER THAT GOES W/ YOUR FOOD SAVER !

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    • December 20, 2020 at 10:49 am
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      Hi Daphne, oh I love your ideas! You know there is always a way to stock our food storage. Where there is a will, there is a way. Thank you so much for all these wonderful ideas! Oh, and the buckets, yay for free ones! Linda

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      • December 20, 2020 at 10:03 pm
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        have to put our ‘thinkin’caps on ! i trned my 2nd bath room into my pantry,also got some closed metal cabinets from resturant close out & son gave me some old “proof tall metal cabinets w/ doors ,cut wood shelves to fit & had some large metal resturant pans that jus fit in there ,left overs from when workin in resturant,2nd hand shelves ,,not fancy but works got buckets stacked & marked
        also big tin cans that popcorn & stuff come in for christmas & etc,find those mostly T thrift stores after holidays ,jus my “stace “(NOT MUCH THRIFT STOREIN’ ANY MORE !)
        THINK ON MY FRIEND !
        WE WILL SURVIVE ! MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY NEW YEAR !
        as for organizin freezer,nothing works ! tried it all !

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        • December 21, 2020 at 4:27 am
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          Hi Daphne, it feels so good to be prepared in so many different ways! I love hearing you kept your large metal restaurant pans! Those are keepers for sure! Merry Christmas! Linda

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  • December 20, 2020 at 10:13 am
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    Hi Linda,
    We have a small house with a small pantry and multiple use the bedrooms. However, there never seemed to be enough storage for pantry items and long term food storage. We have a 16X24 tall garden shed out back. I closed off one end of it at 8 feet and insulated it. So, now I have an 8’X16’X6.5′ tall extra storage pantry with a 6000BTU window unit that keeps the temperature at 70 degrees or less year round. I also keep DampRid in there to help hold down the humidity. We keep extra pantry and food storage in there as well as other things that need protection from the Texas heat. A big plus is that I get a lot of exercise retrieving pantry items when Pat runs out in the regular pantry. LOL!!

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    • December 20, 2020 at 10:52 am
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      Hi Harry, oh my gosh, this is what we need to do! I would love to install a window unit to keep the temperature at 70 degrees!! The Texas and Utah heat is crazy hot!! Great idea about insulating and DampRid, I love it!! We can all use some exercise these days of staying home! Going to the larger pantry does it! LOL! Linda

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    • December 20, 2020 at 9:53 pm
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      Harry, the window AC unit is a great idea. I’m going to steal that one from you. We have a 20×22 storage shed that needs a new roof. Once I get the new roof on it I’ll insulate it and put in a window AC unit and solve my storage problems once and for all in this AZ heat. If I ever need to heat the shed I’ll build a solar space heater and hook a fan up to it. Thanks for the idea. Now I have yet another in a seemingly endless list of projects to do. I get one done, scratch it off the list and add two more.

      Reply
      • December 21, 2020 at 4:26 am
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        Hi Ray, I love getting ideas from our group!! I have to agree with you, I think of one project, get that one done and I think of another one! It never ends! Merry Christmas!! Linda

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      • December 21, 2020 at 7:57 am
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        Ray,
        No theft necessary. You are so welcome to use the idea. That’s why Linda’s blog is great. I have gotten so many ideas from her and her readers. I am sure you are aware that you need to carefully size the window AC unit to the size of the area you need to cool. My room is small and only has a 6.5 foot ceiling since it is under a storage loft in a gambrel roofed shed. For the area and volume I have, the guidelines recommended that I only needed a 5000BTU unit. I chose a 6000BTU unit and am glad I did. That gives me enough cooling capacity to handle our Texas heat and not have it running continuously. I wish I had made the room slightly bigger since we can always use more food storage area. But, we are slowly getting rid of other things in the room opening up more area for our preps. Have a great Christmas out there in AZ.

        Reply
  • December 20, 2020 at 10:29 am
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    We have (had?) a third bedroom we turned into a pantry. Bought good quality shelves. It looks like a grocery store!! Friends made fun of us…until the virus hit! We also have shelves in the laundry/utility room. Oh yeah, and under the built in bunk beds in the second bedroom, LOL.

    Reply
    • December 20, 2020 at 10:56 am
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      Hi Beth, I love your story about the bedroom looking like a grocery store. My granddaughter when she was living with us, went to get some potato chips and she laughed and yelled, “Grandma this may be a fire hazard”! I got the giggles so bad, it’s packed but I know where everything is!! Life is good when we have a good pantry. We can find a place for all food storage, right? Linda

      Reply
      • December 20, 2020 at 11:39 am
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        Hi Linda,
        Yes, always find room! I forgot about my “medicine closet”! That’s what my grandson calls the double closet filled with…well, medicine! And bandages and toothpaste and…you get the idea.
        Thanks for all your writings, I always learn from you!

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        • December 20, 2020 at 12:26 pm
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          Hi Beth, thank you for your kind words, we actually all learn from each other. The medicine cabinet is now a double closet! I love hearing this! Linda

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  • December 20, 2020 at 11:03 am
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    I live in a 2 bedroom apartment. My largest bedroom is my craft/storage room as it has a walk-in closet with shelves. I have it jam-packed!! I also have a 3 shelf book shelf filled with dried goods. I also purchased a small (made for a bathroom) cupboard with doors – fits perfectly on one short wall in my apartment and houses canned goods (I did have to replace the plastic shelf holders with metal but it is holding up nicely). I only have 3 inside doors (bathroom and 2 bedrooms) so I have hanging shoe things on the 2 bedroom doors that hold a LOT of goods – mostly preps that are not food: flashlights, matches, tape – duct tape and packing tape; gloves, plastic, emergency lighting, and various other non-food items. This makes those items more accessible to me. I also store under my bed, under my couch and in storage ottomans (2 that have lids).

    When you live in a small place, you must be creative in storing your preps.

    I recall a friend back in the Y2K era!! She and her husband turned their living room (they also had a family room) into their pantry. He built shelves around the room under and over windows, down the middle, etc. They stocked those shelves and at our last contact (I’ve since moved) 5 years ago, they were still eating out of their preps. She became very ill but at home and he was laid off his job so they were prepared for all of that as well. I should get in contact with them again!!

    Reply
    • December 20, 2020 at 12:21 pm
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      Hi Leanne, oh boy, do I remember the Y2K era, what a joke it was! It was so hyped up and BAM, all was well. I love your idea of hanging bags with pockets!! When we have smaller homes we will make it work, no matter what it takes. I enjoyed your story about your friends with the living room as their pantry. What a blessing for them having prepped for whatever came their way. Wow! Linda

      Reply
  • December 20, 2020 at 11:16 am
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    I love the idea of storing between the framing in the walls. It’s quite the rage on Pinterest so one could find alot of ideas about how to finish it off to look nice. I personally would have my husband build a small sliding barn door…if there was enough “slide” room. Another option is to go to a place like Home Depot and buy either a kitchen or a bathroom “linen” type closet. Sometimes they’re really deep and things can get lost in the back but they work great for food storage. I’m so very blessed to my own personal grocery store in the basement. During all the lockdown, I only had to order fresh foods and Mt. Dew! We did exceptionally well. My husband had/has more work than he can handle (professional engineer) and I have enough fabric that so far I’ve made 12 quilts with plenty left to go. I had turned an upstairs closet into a fabric closet with floor to ceiling shelves to hold all my fabric. Pinterest is a really good place to get ideas for just about anything.

    Reply
    • December 20, 2020 at 12:23 pm
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      Hi Robbie, oh my gosh, I love those barn doors!! SQUEAL!! I don’t have room for any but I LOVE them! The Mt. Dew, I LOVE it! It feels so good to be prepared! Linda

      Reply
  • December 20, 2020 at 11:34 am
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    We added two Closetmaid shelf units in a little used corner on top of our countertop. They holds lots of dry goods. I also had some barely used shelf space in my bedroom and now it has baking supplies. Things I never thought to do before the pandemic meant things we regularly bought were unavailable, so we stocked up as things became available and needed the storage places.

    Thanks for all you helpful posts.

    Reply
    • December 20, 2020 at 12:25 pm
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      HI Suzie, I like ClosetMaid shelf units! Great reminder! It’s been interesting to see how quickly people learned how supplies could become scarce. Keep prepping, thank you for your kind words! Linda

      Reply
  • December 20, 2020 at 12:37 pm
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    I have a lot of those footlocker type trunks that I use for fabric and craft storage but you could do the same for food storage. Several are stacked neatly in my bedroom, 2 have foam cushions on top and double as benches at the dining table. One does double duty as a plant stand in front of the window. I put wheels (reinforced with plywood backing) under a large metal trunk and keep the TV on top. In my bedroom (AKA the Shedroom) I have a wall lined with sturdy wire shelving that holds extra food, water storage, tools, etc. It’s covered with a fancy curtain, you’d never know it was ugly shelves. One section also holds a small chest freezer. I built a 6″ wide pullout pantry that fits between the fridge and the kitchen wall and I can’t believe how much stuff fits in there. To make it easier to access the bottom kitchen cabinets I use plastic totes to hold jars, bottles, cans and boxes. Much cheaper and sturdier than drawers and way easier to keep clean. I keep a list of what’s in behind tucked into a plastic sleeve inside the door so I don’t have to keep dragging things out and looking. I have shorter wire shelving unit “end tables” beside the couch, with nice fabric covers and wooden tops. It’s amazing what you can tuck away in there.

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    • December 20, 2020 at 1:16 pm
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      Hi Alice, great comment! Thanks for sharing how you store stuff! We all help each other with ideas! Love these! Linda

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  • December 20, 2020 at 5:24 pm
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    I will admit that my LTS is far below most of you, and my pantry is more of a “working pantry” that I continually rotate. We are blessed, in that when we downsize, we gave away and sold off 1400 items (furniture galore, tools, books, you name it, we got rid of it….as a numbers person, I kept track of such things…..lol… Add to that, our new home must have been designed by a woman. There are two large walk in closets complete with shelves and dressers, two 6ft. Coat closets, two pantry closets, one linen closet big enough for a years worth of toiletries, and a laundry room with shelves for two years of cleaning stuff. Add a 1500ft. temperature and humidity controlled basement with coat closets for paper products and an upright freezer, you name it, we can store it!!

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    • December 20, 2020 at 6:28 pm
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      Hi Chris, wow, wow, wow! I love hearing this! I have to admit I have changed my view on LTS because the price is ridiculous now. I even tell my readers to please think twice before you buy a #10 can due to the prices right now. I believe having a workable pantry is more critical than having loads of LTS. I love your comment the house was designed by a woman! I got the giggles, but boy, I would love a home designed by a woman. Or at least one like you and I who want to stock our homes for our own grocery store. You have an amazing setup, my friend! Linda

      Reply
  • December 22, 2020 at 12:16 pm
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    Years ago I lived downtown in Chicago in a one bedroom apartment. Because it was an elderly building, it had larger rooms, no balcony but it had a closet at the front door that had a second door to it around a corner. I used the second door opening to make a bank of wooden shelves for a pantry. When I moved, the manager was so impressed at the use of the space, I got my entire deposit back!

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    • December 22, 2020 at 1:17 pm
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      Hi Linda, wow, how nice was that!! It was a win-win for both of you! Great story. Linda

      Reply

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