Not everyone has a pantry in their home. Some houses just weren’t built with one. Pantries are so convenient, especially if they are located in your kitchen, or very close by. It makes meal prep so much easier since you can see what’s there and you don’t have to go to a basement or other storage area.
Most of my homes have had some sort of pantry available for me, but I’ve always wished they were larger based on how much I cook.
When it comes to having a dedicated 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.
To me, a pantry is almost any space you can store food that doesn’t need to be kept in a freezer or refrigerator. If you cook much, having those staples we use so many recipe options should be stored as close as possible. The more we can store efficiently at home, the less often we make a trip to the grocery store.
Don’t plan to store items that are perishable like eggs, cheese, or other dairy products like yogurt and sour cream since all these should be kept in your fridge unless they’ve been freeze-dried. I have tons of freeze-dried foods stored in #10 cans, I love them.
Because prepping is so important, I have come up with 10 food storage ideas when you don’t have a pantry. Please keep more than one can open in your home.
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!
1. Use an Old Bookshelf
An old bookshelf can become a great place to store some of 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 your dehydrated 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.
The main challenge is how narrow the shelves would be. Additionally, you can add some hanging doors like sliding barn 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 out some sheetrock from your wall, you can use the exterior 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 hang some small buckets or baskets on the pegs for your produce. You can also hang flexible cloth bags 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 back door. Instead of using both closets for coats and things, she uses one closet as a pantry.
Add some shelves in your closet that are designed to store different size products. You can buy some basic wood boards and create shelves to hold baskets, canned goods, spices, or most anything you want in your makeshift pantry.
The truth is, many “pantries” in homes right now are the same size as my friend’s closet. If you’re lucky, you have high ceilings in your home, including the inside of your closets. Put some of the less used items in your food supply to be stored either on the upper shelves or on the floor.
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, dry goods like pasta, grains, lentils, white rice, and beans, cleaning supplies, or things you frequently use like paper towels or toilet paper.
You won’t want to have things in the freezing cold or super-hot temperature periods since the temperature could have an effect on the nutrients in the foods. If the temps tend to stay fairly close to inside room temperature you’ll get decent shelf life out of many items. If you can keep it reasonably cool or warm throughout the year, this is an option to store your extra stuff.
If you picture storing some kitchen items that tend to take up space like toasters, slow cookers, pressure cookers, etc., this could be a great storage option, particularly if the porch is towards the rear of your home where many kitchens are located.
6. Food Storage Ideas in the Basement
Using your basement for your extra food storage is a great idea. However, you’ll want to keep your food off the floor on 2″ x 4″ boards or pallets. Be sure you have a rotation plan in place so you don’t forget what’s downstairs.
One thing I’ve found about storing extra food in the basement is that sometimes you just don’t feel like going down there to rotate your food, let alone frequent trips to grab the ingredients for that next meal.
I’ve kept so many items on shelves in the basement that I’ve either bought them at the store during case lot sales or canned them on my own. Canned goods include a wide variety of veggies like tomatoes, potatoes, peas, carrots, onions, corn, green beans, etc.
I’ve also stored many types of fruits like apples in sauce form, pears, various berries, peaches, citrus items like mandarin oranges, and even canned meats like chicken, beef, pork, and tuna.
If you plan to store items like flour, oats, whole wheat, etc., be sure you use food storage containers that are BPA safe, have a tight seal, and have a date noted on the top or side.
I seldom keep flour for more than a year, but rice, wheat, and pasta will last much longer, particularly if they were commercially packaged and use oxygen absorbers. I also will store other commercial products like peanut butter, jams, jellies, mushrooms, etc.
If you’re someone who can stay on top of what’s in your food storage inventory, 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.
- Unused bedroom. If you’re now in a new phase and don’t need those basement bedrooms for kids, consider converting one or more.
- Long-term storage. The basement may be your best option for the things you’re storing for the long haul or items you don’t use as often.
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.
We are now downsizing once again as I have mentioned about a year ago. I will keep you posted on how I make the new smaller home will be for us. I’m hoping to share ideas on organizing food storage with less space.
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 use most often. 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. I’d suggest using wide-mouthed jars and you might want to start with smaller/shorter pint jars before trying quarts.
8. Place Shelves Anywhere You Can
When it comes to prepping, you don’t have to just figure out what to do with items 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 above your toilet.
- Anywhere there is a wall, you can add a shelf for storage. Stir clear of hallways, which could be a safety hazard, particularly at night.
- We have items stored behind our entertainment center in the master bedroom. Who would have thought?
- We also have Water Brick products stored under the bed of our guestroom.
9. Build Your Own Pantry
If you have somewhere to put it, you can always build your own, or several if needed. If the outside is your only option, take the items you seldom use, or those that aren’t as “weather/temperature” sensitive, and put them in the outside enclosure.
You can call these sheds or a pantry, they can serve a similar purpose if the items stored are safely kept there. My only concern is keeping the food cool enough, this would have to be your last resort to store your food outside. I have seen families build enclosed rooms in their garages and then added ventilation along with a small air conditioning unit.
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.
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