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How to Turn a Closet Into a Pantry Your Family Will Love

5 minute read, by Closet America, on Jan 28, 2020

Too many closets and not enough pantry space? Turn your closet into a pantry with these custom design tips and closet transformation ideas!

Food is often the center of our universe as Americans. And if you don’t have a proper pantry in your kitchen, it’s difficult to organize your goods. Let’s face it, not all houses are created alike. Some are small with little to no room for storage. Many have only a coat or hall closet near the kitchen.

When you need a more functional pantry or additional pantry space, why not turn your closet into a pantry with extraordinary custom design? Read on for some creative tips and pantry closet ideas for planning a pantry you’ll love, as well as details about working with a custom designer to make the process go more smoothly.

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First Steps for Repurposing a Closet

Let’s face it, small reach-in pantries or kitchen cabinets are simply not big enough to store all of the dry goods, baking ingredients, mixes, snacks, and canned goods you have in your kitchen. If you’re like me, you often dream about those large, walk-in pantries—beautifully organized and highly functional—that you’ve seen in magazines or on TV, but the bottom line is that not all kitchens are built with a large pantry. Sometimes even the cabinet space in the kitchen is very minimal.

A hall closet or small coat closet can make the most incredible place for storing your pantry items and ensuring you have room to grow. But first, we will cover how to manage any items already stored in that closet. Here’s how to start:

1. Assess your closet and pantry space. The first step is to assess your current options to determine how an unused closet may be able to work best for your pantry. Choose a hall or coat closet that is not absolutely necessary to your family’s everyday routine. Maybe you can keep your coats in your walk-in closets or on hooks in the garage instead, opening that area up for your pantry?

TIP: When foyers and kitchens are right next to one another, the closet in that area often makes an ideal pantry. That way, you don’t have to walk far from your kitchen just to grab the items you need out of your pantry. 

2. Declutter and clean that closet. When you have decided to turn a closet into a pantry and have chosen the closet for this transformation, purge and clean the closet to refresh the space for your new pantry area.

TIP: If you don’t want to do a complete overhaul and remodel, add new cabinetry to the kitchen, and transfer some of your kitchen miscellanies into this unused closet.

3. Relocate your closet items. If you need to relocate coats, there are two convenient places to move them: to your personal walk-in closets in your bedrooms or your garage storage space. Chrome hooks in the garage can hold coats, scarves, and other items just as easily as a coat closet can.

TIP: You can use closets in other rooms like your home office, basement, living room, or attic to free up closet space for your important pantry items. 


How to Turn Your Closet into a Pantry

The point of this project is to make your home work better for you and your family. Life can be busy and your plate might be full, so you may not have the time you need to make a closet transition like this happen. A custom-designed installation can make the project easier if you decide you need professional help at any point in the process. Here are the next steps in your closet transformation:

4. Install adjustable shelving. Shelving will enable you to transform your coat or hall closet more easily into the perfect place to house your food and snacks.

5. Measure the dimensions of your “new” pantry to decide upon the proper height, width, and depth of your closet pantry shelving, as well as how many shelves you will need.

TIP: Consider pull-out shelves and soft-close drawers for small pantry storage.

6. Research options for sturdy, thermo-fused, laminated adjustable shelving that will enable you to store heavyweight food items such as canned goods and two-liter bottles more securely.

TIP: Ask your manufacturer about lifetime guarantees on their closet components. 

7. Cut your adjustable shelving according to the precise length and depth of the closet, or hire a professional custom designer to handle this cumbersome process for you.

8. Organize your food items according to category and measure the height of your food items for each group.

9. Include metal tab shelf supports that ensure shelves are level and secure and make it easy to adjust shelving according to the height of your various food items.

TIP: Space your adjustable shelving at different intervals based on the size of your pantry contents. 

10. Stock your shelves by food and snack height and by category.

TIP: Place tall items like cereal boxes within reach on an upper shelf. Keep your baking goods together, as well as your canned goods on middle area shelving. Keep your snack bins and larger juice bottles and sodas on lower-level shelving. 

11. Add a chrome clip to the back of your pantry door and clip your grocery list here.

TIP: List items you need to purchase and have a ready-to-go grocery list every time!

How to Turn a Closet Into a Pantry

Finalizing Your New Custom Pantry

You may have thought for a long time about turning your unused closet into a pantry and adding adjustable shelves for a useful spot to house your food and snacks. But having a creative idea for a pantry doesn’t mean that you have to spend a lot of time on the project. You can transform your coat or foyer closet into an organized pantry in a short time with a professional custom designer. In fact, some custom designers can accommodate your custom pantry needs in only a day or two.

When you need to turn a closet into a pantry your entire family will love, we are happy to help! Repurposing a closet as a pantry ensures your food is beautifully organized, at the center of your home, and within quick reach of your loved ones.

If you’d like support with turning a closet into a pantry your family will love, we are happy to share the design expertise you need for your ideal custom-designed solution. Contact us—or, feel free to schedule a free design consultation today.

Closet America was able to work with my unique circumstances in order to give me the best use of my space.

Amy B.,
Fairfax Station, VA

Let’s Start Your Project

Whether you’re interested in a custom-designed closet, office, pantry, or garage, starting your project couldn’t be easier. Just fill out the attached form or give us a call to schedule your free in-home design consultation. You can download our brochure and you’re welcome to visit our Landover Maryland showroom, to see how beautiful our custom-designed organization systems look in person. We want you to experience the Closet America difference and see how we build organizing solutions for life.

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