How to build a kitchen pantry food closet

Written by jourdan townsend
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How to build a kitchen pantry food closet
Fit your pantry with the storage that work best for your lifestyle. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Many people feel that they could use more storage, especially in their kitchens. Even cabinets that seemed plentiful before may quickly become overcrowded when you are attempting to squeeze your food, dishes, small appliances and other items together. While you can purchase free-standing pantry units at most big-box stores, these will eat up part of your kitchen's footprint, often a serious drawback. Instead of losing space, convert an existing closet to your new storage pantry.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Drill
  • Broom
  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Measuring tape
  • Stud finder
  • Mollies (optional)
  • Storage shelving kits
  • Storage bins or drawers
  • L-bracket kits

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  1. 1

    Select a closet in which to build your pantry. Most kitchens will have a broom or storage closet close by, so this is a natural choice. If you are storing non-perishables that you will not need often, a more out-of-the-way closet may suit.

  2. 2

    Open the door of the closet as far as you can. If you cannot open the door very wide, remove the door completely from its hinges so that you have enough room to manoeuvre. Examine the interior of the closet to ensure that it has adequate space for what you will store.

  3. 3

    Empty the closet of any items already stored there. Sweep the floor of the area to remove any dirt and debris. Make sure that the interior walls are not deteriorating or majorly damaged in any way.

  4. 4

    Sketch out a design plan on a piece of paper. Keep in mind the different sizes of the items that you will want to store, and that larger containers should be on the bottom with smaller ones at the top. It is helpful to have both bins or drawers and shelves for storing different types of items.

  5. 5

    Measure the height of any storage bins that will sit on the floor; shelving will need to stop at least an inch or two above this point. Measure to find the centre point of the back of the closet and mark this with a pencil line. Measure to find the centre point of each shelf back.

  6. 6

    Find the studs in your back closet wall using a stud finder; if you cannot locate a stud, you will need to install mollies to hold your shelves before hanging them. A molly, or molly bolt, is a special fastener with fins that open behind the wall as it is screwed to keep it in place without a stud. Mount all of the shelves centred on the back wall using the included hanging kits.

  7. 7

    Place your bins or drawers beneath the bottom shelf. If you are using a very heavy or unstable piece, attach it to the back wall using L-brackets. Fill your shelves and drawers with the items you wish to store and rehang the door, if necessary.

Tips and warnings

  • You can customise this type of pantry as much as necessary. If you're petite, do not install any shelves higher than you can reach. Tall drinks of water, on the other hand, may choose to stack items all the way to the ceiling.
  • Maximise your available storage space. Over-the-door shoe holders also work great for storing jars of spices or flat cans such as those that hold tuna or sardines.

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