Food Storage Ideas When You Don't Have a Pantry

Food storage in a space without a pantry can be difficult. The best alternatives are those that already exist in the kitchen, including cabinets and drawers. However, if space in the cabinets cannot be made, then additional cabinets or shelves must be installed or alternative free standing storage must find its way into the kitchen including freestanding racks and storage bins.

Drawers and Cabinets

Cabinet drawers below or above the counter that are not acting to hold dishes and cups can be used as miniature pantries.  Pantries are great as they not only store but hide the items placed inside. Cabinets allow for both as well; storage plus the added bonus of disguise.  Keep dry goods and well packaged items in deep drawers below the counters, and more delicate items and containers above.

Open Racks

If you don't mind the open pantry look, bare storage shelves with racks are perfect for placing up against an open wall or unused corner.  Both metal and wooden racks can be found, usually with four to five shelves reaching about 6 feet in height. Open racks can hold a lot and can be much easier to navigate and locate items on than in a traditional pantry.  Decorative containers, boxes and jars can be used to hold the food items on the racks for a more disguised and aesthetically appealing appearance, if desired.

Lidded Containers

Stacked lidded containers or bins placed on the floor can hold a significant amount of food at a time.  Lidded container bins are not ideal as they require the pantry items to be stacked on top of each other thus requiring fishing in order to find the right item. However, in lack of other alternatives, container bins offer a solution.  When using bins, keep heavy items in the same container and light, delicate items like crackers, cookies and packaged cakes in another. Lidded container bins can be found at most home and hardware stores. 

Hanging Baskets

Hanging baskets are a fun, decorative way to store food, though they require a sturdy system of suspension from the ceiling.  Baskets can hang in a series of one on top of the other, not unlike garden hanging baskets. They can hold fruits and vegetables, garlic, peppers, packaged crackers and cookies, tea, coffee and cereal.  The baskets have to hang near a wall or clearly out of the walkways. They are not ideal for heavy items such as canned foods or jars.  For large items, an alternative storage solution such as cabinets, racks or counter space must be used.

Small Boxes

Small level storage, such as a bread box, countertop noodle jar, flour and sugar jar, fruit bowl and counter top spice rack are ideal for individuals who do not need a lot of storage.  Decorative ceramic or plastic boxes with lids that fit on top of the counter can be great small-scale storage for loose cereal, granola, cookies and rice.

About the Author

Mallory Ferland has been writing professionally since her start in 2009 as an editorial assistant for Idaho-based Premier Publishing. Her writing and photography have appeared in "Idaho Cuisine" magazine, "Spokane Sizzle" and various online publications. She graduated from Gonzaga University in 2009 with Bachelor of Arts degrees in history and French language and now writes, photographs and teaches English in Sao Paulo, Brazil.