Pantry Inspiration

Making the Most of a Deep Pantry Cabinet

A deep pantry cabinet can be challenging to organize.  It’s difficult to see and to reach items at the back, but it’s a waste of space to keep everything pushed forward.

I have been struggling with this problem in my own kitchen since we moved in, but recently I was inspired with a solution.

BEFORE images of the cabinet.

Pantry Problems

As you can see from the before photos above, I store a lot of canned goods in my pantry cabinet. I like to keep items grouped by type and arranged according to expiration date with the oldest items at the front.  Given how tightly packed my cabinet was, this meant pulling out all the cans and rearranging them whenever replacement cans needed to be added.  This is not something I have the time, energy or disposition to do on a regular basis!

If only, I thought, there were some way to slide the whole row of cans out and insert the new cans at the back…

And that is how I came up with the following solution.

Problems Resolved!

That thought: wouldn’t it be nice to slide the whole row of cans in and out of the cupboard with ease, was immediately followed by a vision of the clear, plastic bins I was using in my refrigerator. I rushed to the kitchen to test my theory and was pleased to discover that a typical can fits neatly on its side in the plastic refrigerator bin.

From the kitchen I rushed to the computer to shop online for refrigerator bins for my pantry!

Here is how I used the refrigerator bins to organize my pantry cabinet. The bins I bought are by Inter Design. Each one is 5 in. x 14 in. x 5 in. Each plastic bin holds five cans laid on their sides. I added a second row of four cans stacked pyramid-style because I wanted to fit more into the cabinet. There is room to add another row on top of that, but I didn’t want it to become cumbersome.

The cans look neat arranged in the plastic bins, and the bins function exactly as I envisioned they would. They slide in and out of the pantry cupboard with ease, and they are simple to restock.

I even repurposed one of my actual refrigerator bins as a pantry organizer to supplement the four that I bought (It's the one on the right in the photo above of all the bins lined up). It has a slightly different size and shape, but it works fine as well.

Another idea I’d been toying with for the pantry was a can sorter, but I wanted compact ones that would be easy to maneuver. The only small ones I could find were designed to store dog and cat food cans. I decided to give them a try. The dog food dispenser works great for regular cans, and the cat food dispenser works well for tuna and other similarly shaped cans. 

This dog food dispenser holds any standard 14-16 oz. can.

The cat food dispenser works with 5 oz. tuna cans but the 7 oz. cans are too big.

Here is what the pantry looks like now with the new storage system in place. No more struggling to see what’s at the back of the cupboard or having to climb inside it to reorganize cans at the back of the bottom shelf.

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