Looking for tips for how to organize a small under-stair pantry? Well, that's good because it's exactly what this post is all about! Today, I'm sharing my tips and ideas for small pantry organization. Create extra storage by turning your under-stair cupboard or closet into a functional and pretty pantry.
What can you do with a small space under the stairs?
You'd be amazed at how much extra storage space you can achieve by utilizing the small space under the stairs.
If you don't have a pantry, why not turn your under-stair cupboard or closet into a pantry? It may be the perfect pantry storage solution for a small kitchen.
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Why you should make an under-stair pantry
Our kitchen didn't have a pantry and all of our pantry goods were strew throughout various kitchen cupboards. Although we tried to keep like items together, the kitchen cupboards were so deep that often items would get pushed to the back and forgotten about.
How many times have you bought an ingredient and then realised you still have plenty of the same at home but you just couldn't find it? Hmm, guilty!
What does this mean? Wasted money and ingredients when they fall beyond their storage date.
Have you ever gone to the cupboard to find the ingredients for a meal and then realised you are out of half of them? Yes? Me too! What does this mean? Wasted time, frustration and stress.
That right there is reason enough to start thinking about under-stair pantry storage ideas!
Organize a small pantry under the stairs with shelving
The first thing to do is to figure out how you are going to organize the space you have available. In our case, there was a small indent in the wall which was big enough to add decent size shelves. If your space is not as deep as ours, there are plenty of narrow shelving options to buy or DIY.
We decided to build shelves for our small under-stair pantry so that we could create a custom size to match the space we had available.
How to put up shelves
We used the same process for making shelves as we did in my office makeover. I created a post and video showing how to put up shelves so pop on over to read that post if you want to see how we did it.
You could also add wallpaper or a stencil to the back of the shelves to make them look even prettier or just paint the wall a pretty colour. We wanted to keep this space bright and airy and love the look of wood and white so that's what we went with.
Ideas for ready-made shelving
If you don't want to mess with making shelves, there are plenty of ready-made shelving options which can be used for pantry shelving. See below for some ideas about that.
How to organize a small under-stair pantry
So now, you're shelves are installed, what's next? Do you dump all the extra goods which were overflowing in the cupboards, onto the shelves and close the door to hide the mess? Well, that's kind of what happened to our small under the stairs pantry when we first built the shelves.
Because our under stair pantry was at the top of the stairs leading down to the cellar, all sorts of things would collect there which had no business being there at all! In short, our under the stairs pantry became a dumping ground for things which were meant to be returned to the cellar (like flower seeds, string and tools). That's not exactly how you want to organize a small under stair pantry is it?
Although there is a door to the small pantry, we tended to keep it open and that area always looked messy. We also still couldn't find anything we wanted and our lack of organization meant we were still losing things and buying unnecessary ingredients.
Here's what the pantry looked like before – what a mess!
organize a small under-stair pantry – dry goods
The best way to organize dry goods in your pantry
These are my tips for organizing the dry goods in your pantry. They may not work for everyone but they worked for us!
- Remove everything from the shelves
- Place everything onto the table so you can see what you have.
Here's a pic of some of my pantry items on our table.
- Corral like things together
Corral all your baking items together in one place. Do the same for cooking, spices, breakfast, canned vegetables, canned fruit, bottles of water and juice and so on.
Next, remove any items from the rest of your cupboards which belong with any of the above ingredients and put them with their like items. You may be surprised at the amount of stuff you have stashed away.
Icing sugar is one of those ingredients I tend to unintentionally stock up on. I hardly ever use it so I always tend to forget I have it, then end up buying a new box when I need some. I also found various opened bags of pasta, rice and spices.
organize a small under-stair pantry – containers
By corralling like items together, you will be able to better judge the amount of storage space you will need for them. Here are a few of the containers I used for organizing our small under stair pantry.
Pantry storage ideas - Glass Jars
I highly recommend using glass jars or clear glass containers to organize a small under-stair pantry because it's so much easier to see what you have even without a label (more about that later).
Pantry storage ideas - Baskets
I used a basket to store all the ingredients which I use for making natural skincare. It means that I can just grab the basket and take it to the kitchen counter when I want to make something and I have everything I need.
Pantry storage ideas – Crates
We use the space at the bottom of our under stair pantry for bottles of water and juice. For the sake of convenience, we keep the bottles in the crates in which they come from the supermarket. You could always buy prettier crates if you want your under stair pantry to be more insta-worthy. That kind of stuff doesn't bother me. I like things to look pretty but at the end of the day, it has to be practical and function in our home too.
How do you organize loose recipes?
I use a small wooden file organizer which I like to keep in the pantry under the stairs for the sake of convenience.
I find it much easier to grab this file organizer from a lower shelf than from a high cupboard shelf where it would probably be pushed to the back.
Cleaning an under-stair pantry
Before you fill up your pantry shelves with all your lovely storage jars and containers, wipe the shelves down with a damp cloth to remove any dust.
From now on, your under-stair pantry is going to be so much easier to keep clean - jars out, wipe down, jars in – done!
Organize a small under-stair pantry – Labels
The last step of organizing a small under-stair pantry is to label everything! I designed some labels myself and printed them off on my printer at home. If you'd like to have mine, I've added them to the free subscriber library. If you're not a newsletter subscriber, look for the information at the end of this post explaining how to sign up.
Do you need to label your pantry jars?
I'd say, yes! Ingredients like cornflower and icing sugar look the same in a glass jar so it's easy to get them mixed up.
How to apply labels to jars
As I said, I printed these labels onto A4 printer paper. Once I had them all cut out, I just used wide clear parcel tape to attach the labels to the jars. You can't even see the tape at all.
Small under-stair pantry finished!
Well, those are my tips for how to organize a small under-stair pantry.
I can't tell you how good it feels to finally have this pantry organizing project finished. I lost count of the number of times I've 'just popped to the shops' to get another round of glass jars but it has been worth it!
Our under the stairs pantry has gone from being a dumping ground for things to be returned to the cellar to organised bliss! We all love that the labels are so clearly printed and that it's easy to see where everything is.
I wish I had tackled this pantry organizing project a long time ago but you know how it is, there's always something bigger on the list!
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