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- Best Size
- Reality Check
- Small Pantry/Kitchen
What Size is Best?
At-a-glance dimensions for ideal pantry clearances.
Unfortunately, in most homes, even new design, the pantry is an afterthought that gets delegated to a leftover corner. In an ideal situation, the following pantry design examples get the vote of Everything Pantry.
Best pantry design: Walk-in pantry: the easiest way to search for food items is to see everything at once. This is easy to do in a specialized storage area without doors. Pantry organizers like baskets, bins, and pantry drawers create smaller sections of space that best suits the food item.
40" CLICK on the clearances tab above to view pantry plan illustrations that support this clearance.
Best over shelf depth & height: 9" and 12" Where did we come up with those numbers? See our pantry shelf discussion page with extensive measurements of various pantry food items.
|"The size of your pantry will depend pretty much on your reasons for building it. "....
"To hold everything we wanted to put into it, our pantry had to be 15' long and 4 1/2' wide. We used 11 1/2"-deep shelving along three walls. On one of the short walls, we put up 4 1/2" shelving to hold flavorings, spices, and seeds for sprouting. We were left with a 31" aisle. Now, we're sorry we didn't make the aisle six inches wider. As it is, space is a little tight and I'm always afraid I'll knock a jar off a shelf trying to turn around with my arms full."
THE WELL STOCKED PANTRY
by Gail Damerow
(Mother Earth News / August/September 1993)
Design for Kitchen Pantry Clearances
You're going to love these pictures! Everything Pantry offers diagrams to help you visually see the best size and layout for a walk-in pantry and for the people functioning in them.
The illustrations below indicate the most ideal clearances for movement in a confined space. For our purposes, the measurements of an average 6'2" man was used. These same examples will easily accommodate the frame of an average-size woman.
As you can see, moving in and out of a 30" wide door carrying groceries is one thing. Bending, reaching, turning, and opening a drawer is another. The bottom-right illustration shows our man in a 6' x 6' pantry. A 36" clearance is possible, but will be cramped. 40" would be a good minimum.
This pantry appears to be
24" - 30" wide.
Photo by Lisa Romerein
This is what a 30 square foot
Small Pantry and Kitchen Challenges
Cabinet manufacturers have worked hard in responding to consumer demand for pantry storage in small spaces and kitchens. In addition, closet manufacturers have identified the pantry market as a cross-product user of their clever storage innovations.
Interior storage solutions abound in home improvement centers where any homeowner or renter can improve their cabinet space.
Here are some ideas for getting the most of pantry storage in a small kitchen:
- Reclaim a closet.
- Reclaim storage between studs of wall.
- Food storage under the living room couch
- Make a smaller version of a walk-in pantry (see photo below).
- Recycle wooden crates from wine, mount to walls as a shelf (can get free from wine stores or superstores).
- Make a skinny box on wheels next to empty space next to your refrigerator (same height) that can wheel out.
- Use over-the-door racks for extra storage on closet doors. For very narrow doors, take a hanging shoe pouch for over-doors and cut to fit.
- Purchase an antique or used furniture cabinet at a garage sale or flea market and refit the furniture for pantry use
- Hanging up items is an option to cabinet space
- Install shelving in kitchen where spices and staples can be stored out in the open (see our open pantry designs).
- Hang pots up on a pot rack to free space up inside cabinets for pantry goods.
- Put utensils in utensil caddies on the countertop to free up additional pantry space inside cabinets - flatware can be stored also in a decorative container on the table.
- Adjust height of shelves to match the size of the pantry item and maximize the efficiency of your pantry storage space.