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One of my biggest pet peeves about our kitchen is the lack of pantry space! I cannot wait to have a huge, walk in pantry in our future home one day but until then, something had to be done with our cabinet pantry. Here is an in depth guide and shopping list for a small cabinet pantry organization and makeover.
I want to preface this post with acknowledging that this project was not cheap. However, it has been one year since we finished this project and my husband and I both agree we would have paid 3x the amount it cost because of how functional our pantry is now!
The shelves were actually very deep but this meant things got shoved in the back and you couldn’t get to them without pulling everything in front out… talk about a freaking pain. One day, my husband casually said he wished we had pull out drawers in the pantry and I ran with the idea. He started drawing out ideas and planning what could work with the cabinet structure we already had.
As we started planning it out, the show The Home Edit, had just come out and I, along with everyone else, binged watched it way too fast. My friends joked that our house was already all organized like The Home Edit. They weren’t totally wrong BUT the pantry definitely was not organized at all and it drove me crazy! Watching this show gave me tons of inspiration and ideas on how to organize the pantry once my husband finished building the drawers.
Small Cabinet Pantry Organization: Supplies
- 8’ x 6” x ½” Walnut: We chose walnut wood to use as the faceplates for each drawer. You don’t have to make faceplates but we thought it made it look more finished. It also created a little edge to grab on to when pulling the drawer out.
- 10 Soft Close Side Mount Drawer Slides: You will need one pair for each drawer you build. These were pretty simple to install on the inside walls of the pantry. Just make sure they are level or your drawers won’t be!
- Kreg Pocket Hole Set: The best tool to fasten the drawers/wood together.
- Edge Banding: My husband used this to hide the plywood edges and make the drawer trimming look more finished.
- Bosch Orbital 6” Sander, 150 Grit Sand Paper, 220 Grit Sand Paper: You will need to sand all of the wood otherwise it may not be smooth to touch.
- Polyurethane: This was used to coat the plywood to make it water resistant and improve the durability.
- Danish Oil: This was used on the Walnut to provide a nice, clear finish.
- Shelving Liner: When you are pulling drawers in and out, you don’t want containers or food to be sliding around. This non-slip liner has lasted for a year now and is nowhere near needing to be replaced.
Small Cabinet Pantry Organization: Shopping List
And now, the fun part! At least for me it was. To make your pantry as organized as possible, you need to throw away all the boxes. It looks much cleaner to have all your cereals, pastas, etc. in clear containers instead of ugly boxes that take up way too much space. Add some labels to your containers and voila, you have a dream pantry!
When you start organizing, I suggest laying out items in your pantry next to the container you think it will go in. You will end up switching this around as you start pouring things into containers and seeing how much or little room it takes up. You will be surprised at how much the containers can hold! I had poured brown sugar into a medium container and was shocked to discover an entire `new box could fit in a small container.
- OXO Pop Containers: I highly recommend this style container. The “pops” ensure an air tight seal and keep your food from going stale.
- Clear Bins: These are perfect for the items you want to be organized but don’t necessarily need to be in its own container. Think snacks, popcorn, baking supplies, etc.
- Can Shelf: Whoever invested this is genius! I can’t be the only one who hates having to move cans around to find what I need. This displays cans perfectly so you can see everything you have. I like this one specifically because it is adjustable and can fit any space.
- Labels: So, I have pretty great handwriting but it wouldn’t have been able to compare to these labels. I loved this style since it looks like it was handwritten. This pack came with a huge variety of kitchen labels and this pack wasn’t missing anything I needed.
Small Cabinet Pantry Organization: Tips
- I recommend planning what containers you will need BEFORE building your drawers. I just focused on height; I knew I wanted taller containers for pasta and cereal. I found the height of the containers and we planned the height between the drawers around this. Our five drawers are not evenly spaced out due to this. I did not want to have all short containers on each drawer and preferred choosing different heights for each drawer. Looking back, I believe this helped us really maximize the space.
- An issue my husband ran into was our cabinet was not perfectly square. Make sure when building that you account for the cabinet opening on the top and bottom as they most likely will not be the same. The widths of our top and bottom drawer had a difference of 1/8” due to this.
- My husband wanted to make sure I included “Measure twice, Cut once.” Apparently that is a well-known saying… I am not the builder in the house so beats me lol.
Small Cabinet Pantry Organization Reveal
The final reveal! What a difference! Our pantry is tiny but now it is functional and organized. Hopefully this post helped give some inspiration and guidance for your own pantry.
Are you working on organizing your pantry? Did you end up building drawers in a cabinet pantry? Have questions? I would love to hear! Comment below or connect with me on Instagram! And don’t forget to subscribe to be notified of new blog posts.