Small Pantry Organisation Tips: from Chaotic to Organised

Becky Pink
7 min readJan 18, 2021


Do you have a ‘Monica Cupboard’? You know the kind: full of a chaotic jumble of all kinds or random stuff. Our small walk-in pantry was our Monica Cupboard until recently. But today I’m sharing our small pantry makeover. It’s been a long time coming, but I’ll in

Small walk in pantry with Ikea shelves and storage

Here’s a peek into our tiny walk-in pantry, now that it’s all organised. Read on to see how we maximised every inch of space, and transformed our small pantry from total mess to totally organised.

You’ll find small pantry organisation tips and design ideas to make the most of a small space to store those pantry essentials and keep them neat and tidy.

Let’s Start With the Before… Our Small Pantry Needed Organsing!

Do you remember the girls’ cupboard den that I shared last year? That cupboard was above the stairs, and our small pantry is beneath the stairs, and leads off from the kitchen. It’s supposed to be a pantry, but it’s always just been a chaotic muddle. Ever since we moved in 6 years ago, it’s been on my to do list. In fact it was even the subject of my first blog post! And finally, I have given our small pantry a makeover, on a budget, using materials we already had as much as possible.

Here are a couple of the ‘before’ pictures of our small walk in pantry. There were rickety old shelves that were no longer fit for purpose, and the walls were a dingy greenish colour. I tried a few unsuccessful attempts at organising our tiny pantry but it never worked.

Our understairs cupboard

We had the flooring replaced when we had the kitchen floor laid. But apart from that, it was the same as when we moved in.

Old fashioned chipboard cupboard door

It still had a 1970s chipboard door in a fake wood finish. I painted the front white when we had our new kitchen put in. But the back was still in its former ‘glory’.

How We Tackled the Small Pantry Storage Problems

The main problem with our small walk in pantry was the lack of proper organisation and shelving. Every time I put something on the narrow and wobbly shelves the previous owners had put up, I held my breath and waited for them to collapse.

A dingy walk in pantry before we renovated it

When we took the shelves down, we saw why it was so wobbly. They were put up so badly, lots of them had blocks of wood behind the brackets! This is what our walk in pantry looked like once we had emptied it out. That pale green paint was so dingy!

It took a lot of planning and measuring to get our small pantry organisation right, as it’s an awkward shape. I spent a lot of time looking at storage solutions online, and chose IKEA, as they excel at affordable storage solutions.

Simple Wall Shelving Is a Small Pantry Organisation Essential

After emptying it all, I removed the shelves, filled in a lot of holes and painted it all matte white, with leftover paint. It took a few coats to cover the dingy shiny finish beneath, but instantly looked so much better.

I also painted the back of the door and the door frame and skirting board in Frenchic Al Fresco eco-friendly paint in Dazzle Me, also left over from another project.

Next we added a wide shelf at the back using a bit of leftover kitchen and batons. Amazingly, the kitchen board was exactly the right size! I added stacking IKEA SORTERA storage bins beneath. These are ideal for storing bulky items like bags of oats and pasta, and things like kitchen roll and reusable shopping bags, or recycling, and cost £6 each.

Part way through our pantry renovation

The shelf also created space for our coffee machine and food processor, which were hidden in another cupboard and therefore rarely used. Before lockdown we got seven of the cheapest shelves and brackets IKEA do, to make space for tins and bottles.

The BURHULT shelves are £2 each, and the SIBBHULT brackets are 50p each, meaning we got the whole wall of shelves for £21, which I think is fantastic value.

Putting up new IKEA shelves in the pantry
Ryan putting up new IKEA shelves in the walk-in pantry.
Looking up at our new white IKEA shelves
Looking up at our new white IKEA shelves.
Budget friendly Ikea pantry shelves make small pantry organisation easy
Budget friendly Ikea pantry shelves make small pantry organisation easy.

When you put up shelves, measure to check that you’ll be able to fit the items you plan to store on them. We now have dedicated shelves for all of our tinned food and jars.

Hanging Wall Storage Is Perfect for Small Pantry Organisation

We didn’t want to add much to the other side of the wall so that we could still walk in. Instead we opted for more bargain storage solutions from IKEA.

New Ikea small pantry organisation and storage solutions

I bought two simple white SUNNERSTA hanging rails for £1.50 each, plus some hooks, a shelf and some hanging tubs. In total this cost £7.

Use the wall space to keep a small pantry organised

The tubs house things like candles, device chargers, glue, scissors and tape.

I hang reusable shopping bags and our peg bag from the hooks, so it’s easy easy to reach in and grab them.

The monochrome tins were given to me by a friend who didn’t need them any more, and they are ideal there as the fit perfectly with the slope of the ceiling above.

Stick on hook from Ikea is a small pantry organisation tip

I also got a small stick-on hook from Ikea to hang up my apron. It was a hen do present, along with the peg bag, so it’s well used!

Understairs walk in pantry with hanging storage and Ikea recycling solutions

We kept the over door rack we had before, and it now houses tape, string and my headphones, nice as these are the things I always misplace. It also holds my rolling pin and baking paper. We also attached a VARIERA bin to the back of the door for recycling crisp packets, and when we next go to IKEA I’ll pick up a second one to put next to it for shopping bags. At £3 each they are a great way to organise a cupboard on a budget.

Finishing Touches to Our Small Pantry

I painted the outside of the cupboard door in Frenchic Al Fresco eco friendly paint in Dusky Blush, to match the side door which I painted last year. I used the leftover paint to revamp an old IKEA step stool that Thea sometimes uses when she helps with the cooking. You can see the my trays stored down the side of the Ikea storage bins. They are easy to access, but don’t take up much space.

Glass uPVC door painted in Frenchic Dusky Blush Al Fresco paint with a wooden stool, trainers and bag in front.
Pantry storage with a pink painted step stool and trays

You’ve probably noticed the doodle dot spots on the sloping ceiling of our little pantry cupboard? I was so impressed with the vinyl stickers I used to revamp our old roller blind, which you can read about here, that I ordered some more for our pantry. You can find Nutmeg’s Doodle Dot Wall Stickers here. They are so easy to use, you just peel and stick them on!

Small pantry design ideas
Tiny pantry organisation tips
Budget friendly Ikea pantry shelves

We keep Little Dot’s food in here too, and she knows exactly where it’s kept! She loves exploring in here. Find out more about her eco-friendly cat essentials here.

Cat investigating her food storage box
White walk-in pantry with white storage bins and kitchen equipment

The best part of my small pantry organisation makeover is that it’s actually stayed pretty tidy, as there is a designated place for everything.

Why not Pin my small pantry organisation and design ideas for later?

Small Pantry Organisation Tips and Design Ideas to Keep Clutter Under Control



Becky Pink

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