See How I Turned My Hallway Closet into a Pantry with These $1 Storage Gems

published Dec 2, 2023
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shelf in pantry with cracker boxes open
Credit: Shifrah Combiths

When my family and I moved into a new house, we suddenly found ourselves with a bigger pantry — but the space is less usable because it has unusually deep shelves. So I’ve had to get creative with solutions like shallow vertical wall storage baskets for produce and bag organizers that are mounted to the pantry door. 

There isn’t space for many “extras,” because items tend to get lost in the depth of the shelves. The biggest challenge for my family has been how to store snacks for our five children. We need a lot of snacks, so we shop for them in bulk at Costco. Still, stashing and organizing snacks has been a work in progress for months.

I recently decided to focus on creating order in this out-of-control space. Instead of trying to cram snacks into our limited usable pantry space in the kitchen, I decided to switch the snacks to our “overflow pantry,” which is a utility closet in our hallway. The only tricky part is that the shelving we use inside the closet is sideways, so everything on the shelves must be categorized and well-organized so things stay accessible. 

I knew I needed to empty the snack boxes as much as possible, store a reasonable amount of snacks within arm’s reach, and stash the overflow elsewhere in the closet. I decided to make a concerted effort to save resources by using what I already owned so I looked to see if I had any extra plastic shoe bins that I love to pick up from Dollar Tree. Similar ones are also available at Target for $1.50. Sure enough, I had some, and I set out to put these to use to solve my snack storage problem. I didn’t need the lids, so I put those behind the bins, which I set out side by side on one of the shelves in the closet. 

I pulled out all the partially empty boxes of snacks and began decanting them into the plastic shoe boxes. I put each snack in its own bin, sometimes combining it with another one. For instance, I put fruit pouches in a bin with granola bars. This way, the kids had as many choices as possible but everything stayed as tidy as possible. Overflow items stayed in their boxes and were stashed on top of the shelving unit. This way they didn’t take up valuable storage real estate, but they were easily accessible enough to refill the snack bins.

Credit: Shifrah Combiths

We’ve been using this system for a couple of months now and it’s transformed our storage and our mornings. We’re all able to easily grab snacks as we’re making lunches or preparing for the after-school rush — without digging through an already space-challenged pantry. Additionally, storing snacks in the closet rather than in the pantry frees up space in the pantry for items that we actually use for food preparation. 

This simple storage tweak has impacted the way our entire kitchen runs and the best part is that it cost less than $5 in supplies.