Best Pantry Practices: How Shallow Can A Pantry Be?

How Shallow Can A Pantry Be

A pantry is where ingredients regularly used, like salt and pepper, oil, and flour, are stored in the kitchen. Some other common items in a pantry include vinegar and honey. But what makes something shallow?

Reach-in closets have dimensions that are typically around 5 feet wide and 2 feet deep; however, they may be as shallow as 16 inches, making them the ideal choice for placement along a wall that has a recess.

It would be deemed shallow if it’s only inches deep or has one layer of shelving. A deeper cabinet with more shelving would be considered deeper, while an infinite-depth cabinet would be considered infinite-depth. A stackable pole fixed to the back of many cabinets next to the wall, such as a built-in lazy susan tray or spice rack, is also considered shallow because it doesn’t have many shelves. Despite being tall enough for spices to rest on, they don’t have a little shelf.

Pantry organization is a huge problem for many people with small kitchens. Having a deep pantry helps you keep your food organized, and it makes your pantry look neater because no items are sticking out of the shelves.

Are you frustrated with the lack of organization in your kitchen? If so, then this article on organizing a shallow pantry might be good for you! 

Shallow pantries are usually one of the smallest spaces in a kitchen. These kinds of pantries are more about storing plates and other dinnerware than food items like cereal, rice, and flour. The problem with shallow pantries is that they can’t store enough items, so you have to stack items on top of each other, making it hard to see what you’re looking for.

How to organize a shallow pantry

You can organize a shallow pantry, though! You need to do it in a way that works best for your space.

1. Put small items in plastic containers and store them vertically. 

This helps you organize items like napkins, tissues, and plastic silverware. You can also use it for silverware storage or to hold containers of leftovers. It works especially well if you have many items that need to be stored in a small space.

2. Store large dishes vertically 

Store large dishes vertically using simple dividers purchased at home improvement stores. If your dishes don’t have dividers built-in, you can use a plate rack or kitchen organizer instead. You can store large pots, pans, and plates, and smaller serving dishes, depending on how decorative your items are.

3. Store plastic food containers vertically

Store plastic food containers vertically, using the same technique you used for the small items above. You can also store canned items this way. Just make sure that you leave a little room between containers to easily get to items on the back of the shelf.

4. Store large items on a shelf using a few inexpensive wooden dividers. 

You can also use small shelving units, but the dividers will look cleaner and more finished. You’ll probably want to use one or two dividers depending on how many items you want to store.

5. Use hanging baskets

Use hanging baskets if you have many large items that need to be stored vertically. For example, you can hang plastic storage bins or containers, large pots, pans, and even plant pots on the hooks and store them vertically in these baskets. This is a great way to store anything that doesn’t fit well in canned containers or the other storage options mentioned above.

6. Use a tall shelf or cabinet to store items on

For example, you can put large serving dishes, large pots and pans, platters, and the like in cabinets or tall shelves. Just make sure that you leave room for them to move around since they’ll be pretty heavy.

7. Store grains and pasta on a wall of shelves. 

For example, you can place three-tiered shelves directly on the wall in your pantry to have enough room to store various kinds of grains like rice, couscous, and other types of pasta. You can also stack these shelves vertically against each other using a shelf unit or shelf brackets.

It’s nice to see everything you have in your pantry, but sometimes you just can’t because of the lack of depth. These ideas and solutions will help you keep your pantry neat, organized, and easy to use. It’s also a good idea to label your cabinets and shelves so that you’ll remember what’s in each one.

How narrow can a pantry be?

The pantry is the smallest room in your house, but it’s also one of the essential rooms. It’s where you store your food and other essentials that make up a majority of what you eat every day. That being said, how narrow can a pantry be without sacrificing space?

This post explores how the width of a pantry affects its functionality by analyzing three different styles: L-shaped, U-shaped, and small rectangular designs.

1. L-Shaped Pantry

The L-shaped pantry has a width and height of about 8’6″ wide by 7’6″[1] high. The L will be a different shape depending on the location. The L will have a lot of foot traffic, especially if your house is where most homes are built close to one another.

L-Shaped Pantry


Because of its wider width, the L-shaped pantry will allow you to move around more freely and do different tasks, such as reaching for higher cabinets and stacking more objects, etc.


A vertical L-shaped pantry can feel a bit enclosed because of the sidewalls next to you. But, again, it comes down to preference. If the enclosure is a concern, maybe an open design would better suit your needs.

2. U-Shaped Pantry

The U-shaped pantry has a much narrower width than the L-shaped version. It only has about 4’6″ in width and 6’6″ in height. This design is usually used in kitchens with smaller counter space and storage space.

U-Shaped Pantry


The U-shaped pantry has a very open feel because the two walls that compose the U are not that far from you. People who wish to go in and out of their pantry frequently, particularly if they do so to reach for things that are stored on higher shelves or in higher cabinets, will find that this design is ideal for their pantry.


A U-shaped pantry has less foot traffic space than an L-shaped one, negatively affecting some people. However, if you prefer a narrow but open layout, this design will suit your needs perfectly.

3. Rectangular Pantry

The small rectangular pantry will be about 4’6″ in width by 6’6″ in height. This design is usually used for a kitchen with small counter space, foot traffic, and storage space. This is the most common pantry design that people have. It’s common to see this type of pantry used when designing a new kitchen or room redecoration.

Rectangular Pantry


An open rectangular pantry gives you more space to move around within the area and reach higher cabinets and shelves. It’s a design that allows more items to be stored within the area and a better view.


The small rectangular pantry is not an open design because it’s only about 4’6″ wide by 6’6″, which can feel a bit enclosed. It all depends on your needs, storage space, and how much foot traffic you wish to have in your pantry. If you prefer more foot traffic, this could be a negative aspect.

When shopping for a pantry, the most critical consideration is whether or not it meets your demands. Think about the amount of storage space and foot traffic you’ll have when constructing a pantry since both of these factors must be taken into account.

As a general rule of thumb, if you’re going to use your pantry as an open space, choosing either the L-shaped or U-shaped design is perfect. However, if you want functionality and efficiency, maybe a rectangular design would be best.

You must choose what works best for you and your home. Be sure to take accurate measurements of the available area before beginning any planning. A well-planned pantry will make every home run smoothly, even in the smallest of kitchens.

What is the minimum depth for a pantry?

It’s not necessary to have a deep pantry if you’re only storing your wine and canned vegetables on the upper shelves. Most people have at least six feet of depth, which should get you started. However, there is some variation in the depths of pantries so take this post with a grain of salt. You may wish to get advice from a professional or conduct further research.

Remember that it’s better to have too much depth than not enough, and you’ll be fine.

How important are shelves for your pantry? 

They make all the difference; having sufficient shelves in your pantry is more valuable to you than having just one or two “bare” shelves. Plus, it gives you a chance to put in items that are not your usual staples and have them readily accessible and easy to “see” and get at. You don’t want to see your kitchen as a graveyard of random, forgotten items because you couldn’t find them when you needed them. This is where the food waste comes in as well.

Your pantry is also more helpful if you have a few one-foot depth shelves than if you only have one shallow shelf. This is because you can use the deep shelves for things, not your everyday staples, such as snacks, cooking oils, and frozen foods.

You only need a few of these extra shelves to make a noticeable difference. So don’t get too caught up in how many shelves you have. Instead, it’s more important about how well you use your shelves that will impact your pantry’s usefulness and efficiency.