We Made a Pantry Out of the Coat Closet Under our Stairs


Many years ago, we made a pantry out of the coat closet under our stairs. When you live in a small space, you have to maximize every square inch.

Antique door that we used as a pantry door. It has a glass window on top which we had a "pantry" sticker made and then hung lace curtains behind it.

I’ve blogged about this before but with my 30 Day Organizing Challenge coming up, I thought this was worth reviving.

When we decided to use the space that we knew was behind the 18″ deep closet, we busted out the wall and exposed this buried treasure. We put up shelving (12″ wide) on one side and put hooks on the other side. When our kids were young, the hook side, served as a place to hang their small coats, backpacks, and lunchboxes. We later made a coat hanging wall in our entryway and we no longer used the hooks in the pantry. For a long time they mostly just held my aprons.

Pantry under the stairs with white laminate 8" shelves on both sides and a wire rack in the back

Last year “Handy” had an idea to redo the closet and instead of 12″ on one side, he installed white laminated shelves that are 8″ on both sides of the closet. It actually gives us so much more space and it visually is so much more appealing. It feels so good to have an organized pantry!

The pantry make-over was triggered by my desire to put most of my pantry staples into glass jars. I got all of my glass jars from Walmart and adorned them with some fun ETSY Labels. I found that Kim @ Paper and Pear Store had exactly what I wanted. She has now made labels for all of my pantry jars, my spice jars, and my vinegar & oils.

All of These Storage Items are Available at Walmart

glass lidded jars with Etsy stickers to identify the content

I love that my 8″ deep shelves not only hold everything that I need them to hold, but I can also find everything. When I had 12″ shelves, I was shuffling things around to find the items in the back, or worse, I wouldn’t think I had something and buy more. Now I can see exactly what I have and what I need to buy.

Free Printable’s

I have created a printable grocery list that I’m hanging on a clipboard in my pantry. Then I can mark off things as I use them and need to stock up.

If you’ve been following me, you know I’m a list person. I get great pleasure from making lists and crossing things out. You can find some of my lists in my FREE Resource Library. Sign-up to be a friend of Living Large in A Small House and you can have access to my printable’s.

On Monday, January 31st, we are starting a 30 Day Cleaning & Organizing Challenge. I am so excited to start because while I’m pretty organized, there are a lot of spaces that need a refresh. Having my house organized is a liberating and cleansing process for me, both literally and emotionally.

You Can Still Join our 30 Day Organizing Challenge!

It’s not too late to join us, if you want to begin the organizing journey. I will be working for 30 days organizing my whole house but the process is very flexible and you can make it work for you. Visit this post for more information.

I know that a lot of you have a coat closet and I hope this might give you the inspiration to think outside of the box to make more storage in your home. You too can make a pantry out of the coat closet under the stairs.


More Organizing Blog Posts



  1. Wow! Your pantry is amazing! I love it. It’s such a great idea. Now I want to redo my pantry.

  2. Hi Lynn! Wondering how those labels are affixed to your jars and are they waterproof?

    1. Hi Patty –

      Yes, they actually are waterproof. I would imagine that if they soaked in water or got washed all the time, it might be an issue. I’m really careful with my labels. I have the labels on oil jars and you can’t see any stains at all.

  3. Love this pantry idea. I love the door. Very pretty. Can panties be pretty? I guess so, I say this is pretty


    1. Thank you so much Cindy – I love for things to be pretty. I also don’t mind decanting all of my food into the jars to keep things looking neat and tidy.

  4. Love this pantry idea. I love the door. Very pretty. Can pantries be pretty? I guess so, I say this is pretty


  5. We have narrow shelves in our pantry too Lynn. We used to have shelves that were 18′ deep and they were a pain! Your pantry is so pretty – all the jars and labels – well, it’s all so nice! Pinned 😊

    1. The narrow shelves are a game changer. When they are deep they are hard to keep organized and you just can’t find the things in the back. Happy Friday!

  6. Your pantry looks amazing and that door is an extra special touch! Nothing better than an organized, functional, but beautiful space! Have a great week, Donna

    1. Thank You so much Donna! I love having organized spaces and as you know its not a one and done venture. You have to have good habits to keep thinks tidy. I appreciate you visiting my blog.

  7. Hello,
    This looks great! We are wanting to do something similar. Would you please tell me how wide your space was before putting up the shelves and where you found the 8 inch shelving with the adjustable shelves?

    Thank you!

    1. Glad we were able to inspire you to do the same thing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.