Any ideas what I can use for a pantry? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 41 Old 06-14-2009, 05:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We live in a home built in the late 1960's, one level, 3 BR + an office (with a closet). It's a little over 1600 sq. ft. The closets and bedrooms are small (no walk-in's) and our kitchen, ohhh, our kitchen is just so poorly laid out that it makes me want to cry some days.

Right now we are using the space under the wall oven for a pantry and it is so small that it barely fits a few boxes of mac & cheese and canned goods, sugar, rice, pasta, etc. All of our cereal/oatmeal/snack boxes are kept on top of the fridge and I can't stand how that looks. We also have a microwave on our counter that takes up way too much space. I could probably dig up some pics of the kitchen if that would help with suggestions.

Is there any good alternative for storing non-perishable food? I was thinking something like this might work (I like the minimalist look about it and I could easily fit it in a corner), but I need shelves. I really don't want to spend a lot of $ either (less than $50 if possible).

Ideas?

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#2 of 41 Old 06-14-2009, 06:35 PM
 
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IKEA also sells cabinets with shelves and closable doors that you can use to store food in. I had one of those for years- we gave it away when we moved because the new house has built in cabinets (and no room for another piece of furniture!) I think we spent about $100 for it 10 years ago- I'm not sure what something simlar would cost now.

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#3 of 41 Old 06-14-2009, 08:16 PM
 
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Utility shelving unit plus some fabric?

You can probably get something cheap if not pretty from the hardware store and then use fabric (sheets from the thrift store) to make curtains.
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#4 of 41 Old 06-14-2009, 09:18 PM
 
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I would look around craigslist for Ikea cabinets people might be getting rid of. My dad uses one of their wardrobe cabinet as a pantry and it works well.
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#5 of 41 Old 06-14-2009, 10:42 PM
 
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If you like that wardrobe from Ikea - I'd head to Ikea and find a similar free standing unit that has doors. I am pretty sure that the Billy bookcase is available with doors. It isn't as deep, but has shelves and would work as a pantry. Ikea makes a wide variety of cabinety type things. It may be a bit more than $50, but probably less than $150.

Your house sounds very similar to mine. Our kitchen cabinets do not run all the way to the ceiling and I have been using the space above them for pantry storage. I am the sort who likes everything put away and out of sight, so I find this a barely tolerable situation. I get up on the stool and reorganize it a couple times a week.

Can you get a microwave to mount above your cooktop? That wouldn't create cabinet space, but would free up some of your work surface.
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#6 of 41 Old 06-15-2009, 12:11 AM
 
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Do you have a basement? We have a pantry of sorts set up down there. We keep canned goods, cereal, etc. there until it's needed.
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#7 of 41 Old 06-15-2009, 03:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Do you have a basement? We have a pantry of sorts set up down there. We keep canned goods, cereal, etc. there until it's needed.
Funny you should ask this. I'm in Northern CA by way of Baltimore, MD where basements are in almost every home. Here in CA, I don't think I have ever seen one!

DP has suggested we make room in the hall closet, but that just feels weird to me not having a large portion of food in the kitchen. It would feel funny when the kids ask me to make them some mac & cheese and I run to the hallway to get it!

Hm...that is true about the Billy bookcases at Ikea. We have those in our office so they would at least match. I'll have to look at the different door selection next time I'm in there. Thanks for the tip!

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#8 of 41 Old 06-15-2009, 06:18 AM
 
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If you like the look of the above, you can do the same thing yourself with one of IKEA's utility bookshelves and a staple gun: prewash the fabric, cut it to the right size, hem the bottom and staple it around the top and at the back and sides at the bottom. Glue some pretty trimmings on to hide the staples, and add some ties to the side. Job done

What are your local thrift stores like? Anything there?

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#9 of 41 Old 06-15-2009, 07:01 AM
 
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What about something like this? Would you have room? Or a larger sized microwave cart maybe?

This one is only $24! And you could put your microwave on top!

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#10 of 41 Old 06-15-2009, 10:42 AM
 
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Don't forget that IKEA has an "as-is" room. And you can ask for a bigger discount on the stuff in there if you're nice!
I have found just what I needed in there a few times, and at half the price!!

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#11 of 41 Old 06-15-2009, 11:22 AM
 
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I like these
http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/...3+90401+531179

This one's black, but they come in chrome
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#12 of 41 Old 06-15-2009, 01:05 PM
 
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I say no to that wardrobe. It would get so icky in the kitchen. How about getting a storage bench or two for your kitchen table? http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/20141853 You could add some cute cushions on top.

Do you have kitchen pictures? Maybe we could help you optimize that way.

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#13 of 41 Old 06-15-2009, 02:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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What would I do without you guys!! These are excellent ideas!! I never thought about a wire rack shelf! There is a perfect spot at the end of our counter where our little Ikea kid's table used to sit. I could just velcro some nice material around the bottom. I really like that one from Walmart (of all places!). I'll have to see what Ikea has. I have seen some really great kitchen carts/mini islands that I have always wanted to have. The only problem is that I can't put the microwave on it because there is no power outlet anywhere to be found except on the counter. Grrrr....

This is the horrid space we're working with:

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3335/...dc92f9d81e.jpg

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3306/...50020f53_b.jpg

and standing in the kitchen looking at the opposite wall (such a waste of empty space!):

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3369/...ffbf87c2_b.jpg

ETA: Here is a better angle so you can see more of the entry way. Those two doors under the oven is what we call a "pantry" (sorry about the big ugly plastic bucket sitting on the counter in this one! I also could have tucked all the junk into the drawer under the oven. )

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3330/...ca052c0d_b.jpg

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#14 of 41 Old 06-15-2009, 05:03 PM
 
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You should also have room for a small island. Might be worth considering to give yourself more counter space.
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#15 of 41 Old 06-15-2009, 05:36 PM
 
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The wall behind the head of your dining table would be perfect for a small pantry! It would probably be a bit expensive but would probably take your stress level down a few notches! I would see about getting tall, but not deep cabinets installed from doorway to wall. The standard depth for cabinets is 24 inches and it looks like you could spare 24ish inches along that wall.

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#16 of 41 Old 06-15-2009, 06:50 PM
 
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What is in all the cabinets now? Could you shift some of your lesser-used cookware somewhere else?

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#17 of 41 Old 06-16-2009, 10:47 AM
 
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I have something like this http://www.target.com/Double-Cabinet...cabinet&page=4

But it was cheaper, maybe $40-$50 and I had to assemble, made out of pressboard, but have had it for years now. It does the job just fine.
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#18 of 41 Old 06-16-2009, 12:53 PM
 
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Originally Posted by BCFD View Post
Funny you should ask this. I'm in Northern CA by way of Baltimore, MD where basements are in almost every home. Here in CA, I don't think I have ever seen one!

DP has suggested we make room in the hall closet, but that just feels weird to me not having a large portion of food in the kitchen. It would feel funny when the kids ask me to make them some mac & cheese and I run to the hallway to get it!

Hm...that is true about the Billy bookcases at Ikea. We have those in our office so they would at least match. I'll have to look at the different door selection next time I'm in there. Thanks for the tip!
Without a basement, I'd move the pantry to the hall closet. When I lived in apartments, I never had a pantry. So I improvised and made the hall linen closet into a pantry. Now that I have a home, I still have no pantry because it's an old house with no closets on the first floor . So I made a pantry area in the basement with steel shelving units. Good luck.
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#19 of 41 Old 06-16-2009, 06:20 PM
 
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Looking at your pics, I'd think you have adequate cabinet space for storing a decent supply of mac-n-cheese. I think you might want to look at getting a hutch or sideboard for your dining area and then you could keep some of your nicer plates/platters/bowls/table-linens, etc, in there and free up some cabinet space for your canned goods & dry staples. I'm thinking something like this one from IKEA, but just something low that you could set extra dishes of food on (thanksgiving tofurkey or whatever) with storage underneath.

btw, you could look on Craigslist for a bargain on that.

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#20 of 41 Old 06-17-2009, 09:38 AM
 
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We just did this for a friend here. We bought 2 plain "DIY" tall bookcase kits from Home Depot and assembled them and left them unstained - they can be stained or painted any color. I took adhesive velcro and added it to the top and added a lined cloth cover to just keep it out of sight, and screwed a cloth tie back on the side so she could load it or keep it open, etc. You could go with the cheaper prefab shelves but these were real wood, heavier, and deeper so she could store cereal boxes, etc. The prefab ones you can get anywhere - Walmart, Target - for about $20 each. The wood ones were $45 but like I said bigger and better to keep for a long, long time for her.

As for your fridge top, that'd make me nuts too so I would store my bulk items in pretty jars/canisters there. Flour, oats, rice, beans, etc. Or, you could get a basket and store things in there so you can't see.

HTH. I actually like your cabinets a lot. I think with a new counter top it'd be lovely. It's also be nice to one day have a carpenter mimic your cabinets if you like it, to make a built in by your table. An Island would be lovely, too, but not much help for storage.

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#21 of 41 Old 06-17-2009, 09:51 AM
 
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hm. you could move dishes, etc away from the kitchen cabinets, put them in a hutch-type dealio in the eating space (against one of those walls), and put your pantry stuff in the cabinets.
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#22 of 41 Old 06-18-2009, 12:22 AM
 
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Your Kitchen is SOOOO cute! I love it!

Melanie- Mama to my super hero daughter superhero.gif bravely battling brain cancer. ribbongrey.gif ribbongold.gif  www.fightformaddie.com  and expecting 1sttri.gif 1/13!!!!

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#23 of 41 Old 06-18-2009, 12:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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HTH. I actually like your cabinets a lot. I think with a new counter top it'd be lovely. It's also be nice to one day have a carpenter mimic your cabinets if you like it, to make a built in by your table. An Island would be lovely, too, but not much help for storage.
Have you been talking to my DP? She actually things there is nothing wrong with our cabinets either. : They are the original cabinets from 1967, only painted white with new hardware (the last owner did it). They are ok, but what I wouldn't give for a nice new kitchen with pull outs, etc.

Oh, and don't get me started on the HORRIBLY ugly tile countertops. We have spent so much time trying to figure out what to replace it with. We'd love to do granite, but I think it would be silly spending thousands of dollars for nice countertops with those cabinets. Even a plain white, low cost tile would be better than what we have now. We are looking into those granite countertops that are half as thick and go right over your existing tile. That might be a low cost solution for us. What I think I hate more is that the last owner matched the oven to the tile. So, we have a tan oven with a white fridge and dishwasher. I just LOATHE it. It's a newer convection oven, so we just don't want to spend the money to replace it. I even inquired about changing the oven door and trim, but you can't. :

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#24 of 41 Old 06-18-2009, 12:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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hm. you could move dishes, etc away from the kitchen cabinets, put them in a hutch-type dealio in the eating space (against one of those walls), and put your pantry stuff in the cabinets.
That might actually be a great idea!!! Instead of trying to store all of our canned goods, maybe it would be better to store non-breakable dishes in a lower area and use the cabinets for food. I LIKE IT!! Duh..see, why didn't i think of that? I really like some of the small islands from Ikea and we could add velcro and some cute material around the bottom to keep the dishes out of sight.

Ohhh...I love all of your ideas!! Thank everybody so much!!!

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#25 of 41 Old 06-18-2009, 02:29 PM
 
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Pictures help a lot!

You've gotten so many good ideas! I'll see what I can add, without repeating too much.

My kitchen doesn't have a lot of cupboard space either, so I went through each one, emptied it completely, and only put back what was really needed (for dishes). Things I wanted to keep but don't use often got boxed and put in the linen closet in the bathroom (inconvenient, but I know where everything is). Eventually we got a beautiful, huge china cabinet, which help a lot! But you might be surprised at how much stuff you have in your cabinets that you never use.

Over the fridge - I know exactly what you mean - it's such a convenient space, but hard to keep it looking tidy. In the picture it looks like there is a shallow cupboard behind the boxes of cereal - is that right? Do you need to get back there very often? What I would do is get some nice white boxes, and put things in them, on top of the fridge. That makes it a lot easier to get to the cupboard behind the boxes, and makes the space a lot neater looking.

I have a friend who has a front door that rarely gets used - everyone comes in the side door. The side door comes into a foyer with a huge closet, where they keep coats and boots (they live in Minnesota). She took out the closet rod from the (fairly small) front closet, and put in shelves. This is where she keeps her large mixing bowls, mixer, food processor, cereal boxes, large canned goods - it is a fabulous pantry, and it really isn't that big a deal for her to walk 12 feet to get to it. It looks like your entry closet is pretty big - if you can put shelves in half of it, you've solved your problem (and will very soon not think twice about walking across the hall to use it). We keep extra cereal and canned goods - and about a case of mac and cheese! - in our laundry room in the basement. I isn't that convenient, but I can certainly use the extra exercise.

Finally, the dining area. I agree with the others who suggested some sort of shelving on the wall to the right of the table (in the picture you posted). I'd go with white cabinets, to tie into the kitchen, and either have enclosed cabinets floor to ceiling, or get a base unit and upper cabinets, to give you a sideboard.

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#26 of 41 Old 06-18-2009, 06:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Over the fridge - I know exactly what you mean - it's such a convenient space, but hard to keep it looking tidy. In the picture it looks like there is a shallow cupboard behind the boxes of cereal - is that right? Do you need to get back there very often? What I would do is get some nice white boxes, and put things in them, on top of the fridge. That makes it a lot easier to get to the cupboard behind the boxes, and makes the space a lot neater looking.
Yeah, there are 2 useless cabinets over the fridge. Even standing on a chair I can barely reach them. It's the black hole of our house. I just opened it up the other day and found a couple vases that I haven't seen in 4 years! I did just find some cute storage containers at Ikea for $2.99 and I put all of our cereal in those. It helps a little. I like the idea of white boxes though!

Quote:
I have a friend who has a front door that rarely gets used - everyone comes in the side door. The side door comes into a foyer with a huge closet, where they keep coats and boots (they live in Minnesota). She took out the closet rod from the (fairly small) front closet, and put in shelves. This is where she keeps her large mixing bowls, mixer, food processor, cereal boxes, large canned goods - it is a fabulous pantry, and it really isn't that big a deal for her to walk 12 feet to get to it. It looks like your entry closet is pretty big - if you can put shelves in half of it, you've solved your problem (and will very soon not think twice about walking across the hall to use it). We keep extra cereal and canned goods - and about a case of mac and cheese! - in our laundry room in the basement. I isn't that convenient, but I can certainly use the extra exercise.
That double door you see in the last picture is actually the office. We do have a coat closet and it houses a lot of coats since our bedroom closets are so painfully small. We do have another linen closet down the hallway that we had a professional install cabinets in (and also in our master bedroom). Now that I think about it, we are not utilizing our space properly in that closet. :

Quote:
Finally, the dining area. I agree with the others who suggested some sort of shelving on the wall to the right of the table (in the picture you posted). I'd go with white cabinets, to tie into the kitchen, and either have enclosed cabinets floor to ceiling, or get a base unit and upper cabinets, to give you a sideboard.
The only problem with that area is that the light switch is there and I think building something to the left of the light switches would look kinda funky. I'm thinking more along the lines of where the step stool is. I'm liking a small island idea!!

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3306/...50020f53_b.jpg

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#27 of 41 Old 06-19-2009, 06:56 PM
 
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Hmm. What is in all the cupboards? That's my first though because you have easily twice the cupboard space that I have! I do have stuff stored in the basement, but I think it would fit in all the cupboards you have.

I second (or third or fourth) the idea of getting a buffet or hutch to put to the right of the table in your eating area. Your table could easily slide over toward the sliding doors to make room for it.

One thing that helped me a lot with my very limited cupboard space was to add extra shelves. I bought plain white shelves at Lowes or Home Depot (they're wood but have a heavy duty painted surface, I think), and I had the store cut them to the right length. I bought some extra shelf supports (those peg things that stick into holes and have a little ledge that sticks out for the shelf to sit on) and put the new shelves in several of my cupboards. I had to drill new holes in some of the cupboards (one didn't have any holes at all), but it really helped make my space more usable.

Now I have shelves the height of the bowls are boxes that are in that cupboard. I no longer have to have six bowls stacked up with a big empty space above them! This helped me fit easily twice as much in my cupboards. It made them much more usable as well because I can see stuff and it's not just all piled up in there!
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#28 of 41 Old 06-19-2009, 07:12 PM
 
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This is the horrid space we're working with:

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3335/...dc92f9d81e.jpg

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3306/...50020f53_b.jpg

and standing in the kitchen looking at the opposite wall (such a waste of empty space!):

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3369/...ffbf87c2_b.jpg

ETA: Here is a better angle so you can see more of the entry way. Those two doors under the oven is what we call a "pantry" (sorry about the big ugly plastic bucket sitting on the counter in this one! I also could have tucked all the junk into the drawer under the oven. )

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3330/...ca052c0d_b.jpg
Wow! That looks like a fabulous kitchen. It's twice the size of mine with much better cabinets. Our kitchen is a tiny U shape and none of the drawers are wide enough to accommodate a flatware holder and the majority of the cabinets are in the corners which makes it really hard to get things in and out. I keep most of my stuff on shelves in the garage as I just don't know what to do with my kitchen.

I'd love to have a kitchen as nice as yours. Perspective, huh?

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#29 of 41 Old 06-19-2009, 08:03 PM
 
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Wow! That looks like a fabulous kitchen. It's twice the size of mine with much better cabinets. Our kitchen is a tiny U shape and none of the drawers are wide enough to accommodate a flatware holder and the majority of the cabinets are in the corners which makes it really hard to get things in and out. I keep most of my stuff on shelves in the garage as I just don't know what to do with my kitchen.

I'd love to have a kitchen as nice as yours. Perspective, huh?
This is what I was thinking.

I have 3 drawers, one is 4" wide. LOL. We have no basement and it's not a good idea to keep anything but canned goods in the garage. Did you know bugs can get into sealed plastic bags of stuff that' never been opened? They eat through them. So, I keep things like my crock pot, waffle iron, cake pans etc outside, but then I have to wash them every time I use them.

Okay, I'm done complaining. I think I would put some sort of dish storage in the dining room for sure. You can store things like crock pots, waffle irons, large containers and pots over there if it's closed- it doesn't have to be for fine china!

I also have tons of stuff in large mason jars. IT works great since you can see what's in there and they are all uniform size so it even makes the cabinets look nice inside. It's only bad when your 2 yr old climbs up on the counter, opens the cupboard, and drops them.

CPST, LLL and Mom to a 9yr old animal lovin' girl, 6yr old wild man,  4 yr old cuddle bug and 1 year old "little brother."

Now we are growing the family with chickens, ducks, and dairy goats.

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#30 of 41 Old 06-19-2009, 08:54 PM
 
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Ikea sells quite small islands, like microwave cart sized.
What is in all those cabinets? I have about the same number of cabinets and I was ruthless about putting things that I used less than once a week elsewhere. I have a small dresser with deep drawers that is in the basement with the TV on it. That is where I keep my lasagna pans, pie pans, placemats and napkins, and extra cassarole dishes. My crockpot in the basement too on a shelf under the stairs. I know you said you don't have basement, but do you have a closet somewhere in the house to put the infrequently used items?

Next, the one thing we did do, and this is total luxury now in terms of extra space, was to put elfa shelving down the basement stairs.
http://www.containerstore.com/browse...ml?CATID=77781
Again, I know you don't have a basement, but maybe somewhere, even on the back of the the closet door, you could use these racks. They are adjustable and you can buy the depth of shelf that suits your needs (narrow ones for cans, wider deeper ones for 2 liter bottles of soda or large tomato cans). A couple times a year all elfa is 20% off at the container store if you have one. Sign up for emails to get notified of when. I think Homedepot or Loew's has less expensive versions too of this shelving. Does anyone know if Ikea does?
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