Let’s get creative with food storage! There are SO many clever ways to keep your food organized, hidden, and ready to use. Are you ready for some of our best small-space storage tips?!

organized pantry shelves, from Shelf Cooking

Whether you've joined the tiny home movement or you call a small apartment home, we can show you how to make the most of that space! It is possible to start stockpiling food no matter how big your house is; you just have to get a little creative.

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So, let's go room by room! These small-space storage tips will help make shelf cooking a breeze and save you so much time and money. Let's do this!


How you store your food is as important as where you store it. Here are some tips for protecting the nutrient value of your food (and the food itself):

  • Keep food away from baseboards, the sun, and other heat sources.
  • Keep food away from moisture, animals, bugs, and outdoor weather conditions.
  • Store food somewhere cool and dry. A cement basement at a constant 50-60°F is ideal.
  • If you don’t have a basement, keep food stored at a constant temperature of about 70°F.
  • If you live in a hot and humid area, consider a dehumidifier.

So, where do you store stacks of pinto beans, canned peaches, pasta, and rice, especially when you’re limited on space? Here are some clever ways to create mini pantries throughout your home to keep your food safe and accessible.


organized stacked canned goods, from Shelf Cooking

Whether you have a galley kitchen, live in a studio apartment, or you're just out of cabinet space, here are some smart solutions:

Pro Tip: Don’t store food on top of the refrigerator or above the stove due to heat. Instead, keep small kitchen appliances above the fridge and use that cabinet space to store food.


Does your pantry leave much to be desired? Even if your dream pantry is out of reach, you can make some adjustments to make the one you have more functional. For example, try these tips:

  • Hang can-depth metal shelves on the inside of the door for more storage
  • Flip a wire shelf upside down and on an angle to create a gravity-fed can dispenser
  • Use under-the-shelf or stackable baskets in between shelves
  • Repurpose empty soda can boxes for clever canned food storage
  • Install corner lazy susans to access stored items that get lost in the back
  • Use back wall storage by adding DVD shelves (they’re perfect!) to house cans
  • Install extra shelves in between shelves to maximize vertical space

Pro Tip: Tape a list of everything you’re storing on buckets, boxes, the inside of the door, wall, or shelf. Keep an ongoing inventory to track food storage (and amounts).


Storing food in your living room is a lot easier than you might think! And don't worry; it won't look tacky. Try these ideas:

  • Keep food secure in storage ottomans
  • Hide food in bins and cover with a tablecloth to use as an end table or TV stand
  • Store food in electronics storage consoles
  • Stack buckets or boxes behind the couch
  • Fill empty decorative wicker baskets, oversized vases, and urns with food
  • Fill an empty toy box or blanket chest with canned and bagged food

Pro Tip: When hiding food under or behind furniture, keep packages away from heat registers, air conditioning vents, and anything that can damage the longevity of food (or that blocks your vents).


organized home office, from Shelf Cooking

Let's say your kitchen is small or the pantry is non-existent, but you're lucky enough to have office space. Well, here are some quick tips:

  • Use sturdy filing cabinets to store canned and dry goods, especially in lower drawers
  • Add bins to bookcases for food storage
  • Store food in empty photograph boxes and shoeboxes
  • Use wide magazine holders to store cans on their sides
  • Use plastic tubs to keep items away from humidity and light

Pro Tip: Keep short-term items so you can see them and get to them on a regular basis.


Maybe your mom taught you never to eat in bed, but that doesn't mean you can't store food in there! Check out these smart tips:

  • Add bed risers for more storage height. Cinder blocks are cheap and easy to find
  • Use under bed rolling drawers and crates
  • Cut cardboard boxes to fit under beds
  • Place food in reinforced lower dresser drawers and/or in nightstands
  • Stack buckets of bulk foods behind the headboard
  • Stack boxes of food, cover with a pretty tablecloth, and use as nightstands
  • Look for a used armoire or dresser and fill it with food

Pro Tip: To rotate your food supply, add new cans of food under one side of the bed and pull from the other side of the bed.


using luggage to store food, from Shelf Cooking

Closets aren't just for clothes! Here's how you can turn your closet into a makeshift pantry:

  • Fill empty suitcases and luggage with non-perishables
  • Rearrange and donate unused items to create space
  • Add shelves
  • Install shelf racks on door backs
  • Place long-term food on high shelves
  • Stack boxes and large cans of food at the ends of the closet

Pro Tip: Add Command Hooks to blank wall spaces. Then store food in canvas bags off of the floor.


Do you still have some cans begging for a space to hide? You might not have considered these three spaces, but they're a storage goldmine:

  • Laundry Room – Store food between the washer and dryer, in/on cabinets, and in under-appliance drawers
  • Under Stairs – Create shelving or store buckets under the stairs
  • Attic – Store non-foods: toilet paper, sanitation needs, paper towels, toothbrushes, etc.

Pro Tip: Hang Command Hooks to store bags of food anywhere you have space throughout your home.


Be real about your food storage. If filling your living room ottoman with bags of rice isn’t helping you live your best life, don’t do it. If stuffing your medicine cabinet with beanie weenie cans makes you sad every time you open the mirrored door, it’s not worth it. An occasional nuisance here and there isn’t going to kill you, but on the whole, storing your food shouldn’t make you miserable.

We'd love to know what tricks you have up your sleeve! Do you have any clever food storage tips to share? Let us know in the comments!

Cans and canisters in an organized pantry from Shelf Cooking.

Looking for more clever kitchen or cooking hacks to try?

Keep calm and stock on!