Closet Pantry Conversion Made Easy

If you need more space to store your dry goods and small kitchen appliances, consider building a closet pantry. This project will turn a seldom-used or extra area into usable storage space. The transformation requires some work, but a do-it-yourselfer can finish the job with basic woodworking knowledge and some common tools.

Materials Needed

  • Pantry system - Before you begin, have an idea of what sort of pantry system will meet your needs. There are many available pre-assembled systems, or you can have a shelving unit custom built to fit your space.
  • Light Source
  • Power tools - Table saw, circular saw, sander, cordless drill, stud finder
  • Hand tools - Tape Measure, screwdriver
  • Fasteners - Wood screws, wood glue, drywall anchors

Getting Started

Regardless of what type of closet pantry you are going to be doing, you will have to clean out the closet you are using. Remove all items inside the closet and the current shelving unit.

Once everything is removed, clean the entire closet with soap and water. Mop or vacuum the floor, and paint the walls and ceiling.


A closet pantry will need to have adequate lighting. If the closet already had a light source then you can skip over this section. Also, depending on your level of knowledge with electrical wiring, you may want to consider having a licensed electrician install the closet light for you.

Locate a junction box into which you can tie your wiring. Cut a hole in top of closet ceiling and fish wires down the wall to the  junction box. Connect wires to the power supply with wire connectors.

Cut small hole on inside pantry wall for a light switch. Install and connect the switch to the wires for the power supply and to light fixture. Install the light fixture.

Install Pantry System

Many people will go with a basic wire rack shelving system. This can easily be installed into a closet pantry in a matter of hours. However, others will like the look of a customized wood shelving unit.

Basic Installation

  1. Measure closet pantry to determine the size of the materials you will be using.
  2. Make necessary cuts according to your measurements. Some pantry systems are already pre-made so they can easily be fit or adjusted.
  3. Use included hardware to install the wire racks or other system.
  4. Find wall studs and screw mounting brackets into them. Keep everything level, and then install the shelving units.

Extra Storage

Even if you have a pre-made shelving system, keep in mind that there are additional ways to store your items. Consider bins that can be installed to hang under shelves or over-the-door racks for narrow items, like spices or individual packets.