How do I make this space efficient?

This is my "pantry" in my rental. Funky! The "steps" or "shelves" are only about 6"-12" deep. This space rests over stairs that lead down to my garage. The shelves are not deep enough to really hold anything and I have to keep the bottom shelves empty so I can stand on them to reach things near the top. I need an inexpensive way to make this a more functional pantry.
q how do i make this space efficient, closet, how to, organizing, Kiki thinks this is a great space This is also access to the attic Hmm
Kiki thinks this is a great space! This is also access to the attic... Hmm
  17 answers
  • Fab and Pretty Fab and Pretty on Nov 06, 2015
    Hey there. Seems to be quite a bit of lost space potential. Can you build a shelf straight out from each 2nd or 3rd 'stair'. You would use 1x1 as shelf 'cleats' attached to the side walls for your shelf board to rest on.

    • See 1 previous
    • Fab and Pretty Fab and Pretty on Nov 06, 2015
      @Holly It's really not too pricey. I made shelves the same way in one of my kids bedrooms in a space behind a door. Maybe even consider using those wood palettes left by hardware stores for anyone to pick up!

  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Nov 06, 2015
    honestly your best best is to line those stairs with baskets and sort all of your items according to how you need them from least priority to most priority.

    • Holly Holly on Nov 07, 2015
      They are too narrow for baskets. :( I thought of extending the depth of the shelves but because they are at an angle, like stairs, I wouldn't be able to reach the upper ones. It's a mess! Lol I like the idea of possibly putting up shelves on the side walls.

  • More Than Organizing More Than Organizing on Nov 06, 2015
    Hi - I do like the idea of building a shelf or two along the side walls using the stair as the "bracket" on one end. You don't necessarily need cleats, but you would need brackets. You could also use hanging baskets to store some of the lighter/smaller packages. For the top most step that you store items on, you could have another shelf sitting on that, so you have 2 levels (or 3). You may end up having to build that (rather than buy) to get the width of shelf you need.

  • Alison Datz Alison Datz on Nov 07, 2015
    I would not redo it..I dream of having steps in a pantry. My current cabinets are too deep and everything gets lost in back. This display style is super sensible

    • Holly Holly on Nov 14, 2015
      I promise, you would. The shelves are no deeper than a 12 pack carton of eggs. Not efficient at all for even a box of cereal. Lol

  • Connie Connie on Nov 07, 2015
    If possible could you get one of the storage systems that fit on the back of the door. They are usually about three inches deep and usually have about 8 basket shelves.

  • Jonnie Hammon Jonnie Hammon on Nov 07, 2015
    This might help. I organise my storage containers, by placing things that are alike, together. I also keep things I tend to use at the same time, next to each other, ie(baking ingredients, etc... ). These categories, and placing items together, make it a lot easier to just go in and take multiple items at one time, then return them back in the pantry in their designated spots. It cuts down on time wasted searching for each item. Their are lazy Susan's, can food dispensers, under shelf organizers, and etc.. You could also label each shelf, if you prefer.

  • Leah M Leah M on Nov 08, 2015
    I like your kitty...

  • Patricia Patricia on Nov 08, 2015
    I think it's a cute space and great for storage. I'm assuming you are not permitted to paint or add other modifications? So for the area you want to designate to keep clear, you could tape it off as a visual reminder not to put things there. Use painter's tape and then if you want put some of the fun patterned duct tape over the painter's tape (duct tape directly over the painted steps might damage the paint when it's removed). For storing items (i.e. Ramen, canned goods, etc.) you could get clear plastic bins from the dollar store. Or shop thrift stores for baskets and spray paint them in coordinating colors and add tags to the fronts of the baskets so it's easy to identify the contents. Good luck and have fun with your project! I would love to see photos of your finished pantry.

  • Barbara Barbara on Nov 08, 2015
    I'd give my left arm for a great storage space like this! Reorganize a little as Joannie suggested, perhaps hang the door organizer for smaller items but otherwise just enjoy!

  • Anne fenske Anne fenske on Nov 10, 2015
    They have vertical shelving u could put on the walls. Its amazing how much u can get on them and they come in many sizes. U can also get plastic containers that fit specifically for them . Try Cosco or Target . The shelving can be purchased at hardware stores also.

  • Kincaid99 Kincaid99 on Nov 13, 2015
    Since you are renting and probably cannot use nails or screws? Try a rolling cart that is tall and narrow, like they squeeze between a fridge and cabinet, these hold a lot of goods, or a rolling 3 or 4 tier cart that you can roll out when need to get to attic.

  • Kincaid99 Kincaid99 on Nov 13, 2015
    If you put a wood box at bottom on the left side, another box on the next step that rests on the step and lower box, do this on each step up and you can add depth on the side for deeper cereal boxes. I guess this might work with plastic milk crates also, you could add some kind of wire to hold them together.

  • Anne fenske Anne fenske on Nov 13, 2015
    The letter of the law is that u have to leave the unit in the same condition upon rental that it was when u moved in. If u have to put a screw in ,repair with plaster patch mixed with a little paint and no problem when u move. Ask landlord for a cup of paint to do touchup .Its a reasonable request as the stairs are being used. Then when u move repair. Should be no problem; as u are complying with the agreement.

  • Opal Opal on Nov 14, 2015
    Because it needs to be removable, how about a bookcase/narrow tall shelf using a wedge system and box support to keep it from tipping. From the 5 step up (top ramien) using crates on the 4th step for support on the sides and 2x4 bracing the top to the door jam. It would bring everything in towards the door and leave the space behind empty but you would be able to get to your stuff without leaving an access space. Kincaid99's idea of adding boxes/crates to the steps (facing out) to create depth for the space above would be the most cost effective and easiest I think.

  • Holly Holly on Nov 15, 2015
    Have not really found an exact solution, but a few great ideas were suggested.

  • Anne fenske Anne fenske on Nov 15, 2015
    How about a shelf that extends from top shelf to wall with 2x2 support legs add to shelf on both sides with marked containers. eg. baking goods, breakfast, dinner. U could do this all the way down to second from bottom. Can't do to bottom as it makes door way smaller, but it still leaves u with the room u have to stack stuff. Good luck and check fire code as u may not be able to obstruct opening to attic. This way its not obstructed.

  • Patty McKee Patty McKee on Oct 14, 2016
    I would leave enough room to get to the shelves, and get 6 inch boards for each step , and one to stand on the side that has the deepest doorway. Nail a 1 inch by 1 inch where the board laying on the step would come for that board to rest on the strip. Cut the boards for each to wedge from the back of the steps , to the standing board on the side wall. Since the boards are in, they will hold it all with no damage to the rental. If you need to remove them to access the attic, you can in a few minutes. If you are small enough to make the shelf wider, just get a wider board. If you need space your pots and pans ,

    • Patty McKee Patty McKee on Oct 14, 2016
      Sorry, got cut off. You can nail strips of 1 x 1 across the bottom of the shelf and put in hooks to hang hanging things, set others on floor.