The Trash Can Pantry

Well so, that sounds weird. A pantry in a trash can? But hear me out. I am a huge fan of buying things like flour and sugar in 25 pound bags. I bake a lot. I can go through a five pound bag of flour in a few days, so I do not like to run out. Also, the larger bags are much more economical. The problem comes down to storage. Our house doesn’t even have a pantry cupboard, let alone an actual pantry. It’s one of the few things I dislike about our house. There just isn’t room in the regular kitchen cupboards for huge bags of ingredients. The basement was the only logical place to house such big things, but then you’ve got to deal with the environment – the potential for moisture and critters. So a container that is moisture and critter proof is important, as well as one that can be easily opened for access on a fairly regular basis.

Enter the metal trash can. I got a pair of them at Menards on sale for $13 a piece, which is not a bad price at all for such a large storage solution. I’ve got the cans divided by purpose – one for baking and one for beans/rice (which I also like to buy in bulk). One can will hold a 25 pound bag of flour and a 25 pound bag of sugar side by side upright, so it’s easy to get into the bags to refill my kitchen canisters. And there’s ample room on the sides in order to slide in a few bags each of brown sugar and powdered sugar.


The bean/rice can holds a lot of bags of beans. I usually buy 10 pound bags of beans I use often, and just the smaller one pound bag of other beans. Rice, it depends – sometime I got the 10 pound bag, sometimes I buy larger. But as you can see, there’s plenty of room either way.


I love these cans. I don’t worry about food spoilage with them, and everything is easily accessible. And I love having a supply of ingredients always on hand – it makes whipping up quick dinners on weeknight super fast, and I always have the supplies on hand to bake anything I like. Win win! The only thing I’d like to do is get a half pallet and elevate the cans of of the concrete floor – that way in case we ever have water in the basement, we have a few extra inches of buffer zone. But other than than, it’s the perfect set up. And if you don’t have a basement, one or two of these could fit in the floor of a closet (which is usually wasted space anyway). Just install a low shelf above it for your shoes or whatever, and put them on rolling plant casters so you can easily pull them out when needed. You could always paint it a fun color and have it sitting out in your kitchen if you like the industrial, utilitarian kind of look. Think creatively around the house – I bet can you find a place for one or two of these if you need the extra storage.