I didn't always have the pantry (17 ft by 22 ft) I have now. I won't have it in the future as we rent an old farm house close to Hubby's work and when he retires it will be closer to the kids or somewhere warmer.
I grew up with a root cellar, Dad built shelves, Mom put root veggies on top of wooden crates under the shelves and 1500 canning jars of food on the shelves. We usually ran out around March, sometimes February if there was a lot of company.So there was times we went without vegetables until early spring. They didn't go to the store. Dad hunted and fished, fresh side or bacon was bought weekly for breakfast along with bologna for Dad's lunch. NOT our lunch, our lunch was soup if we had it. Mom wasn't much of a cook but it was her job.
I moved to an apartment and used the spare room to be my pantry.
Then I moved to another apartment and had a child and then my parents started giving me tips of where to put the pantry like they did when they got married and lived in a 3 room apartment with my brother.
Here are the tips:
ALWAYS write down what you are putting where and post it in the kitchen. You will forget something.
Place dry goods, boxes and bagged food in second containers to protect from the critters that crawl on floors
Store foods in groups...fruit under the front room furniture, veggies under the bed and meat behind the doors or on closet floors, put the shoes on top of it, you can cover the food with wax paper or newspaper if you need to.
Mom stacked cases beside the couch and covered them with table cloths for end tables. I made a coffee table like this. I also used cases of food for a twin bed frame for about 6 mos. I took what I needed out of the middle and then kept moving the cases to keep the bed level and stable.
I have onions and garlic right now on my staircase.Root veggies such as winter squash are on shelves with my baking pans in the basement and will also go in my china cupboard.
I've put boxes of pasta on top of my kitchen cabinets.Anything on top of the frig will get warm so be careful if you store food there. Not a good place to put bread.
I've store dry goods in the garage since it doesn't hurt to freeze cereal or flour etc. Put them in rubber maids or cooler to keep the mice out of it. My parents stored theirs in the trunk of their car during the winter, the weight helped when driving in the snow.
Think outside the normal pantry...if it bothers you for others to see the stack then cover it with table cloth, beach towel, blankets or a piece of fabric that either blends in or is a focal point.