Closet Works
Closet Works Logo

Subscribe to this BLOG

Stay Organized with Pull-Out Shelves

Three kinds of pull-out shelves with different applications

Pull-out shelves are one of the best organizers around. They provide a better view of items stored in the back, improving access to all your storage space. And they are not just for pantries. Other areas of the home can benefit from these handy shelves. That's why they come in different types. Their uses go beyond simple storage. If you want to know how to stay organized, you need to consider this accessory.

Pull-out shelves are a staple of high-end organization solutions. That's because they are uniquely adaptable to any number of situations. Use them in the pantry, with all types of closets, in bathrooms, or in the living room and office for organizing small electronics, and more. Sometimes also referred to as slide-out shelves, there are several styles of the pull-out shelf used for different applications. All, however, function in a similar manner. The shelf is attached to drawer glides on both the right and left sides. This allows it to move freely in and out of the closet like a drawer. Unlike a drawer, items on the shelf are exposed so that you can see them. This provides the best of both worlds and makes pull-out shelves extremely useful. Once you become better acquainted with this closet and cabinet accessory, you'll wonder why you haven't used more of them throughout your home.

Types of Pull-Out Shelves:

Standard Pull-Out Shelves

Standard pull-out shelves are ordinary shelves that are secured to drawer slides. Small slides are mounted onto the right and left sides of the shelf. There are several types/qualities of drawer slides that can be used. However, ball bearing slides offer the most reliable quality. They are never soft-close. But quality slides are available with different weight ratings depending on what is to be stored on the shelf. If it's only clothing, 75-pounds should suffice for a standard pull-out shelf.

standard pull-out shelf
This standard pull-out shelf uses side-mount drawer slides allowing it to slide in and out of the cabinet.

Pantry Pull-Out Shelves

Pantry pull-out shelves are shelves with four low sides, creating a sliding box like a drawer. The "sides" are usually only about 3.25-inches-high. When you include the bottom of the shelf, it adds another .75-inches bringing the total height of a typical pull-out pantry shelf to 4-inches. However, they can be built to any size.

closeup of pull-out shelves for the pantry
These pull-out shelves are being used in a traditional pantry application. They have low sides that keep small or irregularly shaped items from rolling off the shelf. Notice how the sides are mounted to the shelving unit with drawer slides.

Pantry pull-outs are not the same as small drawers. There are several important differences. Joints are not typically dovetailed like your higher quality drawers. This keeps costs down. They are never installed flush to each other. Instead they are installed with space between them like any other shelf. There is enough room to get a good look at the contents — at least things in the front. Sliding the shelf forward brings items at the back into view. This is the purpose of the shelf. The slides are always side-mount rather than under-mount slides used on luxury drawers. However, the box-like sides of the shelf allow for a more robust slide than typically seen on a standard pull-out shelf.

Pantry pull-out shelves are commonly used for pantries — thus the name. However this useful product can be used in any room of the home.

Scalloped pantry pull-out shelf in storage cabinet
This pantry pull-out shelf is part of rec room storage cabinet. Note the scalloped front intended to make it easier to grab and pull forward.

Sweater Pull-Out Shelves

Sweater pull-out shelves are in between pantry pull-outs and standard slide-out shelves. Like pantry pull-outs, they have low sides. However, the right and left sides are tapered towards the front with rounded corners and there is no side across the front of the shelf. This makes it easier to slip knit garments and towels on and off the shelf when needed without worrying about them. The sides prevent those same items from sliding off the shelf when it is opened. They are recommended for shelves intended to hold smooth or slippery fabrics like silk or some synthetics and fine wools.

closeup of pull-out shelves for shirts and sweaters
Pull-out sweater shelves make it easier to find individual garments that are folded and stacked on a shelf. You're also less likely to mess things up when retrieving an item from the bottom of the pile.

Uses for Pull-Out Shelves:

Closeup of pull-out shelf next to Murphy Bed
Pull-out shelves are a great accessory to your Murphy bed application. Bring out the shelf as a bedside table when needed. Slide it away when the bed it closed. This shelf has a small front applied to the edge to help it blend into the wall unit when not in use.

Pull-out shelves are great for storage. The provide better access to the recesses of cabinets and closets and are a "must-have" for individuals with limited mobility. But have you ever considered other uses? Pull-out shelves make a great side table. The larger ones can even be used as a hidden desk in a pinch.

Entertainment center with pull-out shelf used as hidden desk
This entertainment center uses two large pull-out shelves as a desk. It's very handy for work from home situations.

Consider all the places pull-out shelves can help you stay organized at home.


Pull-out shelves are great for the closet. Use standard units to organize your shoes so that you can double up front to back. Try placing your knits and folded silky garments on pull-out sweater shelves as an alternative to dresser drawers. Use pantry pull-outs in the linen closet or bathroom cabinet to corral small toiletries.

Hallway linen closet with pantry pull-out shelves
This hallway linen closet uses pantry pull-out shelves.


Pull-outs are the staple of a well-organized pantry. They increase storage and prevent waste because they help you see what you've got at a glance. This means less duplication and fewer items left to spoil.

Small walk-in pantry with pull-out shelves
This small walk-in pantry uses pull-out shelves for the smaller items so nothing gets lost in the back of the shelf.

Living Room/Entertainment Center

Both pantry pull-outs and standard slide-out shelves come in handy in the living room. Use them in your entertainment center cabinets to make accessing the wires and connections behind media components easier.

Entertainment center with audio/video equipment stored on pull-out shelves
Standard pull-out shelves add functionality to your entertainment center because large sound and video components can be pulled forward for access to plugs, etc.


Use pull-outs to organize bed linens. Individuals with mobility issues can use a cabinet with pull-out shelves rather than a traditional dresser for easier access to storage.

Bedroom floating cabinet with pull-out shelves
The floating cabinet in this bedroom holds more than the TV. Notice the pull-out pantry shelves used to store bed linens.


Both standard pull-out shelves and pantry pull-outs can find a home in the office. Use them inside of cabinets to hide your printer when you're not using it and for organizing office supplies.

Printer on pull-out shelf for home office
A cabinet with standard pull-out shelves is a great way to hide the printer and other electronics in your home office. The printer stays hidden and put away most of the time. Simply open the cabinet and slide the shelf forward when you need to use it.

Laundry Room

Pull-out shelves in the laundry room organize linens and supplies just like they do in other rooms. Place them in your lower cabinets so that you don't have to crawl on the floor looking for items stashed in the back of the shelf.

Pull-out shelves for laundry room
Use pull-out pantry shelves in the laundry room for cleaning supplies and small linens.


Use pull-outs with your workbench to organize hand tools. They also come in handy for small outdoor toys like balls.

Pull-out pantry shelves garage workbench holds small hand tools
Use pull-out pantry shelves in the workshop for small hand tools and in the garage for small toys.

Ready to stay organized with pull-out shelves?

There are many benefits to pull-out shelves. Convenience is one. That's because pull-out shelves improve accessibility in your cabinets and closets. They also maximize your available storage by making sure that space in the back of the shelf is not wasted. But you need to use the right kind. Select from standard pull-out shelves, pantry pull-outs, or sweater shelves depending on what needs to go on them. And buy quality shelves that use ball bearing slides rated for 75-pounds or more for best results. The weight rating is especially important for installations in the garage, office, or entertainment center.

Pull-out shelves are available with the purchase of custom cabinets and closets. They are considered a premium feature and are in heavy demand due to their versatility and usefulness. If you're considering a custom storage solution for your home, why not let the designers at Closet Works help? In-home consultations are free and without obligation. Why not schedule today?