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Kitchen Cabinet Makeover- Getting rid of the packaging!

 This year we got rid of the packaging!  Whether you have a small kitchen, limited kitchen cabinet space, or want to put more of your grocery money to fresh foods, the only thing you need are these essential pantry foods!
Kitchen Cabinet Makeover- Getting rid of the packaging! Where organization meets small kitchen!

Our home is not big.  In fact, living in the suburbs of Salt Lake City, Utah, my house is considered small!  Most people that move into our neighbor are buying their first house, a stepping stone to buying something bigger. But we’ve lived here for 12 years, and have no plans to leave.  People are surprised that I actually like our small home! I love the intimacy of being close to my kids. I love that there is less house to clean!  I love that there is less stuff to take care of.  Once we start to accumulate too many things, I get the itching to donate or get rid of it, so we can fit in our house once again.   Owning too much “stuff” honestly, just stresses me out!   We’re pretty good at keeping our stuff to a minimal.

And then, there’s my kitchen!   Being a food blogger and lover of food, I had a pretty amazingly stuffed pantry.  One day,  I came home from the grocery store with a bag of sliced almonds, only to find I already had 3 half full bags of sliced almonds hiding in the dark corner of the cabinet.  In a frenzy, and upset I just spent 3.99 on more nuts that I already had, I started pulling everything out of the cabinet.  After I found 5 bags of sunflower seeds with 12 seeds in each,  2 half eaten boxes of cheerios, and a bag of wild rice a year old I didn’t know we had, I decided tackling our pantry system was essential! All you need are your containers or glass jars for storage.

The new system for streamlining my shelf stable foods and buying them in bulk instead, has had these benefits:

  1. Maintaining a pantry of only essential items allows you to spend more money on fresh foods!  I’d say 60% of our grocery budget is spent on fruits and veggies! Another 25% spent on bread, dairy, and meats.  With only 15% spent on our pantry!!
  2. Saves money!  I was actually shocked when I finally wrote down the cost difference between foods with packaging and foods without (see comparisons below!)
  3. Less packaging is good for the environment! We have two garbage cans provided to us by the city- a regular garbage, and a recycle can.  Our recycle can literally fills up FASTER than our regular can!  Food packaging, even when we purchase “whole, real foods” come with so much cardboard, my kids could build a play city inside our house.
  4. Fewer decisions: A “minimalist” lifestyle actually helps you be more productive.  Once you decide what essentials you need, keep a list and make sure your home is always stocked with those things.  You can always put a meal on the table, even if you only have some pantry staples.

What to buy in bulk!

Our pantry essentials falls into 5 categories. We have breakfast, grains, beans, snacks, and baking.

Kitchen Cabinet Makeover- Getting rid of the packaging! Where organization meets small kitchen!

 

BREAKFAST

Our pantry essentials for breakfast:

Kitchen Cabinet Makeover- Getting rid of the packaging! Where organization meets small kitchen! Kitchen Cabinet Makeover- Getting rid of the packaging! Where organization meets small kitchen!
Grains
Kitchen Cabinet Makeover- Getting rid of the packaging! Where organization meets small kitchen!

 

  • Wild Rice
  • Brown Rice  {Packaged price 1.02/lb  Bulk price 0.58/lb}
  • Quinoa  {Packaged price 7.52/lb  Bulk price 4.98/lb}
  • Pasta (spaghetti stored on top because it’s so tall)
Beans

We buy our beans dry!  They last forever in the pantry, they are easy to cook, and cost so much less.   To purchase dry beans in bulk, we pay 0.94/lb.   The essential beans we store are:

  • Black beans
  • Kidney beans
  • and Chickpeas
Kitchen Cabinet Makeover- Getting rid of the packaging! Where organization meets small kitchen!Snacks

We do snack quite a bit!  So, our go-to pantry snacks are:Kitchen Cabinet Makeover- Getting rid of the packaging! Where organization meets small kitchen!

  • Almonds  {Packaged 9.09/lb, Bulk price 6.51/lb}
  • Sunflower seeds {packaged 2.72/lb Bulk price 1.48/lb}
  • Trail mix
  • Dates (and in this jar is also homemade date bars) {Packaged 5.48/lb Bulk Price 3.03/lb}
  • Dried fruit (in the picture is dried apples, but this changes)
  • Other nuts (cashews currently)
  • Popcorn
  • Pretzels
Baking

We do use whole wheat flour, but we just grind the whole wheat berries stored with the breakfast items.
Kitchen Cabinet Makeover- Getting rid of the packaging! Where organization meets small kitchen!

  • Salt
  • Baking soda
  • Cinnamon  {Packaged price $12.00/lb! Bulk price 2.68/lb!}
  • Peanut butter
  • honey {Packaged price 4.80/lb Bulk Price 3.87/lb}
  • Liquid Oil (avocado oil pictured, but this changes)
  • Coconut oil (kept on top of the shelf)

Buying in bulk for those pantry essentials allows you to spend more money on

  • fresh fruits and veggies,Kitchen Cabinet Makeover- Getting rid of the packaging! Where organization meets small kitchen!
  • fit your life into smaller spaces,
  • saves the environment from unnecessary packaging (this is the herbs we keep in our window (basil, cilantro, and parsley)Kitchen Cabinet Makeover- Getting rid of the packaging! Where organization meets small kitchen!
  • keeps you buying healthy whole foods,
  • and helps you to keep things organized!

Finding Bulk foods!

This is a tough one!  Of course there is google, but I didn’t have much luck with searching bulk foods for my zip code.  It’s ideal to talk to neighbors and find out where the grocery stores are that sell foods this way.  There is also an app (a bit glitchy, and didn’t work on my android,  but hopefully they’ll be able to update it to working soon!  I love the idea of it from Zero Waste Home. )  If you are in Utah county like me, the go-to bulk food supplier is Winco!

Other Resources

Print the ESSENTIAL Grocery List!

Kitchen Cabinet Makeover- Getting rid of the packaging! Where organization meets small kitchen! http://www.superhealthykids.com/kitchen-cabinet-makeover-getting-rid-of-the-packaging/

Products Used



17 Comments

Sunni

This was fabulous! We are moving in to our first home soon and I needed ideas of ways to store things in my pantry. Thank you!

Reply
Kari

I love this post for so many reason! Such great healthy staples, also love the use of space and organization. We also live in a ‘starter home’ where people often move out, going on almost a decade. I’d love to know where you found the larger containers for grains and pancake mix. I need to simplify my pantry and kitchen next. I’m a recent convert to downsizing our stuff and get asked by the kids all the time “mom did we give — away?”. Yes, yes we did ha ha.

Reply
nicole

What do you keep your oats and pancake mix in? I’ve been looking for glass jars that size with a wide mouth.

Reply
Robin

Hi Nicole. I get the exact jars from Walmart. Also, hobby lobby carries them.

Reply
maria

Great post! On the subject of becoming a Zero-waste home. What do you use as bags or containers to fill up when purchasing in bulk? I hate to use disposable plastic bags, just wondering if you’ve figured out what else to use…

Reply
Michelle

What do you do with the bulk packaging when you can’t fit everything from the package into your jars? Or do you only buy whatever size jar you have?

Reply
Jen

I love it! What size jars are your beans stored in? Also, it looks like the lids are off on the beans, is there a reason why? Thanks!

Reply

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