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Kitchen Cabinet Makeover + Stocking a Healthy Pantry


Ditch the packaging and plan a healthy, budget-friendly pantry! See what products we recommend to keep a well-stocked pantry that’s full of nourishing ingredients (plus wholesome snacks!)

As a food blogger and lover of food, I used to have a pretty stuffed pantry. One day, I came home from the grocery store with a bag of sliced almonds, only to find I already had three half-full bags of sliced almonds hiding in the dark corner of the cabinet. Bummer!

I started pulling everything out, and in the process unearthed FIVE open bags of sunflower seeds, two half-eaten boxes of cheerios, and a bag of wild rice that was over a year expired. It was DEFINITELY time to tackle my pantry.

Now I have a system that streamlines my shelf-stable foods. And I’ve switched to buying many of them in bulk. Here’s why I love my current system:

  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 little minimalism 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: breakfast, grains, beans, snacks, and baking.

Breakfast Items

Our pantry essentials for breakfast:

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)


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!


We 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


We do use whole wheat flour, but we just grind the whole wheat berries stored with the breakfast items.

  • 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

More Pantry Organization Resources

Kitchen Cabinet Makeover

Natalie Monson

I'm a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.

Learn More about Natalie

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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!

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.

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

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…

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?

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!

I am in the process of doing this, I just need jars. We l8ve in the Midwest where summers are hot and HUMID, like 80% average!!!!! We use a/c and try to keep our home lower but it gets up there too. I am looking at the hermetic jars with the seals to keep out moisture. Do you have any thoughts on this? Is it necessary? They. Are hard to find in the really big sizes which we need , we have 5 kids, two teen boys!!!!!

Amy, I absolutely love this post!!!:) a couple of questions. Do you have a long term food supply of those dry goods that you just fill up the jars in your pantry? Do you buy canned items? If so where do you store those? Have you ever posted a kitchen tour? I would love to see the other minimalist items in your kitchen! ? Thanks so much for your post…it is super inspiring. ?

Hi melissa!
I do have long term storage for beans, rice, wheat, etc. I keep them in large buckets in my garage and closet. I actually do buy a lot of canned food as well, and I keep it in a closet, This post is a bit old, so I definitely should update it with a tour!

Does it weird you out at all to get food from the bulk bins? I’m just thinking of things like unclean hands in there… hairs falling in… etc.?

I wish I had a pantry! I save spaghetti jars-from my two favorite brands….(we’ve eaten A LOT of spaghetti in this house). The jars are awesome to store coffees , teas, cocoa, dried fruits, different grains. I use them for everything! I just label them with a sharpy. Oh, was also drink out them!