I'm Saving Money by Building My Pinterest-Dream Pantry

March 21, 2018



I have some more candid and conceptual pieces on the horizon over here at Hey Jillian, but for now, we're diving into yet another food and meal planning post, because food is life. If the meal planning stuff isn't your jam, hang in there 'til next week and we'll dig into some stuff together. 


For several years I've been pinning images of neatly lined up jars of dry goods in well lit pantries and kitchens. Well soon, victory will be mine. We are renovating our kitchen, and while there's plenty of crowbars and spackle and tile involved, one of the biggest ways I've been preparing for my dream kitchen is slowly building my low waste dry goods pantry. It's actually incredibly simple, and barely makes a tiny dent in my grocery budget each week. 


At the end of last year, I made a list of all the dry goods I'd like to always have on hand. Now each time I go to the grocery store where there are bulk bins, I cross one or two items off the list and bring home a shining new jar of them. Our co-op sells jars in the bulk section, and I use those out of convenience, but you could also invest in a couple cases of varying sizes of jars and bring them with you. Even with buying a jar each time, the most a full jar of something has cost me is $7. If I got everything at once, it would be pretty expensive, but a little at a time makes it really manageable. If you're more interested in doing it all at once, apparently there's someone you can pay to come set up a pantry like this for you


I am actually saving quite a bit of money, because of the sheer number of ingredients I always have on hand, combined with the ability to cook dry goods like rice and beans incredibly quickly, I rarely have an excuse not to cook. Buying from the bulk section is much cheaper than buying these ingredients boxed, and gosh darn it if it doesn't look pretty too. I've written before about how I keep an ever evolving capsule pantry, and this is just the next step in it's evolution. 

This weekend we tore down all our upper cabinets, and once I get the walls spackled and painted, I will be putting up two long wooden shelves that will run the expanse of my kitchen, and hold all my beautiful pantry goods. This is much cheaper than replacing the upper cabinets, or getting new doors for them. The shelves in total should be less than $100. 

In case you enjoy this stuff as much as I do, here's some of my inspo for the big kitchen renovation, which we're doing all ourselves, with the help of my dad. We're saving thousands upon thousands of dollars this way, but also living with a very deconstructed kitchen for weeks at a time, and our guest room looks like a Home Depot warehouse.

This image from Martha Stewart Living is my big inspiration for the colors and finishes. If only I could find out what color white paint that is! Have you ever bought white paint for a design project? It's deceptively difficult:


Our project has a lot in common with this gorgeous kitchen from Little Green Notebook; This Delta matte black faucet; check. Green lowers in a white kitchen; check. Mix of brass and matte black hardware and fixtures; check. Natural wood minimal open shelving; check. 

Last but not least (seriously look at the whole project here it's so cool)  the kitchen in this open loft workspace gave us the courage to go for black appliances with white counters. 


So that's the fun design stuff, I'll share photos as I go, but for now, my kitchen looks like this. I'm showing you this so you can be extra wowed when we're done. 


All the design stuff aside, the kitchen is really the hub of my workplace at home, and so having it work well is really important to me.  In addition to the half gallon and quart jars that are slowly joining us, I recently got a galvanized metal bucket with a locking airtight lid (the same one I use for our chicken feed)  to keep my 25lb bags of flour in. I plan to add buckets of whole wheat flour, brown rice, and rolled oats as well. These live under our coffee station that is still in progress as well, but is housed in a small alcove just off the kitchen. 

For those interested, here's my list of essential dry goods pantry staples I'm slowly acquiring:



AP Flour

brown rice
rolled oats
WW Flour


Half Gallon Jars:

rye flour

semolina flour

arborio rice

basmati rice

french lentils

red lentils

green lentils

white beans

kidney beans

red beans

long pasta

shape pasta

tricolor pasta

rice noodles


corn flour

whole wheat flour

steel cut oats

pancake mix


Quart Jars:
sea salt
shredded coconut

sliced almonds
sundried tomatoes

baking soda

cocoa powder
black beans

powdered milk

dark chocolate chips

Pint/Reused Jars:
Dried Porcinis
Black tea

earl grey

ginger tea

licorice tea

hibiscus tea




sesame seeds


Next up after this is complete; build a root cellar in my basement

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Hey, I'm Jillian, and I'm creating an extraordinary life on an ordinary budget. 

I'm just an actual person, trying to make sh*t work. I'm doing pretty okay at it.  About Me.

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Hey Jillian features articles on self-care and mental health, budget beauty, parenting, recipes and meal planning, DIY home improvement projects, and product reviews relevant to people who are interested in those things. xoxo Jillian
Jillian Kirby | Burlington, Vermont | Email me at hi@heyJilliankirby.com