Our Whole Foods, Bulk Storage Pantry

Last year, we packed up all of our belongings and moved two states over when my husband was invited to pastor a precious church body that is bursting with anointing and God-given talent.  We love our new church, city, and home!

One of the plans we had for this new house was to turn a small room in the lower level into a bulk foods storage area.  During the last few months we've tossed stray boxes and miscellany into this small room and then closed the door behind us, all the while dreaming of setting up sturdy shelving and beginning to really stock up our whole foods pantry.

Quick Peek Into The Upstairs Closet Pantry

We do have a closet pantry upstairs in the kitchen where I keep my "in process" grains, rices, popcorn, quinoa, beans, etc (mostly stored in OXO containers and mason jars) and a few small appliances, including my yogurt maker and food processor...

But the downstairs pantry-to-be?  Well, that really needed work.

The Bulk Storage Pantry, Before

A few weeks ago, after researching different shelving options and not really feeling a peace about making a purchase, an acquaintance of ours (out of the blue!) offered us some commercial restaurant shelving he'd purchased from an auction.  What a blessing!  We quickly accepted his offer and went to work cleaning and assembling the units.

The Bulk Storage Pantry, After

The room is small, so the shelving fits a bit tight, but there's ample room to store our bulk purchases.  We managed to fit a large upright freezer in there along with three shelving units that are 42" wide and 24" deep.

It's not beautiful, I know, but I suppose it's not intended to be.  Our plan was for simple and functional bulk storage space.  I think we've achieved it, along with ample space for future purchases.

Most of the items in there now were purchased from Azure Standard and Vitacost, including rolled oats, oat groats, hard red wheat, barley, dried beans, organic pasta, organic tomato sauces, and yes, even chocolate.  Chocolate helps makes everything better, doesn't it? *smile*

We have a bit of bottled water for traveling and emergency purposes stored down here, as well as some personal care items.  Also worth noting is that this room stays fairly cool and dark, so I'm storing my potatoes here, too.

In my upright freezer I'll store extra homemade jams, fruits, and veggies that we'll hopefully have after this season's local harvests and sales, as well as some grass-fed beef.  I'm working with a local farmer right now to try and secure half of a grass fed cow.  We don't eat an abundance of meat, but we do eat some meat and are hoping to stock up on the best quality for the best prices possible.

I also like to bake my whole wheat bread (using soaked ww flour) in large batches, then slice and freeze them for easy use later.  That extra bread will be stored in this freezer.  I grind my own grain using this beautiful, durable mill; here's why.

We eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies, and you'll find those stored upstairs on my kitchen counters and in my refrigerator, not in my bulk storage pantry... just in case you were wondering!

Why Stock Your Pantry?

  • Having ingredients on hand means you’re less likely to eat out. It's a huge help with meal planning and prepping... you always have something on hand for a quick meal!
  • A well-stocked pantry makes grocery shopping easier and saves your family money. Having what you need already on hand saves you money at the store because you can stock up on pantry items when they are on sale at their lowest price, and you can plan your meals around meat and produce "loss leader" sales as well. You can also order bulk foods online at a fraction of the cost and eliminate long trips to the store.  Just do a quick run when you're running low on fresh produce!
  • It’s healthier to cook at home from scratch. Having your pantry stocked so that you’re cooking more from home and from scratch is one of the first steps to a healthier lifestyle. Prepackaged, processed food items contain lots of preservatives and additives that wreak havoc on your body.  You control the amount of salt, fat, sugar, etc that goes into everything, and you control where it came from.
  • You're better prepared for hard times or economic difficulty. Be it something extreme (like a local, national, or global catastrophe) or something personal (like a job loss, underemployment, or illness) you will have food on hand to feed your family during lean times.  It's not a matter of fear, but rather of stewardship.

Do you have a bulk foods pantry or have you been thinking about creating one?  I'd love to hear about it!


Related posts:

Should a Christian Practice Food Storage?

5 Simple Ways to Build Your Pantry

10 Ways to S-T-R-E-T-C-H Your Whole Foods Budget

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also shared at Nourishing Gourmet, Simple Lives Thursday, Real Food Wednesday, Homestead Revival and The Healthy Home Economist


  1. Heather says:

    Wow! This looks awesome! I wish that I had a dedicated room for food storage. Maybe someday we will get there!

  2. monique says:

    I don’t have near the storage space that you do but long for the days when my laundry room was the size of my kitchen and I, too, could fit an upright freezer along with large, tall garage-style shelves. It was awesome! One day I’ll have that again. Right now my “pantry” is very small. Very.

  3. Katie says:

    Visiting from SM, Great Pantry! It is beautiful!

  4. Oh my goodness THANK YOU for posting this! I just happened upon your blog from another site. I have been struggling with this concept of being a Christian and mass storage for “whatever” My husband doesn’t see anything wrong with it and I have had a weird nagging feeling that we should put our trust in God and not in ourselves. Which is TRUE but I love how you show the other side of it. It’s more about your attitude of helping others and not taking pride in it. I think I’m going to now attempt some canning. Your rock my face off!

  5. Here from SM as well. Beautiful blog, and your pantry looks great! The restaurant shelves actually look great for a bulk pantry – very durable, easy to organize, no worries about the shelves sagging in the middle of the canned goods shelf (ask how I know). Thanks for sharing!

  6. I need to look into buying my oats in bulk, Costco size it just not big enough and I don’t like how it’s still 2 plastic bags instead of one large one.
    It must be so nice to walk in to your pantry now, I know I feel the same way now too with mine!

  7. Dottie says:

    How very nice! What a blessing to be given the storage shelves, too. I like the way you have it all organized now.I’m still working on bulk storage. I have very little space to work with here but it’s something I really want to do.

  8. Faye says:

    I love your pantry and the shelves are awesome.. We buy a lot in bulk but mostly for economic reasons. My husband made use of the basement stairwell and built shelves so that we can store all the canned goods there,. Then we have a cold room in the basement that contains veggies along with all the canning that I do each Fall. We buy meat on sale to freeze along with chickens that we barter for and, herbs and such that we grow and put away…I make homemade bread but do not grind any grains.. It is a wonderful thing to do especially with little ones..I loved this posting.. So interesting..

  9. Mom-Mom Pope says:

    Wow! What a nice offer of shelving! :-) Your room looks amazing… very little wasted space and a whole lot of room to grow. Impressive.

  10. Dani says:

    This is awesome, I’ve been wanting to stock up on bulk foods “just in case.” Unfortunately I have little space to do it. Love the links to Aure/Vitacost, thank you!!

  11. I don’t have a bulk storage foods pantry. I’d like to create one in my house. We don’t have a “pantry” room, however, my family is small…and we have lots of cabinet/cupboard space that is being under-utilized. So it would be nice to stock up on good, healthy basics!!! Love and hugs from the ocean shores of Califronia, Heather ;)

  12. Jaime, your new bulk pantry shelving is wonderful! What a blessing to get it for free! I have a long narrow pantry that has Gorilla shelves lined up on once side and end along with my upright freezer and food buckets. Amazing how fast I can fill a space!
    Enjoy the new organization!

  13. I love your storage. I have some space but no time :) Eventually I would like to have something similar to what you have though.

  14. Breanne says:

    Wow, that’s inspiring! Visiting here from SM also. =) This is a big wish of mine, someday. Right now our space is at a premium so we fill the shelves we can with canning and our freezer is full of fruits, veggies and grass fed beef and chicken. My next thing to conquer is to find sources for all my grains and other dried goods (like chocolate!) and then to create a storage space. Thanks for the refreshing take on why you do what you do. =)

  15. Great job, love it! I don’t have quite as much space but fill up my pantry closet pretty tight! I love buying in bulk when I see great deals, I couldn’t have a lot of chocolate chips or sweets or I’d eat them all, lol!

  16. Honesty says:

    Everyone should be storing food..even if u only can use your closets..try to store them on the North side of your home if u don’t have a basement as this is the coolest part of your home..I must tell you that i stored a lot of food in 1994 in 5 gallon buckets..I ended up moving and had to leave them in a very hot garage at a friends home…I went and got them thinking the food would be no good but i wanted the buckets to start over..to my surprise everything i packed tasted like i had just purchased it..Take gallon zip lock bags and store rice, Oats, Pasta ,Flour, Beans , Cocoa powder, spices anything you like to eat corn meal for corn bread sugar,salt..i filled my bags so no air could get in and packed them in them in gallon zip lock bags first one way then the other way..until i reached the top stuffing plastic bags grocery bags to keep all the air out..i opened them in 2012 from 1994 to 2012 the food is just fine..Packaged correctly u can use 4,5 or 6 gallon buckets but make sure the lids have a gasket seal..you can sometimes fined these at antique stores in the country for a dollar a piece..or order what u CAN AFFORD A FEW A WEEK OR A MONTH AND JUST FILL THEM AND MAKE SURE YOUR SEAL ON UR ZIP LOCK BAGS ARE SEALED TIGHT..i READ FROM SOMEONE WHO ALSO DID WHAT I DID AND THIER FOOD LASTED 30 YEARS..I DON’T DOUBT IT at all..have a good water filtration system that is light weight and u can carry on your belt..keep a few 5 gallon collapsable jugs on hand ..and store some water..if you store canned food remember to use it and rotate it..most canned food will be ok up to 5 years but rotate it anyway just to be on the safe side..as sweet potatoes don’t store long in cans..but tomatoes do..make sure u have a emergency food storage in a room basement or closet..Think about your family ..also store seeds so u can plant food in the summer even if it is near the woods ..something is better than nothing

  17. patsy says:

    It’s great that you have a separate room for your bulk pantry! My pantry is stored all over everywhere in my house.