Two years ago, I shared my thoughts on Pantry Essentials and How to Organize Your Pantry. I also made available A Capsule Kitchen Checklist, which is a handy little pdf outlining what I believe to be the “essentials” in a minimalist kitchen, and takes you though how to stock your pantry and kitchen. I love the timelessness of this checklist. Two years later, everything included on the checklist is still important. Two years later, I’m about to reapply the list to my kitchen again, because every once in a while, your pantry (and entire kitchen) needs a little refresh. Today, I’m sharing a little more about the why behind a Well-Stocked Kitchen and Pantry.
I always reverse plan my meals. Speciality and expensive recipes don’t inform my shopping list. Rather, my well-stocked kitchen does! Instead of looking up recipes for the week ahead (or for the day/evening, because I don’t always plan by the week), making a shopping list, and then running to the store each week or even each day, I typically choose recipes that use the pantry staples I know I always have on hand. Recipes that don’t require super specific or speciality ingredients. Recipes that allow for simple substitutions. No this? Use that! No that? Use this!
Even if you’re not a MEAL PLANNER and you more fly by the seat of your pants, if your kitchen is well stocked, you won’t get frustrated mid-meal prep. You will know that you have the basics, and if you are out of a staple, you probably have a decent substitute. You hardly even have to plan when you have a well-equipped, minimalist kitchen. If the staple ingredients are within reach, you can easily throw together a satisfying meal. Some of our favorite dishes have been the result of not planning, but just looking at our stocked pantry and refrigerator, and selecting a few items to combine in a new way!
This is super important, especially now, in light of the shelter-at-home orders. Putting together a well-stocked kitchen – not hoarding – is simply a smart thing to do at a time like this. You won’t need to send your husband to the store to pick up one ingredient. You keep track of your kitchen inventory using A Capsule Kitchen Checklist, and maybe once a month you have a restocking day. If you can’t find an ingredient, due to shortages or any other reason, try to improvise.
I’ve found that, when we have a well-stocked kitchen, we’re much less likely to go out to eat because “there’s nothing to eat.” So right away, you save money NOT going out to eat. Then, if you’re buying bulk, that’s typically much cheaper than buying packaged pantry items at the grocery store. A few favorite bulk food sources are Mountain Rose Herbs, my local natural mercantile, and Lindley Mills. Additionally, because you’re making less frequent shopping trips, you will purchase fewer random items from the grocery store every day or every week – those impulse, “hungry-while-shopping” purchases that we likely shouldn’t be buying anyway, that make our grocery way more than it should be.
When the coronavirus started to get serious in the United States, I received SEVERAL messages from folks around the country, thanking me for putting together A Capsule Kitchen Checklist. Because they had taken the time to thoughtfully apply the checklist to their kitchen, they were prepared. They had enough flour, yeast, baking powder, rice, dried beans, etc. They had a freezer stocked with what they needed for a few weeks. They were – unintentionally, albeit – prepared for this worldwide pandemic. You never know when there may be food shortages or when – suddenly – you are ordered to shelter at home. It’s never too late to take the time to go through your kitchen, donate what you no longer use, and intentionally and thoughtfully stock your kitchen and pantry. You will have peace of mind, knowing that you are prepared.
I’m sharing these links because I always receive questions about where our jars are from. Now, before you check out any of these links, I want to remind you: you can always thrift glass storage containers or recycle sauce jars, and this is a very affordable way to decant your pantry. But, if you’re in a position to shop for glass storage containers for your pantry, and you’d like them now, here are a few favorites/containers that we have in our pantry…
I recommend glass storage containers for a few reasons. 1. They are beautiful and truly spark joy every time I reach for a canister from my open shelves. 2. I can easily take inventory just by a quick glance at the pantry. I’m low on raisins and popcorn kernels, and the brown sugar is gone. I note them on my A Capsule Kitchen Checklist (which I keep hanging inside my pantry door), for restocking day. 3. The main, and most important reason, they keep pests out. This was my main motivation for reorganizing my pantry to begin with, back in 2018. Mice (yuck, but we live in a home from 1920, and mice just came with it) were chewing through paper, plastic lids, cardboard, EVERYTHING. I had to decant into glass containers to keep them out, and it’s worked!
If you’d like to tackle your kitchen by intentionally purging, organizing, and stocking, consider joining A Capsule Kitchen Challenge. I launched this 7-day challenge a year and a half ago and over 2000 folks have applied it to their kitchens, to one degree or another! Over the course of one week, you’ll receive daily emails leading you through the day’s tasks. We’ll thoughtfully go through every area of the kitchen to ensure you have a prepared, minimalist kitchen. You don’t have to do the WHOLE kitchen (the challenge will take you through your tools, table items, and other miscellaneous areas in the kitchen); if you need, just focus on the pantry, refrigerator, and freezer for now. Or do it all if you have the time & desire! I’d love to “see you” in the challenge!
*This post has affiliate links, meaning if you choose to buy something, I will make a small percentage of the sale so I can continue to write and support my family (at no extra cost to you). It would mean the world to me if you like an item you see, to purchase it directly through my link.
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