How To Create a Capsule Kitchen - The Pantry

I absolutely love to cook and if you ask my husband, I often have a hard time cooking the same things over and over. I like to mix it up and try new recipes and new foods; however, once we had kids, time and money became more of an issue. That is when I started thinking about how to pair my kitchen down to the basics and decided on the concept of a CAPSULE KITCHEN.

What Is A Capsule Kitchen?

If you are familiar with a Capsule Wardrobe, you know that this means that your closet is full of clothes that you actually wear and that can be paired many different ways to create a multitude of outfits.

This concept applied to the kitchen simply means that the kitchen is full of foods that you actually eat on a regular basis and can be paired many different ways to create a multitude of meals and snacks.

Ingenious, I know!

I wrote a blog post just a couple weeks ago that was so popular, i created a little challenge to help you create you own capsule kitchen. check out that blog post here if you missed it.

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The Purely Nutritious Capsule Kitchen Challenge

This post is the first in a 4-part series that I am going to do all about creating your very own CAPSULE KITCHEN.

My hope is that you will be inspired to convert your own kitchen into a capsule kitchen and share your stories and images with me using the hashtag #PNLcapsulekitchen on Instagram! I know this is going to be so much fun and you will absolutely love the end result!

If you want to do this Capsule Kitchen Challenge and get all the support along the way - be sure to register right HERE! When you register for this challenge you will get each blog post sent to your inbox so you don’t miss a single one and a weekly check in from me in you inbox!

If making a commitment makes you a little nervous, no worries! These posts will be added to my blog each week and you can check them out anytime!

Either way - Let’s get started!

*some of these links in this post are affiliate links which means that I receive a small commission when you purchase items using my links. This does not increase your price at all but i thank you for your purchase and know that you will love these items as much as i do!

The Pantry

Have you ever been at the grocery and thought that you needed to pick up a couple cans of green beans just to get home and realize that you have 10 cans already? Or maybe you bought a jar of pepperoncini peppers for a specific recipe that you never made and that jar is still taking up space in your cabinet because you have never found a use for them and it has been like 4 years! Not that I know anything about this, but I just hear these stories from friends (in my sarcastic, “you know this is so me” tone of voice)!

Well, gone are those days because now my pantry is stocked with foods that we eat on the regular and I basically just restock when the time comes. But how did I get to that point? Let’s talk about it.

The First Steps

The most important part of creating a new anything is to start with a blank slate.

That means everything, and I mean everything, comes out of your pantry. Whether you have a couple cabinets that are used as food storage, have converted your under the stairs area into a pantry, or have a spacious walk in pantry - take everything out!

This will create some chaos so just expect that. If you are anything like me, you will then need to clean this area! I love to use Mrs. Myers All Purpose Cleaner and my favorite walnut scrubber sponges from Grove Collaborative. Mrs. Myers has many different scents, but my favorite is Bluebell because it reminds me of my grandmother back in Washington State! She uses this same scent so smelling it takes me back to her house up in the mountains!

Step Two

After you get your area totally cleaned it is time for some major brain work. Get out a pad of paper and a pen and begin creating a list of all the things that you like to have on hand. This is just a starting place and you will likely add to and remove items from this list throughout this challenge so don’t over think it just yet.

Here is a printable that you can download and use for your capsule pantry list.

Once your list is completed, begin looking at the items you pulled out of your pantry. What do you already have on hand that coordinates with you list? Set those items aside and anything else, goes either in the trash or to be donated.

Now it’s time to check those expiration dates! Remember that jar of pepperoncini I mentioned earlier, the one I had kept for like 4 years? Well they were actually expired by the time I got them out of my pantry! UGH wasted money and space for far too long!

Anything expired goes in the trash and everything else gets a quick wipe down to remove any dust that might have settled on it over the weeks, months, okay years of being in your pantry!

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The Final Step

Now it is time to get everything back into your pantry in an organized manner. Now, if you are anything like me and this has taken several hours, you will be tempted to just shove it all in there and walk away! But let me assure you, this only leads to further frustration and over purchasing once again! So, get a cup of coffee - or glass of wine - and get to it.

How you organize your capsule pantry is going to be the key to keeping it running smoothly. Like things should be together and easily seen. Here is a list that can help you get started;

  • Canned and Jarred foods; tomato products, veggies, fruits, coconut milk, bone broth, pickles, olives, canned salmon and chicken, ghee, etc.

  • Cooking oils, vinegar, salad dressings, condiments, etc.

  • Dried goods; cereal, crackers, pop corn kernels, coffee beans, teas, pasta, rice, nuts of all kinds, nut butters, etc.

  • Baking; flours, sugars, extracts, chocolate chips, coconut flakes, marshmallows, cocoa powder, etc.

  • Daily essentials; this will be an area that you keep things that you use every day. Here is what is in my daily essentials: chia seeds, opened coffee, collagen peptides, vanilla bean powder, matcha powder, and maca powder

  • Drinks; sparkling water and kids drinks

  • Snacks; dried fruit, applesauce pouches, beef jerky, single serve nut butters, trail mix, Larabars, RX bars, etc.

  • Fresh Veggies that don’t need to be refrigerated; onions, potatoes, garlic, etc.

There are several ways to organize your pantry, but I find that creating groups of items is the easiest way to keep up on what you have and what you need. When the canned veggie area gets low, it is time to restock. Simply as that! However; you can use your best judgement on this. After all, you know yourself best!

And now for my favorite discussion point - organizational tools!! All the praise hands. I love to use baskets and glass jars for storing items. Some of my favorite baskets have been passed down to me from family members and some have come from Hobby Lobby! Take a peak at different ways to use baskets to store food.

As you are planning what will go in these, remember that you cannot see through a basket. I advise that you place items in baskets that you do not get into daily and place them up high - I keep all of my baking items in a large basket and pull it all down when I need it. You can also use baskets on the floor or bottom shelf for things like vegetables, breads, or even drinks.

My next favorite thing to do is get rid of boxes - I put everything in its own glass container. Not only does this look pretty, but it allows you to see when you are running low on an item. An example is cereal, pour your entire box into a designated cereal jar and put the lid on. No more Saturday morning melt downs when the Cinnamon Toast Crunch box is empty!

My favorite jars are Weck Canning Jars and they are perfect for any food that you want to store in them! I tend to stock up on these when they go on sale at Crate and Barrel, but you can pretty much find them anywhere. In addition to using these for pantry storage, I also use them to store leftovers! I love doing this because I can take food from the fridge to the microwave to the table and not worry about any toxins leaching into my food during storage and reheating.

Other organizational tools that might be handy for you are things like risers, clear bins, stack-able can organizers, and even sliding basket drawer organizers.

Take a peek at some of my favorite items at the bottom of this post.


Keep it Going

Once you get everything back into your pantry and organized they way you want it, it is time to create your capsule pantry inventory list. Some may think this is taking things a bit far and maybe it is, but it really works for me!

I simply create a list of EVERYTHING that I want to keep stocked in my pantry. When it is time to go to the grocery, I take a look at this list and what I have on hand. Anything that isn’t in the pantry goes on the shopping list and ta-dah, the capsule pantry continues.

don’t forget to grab the free template i created for you!

It really is that simple and it really is life changing. No more trying to plan a menu, see what you have on hand, go to the grocery only to forget the key ingredient for the meal. You will be saving time and money - does it get any better?

But what if…

What if you come across a recipe on Pinterest that you just have to try? Try it! Likely anything that intrigues your pallet enough for you to save the recipe, will have several ingredients that you already have on hand in it. And if that are a couple additional ingredients, add them to your grocery list and pick them up. No worries at all!

Who knows, maybe that recipe will become a family favorite! In which case, those ingredients will become part of your capsule pantry. Just remember to add them to you capsule pantry inventor list so that you can keep them in your inventory.

That’s it for this week.

4 simple steps to your own Capsule Pantry. Get to it and don’t forget to tag me in all of your social media posts about your capusle kitchen using #PNLCapusleKitchen.

Stay tuned for next week’s post on creating a Capsule spice cabinet!