The Capsule Kitchen Checklist

  • Are you putting together your first kitchen?
  • Are you exploring a minimalist kitchen?
  • Do you wonder how to start minimalism?
  • Are you enjoying your “Capsule Wardrobe” and are you ready to apply the same approach to your kitchen?
  • Are you moving into a tiny house?
  • Are you downsizing the family home?
  • Would you love a great checklist that you can adapt to your own needs?
  • Would you like to live a more frugal, simple, and zero waste life?

If your answer to any of those questions was “Yes” then you are in the right place!

I have created a capsule kitchen checklist that will help you put together a collection of kitchen gear that is just right for you, saving you money, saving space, moving you toward your zero waste goals… and all that without sacrificing your ability to cook great food!

This is a simple living hack of the highest order! 

Building a capsule kitchen will allow you the freedom to own less, clean less, and find simpler ways to do the things you used to depend on equipment to do.  In short, you’ll gain skills, but you’ll also gain a cozy minimalist tiny house kitchen that lacks nothing except clutter!  You’ll enjoy the contentment that comes from having only what you need, nothing more or less.

If you downsize the contents of the family home, it’ll suddenly feel much larger.  You may even find that it’s time to downsize the family home as well as the contents – and living in a smaller home is the most effective strategy for saving money.  Frugal living doesn’t have to feel like sacrifice.  It can be luxurious when you discover that you can still cook everything you love, but without needing to dirty as many dishes.  And using less power tools in the kitchen is another effective strategy for saving money, one that you’ll appreciate each time you open the electric bill.  That’s why I created the Capsule Kitchen Checklist with an emphasis on kitchen tools that do not require power… tools like a simple whisk that you can use in place of a mixer to whip up Pavlova.  I know it can be done, because I’ve done it.  And thousands of cooks through the generations have made great food without modern kitchen appliances.  Simplifying our lives isn’t a step away from progress, it’s a step toward liberation.  And it’s exactly this kind of simple living wise thinking approach that will bring you closer to your dream life.

Ready to go purchase an Amazon tiny house kit?  LOL!  Perhaps we’ll just start with the kitchen today.

Get Your Capsule Kitchen Checklist First, get your free Capsule Kitchen Checklist PDF, print it out, then grab a pen. 


Then start here:

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Use this website to get strategy and inspiration and work through your kitchen as you listen to the videos.  You’ve got this!


You’re going to love the transformation of your kitchen!  You may even find (as I and a number of my friends have) that transforming your kitchen may also transform you.

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24 Steps to a Kitchen that is Exactly Right for You!

Is the chaos in your kitchen on your last nerve?  Don’t even know what all you have in there anymore?  Have you been thinking about simplifying your life?  Isn’t it high time? Since my new book, Kitchen Simplicity (Tiny House Foodie) came out, I have continued to work to expand the resources I have to offer folks who are seeking to downsize or right-size their homes – especially the most challenging room: the kitchen!

Take it from me, a retired chef and restaurant owner who has lived in 125 sq ft for quite a few years now – it’s entirely possible to live tiny very comfortably – without sacrificing flavor or contentment.

A tiny kitchen still cooks – IF you right-size your collection of kitchen gear the right way.  I can help you through this process with a focused strategic process that you can take at your own pace.  It’s important not to waste your resources or get rid of something you’ll just have to replace later.  With that in mind, I’m so happy to announce my brand new 24 session Right-Size Your Kitchen Video Series: putting the Mmm back in Minimalism! Learn more >

Video Series

In 24 detailed sessions I’ll show you the practical steps to right-size every part of your kitchen collection.  You’ll soon be feeling the liberation of living tiny!  Learn more…

A New Tool to Help YOU Right-Size Your Kitchen

I’ve created a video course to compliment my new book, Kitchen Simplicity.  This video class shows rather than tells how to right-size your kitchen in a very practical step-by-step approach.  I will take you through the 24 sessions at the pace you choose and finish up by showing you the super simple collection of kitchen gear that I’ll be moving into my new 128 square foot Skoolie when it’s finished.  Xaver and I initially went tiny in the fall of 2014 and we already know that this thoughtfully selected collection of kitchen gear is all we need in our tiny house.  I’ll show you what, how, but most importantly – WHY.  Let me help you right-size your kitchen without sacrificing flavor or contentment!

Right-Size Your Kitchen Video Series

The Rest of the Appliances – Day 23

1 New BeginningToday we wrap up the Right-Sizing your Kitchen video series by taking a look at the rest of the kitchen appliances.  We’ve already talked about the food processor, blender, mixer, toaster, and microwave… today we cover the rest of them.   What are your favorites that I haven’t mentioned?  I’m curious to know what other folks are using on a weekly basis that they’ll want to save space for in their tiny house.  We’re all different so our collections will be different.

In my experience, less is definitely better in a tiny house.  Ours was on the smaller side at 125 square feet, so we really kept a very minimal collection of things in our tiny house kitchen.  And there were still things we kept that we didn’t use, so we could have even gone tinier – so to speak.  And we’ve just bought a bus that is slightly smaller so we will go through the collection and weed out more things all over again.  I love cooking great food simply.  It brings me so much joy because the food is more crafted.  When I don’t need an appliance to make something it feels more like a work of my own hands, and that is very rewarding to me.  In the end the most important things in my kitchen have always been the knife and cutting board, the dutch oven, and a few favorite plates and glasses.  Having fresh fruit and vegetables close at hand – usually right on the kitchen counter – is always very satisfying.  We keep less around, so we eat fresher food, and that’s one of many reasons why tiny house living has been such a lovely adventure for us.

I’m Carmen Shenk, the Tiny House Foodie, reminding you that we can #LiveTiny, #EmbraceSimplicity and still #EatWell.  You may not think that you can go tiny, but I know you can.  Thanks so much for watching,  I really appreciate it! 29c45-1a2bcarmen

 

Microwave – Day 22

We’ve come a long way.  Our equipment has become very sophisticated and very powerful.  We can now make food very quickly.  With all the great inventions and new technology, we’ve managed to make food faster.  However, we have not managed to make food better.  That’s why it’s no sacrifice to me, to get rid of a microwave.  It’s no sacrifice to skip the freezer section of the market where the overly processed microwave “food” is found in all that packaging.  It’s no sacrifice to cook great meals and reheat them in a saucepan on the stove, or by heating them in the oven.  It’s no sacrifice to make real popcorn, and buying popcorn kernels is much cheaper than microwave popcorn, and doesn’t come with all that extra packagine.  It’s no sacrifice to make a fresh cup of coffee rather than reheating an old one.  Find out how to brew Tiny House Coffee here.

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Xaver’s Tiny House Coffee

In a tiny house situation, the power a microwave requires may also be a problem since it may overwhelm the system or cause a breaker to flip.  Trust me, that always happens when it’s cold, rainy, and after dark and then one of us has to go out in that weather with a flashlight to get the breaker turned back on!  lol!  In an off-grid situation, running a microwave may not even be an option because they are such energy hogs.  So part of becoming comfortable with tiny house living may include finding other ways to cook food without the use of the microwave.

Finally, there are some very real health concerns in microwaved food.  I’ve read the results of various research on the topic and I’m convinced there are valid concerns.  However, I’m not interested in debating any of that.  I’m not a scientist but I do respect what scientist do.  For me it’s much simpler to cook without it to remove the question, and the concern – and even the debate.  I really don’t want the debate!  In fact, I am willing to be ridiculed on this topic (and have been – at length!) rather than even engage in the battle.  I love peace.  I love people, even when we disagree.  I’m very secure that the choice I’ve made is the right one for me and of course I recognize that some folks won’t agree.  And that’s actually fine with me.  I choose not to eat microwaved food and I prefer not to eat in restaurants where I know the food will be microwaved.  Food artists don’t cook that way anyway, so that’s hardly a sacrifice.  No problem.  In short, I lose nothing by avoiding a microwave.  I skip the health concern and I eat better food.  Where’s the sacrifice?

16 mealsIf you have a microwave, take it out and look it over.  It’s an automatic toss if it is damaged or malfunctioning.  Put it in the garage or other distant room of the house for a while.  Clean the spot where the microwave was and consider your kitchen without it.  Make a contest of it and see who can go the longest without using it.  You have nothing to lose.

What you “need” is based on what you’re used to.  Change what you’re used to, and it will change what you need.  So the best way to make a real change in your kitchen is to simply dive in and get going.  You may not think that you can “go tiny”, but I know you can.  And from my years of experience living in 120 square feet, I can honestly tell you that what you gain makes every “sacrifice” worth it.  (Otherwise I would not have purchased a short bus where the living space will be 110 square feet!)  In time you might even find that none of it was actually a sacrifice, at least that’s how I feel.

I’m Carmen Shenk, the Tiny House Foodie, reminding you that we can #LiveTiny #EmbraceSimplicity and still #EatWell.  Thanks for watching, I really appreciate it!29c45-1a2bcarmen

 

Toast (And Panini) – Day 21

IMG_20161112_145725260Today we talk about the toaster in the Tiny House Foodie kitchen.  There are a number of ways to make great toast – in a toaster, in a toaster oven, or in a skillet on a burner.  Consider how often you enjoy toast, and pick the method that is right for you and the space you have in your tiny home.  Here I show how to toast bread in a skillet so that a toaster is no longer needed, and it’s delicious.  Toasting bread in a skillet is my favorite toast because it’s crispy without being dry, and it’s wonderful with a drizzle of honey.  I consider toast made this way a real treat.

If you love sandwiches toasted in a panini press, then build your sandwich and add a thin coat of mayonnaise to the outside of each piece of bread in addition to whatever dressing you put on the inside.  Heat two skillets, put your sandwich in the first, and top it with the second hot skillet.  Press or add a weight to flatten your sandwich even more.  The mayonnaise makes the bread toast up beautifully and of course the melted cheese of a panini press sandwich is always amazing.

Pull out all your toasting equipment – and since toasting can be such a messy endeavor – give it all a clean.  Donate what you no longer need and put back what you intend to keep.

In our tiny house we have a toaster oven instead of a range oven, so we use that to toast or melt some cheese and even to bake off a tray of cookies now and then (keeping the rest of the dough in the freezer until we were ready for a few more fresh warm cookies).  In our much larger Tiny House Foodie kitchen there is no space for something like a toaster or toaster oven on the counter top, so we use the skillet method to make toast.  I’m not sure what we’ll do in the Skoolie, once it is finished.  That depends mostly on whether or not there is a oven in the space and I don’t know that yet.  We’re still in the design stage of the build.  As it turns out, I’m working at this right along with you.

Thanks so much for following along with this series, I appreciate it.  We finish up this series this week with a conversation about the microwave and then one final session is sort of a “catch all” about the other appliances you may also have in your kitchen.  We’re on the home stretch.  Well done on all your hard work to make your kitchen a place of simplicity and order!

I’m Carmen Shenk, the Tiny House Foodie, reminding you that we can #LiveTiny #EmbraceSimplicity and still #EatWell.  Thanks for watching, I really appreciate it!29c45-1a2bcarmen

Mixing and Whipping – Day 20

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Kitchen Aid Still Life

Today we tackle the tools that mix and blend including the stand mixer, the hand held mixer, and various hand tools.  Pull out all your tools that serve these functions and consider the redundancy in your collection.  Choose your favorites and make changes as needed.  Then move the rest to the donation box and clean out your kitchen cabinet and return the remaining items neatly.

Xaver and I have just purchased a short bus and we’ll be building out the interior for our third tiny home so I’m considering the usefulness of each item right along with you.  Since we’ll be going from 125 square feet, down to 110 square feet – and it will be configured very differently – it’s not going to be a huge adjustment and we are very excited about the places we’ll visit and the people we will meet along the way.  This also serves as a reminder of why we continue to work at downsizing and it helps us to reinvigorate our efforts.  Perhaps you would appreciate a reminder of why you’re going to all the trouble to downsize or right-size your kitchen.  Today take a moment to remember the goals you had when you began this process and remember what you stand to gain.  The more we focus on the simplicity and order we gain from this process, as opposed to the losses of downsizing, the more we’ll be able to enjoy the transition.

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VINNIE 3 – our new short bus

Recently I scrolled through social media looking at photos taken by folks who have only recently gone tiny and over and over again I’m reading the joy they have in this journey.  I saw again the sense of accomplishment and enjoyment these folks have their small cozy spaces.  I have been at this for a number of years so it’s easy to forget how exciting and joyful it was at the beginning.  The feeling hasn’t changed, just the sense of newness has left me.  This new Skoolie project will bring back the sense of newness without giving up the perks of living tiny, in fact, this bus is more road worthy than any of our other homes (lol!) and I look forward to traveling the country in it.

Keep on working toward your goal.  You can do it!  I know you can!

I’m Carmen Shenk, the Tiny House Foodie, reminding you that we can #LiveTiny #EmbraceSimplicity and still #EatWell.  Thanks for watching, I really appreciate it!29c45-1a2bcarmen

Blender & Juicer – Day 19

14 RicerToday we are talking about kitchen tools that blend, puree, and juice – which covers a variety of tools.  Pull all of these items out of your kitchen cabinets and take a look over them.  Remove redundant gear and consider what’s best for you in your tiny house.  I chose to keep a small blender – the one and only appliance that made it into my tiny house.  Consider what you’ll actually use on a weekly basis, and what alternatives there are in your community.

Alternatives to keeping the gear:

In some cases, visiting a great local shop that offers fresh juices may be more of a treat than keeping an expensive juicer that is a space and energy hog.  In my case, instead of juicing each morning, I enjoy a 2 ounce glass of NingXia Red, a superfruit smoothie product that has more great high-nutrient foods in it than I have time to eat in a day – or even a few days – and certainly more than I’m willing to buy at the market and haul home and feed to the machine.  Juicing gets expensive in a hurry!  Shaving products and Christmas gift setNot to mention the clean up because the juicing process is messy.  All of that was just too much to bring into a tiny house, so instead of focusing on what I was losing by living tiny, I find an alternative that works great for me.  These days I have simplified my life by buying NingXia Red on the Young Living auto-ship program which makes it crazy-easy.  Therefore I no longer need a juicer.  The benefits I have experienced include better focus, more stamina, and less cravings for salt and sugar which accidentally led to weight loss (score!!).  NingXia Red has made such a difference for me that Xaver and I literally tell perfect strangers about it!  lol!  Lots of information (including purchase info) is available at this link.

All that to say that you may find creative alternatives to keeping big expensive gear in your kitchen that make it more palatable to part with big energy and space hog appliances.  In this manner we remove the sacrificial quality of downsizing, keep our favorite items, and retain only the gear that serves our purpose in this season of our lives.

Are you enjoying the process of transforming your kitchen into a place of order and simplicity?  I hope so.  This is day 19 out of 22 so you are on the home stretch!  Pat yourself on the back – you deserve it!

I’m Carmen Shenk, the Tiny House Foodie, reminding you that we can #LiveTiny #EmbraceSimplicity and still #EatWell.  Thanks for watching, I really appreciate it!29c45-1a2bcarmen

 

Food Processor – Day 18

14 graterToday we get out all the tools that grate and slice.  Clean out the storage space and consider which items to return to the cabinet.  Think especially in terms of removing redundant tools and keeping in mind the weight, space, and power restrictions of living tiny.  If you are moving into a micro unit, you may only want to keep the knife and cutting board.  If you’re headed for a small space you may appreciate having a grater/slicer with a lid.  If you have a larger kitchen with no power restrictions then you may enjoy having a small food processor.  The “right answer” for you depends on the purpose you have in this season of your life.

Tiny House communities are really great places to have a lending library of tools that most members won’t need often, but might like to have access to now and then.  This is an excellent opportunity to create such a library or donate tools for use in such a library.  Consider your favorite charities that create food for the homeless, or maybe talk to someone at the local daycare to see if they need equipment you no longer need.  Continue to think of creative places to donate these larger kitchen appliances where they serve the needs of the community.  And donating an appliance that is in good condition to the charity of your choice is a great way to support a cause that matters to you.

How does your donate pile look by now?  Have you been removing items from your kitchen that you no longer need or wish to store or care for?  Congratulations!  Share a photograph with me using the hashtag #KitchenSimplicity or tweet to @TinyHouseFoodie on Twitter or Instagram, and follow me on Facebook.  I look forward to hearing from you.  Leaving a comment is always welcome.

I’m Carmen Shenk, the Tiny House Foodie, reminding you that we can #LiveTiny #EmbraceSimplicity and still #EatWell.  Thanks for watching, I really appreciate it!29c45-1a2bcarmen

Right-Sizing Utensils

23 host a partyToday we tackle utensils with a simple exercise that will require that each item earn it’s way back into your kitchen.  Simple exercises like this one help us get in touch with our creativity and make us aware of what we actually use.  When the item we’re used to isn’t right at hand, we quickly become creative and find multiple ways to use the items we do have.  Thankfully utensils don’t take up much space, so if some lesser used items sneak back in, it’s won’t be a big deal.

I prefer a vase on the counter to a messy drawer, but maybe you can find a good way to organize the drawer if that is your preference.  Anything that looks like it could cause a health hazard is an automatic toss.


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Here are the basics:

Rubber Spatula

My favorite spatula is the OXO Good Grip Silicone Spatula and it comes in a number of sizes and colors. This is the best spatula I have ever used.

Turner/Spatula

Here is the OXO Silicone Turner/Spatula and here is a Bamboo version I like.

Tongs

The OXO Tongs have Nylon Tips to protect pan surfaces.

Ladle/Serving Spoon

The OXO Stainless Steel Ladle and Serving Spoon are sleek and lovely.

Can Opener

My Austrian has a MSG allergy, and most canned foods have MSG so we don’t keep them around. If you do, then check out this OXO Good Grips Can Opener.

Whisk

The whisk may be one of my favorite kitchen tools. I made Pavlova using a whisk instead of a mixer once just to see if it could be done. Of COURSE it can be done – silly me! Here’s the OXO Good Grips Whisk and here’s a multi-colored one. Cool!

Egg Beater

I like the Danesco Rotary Egg Beater and use mine quite a bit. I well remember this gadget from my youth and these are also widely available in antique stores.


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Today, consider all the hard work you have completed in your kitchen.  How does it feel to have come so far and made so much progress?  I find this process invigorating as we work to bring order from the chaos.  Well done!  Keep up the good work!

I’m Carmen Shenk, the Tiny House Foodie, reminding you that we can #LiveTiny #EmbraceSimplicity and still #EatWell.  Thanks for watching, I really appreciate it!


 

Join me for a Virtual Summit called SimplifyMy.Life that brings together more than a dozen Tiny House Luminaries who share their stories of simplicity.  Their stories will help you find financial freedom, geographic mobility, environmental sustainability, and a sense of community.  See you at the summit:

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