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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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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Right-Sizing Coffee & Tea

Because we didn’t have room in our tiny house for a coffee maker, we got creative.  The results are in the video.  Here is Tiny House Coffee & Tea.  PLUS, my Austrian makes a special guest appearance showing how he makes his coffee.

2 SimplicityOur culture makes a habit of making simple things complicated, and marketing tries to convince this that this complexity is to simplify things for us.  Going tiny for Xaver and I has meant making complicated things simple again, and we enjoy this very much.  That sometimes means going old-school and doing things the way our grandparents did them.

At the beginning as you contemplate your shiny coffee gear and think about downsizing – this might seem like a sacrifice.  I want to invite you to go back to the earlier post about choosing your favorite things in your kitchen.  If you coffee or tea system is your favorite thing, then the task becomes how to make space in your now smaller kitchen for this production.  We’ve found that one of the keys to enjoying a tiny space and making it feel less sacrificial is to enjoy our favorite simple luxuries along the way.  This includes sometimes having a little Amarula in my tea, or drinking it from a luxuriously beautiful china tea cup and stirring it with a silver spoon.  This interplay of simplicity and beauty brings us much satisfaction.  It is from this satisfaction that I can challenge you to look at different habits and consider thoughtfully the choices that are right for you and your family in light of your own tiny house or micro-kitchen.

Spend some time today with your coffee and tea equipment and ingredients.  Add a few things to your donation box and think of ways to make the process more earth friendly.  You can do it.

Have fun with the process, I’m not here to pressure you into anything, I simply offer you an alternative that comes from our years of living in 125 square feet.

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If you haven’t already chosen your tea cup or coffee mug, now’s your chance! And here’s the rest of the gear needed for making coffee & tea in a tiny house. It could not be simpler!

Whistling Tea Kettle

I like this Kitchen Aid Whistling Whistling Tea Kettle that comes in a whole bunch of colors, but there are so many options and this is a great opportunity to find an interesting tea kettle that suits your taste. Make sure to get one that whistles! I ruined a pan on the stove by walking away and forgetting about it. The whistle helps me remember I have a hot burner on in the house and that’s important to me since I am so easily distracted!

Tea Infuser

I doubt anyone needs instructions on how to use a tea kettle and a Tea Infuser.

Tiny House Coffee might be a different matter.

So here’s the additional gear needed to make Tiny House Coffee: Nothing!

Wait, what?

Here’s how we make super-simple coffee in our tiny house. Here’s my handsome Austrian showing how easy it is (start at the 8:50 mark on this video):

A little too hard-core minimalist for you?

LOL! Ok, no worries. Here’s a beautiful Bodum French Press” for a very reasonable price and doesn’t require additional electrical power, and shouldn’t be too messy to clean up. And there are lots of size options! Isn’t it pretty? These are surprisingly affordable at $20 – $35. All in all, that’s some pretty simple coffee!

Whew, scared you there for a moment didn’t I?!

he he! Shall we continue?

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A Zero Waste Kitchen Tames the Trash

One thing we quickly learned living in our tiny house of 125 square feet was that TRASH is a BIG deal!  Even a little bit of trash can feel like a lot in a tiny space.  I picked up a book on Zero Waste living (Zero Waste Home) that helped me find strategies to A) keep trashing from entering our home to begin with and B) manage trash more efficiently once it did.

Zero Waste living is based on the usual “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” ideas, but also adds “Rot” (compost) and “Refuse” to the list… meaning that we shop in a way that brings less trash in the house and refuse freebies, etc.  Using cloth bags instead of allowing more plastic shopping bags in the house is another example.  Avoiding products that are packaged in plastic, especially single use plastics, and instead choosing recycle-able packaging.  Glass is the best way to store food, so we collected canning jars instead of plastic storage containers.

For more on Zero Waste Kitchen… watch these:

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Introducing the Capsule Kitchen

Creating a “Capsule” of Essentials

Photo Oct 25, 6 31 06 PMIn the 1970’s, boutique owner Susie Faux created a collection of a few essential items of clothing that don’t go out of fashion. The idea was that with a few good basics, you could create a wardrobe of clothing that was infinitely useful, always interchangeable, and came with the confidence that no matter which items you paired – you’d be well dressed. The question of “What will I wear?” was drastically simplified by owning less, while each item was of a better quality. Thus the “capsule wardrobe” was born and various clothing designers, boutique owners, consumers, and bloggers have continued the tradition.

I love my capsule wardrobe and find that I am better dressed than ever. I’m wearing better quality clothing, and I leave the house with more confidence. Plus, once I have my capsule in place, I find it much easier to donate good quality items that didn’t make the cut.

Recently I asked myself… “Why can’t I apply this capsule concept to the kitchen?” And that’s how this Capsule Kitchen idea began.  And really… what could be more perfect for a tiny house kitchen, than a key group of essentials from which you can cook anything?! 

Therefore, I’m bringing you my capsule kitchen with this Tiny House Foodie website. This is a little group of classic foodie essentials that bring cooking back to the age-old basics without sacrificing flavor or contentment.

I’ve recently given my website a big makeover, and set up the material more like a class.  You can see the various modules of the class on the front page of the website.  Take them at your own pace, and as you dive into each section, follow this simple process:

Photo Oct 25, 3 12 54 PMFirst, go through your own kitchen with me, section by section.

And the first thing to do is to take inventory.  Bring everything out of the cabinets (one section at a time) and put it all on the table or on the counter tops, and have a look around at it all.  Does it surprise you that there is so much?

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Second, as you look at the collection, look for items that are not good for you.

Toxic Teflon coatings on cookware, or glasses with chips that have made the edges sharp, or plastic that could be leaching chemicals into your food.  Immediately remove those items from your collection to the trash, and recycle where possible.  Also remove malignant items – things that have a negative memory or sense of shame attached.  We have all outgrown having toxic things around, people and malignant things.  As an act of self care, remove these items.

Photo Oct 25, 3 19 29 PMThird, assess what’s in your collection.

If items are broken, or if a pan has a loose handle that looks like it might let loose at some inopportune moment, remove those items to the trash.  If the mixer has been hanging on by a tattered cord, remove it.  Things that are simply worn out may be removed to the trash.  I know the environment is in crisis, but your home is not the landfill.  You have permission not to live with trash in your home, so quickly remove worn out things from your space.  Recycle where possible.  Donate if there seems to be some life left in an item.

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Now, create the capsule kitchen you want based on the way you cook.

(Not the way you want to cook, or the cook you wish you were… but the way you actually cook today.)

  • Consider what equipment in your kitchen gets used once a month or more often, and remove the rest to be donated.  Donating rarely used items frees you to be who you are, not who you were.
  • Upgrade key items to lifetime pieces using the buyer’s guide on these pages.
  • Never purchase something to match your kitchen – always purchase items in the colors you love the most.  They will inevitably match or blend nicely together.

A friend of mine suggested to her daughter to purchase a white Kitchen Aid because it would always go with everything.  But her daughter was inclined toward a beautiful green one.  My friend told me later that she regretted giving this advice to her daughter because she knew that she would find pleasure in having the green one – and it would always match her kitchen because she’s always loved green.  Choose colors that match you – and those items will always look great in your kitchen.


Before you begin taking things out of your kitchen cabinets, watch this:

I’ve set this up this website like a class, and the first thing I’d mention may not be the first think you think when you enter your kitchen and take a look around with downsizing on your mind.  However, it’s foundational to the process.  So today we begin by asking “What’s your Why?”  Think about it, find me on social media and leave me a comment.  I look forward to hearing from you.


Next, pick your favorites.

Your assignment for the day is to look around your kitchen and choose your favorite items. Get everyone in the family in on this. Choose items that have good memories and stories attached. Choose items that are beautiful and useful. Narrow it down to just three items per person in the household. It may seem like an easy assignment, but it may be harder than you think. This is where the simplicity of the Capsule Kitchen begins.

Photo Oct 25, 6 25 15 PMMy very favorite thing in my kitchen is a vivid fuchsia Kitchen Aid.  When we had the restaurant we had to create a schedule for using the one Kitchen Aid so it was time to purchase another to improve efficiency.  I happened to be walking by when my husband was shopping for the new one and saw the vivid fuchsia one and exclaimed over how beautiful it was.  Then I caught myself, because that wasn’t the wise purchase at that time.  Later when the box came and the gorgeous Kitchen Aid was inside and my Austrian just shrugged and said “It matches you…” and that simple machine became an example of the way he loves me extravagantly.  What a blessing he is to me!  Guess what’s on my counter in my kitchen – even though I don’t bake as much these days because of food allergies?!


Finally, Choose Your Cause

 

Today we talk about selling, donating, and giving away the things in your home that no longer serve your purpose. What is the charity in your area that supports a cause that matters to you? What kinds of donations do they accept? What other options do you have that are unique to your area and your values? How can you use your extra stuff to support these missions in your community? Prepare a few boxes for the things you no longer need and make a plan now to deliver those items to the charity of your choice. I’d love to hear how it’s going with you, please connect with me on social media and let me know how it’s going.

There is an exciting transformation ahead of you!

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