What is Stocked in My Minimalist Pantry (Includes My Weekly Grocery List)

What is Stocked in My Minimalist Pantry

Earlier this week, I took you on a tour of my simple kitchen. The purpose of that post was to show you one example of what a clutter-free kitchen can look like, as well as to give you a little peek inside my world! Aside from the fact that I like to line things up and keep them in order, my kitchen hasn’t always been that organized. Just look at how messy the top drawer in my kitchen was three years ago! (And here’s the follow-up from a few months after my initial declutter and purge in 2014.)

Now that you’ve seen the shelves and know what tools and utensils I use on a regular basis, I thought I would talk more about the actual food I buy and store in my kitchen. If there’s one thing I’m proud of in regards to food it’s the fact that I’ve never wasted much of it. Even thinking back to when I first moved out at age 18, I have never been someone who stored a lot of food in her pantry or felt the need to stock up just because something was on sale. Instead, I shop 2-3 times a week and buy what I need when I need it.

As a result, I buy – and use up! – a lot of whole foods and fresh ingredients, rather than rely on what could be filling up my cupboards. But it does also mean that things look pretty empty. ;)

What is Stocked in My Minimalist Pantry

Here’s an overall look at the contents of my fridge and freezer. I took this picture on Sunday afternoon, and it wasn’t until doing so that I realized there was still blue tape stuck to the freezer door and on that yellow sign near the back! Oh boy, if that’s not proof of how little I use my freezer, haha. Typically, the only two things I keep in there are frozen berries for smoothies and ice packs that I bought for pain management after my car accident (and still use to this day).

What is Stocked in My Minimalist Pantry

These are all the condiments I currently own, though I wouldn’t call them all staples. I do have salsa, hot sauce and soy sauce available at all times! (And plan to make more homemade salsa when I finally buy a food processor – thanks again for all of your great suggestions.) I also like to have rice vinegar for salad dressings, etc. But the peanut sauce and salad dressing you see here were sort of “testers”. I make a really good spicy peanut sauce of my own but wanted to try this one out. And the salad dressing is from the Okanagan and is vegan and sugar-free, so I thought I’d try it too.

Also, I <3 Hemp Hearts and I only drink almond milk (original unsweetened).

What is Stocked in My Minimalist Pantry

You probably saw this stuff sitting on the counter in my last post. It all lives in the corner where I make my coffee, tea and smoothies every day! So, it might be obvious but I add Vega and chia to my smoothies. I also add chia to “cereal” – aka a bowl of granola, berries and milk. I keep decaf black tea stocked at all times. And, of course, coffee. I know some people prefer to grind their coffee fresh daily, but I typically grind up a week’s worth at a time. I don’t have one favourite blend, but instead like to try dark roasts from local roasters and also buy Kicking Horse at the grocery store when it’s on sale. This is Grizzly Claw (dark roast).

Fun fact: Vega is a Vancouver company, as is Earth’s Own (the almond milk), Kicking Horse is in BC, the Hemp Hearts above are from Manitoba and Prana (chia) is based in Quebec!

What is Stocked in My Minimalist Pantry

Onto the “pantry” – although I don’t really know if you can call one shelf a pantry? There are literally only 12 things on this shelf right now. The staples in this picture are: brown rice, rice noodles, coconut milk and natural peanut butter (no sugar added, only peanuts). Beans are also a staple for me, but I don’t usually buy them in cans anymore. Instead, I buy bulk and soak them overnight. These are leftovers I bought when I was in the middle of moving and wanted some easy meals. I’ll probably make a plan to eat them both up in the next week or so, then go back to bulk. (I also buy bulk rice but they were out of brown!?)

What is Stocked in My Minimalist Pantry

My one deliciously guilty pleasure, these days, is granola. I think I’m super late to the party on this one. Have you guys been enjoying granola for years? Why did it take me so long to try it? I don’t buy it all the time, but I do love this stuff from Nature’s Path. It’s organic and vegan, and coconut and cashews are the way to my heart (and stomach). And NP is another company based out of BC! Next to the granola, I have some flour and baking powder for baking sugar-free muffins (another new obsession). And finally, I have white wine vinegar and sesame oil for dressings and sauces. There’s also coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil next to the stove.

What is Stocked in My Minimalist Pantry

That’s it for the food, but I do have a separate cupboard full of spices! The ones you see in the mason jars were all bought in bulk. The shakers were ones I couldn’t find in bulk at the time. I also have a refillable pepper grinder. And the Himalayan pink salt is new for me. Honestly, up until a few weeks ago, I didn’t even own salt! I don’t like to add it to my food but it is included in a lot of recipes (especially when it comes to baking). Rather than use table salt, I figured I’d finally buy a pink salt grinder and test it out. So far, so good.

All-in-all, my pantry looks kind of empty and minimal – because it is! In my experience, the idea of only buying “stuff” when you need it should also apply to food. By buying food when you need it, not only will your fridge and pantry be filled with less clutter, you’ll potentially reduce your food waste which will save you money. As a side rant, I have to say that groceries are more expensive than ever now, which is why it’s even more important to cut costs and save where you can!

One of the things that helps me save both time and money is buying most of the same stuff every week. If you’re curious, this is what my typical grocery list includes.

My Weekly Grocery List

  • 2-3 apples
  • 4-5 bananas
  • berries (both fresh for snacks and frozen for smoothies)
  • a lemon and a lime
  • kale and/or spinach
  • avocado
  • broccoli
  • cucumber
  • zucchini
  • red peppers
  • yams
  • ginger
  • almond milk
  • eggs
  • rice noodles
  • granola (a bag usually lasts two weeks)
  • whatever I need in bulk (including nuts/trail mix)
  • sometimes a fake meat product (like veggie ground or sausage)
  • and then anything else for specific recipes I’m trying*

*As an example, this week I think I’ll use up those black beans by making black bean quesadillas, so I’ll buy some Daiya cheese and wraps! That means I can also use up the rest of the cilantro in my fridge. :)

In showing you all of these pictures this week, I want to make sure I leave you with one thought: you don’t need to be “as minimalist” as I am. If you feel overwhelmed by how much work you would have to do to overhaul your kitchen and/or your pantry, slow down and ask yourself what ONE thing you could work on instead.

There are still so many things I want to change about what you see here! I’d love to eventually have a zero waste kitchen, but I’m not quite there yet and that’s ok. It’s a work in progress because I am a work in progress. And by making these changes slowly, all of these new things I’m trying (like cooking more and making my own salad dressings) have the potential to become lifelong habits. <– that’s the goal. Attaining a certain level of minimalism is not.

So, what’s the one thing you’d like to change about your kitchen/pantry/grocery shopping habits?

Also, do you have any links/recommendations for where I can source reusable bulk and produce bags? xo!

Extra Reading

  • I love the simplicity here!

    I would like to cut down on the clutter and excess in my pantry. I’ve gotten better, but I still have many items “just in case” that can quite literally sit on a shelf for YEARS… yikes! I am working to clear out the pantry by either eating the random items or giving away what we won’t really use.

  • Super cool and simple! I love how you use everything up. We have recently started getting a weekly box of food on subscription (including varying, tasty, healthy, vegetarian recipes) for all our big meals. This also means that everything is used up so we avoid wasting food and it is much cheaper than buying all the meals ourselves :-)

  • oh my gosh you should see our fridge, freezer and pantry. We are definitely the full-fridge type. But being someone who works on your own schedule and who has gotten a routine down, you know what to buy and how much so it works.

    I am still working on getting a routine, but it seems my life is still too chaotic… lol. I do have a 16 month old son and a spouse that “can’t” eat the same thing every week so I think that routine will be a while a way… In the meantime I will dream of your organized and clean kitchen!

  • I love to make full use of the freezer if I can. Batch up some healthy meals, for days the body doesn’t comply or uno just not in the mood to cook ;). I find it a great way of always having something healthy on hand, without spending money on ordering food in. Every so often I buy in bulk the staples and then get the veg/fruit as fresh as possible once a week. Highly recommend the mixture of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and coarse sea salt for salads! :) I love “It’s a work in progress because I am a work in progress”. <3 This is so true small steps build up over time.

  • Mr. Tiny Ambitions would go bananas (hehe) if he saw how empty your fridge is (in a good way). Since we are moving soon, we’ve been trying to use up everything in our pantry and fridge, and it’s amazing how many meals you can make out of what is already on hand! It’s awesome that you are able to support Canadian companies in your food choices. I think not a lot of people know there are great Canadian companies out there selling great products- so major props for that!

  • I’m trying to cut down on food waste. We just bought a bunch of meat to freeze from Costco because if we don’t have it in the house we’ll go out instead. A money saver for us.

    My favourite home made dressing: juice of one orange (approx 1/4 cup), 1/4 cup olive oil, 1-2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar. Mix oj and balsamic vinegar. Blend in olive oil. Enjoy!

  • Amazon has a large selection of produce bags. I think mine are the Earthwise brand with the drawstring top. I love that they fold up so small that they can go in my purse and I’m less likely to forget taking them to the store. I’ve heard some people take mason jars to the store for bulk goods (my store doesn’t have a good bulk section).

    Unfortunately in our house there’s a lot of “his” food and “her” food so things could be simpler if we didn’t have so many duplicates.

  • Love the kitchen! I’m working on getting rid of all the excess gadgets that I rarely use (packing everything in a box, and what I haven’t used in 6 months, I’ll get rid of – I’m sure some of it will go before then, but I do a lot of baking around Christmas so want to make sure I incorporate the stuff I use at that time). As for produce bags, I’m super fortunate in that my mom has a sewing machine and lots of old fabric from when she made our clothes as kids. I went home last year and whipped up a bunch of different sized produce bags from scrap material and they work great! Mine have drawstrings but depending on what you’re buying, you don’t really need it to tie shut. If you don’t have access to a sewing machine, I’d check etsy out or, if you’re interested in a list of sites, let me know and I’ll post them here. I haven’t purchased from any of them though so I’m not sure about shipping to Canada.

    I asked for these nut milk bags for Christmas last year: https://www.amazon.ca/gp/aw/d/B01C8789UA/ref=mp_s_a_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1500480690&sr=8-3&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&keywords=nut+milk&dpPl=1&dpID=51kypcHwB-L&ref=plSrch. They allow you to make your own almond milk (super easy, zero waste, and really delicious!) and they can be used as bags for buying grains, beans, rice, etc. in bulk!

  • Great article.

    I’ve just found your blog and have been decluttering and simplifying my own kitchen and home for a few years now. Delighted to have found a resource to take it to the next level!

  • Cait, this is so helpful! I just cleaned a portion of my fridge (after stopping due to the insane humidity level here in New England) and this gives me the inspiration to keep going! The condiments are going to be a lengthy project! Next, I’ll tackle my pantry. I’m a bit afraid….

    Your slow living posts are very helpful, I tend to move fast in everything and it shows, even when reading, I go fast, fast, fast! It’s time to slow it down and breathe.

    Come to Portsmouth, NH sometime in your travels, we can have coffee! :-)

  • As a food blogger, I love taking a sneak peak into other people’s fridges. Thanks for sharing yours. :)
    Our kitchen cupboard space is pretty minimal since we live in a tiny condo in Toronto (we have one large drawer for pantry goods). To cut costs, I buy a lot of things in bulk too. Unfortunately I hate having little bags everywhere and jars take up lots of precious real estate. If anyone has any advice on how to store dry goods without jars, I’m all ears!

    My biggest issue right now with our fridge is that we’ve become the “dumping ground” for people to hand off groceries they don’t need or want anymore. My sister moved out of her residency in April and we have a lot of her leftover condiments. We are not pop drinkers, but we have a couple cans in the back of the fridge from when our friends visited and brought snacks and drinks. If I didn’t feel guilty about tossing food, I would have thrown all this out a while ago. Any tips on what to do with orphaned food that is open?

    • Compost orphaned food that is open! (Obv not everything can be composted, but that’s what I do with my leftovers that never get eaten and so on)

  • This is awesome. The only thing I do that’s different is that I try as hard as I can (in a small town which little options) to buy in bulk with my own jars/bags. I avoid as much waste as possible, but obv I can’t always buy my favorite items that way so I have to give myself grace. I’ve been reading Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson, it’s so inspiring!! It goes hand in hand with minimalism.

  • Cait, thank you so much for taking us on a tour of your kitchen and pantry! This is the sort of thing that makes my heart go pitter-pat. You can really tell how much you have in common with a person by taking a look in the kitchen. I am also fond of lining things up, and our shopping lists are nearly identical. Given our similarities, I just wanted to put in a plug for making your own granola, which can be customized depending on what’s available in bulk or what you have on hand (raisins, dried cherries, hazelnuts, coconut shavings), made with less sweetener, and it also ends up being quite a bit cheaper than the packaged stuff. Plus, the process is so calming and your condo will smell divine. Another thing I’ve been doing this summer is buying half flats of fresh berries from local farms and freezing 3/4 of them in my own containers (or reused plastic bags) for use in my smoothies throughout the year. I’m hoping this will cut down on the amount of pre-packaged frozen berries I have to buy during the winter. Just some thoughts! Thank you for sharing your life with us!

  • Wow, I admire your fridge and cupboards!! In our house we eat two separate diets (me vegan/organic, him all the meat and white starches he can find) so our fridge and cupboards are packed. This post has given me the motivation to clean out my kitchen when I’m on vacation next month, thanks!! (Also, love seeing the granola, great choice! Proud NP employee here :) )

  • Wow, I admire your fridge and cupboards!! In our house we eat two separate diets (me vegan/organic, him all the meat and white starches he can find) so our fridge and cupboards are packed. This post has given me the motivation to clean out my kitchen when I’m on vacation next month, thanks!! (Also, love seeing the granola, great choice! Proud NP employee here :) )

  • This was so interesting, thank you for sharing!

    I’m curious about your thoughts on food storage/emergency food in case of a disaster. I laugh because I am torn between wanting to be a Prepper and be prepared for any conceivable event, but also wanting to be a minimalist and not lug around all this stuff in case of someday. I think FEMA reccomends 72hrs worth of food on hand yet other studies show you would need much more then that. The LDS church – which I grew up in – reccomends having 1 year of food storage on hand. Wowza. Currently my kitchen looks a lot like yours as I just moved, but I typically have an ok sized pantry and usually have big bags of flour, sugar, other basics that I slowly work through and consider my “food storage”. I also have 72 hr bug out kits for each person and also a few dehydrated backpacking foods hanging around. Luckily I live near family now so in the event of a disaster I plan to go mooch off of them…

    • I’m with you, Sarah. I live in Portland, OR, where the talk is constantly of “the big one” – the enormous earthquake that is overdue for this region. I store water, beans, rice, nuts, oats, cans of soup, and backpacking food in my basement, as the recommendation is to be prepared to self-sustain for at least 2 weeks. I don’t even think twice about this stuff, as it’s in a closet and not in the mix with my regular kitchen supplies. I will not let my desire for minimalism compromise my family’s safety, especially when the threat is supported by considerable research.

    • I’m with you on this, Sarah. While I love the aesthetics of an uncluttered fridge/pantry, I think it’s possible to do that without leaving oneself in a bad situation if something goes awry. When we had the huge gas price hike after Hurricane Katrina and there was a gas shortage, we were unable to leave our house for days because we couldn’t find anywhere that had gas. If my fridge had been quiet that bare, we would’ve been “up a creek without a paddle.”

  • Buying just enough is the best way to eliminate food waste.
    Unfortunately fridges and freezers use less energy when they are full, because it takes more energy to cool down air. An idea I stole from a zero waste blog: I keep my compost in a paperbag in my freezer. That way it takes up space in there, it doesn’t stink, get mouldy or attracts fruit flys and it’s out of my way.

  • My fridge isn’t that empty when I move house, let alone day to day 😉
    Having so little in the fridge and freezer is making your appliance work harder though to keep chilling the space. Your best bet is to put some water bottles into both to fill up some of the space, it will save energy (and a little bit of money). I know you won’t be one for buying plastic bottles of water but you could consider the fridge ones as part of your emergency supplies and the frozen ones can act as chillers/ice blocks for taking food in a cooler. Or even for hiking, as the water will unfreeze as you hike, but still be chilled for you to drink when you need it.

    I found a great recipe for making my own granola. Google will find you a few, or I pinned it to my Food-Breakfast board (victoriaspace on Pinterest).

    I have a lot in my cupboards and freezer. My tendency with some of this, as it is for so many like fabric and art supplies, is to buy or get given great ingredients and then struggle with the idea of ‘wasting’ them. So I never use them and end up throwing them away when they go off, which is a true waste. I need to get better at that.

  • Love it! I’m always trying to figure out new ways to make my pantry more streamlined and make cooking simpler. I have reusable bags from http://www.credobags.com and http://www.coolearthproducts.com/carebags which are both awesome (depends on what you want – the first link has organic cotton ones, the second is polyester/spandex so much stretchier with finer mesh. I use them both for different things). I also love the ones from https://danslesac.co/boutique-2/ because they’re gorgeous and good for bread, small items and dry goods (solid rather than mesh). All three are Canadian companies – Credo and Dans le sac are from Montréal, and Carebags are originally out of Mission, BC!

  • Hello Cait, I have one question and would love to hear your answer! Do you keep your journals or do you throw them away after you finished a notebook? I started journaling a few months ago (absolutely love it) and just finished my first notebook. I’m currently debating whether or not to keep it. I like the idea of reading it again after a few years, but actually try to not live in the past or think about it too much. Plus I’ll definitely keep journaling, so there will be a lot of notebooks to store in a few years.

    What are your thoughts on this? Thank you so much in advance!

  • Loving this post…My pantry is a little bit more full than yours, but we are a family of 4 humans, 4 cats + 1 dog…however do meal planning see what we already have and then buy only what we need is a good deal and when we buy in bulk we tend to cook and eat what we already have, no waste food is necessary, but we are humans and sometimes we have some treat…however your grocery shopping is healty :D

  • I’m loving this post so much you have no idea.

    Our fridge is a bit of a nightmare at the moment. I’ve been trying to cull the obscene amount of condiments in there for a while now, but it has been a very slow process. We also currently have 3 types of milk in the fridge – almond (me), 2% (husband), 3.25% (son). That probably won’t change until next year when my son can switch to 2%. I also need to spend a little more time culling our pantry. Growing up on a farm and preserving our own food I became used to a much larger pantry (a whole room). With only the three of us, I don’t need anywhere near the amount of dry staples we have on hand. I suppose you could say our food situation as a whole needs to shrink.

    I’m thrilled to see you’re thinking about going zero waste (I’d love posts on it!) I started trying to tackle our waste this past spring, and it’s been a long process. Given how far along you are already as a minimalist, it will probably take you less effort than it has for me so far. I actually ended up buying a meter of fabric and making produce bags myself, but I’ve seen them at both bulk barn and IKEA. Paredownhome.com carries an assortment of reusable items, but it doesn’t look like they carry produce bags. One of our local organic stores carries nut milk bags that would work well for produce as well, so perhaps you could check there?

  • I love this post. I too am a minimalist when it comes to my pantry. My fridge remains virtually empty and I buy grains, spices etc. in bulk once in about 1 or 2 months. But I buy fresh food – veggies, fruits, bread, milk, eggs etc. everyday. That’s how it is in India. I also order hemp hearts from Amazon. It is surprising how much the world has shrunk. Would love to know how you use hemp hearts. I eat it with yogurt. Unfortunately, I tried going vegan but it doesn’t suit me. I tend to develop some or the other deficiencies so I have decided to eat minimal quantities of dairy and eggs. A clean pantry is so good for the soul.

  • We’ve recently changed our grocery shopping habits to shopping 2-3 times a week too, primarily because we were wasting so much food! I would love to do more meal prep for the week, especially lunches to take to work. Our fridge is a mess though, so I always feel like there won’t be room to store the food I prep. Guess I should make it a priority to clean that sucker out :)

  • Congrats on this mostly plant-based list, that’s amazing! I love Simple Ecology cotton bags for bulk and produce purchases – they’re easy to clean, unbleached, cotton-based (biodegradable!) and they have the tare weight in little tags on the outside of the bags. http://www.simpleecology.com

  • I’m new to your blog and haven’t had a chance to look around but I wanted to make a few comments;

    1. Your fridge is amazing and something I’m working towards. Just over a year ago, I went to a “try to only buy what I need for the week” shopping strategy and it has cut down our food waste to almost nothing (only a few servings in one year and I don’t feel totally horrible because I feed the food scraps to my friends two goats and/or my compost) and decreased our already low grocery bill ($315 for a family of four) by 10%. I still stock up on staples but only for a few months. If I run out, something else will be on sale and that further diversifies our (kinda limited, I wouldn’t call myself a cook) menu.

    2. Not sure if you have a Bulk Barn near you but this year, they changed their policy to allow shoppers to bring in their own, clean containers. Not only does it allow me to minimize my waste (those horrible plastic bags), it has minimized the time that it takes for me to unpack because everything is already in their jars and cleaned up my shelves as I don’t have any more bags with 12 apricots that don’t fit lying around.

    3. I signed up for your weekly musings. Are they the same as an email subscribe option for your blog? I’d love to follow along.

    Besos Sarah
    Fellow Canadian in Ontario

  • I loved this post. I always seem to struggle with the decision to stock up on sales, to save money, or keep it simple and buy only for right now. I love the minimal approach in all areas of life, and currently trying to balance it with the frugal way we live as well. I put in a large vegetable garden, and so primarily we are eating produce from the garden. I also am trying to experiment with food choices that work for my body, tried the paleo approach last month, and discovered I like the no dairy approach but can’t stand eating meat so much! This month I’m focusing proteins on beans and fish which I love. I would be very interested in your meal planning.

  • Might i suggest Jamie Olivers roasted sweet potato and bean chilli? Delicious and healthy, i use black beans in mine but you can use can beans that you like or have to hand.

  • I’m late to comment here, but you should try making your own granola! Granola can be kind of expensive, but it’s so easy and cheap to make. I don’t really use a recipe, but you can look for a simple one. I start with oats, add a couple teaspoons each of olive oil, honey, and water– so it’s just damp– then I like to add vanilla and cinnamon and chia seeds. Spread it on a baking sheet and bake at a low temp like 300f/150c for maybe 45 minutes (watch so you don’t burn it). It’s done when it’s dry, and it should stick in clusters. If you like to add nuts or other seeds, add them in the last 5 minutes or so to toast them, or just mix them in after you take it out of the oven. I store it all week in a jar. You can make any variation you like, it’s much cheaper, and so good! I’ll never go back to store-bought!

  • It is super easy to make your own Granola! All you need is oats, oil (I use coconut), and honey as the base and toast in the oven at 350 until brown. Add whatever else you like or have in stock in terms of nuts, seeds, dried fruit etc and voila!

  • Bit late to the party here but this post really struck me. Food is the one area of my life where I find it really hard to get rid of a scarcity mentality. I hate feeling like I might run out and have at least 500g of different kinds of lentils, pasta, rice, nuts at all times. You want to cook Japanese, Morrocan, Indian or Korean? Don’t worry, I’ve got all the spices and condiments!

    I was never hungry growing up, but my parents both grew up VERY poor and this resulted in to food stockpiling as adults, a behaviour I inherited. It also led them to super generous portion sizes, delightful big family dinners, cooking for neighbours and the community, volunteering for the local food bank. They really like seeing people get fed!

    I’ve been embracing minimalism and it’s been easy everywhere except the kitchen. I’m struggling to overcome my fear of running out, and the feeling that more is better when it comes to food and kitchenware. I do cook a lot and I enjoy it, but I spend way more money on food than others in my age and income bracket and it’s an area I could really benefit from cutting down my budget in.

    I have had a recent clear out of kitchenware, and food, and I suppose it’s a process. Maybe I’ll learn that I can live without that stuff, and begin to think I could learn to live with even less. Still, any tips on how to address the root psychological causes of my food and kitchenware would be greatly appreciated!

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