Simplifying your Pantry and a List of my Essentials
As someone living with Coeliac Disease who has a huge interest in nutrition and integrative health (I'm a Certified Holistic Health Coach and have also studied Nutrition and Naturopathy) I've found that having a reasonably organised pantry is key to easy meal planning, preparation and keeping our grocery bill under control. It also means that we're making the most of the space available to us so items aren't being stored on the benches or dining room table.
If you're interested in clearing out and simplifying your pantry, I've listed here the pantry essentials I regularly have on hand as well as the storage solutions I use should you find it helpful.
Before you begin organising your pantry
When you're ready to begin, have a box or bag ready for items you're going to get rid of and a box or bag ready for items you're going to donate. Label each accordingly.
Clear the benches and dining room table so you have room to sort through items.
Think about the way in which you prepare and cook meals, what is going to be the best use of your space? Items you use daily should be easy to reach (and to put away). If you have young children you might like to consider creating an area on a low shelf for them to access their plates, cutlery and snacks.
Connect with your Why
Why will simplifying your pantry make your life better? Will it mean a cheaper grocery bill because you know exactly what you have on hand? Will it help with planning or inspire you to cook more often or healthier?
Connect with your why and think about what needs to change in this space and how it's going to elevate your health and happiness.
Items to consider removing from your pantry
- Expired food items;
- Items with broken packaging;
- Canned or tinned goods you're unlikely to use. Please consider donating these if they're still within their best before date, I’ve worked with many clients hugely grateful for the kind donations of others.
- Items with allergens if you, your partner or child have recently been diagnosed with a food allergy.
- Items that no longer align with your values or goals.
My pantry essentials
This is simply an example of what I keep on hand to cook simple, gluten free, wholesome meals and snacks for my family. These items are combined with the fresh produce stored elsewhere (namely in the fridge) in our kitchen.
You'll see as you scan my list that your pantry will of course require different ingredients to suit your favourite meals and needs but I hope by sharing this it serves as a place for you to start thinking about what you use most often and need on hand. I've also listed some of my favourite brands as I get asked about these a lot, these links are not sponsored they're simply those I use and love.
Beans & Legumes
Where possible I try to purchase these dried or in BPA free cans.
Apple Cider Vinegar (I use Bragg)
Celtic sea salt
Himalayan rock salt
Tomato Passata (purchased in a glass jar)
Fats & Oils
Cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
Macadamia nut oil
Cold pressed sesame oil
Virgin coconut oil
Flour and Baking Essentials
Bicarbonate of soda
Brown rice flour
Brown rice puffs
Cacao powder (I like the one from Loving Earth)
Carob powder (I find the Australia Carob Co Roasted Powder tastes the best)
Vanilla bean powder (This can be really hard to find, if you're having trouble sourcing it an option is to dehydrate beans and grind them up into a fine powder).
Buckwheat (I like Loving Earths Activated Buckinis)
Oats (my husband - who doesn't have Coeliac Disease - loves his overnight oats!)
Herbs & Spices
These are the dried herbs and spices I regularly have in our pantry. Not listed here are those I try to grow or purchase fresh from the farmers market like basil and mint.
Nuts and Seeds
In summer I store our nuts and seeds in the fridge or freezer. During winter I find that our pantry is cool enough.
Honey (I try to buy honey produced locally when possible)
Pure maple syrup (Grade A)
Tea & Coffee
I try wherever possible to minimise the amount of toxins our family is exposed to and have also experienced pantry moths in the past (the worst!) so for these reasons my preferred form of storage is glass.
The best glass jars I've found for storing pantry essentials are the Fido airtight storage jars. You can find affordable glass storage jars at your local dollar shop, Kmart, Big W, Target or Kitchen Warehouse or Peters of Kensington online. Ikea has or is due to soon a release a range too.
Some people find using baskets or bins to group like items together is a great way to organise their pantry. For affordable options you can purchase these from Office Works, Kmart, Target and Big W.
Labels can be great to help both yourself and others navigate where things are located and should be returned to. Here are some options you might be interested in trying:
- Create your own using a Sharpie straight onto the container or on a piece of tape;
- Create a handwritten label on paper and secure to the jar / container with clear contact;
- Download free labels and secure with clear contact;
- Purchase a label maker, my personal favourite is the Dymo Organiser Xpress Embosser;
1. Take everything out of your pantry.
2. Remove items as you go using the suggestions listed under 'Items to Consider Removing from your Pantry' above.
3. As you place items back in your pantry consider grouping them together in categories such as Breakfast, Dinner, Snacks, Baking etc. You can categorise them via shelf or use baskets or bins to group items together.
4. Place the items you use least and things like spare paper towel on the highest shelves.
5. Dedicate 15 - 30 minutes each week to taking stock of your pantry, removing items as needed and meal planning for the week ahead.