Capsule Kitchen in a Tiny Home - 30 Days to Simplicity: Day 01

Meal Planning. Grocery Shopping. Meal Preparation.

Each week I spend hours:

  • Pouring through old and new recipes.
  • Assigning meal ideas to specific calendar days.
  • Creating a grocery list.
  • Roaming the aisles looking for elusive ingredients.
  • Finding space in my tiny fridge and pantry to store items.
  • Preparing meals using my limited dishes.
  • Eating dinner with my family and gathering their opinion, especially on new recipes.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

These responsibilities have been mine for years, yet the whole process can still overwhelm me. I won’t admit how many “boxed meals” I have served to my family. I didn’t have all the ingredients or enough time to prepare a scheduled meal. I love living in an RV, but am constrained by its smaller space for food storage and meal preparation.

There’s got to be a simpler way.

Capsule Kitchen

I was researching creating a capsule wardrobe/personal uniform and found a post about creating a capsule kitchen.

The idea immediately spoke to me.

Choose 33 items (foods and drinks) and make meals using those ingredients for three months.

Could limiting the ingredients I work with make this whole process easier?

The “Rules” for the Capsule Kitchen Challenge (via Be More With Less):

  1. Choose 33 ingredients counting food and drink (water doesn’t count).
  2. Add spices, condiments, and anything you like to pump up the flavor and don’t count them in your 33.
  3. Be specific when choosing your ingredients. Triscuits, not crackers. Lentils, not beans. Whole wheat penne, not pasta.
  4. This is not a project in suffering. If you need a cheat day once a month, take it. If you need to redo your list because you can’t make a meal from yours, change it. If you spend a week in Paris, eat a macaroon. Don’t let one excuse derail the entire challenge. Work around it.
  5. Get rid of a crutch or trigger food for 3 months. Examples may include sugar, flour, salt, alcohol, meat, dairy, animal products.

I’m not much of a rule-follower anymore so I’m focused on the this is not a project in suffering part.  As I create my list I won’t stress if it turns out to be 28 or 40 items. I’m also not planning to exclude any particular foods.

My goal is to simplify.

My Plan

  • Look through our current ‘go-to’ recipes
  • Create my list of ~33 ingredients
  • Find other recipes that share those ingredients
  • Use up my current non-list ingredients (vs. throwing them away)
  • Shop to buy the ingredients I don’t have
  • Begin the Capsule Kitchen plan
  • Journal my progress here each day for 30 days
  • Revisit my progress at 60 and 90 days
  • Decide whether to continue with the Capsule Kitchen approach (but re-think the 33 items based on the new season)

Is Meal Planning A Challenge For You?

If so, join me on this 30-day challenge!

Feel free to use our comments to post what you think of the idea, or if doesn’t work for you. If you have your own blog, post a comment with a link to it.

Let’s stop spending so much time and energy deciding what to eat all the time!

Follow Ditching Suburbia’s board Capsule Kitchen on Pinterest.

9 Comments Capsule Kitchen in a Tiny Home - 30 Days to Simplicity: Day 01

  1. Picture of Jessica Curren Jessica Curren June 01, 2015

    What a great idea! What’s funny is that I think I’ve naturally started cooking this way without really trying. I find that my grocery list is the same pretty much every week while the recipes are still pretty varied. 33 ingredients though might be a challenge. I’ll have to go count!

  2. Picture of Crissa Boyink Crissa Boyink June 01, 2015

    We’re guessing you have 57 items without even realizing it. I had to really think about and cut ingredients out for this experiment.

    Let me know what your count is.

  3. Picture of Tristin Tristin June 02, 2015

    You know, food storage and preparation is one of the things I dwell on with consideration to any sort of small living.  I’m currently trying to simplify so that I spend less time in the kitchen and therefore more time enjoying the other things life has to offer, while feeding my family healthy meals.  Can’t wait to see your capsule kitchen posts—I think I may play along. ; )

    I’d guess that I surpass 33 items every week when I shop—in fact, I know I do.

  4. Picture of Crissa Boyink Crissa Boyink June 02, 2015


    Simplification is truly my goal with this project. I didn’t list decreasing time in the kitchen, but that is definitely true for me, too.

    The experiment is to try with 33 items, but I’m finding that to be a tricky number for me, too. I keep remembering that it is only for 3 months. Plus, I can always add more to my list if I find I need it for the sake of easier meal prep, aka less time in the kitchen.

    Please play along and let me know how it’s going for you.

  5. Picture of Laurie Sherman Laurie Sherman June 04, 2015

    I have been thinking of trying this and would love to hear about how it works for others.

  6. Picture of Crissa Boyink Crissa Boyink June 04, 2015

    Hi Laurie,

    When I started I had a difficult time finding blogs that talked about trying the Capsule Kitchen. I did find Miranda Writes . She wrote about her start-up and her wrap-up.

    Hopefully others who are following along here will share their stories, as well.

    And I’ll be journaling my experience through the month.  Follow along.

  7. Picture of Lonna Lonna July 01, 2015

    Just found you today via the Capsule Kitchen Facebook page, and have read all the way through!

  8. Picture of Crissa Boyink Crissa Boyink July 02, 2015


    Glad you found me. I hope my experience with the Capsule Kitchen for the first month has been helpful.

  9. Picture of Kathy wegener Kathy wegener August 02, 2016

    Looking forward to learning more.we basically eat a paleo diet.still have weak moments for things we shouldn’t eat.I find rv kitchen hard for baking bread or snacks.

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