food, rv living

RV Living: How A Foodie Minimized Their Pantry

When we lived in a house, I used to keep three extra tubs of miso paste in the deep freeze.

Why? Did I think I wasn’t going to make it to the store for the next 6-12 months? I think the reason had more to do with not having to think or worry as much about running out of things if I happened to forget it during one (or two) shopping trips. 

I did this with a lot of things – butter, pasta & frozen fruit to name a few more. We kept so many things in stock that it was overwhelming to think about and keep up with it all, so this was my solution. Add it to the list when it gets low, but keep a few extras in case I forget or don’t make it to the store before I need more. 

Nowadays (living in an RV), I still add items to the list when they get low, but I don’t keep so much back-stock and I hardly ever forget things because there’s so much less to keep track of. I do still stock extra pasta and butter because we use a lot of butter (and panic when we run out) and pasta is just good to have for emergencies or rainy days. 

Aside from the quantities of things that we keep, we’ve also GREATLY reduced the number of different items we buy and store on a regular basis, let alone keep in stock at all times. I have found that we do just fine, better, even, to work with fewer options and, instead, add in new or different things occasionally – or on a rotating basis – to mix things up and save space.

Here is most of what we keep in the pantry, what we buy regularly (or less often) and what we stopped buying for the most part. Bolded items are the things we use most.

We don’t always have access to a Costco, but we do buy a fair amount from there when we can. Sometimes things just sit out on the floor for a while if they don’t fit in the cupboards.

Things I keep in stock:

FRIDGE:
• butter
• 
basic condiments
• coconut water
• almond milk
• maple syrup from Costco
• almond butter from Costco
• apples
• lemons & limes
• celery
• carrots
• cheese slices
eggs
berries
• tortillas
• Caesar dressing
• bread

FREEZER:
• select frozen fruit for smoothies
• bananas
• select meats
• 
yogurt starter
shredded parmesan & Mexican cheeses
ice cubes
• 
veggie scraps to make homemade broth

DSC_0117
Fruit hanging just inside the door.
DSC_0110
Our lovely steel spice racks handmade by my husband. Not sure ifwe’ll ever hang them on the wall!

PANTRY:
• brown rice
• sundried tomatoes
• lentils
assorted superfoods for smoothies
• assorted nuts & seeds for smoothies and recipes
whole wheat flour
• all-purpose flour
• almond flour
• coconut sugar
• brown sugar
• chocolate chips
• rolled oats
• arrowroot powder
• other baking needs: coconut oil, raw honey, baking soda, baking powder
spices
extra coconut water from Costco (when we have access and space)
extra almond milk from Costco (when we have access and space)
• extra almond butter from Costco
• backstock of superfoods that don’t fit in my glass jars
backstock of cashews & dates from Costco
• ACV
extra maple syrup from Costco
• olive oil from Costco
assorted pasta & boxed mac & cheese
onions
• potatoes
• garlic
• peanut butter
• popcorn
• tea
trail mix
coffee
Garden of Life Meal Powder
tortilla chips
• peaches, plums & nectarines in the Summer
• oranges & clementines in the Winter
• bananas
• extra bulk herbs & spices
• a handful of boxed soup

 

In addition to this list, I have two baskets of more miscellaneous stuff that gets used less, but is not easily substituted and doesn’t take up a huge amount of space. The baskets include a few types of vinegar, molasses, homemade seasoning mixes, seaweeds, unique grains (teff, buckwheat, farro), quinoa flakes and a couple other odds & ends.

DSC_0092
My”extra” baskets (one behind the other) utilizing shared closet space.

Things I buy/make/use regularly, but we don’t ALWAYS have:

FRIDGE:
• bell peppers
• sausages
• milk for homemade yogurt
• hard-boiled eggs
• cheese blocks
• broccoli
• asparagus
• mushrooms
• grapes
• cherries when in season
• watermelon/other melons
• 
miso paste
• tahini
• turkey lunchmeat
• salsa

FREEZER:
• 
extra sausages
• tomato paste once the can is opened
• parmesan rinds for chicken noodle soup
• citrus zest & grated ginger

PANTRY:
• cereal
• homemade granola
• pomegranates in the Winter

Things I rotate out:

FRIDGE: Nothing specifically, but I buy or open larger items when the fridge is less full (boxed salad, big bags of carrots from Costco or watermelon). I decide what to buy based on how much room there is in the fridge.

FREEZER:
• frozen fruit varieties for smoothies (can only fit one big bag along with some smaller bags)

• mason jars full of either homemade broth, pasta sauce or beans cooked from dry
• beef or chicken if bought in three packs at Costco

PANTRY:
• Sometimes I choose between bulk almond milk and coconut water from Costco. Sometimes I just try to fit it all.
• a handful of canned items

DSC_0077
A very full pantry cupboard with some “non-essentials” ; )

Things I buy occasionally:

FRIDGE:
• boxed salad (or any lettuce, really)
• beets
• parsley
• cauliflower
• bok choy
• parsnips
• fresh herbs (when there isn’t much supply on my potted ones)
cheese sticks
• tomato soup from Costco
• bagels from Costco
• English muffins

FREEZER:
• salmon
• steak
• bacon
• frozen peas & corn

PANTRY:
• potato chips
• organic cheese puffs
• crackers
• couscous
• fresh tomatoes
• pears
• kiwi
• pineapple

DSC_0107

Things I no longer buy/store or have greatly reduced:

FRIDGE:
• 
seldom used or duplicate condiments
• jelly
• juice
• cow milk (unless I’m making yogurt)
• excess apples & oranges

FREEZER:
• frozen pizza
• frozen meals
• frozen vegetables
• gallons of water (ice)
• extra/leftovers of large meals
• ice cream

PANTRY:
• quinoa
• certain superfoods, nuts & seeds
• way too much tea!
• gluten-free flour
• excess chocolate chips
• cornstarch
• powdered sugar
• way too many extra bulk herbs & spices
• store-bought granola bars
• store-bought cookies

Are you struggling with minimizing your pantry? Please let me know in the comments if this list was interesting or helpful to you!

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