Never Run Out of Household Essentials with a Staples Checklist


I wonder how much mental capacity you’ve spent trying to remember that spice you ran out of recently or if you have enough shampoo.

I also wonder how much frustration you’ve felt needing a medicine in the middle of the night only to realize it’s out. Or running out of printer ink, batteries, or toilet paper, thinking you had a back-up pack.

Keeping everything on hand seems like such a simple part of running a home, but it takes real effort in the midst of so many other responsibilities. 

(There’s a reason that large companies have entire departments devoted to inventory management!)

Fortunately, with the right tool, you can consistently keep everything you need and want on hand at all timeswithout having to mentally keep track of anything!

By creating a comprehensive household staples checklist, all the essentials for your kitchen, pantry, cleaning, home maintenance, personal care and more – will be ready for you when you need it.

Using a staples checklist has been one of the most mentally-freeing tools in my experience caring for our home.

I’m excited to put over 100 suggestions all in one place so that you can create one that meets your exact needs!

What is a staples checklist, and why should I use one?

A staples checklist is simply a list of items you always want to have on-hand; it’s all the things you rely on having in your home. Others refer to it as a household essentials list.

It is as unique as your home & family, and the more comprehensive & specific, the better!

The most obvious benefit is the reliability of never running out of your needed items!

Just as important, though, is the relief it provides from keeping track of all of it in your head and relying on memory.

  • With certain “staple” items for cooking always on-hand, you can simplify and streamline your meal planning and grocery lists to focus on the main ingredients.
  • Like the examples at the beginning of the post, you don’t have to wrack your brain for the miscellaneous items you’ve recently run out of!
  • At regular intervals, you can restock based on your checklist – and then actually trust that everything you need is taken care of. Big breath 🙂

Create your own staples checklist simply & quickly with this template, and save the suggestions from this post for later!

What should I include in my staples checklist?

Staples Checklist Overview

I suggest you include items you always want on hand for every area of your home:

  • Ingredients in fridge and freezer
  • Pantry items and spices
  • Toiletries and medicine
  • Household items and cleaners
  • Home maintenance and office supplies

I also suggest you view your staples checklist as a work-in-progress.

  1. Start by using the template and reviewing the suggested items.
  2. Then, go through each area of your home and visually inventory what’s there. What items should you add to your staples list that are missing?
  3. Allow yourself 1-2 months to continue to add things to the list as they come up. This is why it’s so helpful to have an electronic version you can continually edit.
  4. Lastly, as your season of life changes or your family/home’s needs change, simply add or remove items as needed. Let it serve you exactly how you need in this moment.

Below I have compiled a range of suggestions for each category mentioned above. Many items are from my own personal list, and others are from these incredible sites:

Of course, every individual’s staples checklist will be as unique as they are. I have attempted to include as many ideas as possible without getting ridiculous. 😉

Ingredients in fridge and freezer

**This list is definitely the one that will vary the most from person to person. Since I meal plan every week, I only buy perishable items I know I will use for the week’s meals and snacks. However, some prefer to keep basic ingredients on hand and cook more flexibly. Just keep your meal approach in mind when deciding how many items to include here.

Milk (of choice)Condiments (ketchup, mustard, mayo, hot sauce)Frozen vegetables (of choice)
ButterSauces or marinades (soy, teriyaki, worcestershire, BBQ)Frozen fruit
EggsSalad dressingsMeat, tofu
CheesesLemon or lime juiceFruit
YogurtPestoVegetables
Cream cheeseOlivesOnions
Sodas, canned drinksJams, jelliesGarlic
Cookie dough, ice creamGarnishesFresh herbs

Pantry items and spices

FlourBread, bagels (of choice)Basil
Yeast packetsDry beans or legumesCayenne pepper
Sugars (brown, white, etc.)Canned beans or peasCinnamon
HoneyCanned fruit or vegetablesNutmeg
Chocolate (baking, chips, cocoa powder)Canned chicken or tunaChili powder
Nuts or seedsCoconut milkCumin
Baking powder/sodaVinegarsCurry powder
Oils (olive, canola, etc.)Applesauce, fruit snacksGaram masala
Coffee or teaTomatoes (sauce, paste, crushed, diced)Garlic powder
Nut butter (of choice)Pasta sauceOnion powder
Maple syrupTaco shells or tortillasOregano
Breakfast cereals/grainsBread crumbsPaprika
Chips, pretzelsOatsParsley
CrackersPasta or noodlesPepper
PopcornQuinoa or riceRed pepper flakes
Protein or granola barsExtracts (vanilla, almond)Salt / seasoning salt
Rice cakesCanned soups, brothsThyme

Toiletries and medicine

DeodorantFacial cleanser, moisturizerLip balm
Body washCotton pads, Q-tipsBaby wash
Shampoo/conditionerSunscreenBaby lotion
ToothpastePain relievers (ibuprofen, acetaminophen)Diaper rash cream
Floss, mouthwashAllergy medicineDiapers, wipes
Razors, shaving creamAnti-nausea medicineBandages
LotionCold medicine, decongestantsHydrogen peroxide
Feminine productsVitaminsRubbing alcohol
Make-upCough drops, chest rubHeartburn tablets or medication
Contact solution, eye dropsAntibiotics ointment (Neosporin), anti-itch creamFirst aid kit

Household items and cleaners

Hand soapDishwashing detergentTub & shower cleaner
Hand sanitizerDish soapGlass cleaner
Ziplock bags, freezer bagsSpongesCleaning vinegar
Paper towelsDisinfectant wipesFurniture polishes
NapkinsLaundry detergentSpot carpet cleaner
Trash bagsDryer sheetsToilet bowl cleaner
Toilet paperBleach (chlorine, oxygen)Oven cleaner
TissuesFabric softenerStainless steel cleaner
Aluminum foilLint rollerEssential oils
Cling wrapStain remover
Wax paper, parchment paperAll-purpose cleaner

Home maintenance and office supplies

BatteriesPens, pencilsDrain cleaner
LightbulbsHighlightersHVAC filters
Matches, lightersPermanent markersPest sprays
TapeCorrection fluid or tape (Wite-Out)Lawn care treatments
StaplesSticky notes, notepadsGasoline
Printer ink, paperClips (paper, binder)Duct tape
Filing suppliesEnvelopes, stampsSuper glue
GlueGift wrap

Create your own staples checklist simply & quickly with this template, and save the suggestions from this post for later!

How do I use my staples checklist?

Make it reusable.

First and foremost, keep your staples list in an electronic format like the one I’ve provided, so that you can reuse it each time and also update it as needed.

  • I keep mine in a simple Google Doc to print off with the rest of my meal plan.
  • You could also store it in a favorite to-do app like Asana, Trello, or ToDoist — or even as a checklist in Notes!
  • If you love paper, just keep an original template and make copies 🙂

Inventory & stock up for a set time period.

Choose a regular interval of time that you want to stock up on your staple items.

This is how often you will review your staples checklist and identify what you need to buy.

Personally, even though I shop once a week, I go through my staples checklist once a month and ensure I have what I need for those 4-5 weeks.

You can certainly do this more or less often, depending on what works for your family’s schedule, storage space, and frequency of needs.

Just remember to consider how much of each staple you will need until you do your next restock.

Use your list to capture other items.

From time to time, I still have items that run out that are somewhat “miscellaneous” and are not included in my staples checklist.

I’m sure you have somewhere you jot these down – whether it’s a notepad, your phone, or even an Alexa list. Continue whatever system works for you for those urgent or miscellaneous items.

However, if it’s an item that isn’t urgent, you could keep a fresh copy of your checklist at all times and use this to capture all your upcoming needs in one place.

What’s next?

If you’re ready to build your own staples checklist, download the printer-friendly, editable templateOpens in a new tab. and the master list of suggestionsOpens in a new tab. to get you started.

And if a reusable staples checklist sounds like it could save you a lot of mental energy & effort, I have a full guide on creating an entire meal plan that is reusable!

If you could use more reusable, habits-based tips like this, sign up below for my monthly email and let me know how I can help you personally!

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