New Year, New Motivation: Kitchen Organization

[Frontspiece: I don’t think that unicorns will ever go out of style. If you are worried that your home might feel a bit dreary after taking down the holiday decorations come January, give your kitchen decor a little jolt with this Unicorn Paper Towel Holder from Overstock.com. Also convenient for impromptu jousting matches, or gently prodding your cat off the kitchen counter.]

When it comes to storage and organization solutions for the kitchen, the sky is the limit. Most kitchens feel short of storage space, but often this is more due to the inability to maximize the usefulness of the space that is available. Organization gadgets can be expensive and, since they are not exactly “necessary”, a Shopping Girl may put off dealing with a minor or major kitchen storage annoyance in favor of spending her money on other things.

It is also super-frustrating to proceed, motivated to resolve your kitchen storage dilemmas, only to find it impossible to obtain the items best suited to your space and needs.

Even worse, after investing time and money into the project, you discover that your chosen storage solutions aren’t up to the job. They may fail, as in a metal rack that quickly begins to rust, marring the contents and your cabinets. Or they may have negative features that you didn’t take into consideration at the start, such as racks affixed to the pantry wall, that are difficult to clean out, because they cannot be easily removed.

Other investments may work for a time, but don’t hold up very long. Plastic food storage containers are excellent examples of this problem. Even the best quality brands tend to deteriorate over time, absorb stains and odors, and become misshapen such that the lids don’t fit well and you have a fight to get them on and off.

You can make your investment and life easier by going with certain tried and true options, many of which will last a lifetime and give you superior storage and food preservation results. One such option is known as the glass hermetically sealed jar.

Le Parfait French Hermetic Glass Terrines at Containerstore.com
Le Parfait French Hermetic Glass Terrines at Containerstore.com

There is a reason that generations have relied upon this style of food storage container. It works for everything. You can use them for general storage of leftovers in the frig. You can use them to make jams, jellies, and other preserves. They are perfect for long-term storage of dry goods such as coffee, tea, flour, rice, and the like. They are great for storing snacks. Smaller ones work great for taking on a picnic or to your workplace for lunch, because they won’t leak. Unlike plastic and some metals, they will not deteriorate or alter the flavors of the food they contain. They stack neatly in a pantry, or look great displayed on a shelf or counter. They go in the dishwasher. They store everything, not just foodstuffs in the kitchen. Use them in the bathroom, craft studio, garage, or greenhouse. The rubber gaskets seal the jars perfectly and last a long time. When a gasket does finally wear out, replacements are inexpensive and easy to obtain. You really can’t go wrong with hermetic glass jars, although you should make a point of selecting those made of thick, high quality glass (which nearly all of them will be). They come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and colors.

Square Hermetic Glass Bottles at Containerstore.com
Square Hermetic Glass Bottles at Containerstore.com

The jars are great, but there is not a ShoppingGirl anywhere who wouldn’t benefit from owning a few of the hermetic glass bottles. These are perfect for everything from making fruit-infused water and iced tea to herbal vinegars and oils to your tree-hugger cosmetic concoctions that you use to enhance your beauty naturally. Store all of your homemade cleaning solutions easily under the bathroom sink. The best way to label glass jars and bottles is with a grease pencil; just write on the side or bottom, no worries, because the grease pencil notes will simply wipe off with a paper towel or cloth when you are ready to re-use the containers for something else. Meanwhile, it will stay legible on the bottle even if it gets wet.

Kilner Honey Pot at Containerstore.com
Kilner Honey Pot at Containerstore.com

A great solution for storing honey away from thieving ants and other pests, this hermetic gasket glass honey pot is both practical and adorable. If you have a collection of honeys, write the name of each on the top or bottom of the jar with your handy grease pencil, then line them up for a delicious, gemlike display.

42 Ounce Italian Glass Bottle at Containerstore.com
42 Ounce Italian Glass Bottle at Container store.com

Quench your thirst with this large, 42-ounce hermetic glass bottle. The decorative ribbing is also practical, making it easier to hold onto the bottle. If you happen to burn through a lot of homemade hot sauce or infused vinegars and oils, this will be just right. Or whip up batches of homemade liqueurs for gifts, visitors, or just solo binge-streaming fests.

Palais Glassware Set of 3 Clear Glass Apothecary Jars at Overstock.com
Palais Glassware Set of 3 Clear Glass Apothecary Jars at Overstock.com

Glass, while breakable, is a superior material for kitchen storage. It does not react in contact with food, so it won’t deteriorate or damage the food it contains. Clear glass containers enable you to see what’s inside, and monitor when you may need to restock. Colored glass is great for preserving the quality of light-sensitive foods, such as herbs and spices. Glass is also an excellent choice for display purposes. Even very large glass pieces, such as apothecary jars, don’t seem to take up as space, due to their transparency. Apothecary jars make wonderful counter top kitchen storage containers for things like cookies, fruit, nuts, and candy. They are usually quite large and will hold a lot. The decorative lids are easy to remove, and the openings large enough to reach in to grab a handful of your favorite snack. They also do double-duty as decorative display items throughout the year, such as mantel top or table top features. Apothecary jars are great bathroom display containers for your collection of cosmetics, nail polish, soaps, or bath bombs.

Set of 6 Colored Glass Owl Jars at Overstock.com
Set of 6 Colored Glass Owl Jars at Overstock.com

Small glass jars are perfect for storing your spices, especially if the glass is colored. This will help to reduce the amount of light that passes through into the jar, which will keep the herbs and spices fresher longer.

Artisan Glass Canisters with Oak Lids at Containerstore.com
Artisan Glass Canisters with Oak Lids at Containerstore.com

Every ShoppingGirl needs some good canisters. You’ll want sets that are designed for pantry storage, and probably at least one set that can be displayed on the counter, especially if you do a lot of baking and like having the quick, convenient access to your flour and other baking ingredients. This set of glass canisters with oak lids is a great option for all purposes. Not only do the attractive wood lids seal well with a gasket, but they are carved so that the canisters can be stacked.

Certified International Seaside 3 Piece Canister Set at Overstock.com
Certified International Seaside 3 Piece Canister Set at Overstock.com

Pretty canister sets for display purposes are available in all kinds of decor schemes. You might want to double-check that the canister sizes are suited to your needs, as manufacturers don’t all adhere to consistent sizing. You should also select canisters that have lids that seal well, and that are made from materials such as glass, ceramic, or safe metals for storing food, such as stainless steel or copper.

Old Dutch Hammered Copper 4 Piece Canister Set at Overstock.com
Old Dutch Hammered Copper 4 Piece Canister Set at Overstock.com

Copper canisters offer a nice, jewelry-like metallic gleam that warms up a kitchen. Like many other kitchen storage solutions they, too, can be used elsewhere around the home to great effect both for storage and decorative purposes, making them mega-useful investments.

Hammered Copper Pasta Canister at Overstock.com
Hammered Copper Pasta Canister at Overstock.com

Pasta canisters are great, especially if you like keeping pasta around, but don’t eat a lot of it. Stored in the original plastic bag or box, pasta tends to go stale quickly. By storing your pasta in a canister, it will be fresh and ready when you are for an enjoyable meal.

Old Dutch Lauren Bluebird 4 Piece Canister Set at Overstock.com
Old Dutch Lauren Bluebird 4 Piece Canister Set at Overstock.com

Canisters with extra decorative features, such as emblems and figural handles, add an extra decorative touch to your kitchen decor.

Certified International Beautiful Romance 3 Piece Canister Set at Overstock.com
Certified International Beautiful Romance 3 Piece Canister Set at Overstock.com

Canisters can be coordinated to your wallpaper or table ware pattern too. Or play a pretty, patterned canister set off of a solid colored wall in a coordinating shade for a great, inexpensive kitchen feature that is also practical.

Floral Blue and White Canister Set at Overstock.com
Floral Blue and White Canister Set at Overstock.com

Polynesian art is fantastic, but Polynesian themed pieces can be difficult to find, outside of the fun but over-the-top tiki bar sort of gear. These canisters bring a natural, shapely beauty to your kitchen counter. The shapes mimic those found in squashes and fruits, adding to the organic, appealing character of this set. These would be lovely in a bathroom, or anywhere in the home, offering abundant storage with the look of art pieces.

Parker Large Red Ceramic Lidded Rooster Dish at Overstock.com
Parker Large Red Ceramic Lidded Rooster Dish at Overstock.com

Most kitchens benefit from having a catch-all drawer. If you don’t have an extra drawer to spare, a large canister, tureen, or similar container makes a great alternative. Pick one that highlights your kitchen decor theme, is roomy, and configured to hold a wide variety of the little items that you’ll end up tossing inside. An advantage to using a container over a drawer is that it is easy to carry to where you might want to use it.

Home Basics Retro Stainless Steel Bread Box in Turquoise, also comes in Yellow, at Overstock.com
Home Basics Retro Stainless Steel Bread Box in Turquoise, also comes in Yellow, at Overstock.com

Bread boxes are another option for storing lots of things besides bread. Like glass, stainless steel is another excellent choice for your kitchen storage gear needs. It won’t rust or pit, absorb odors or stains, alter the food, and it’s easy to clean. It’s also uber-tough, and should last a lifetime with basic care.

Next time, we’ll look at some storage options to get your New Year started right: Wine and liquor racks and gear!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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