Indio, California: I have a bit of an organization problem. Except (for the some reason) my desk – which is always piled with papers, notebooks, recipes, cameras and correspondence in a decidedly very unorganized matter – the rest of my life, closets, cabinets and drawers are organized and uncluttered. I like things tidy.
The pantry shelf in our motorhome where I store spices and herbs has become out of control. For years I have relied on a very clever test-tube spice storage solution:
The test tube spice rack has been in our RV pantry since our last RV. Over the years, I have broken five tubes. The company, Tubular Spice Company, has since gone out of business. This spice rack worked well when we took short trips – a few weeks or months away at a time, but now that we spend most of the year in our bus, and I cook SO MUCH, it no longer worked. While cute and space-efficient, the tubes only hold about half of a typical spice jar. So, I had a full test tube of the spice and another half-full jar of the replacement spice. (Not everywhere we travel can I find spices in bulk, never mind organic.) After six months on the road, I ended up with one full shelf devoted to spice jars and the above spice rack that took up half of a second shelf.
Also, after ten years or so, cooking styles change. I haven’t used “Italian Seasoning” or “Herbs de Provence” in years. I keep bay leaves in the freezer these days. I have 46 spices and herbs in the motorhome. They needed a better storage solution.
After much research (and experience), I decided on metal spice tins. The four-ounce tins hold an entire jar of spices!
When I tried to use metal tins to store spices at home, my idea back-fired. Since the bottoms of the tins were stuck to a metal sheet with magnets, the spices tended to fall between the jar lids and after a while, it was really difficult to open the tins. Half of the time, the spices would go flying when the lid finally popped-off. Since these containers will be stacked upright in the RV, hopefully spillage will not be a problem.
But my pantry does not remain still. It shakes and rolls as we drive down the road. How to stop the stacks from flailing? I put a very light self-adhesive magnetic circle on the bottom of each tin. The magnet is (just barely) strong enough to hold the stacks together, but not so strong that I can’t pop-out a needed herb from the pile. The magnet is also so thin, it does not show between the tins.
The labels are pliable/removable “chalkboard” plastic and I used a waterproof chalk pen to label each spice (because, I don’t know about you, but I can’t imagine my hands will always be dry when reaching for a needed spice). The labels stretch when removing, so I would suggest they are not reusable, but they are rewritable, as the chalk ink will remove with Windex.
This project was completed while My Driver was stuck in Portland during the snow storm last week. He did not have see the mess created in the tidying of our pantry and did not have to deal with the mound of recycling created by emptying test tubes and spice jars into shiny new tins.
I assume most-used spices will rotate up to the front row and top of the stacks over the next few weeks. Of the few meals prepared since the organization is complete, I have found no issues in finding/using the tins.
Best thing is I now have plenty of space on the spice shelf to reach the stacks of jars, and now have use of the shelf below that once held the test tube spice rack!
Our rainy spell is past. The sun is shining and the temperature climbed to 70 today.
Until my next update, I remain, your spicy correspondent.
RV PARK: The Motorcoach Country Club