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
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
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 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
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
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
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