I have to admit that this post is geared more to those neat freaks, who like me, want to have every inch of the house organized (well, it’s not always, but I try). I can think of many people I know (my mom would be the first) who would look at me, puzzled and ask me: ” Really? Are you really going to spend time doing all this? ” For those of you who would react like my mom and who obviously have more important things to do, I can absolutely understand. But I really hope that you go on reading, because regardless of how busy our lives are, who doesn’t need a little more organization tips?!
I tend to keep all of my cooking essentials somewhere around the stove – usually the stuff needed most often when cooking – like salt, pepper, and oil. However, no matter how beautiful a kitchen is and how well organized it may be, if they’re outside the cupboard, they probably look a little like this:
I must say that I always pick my spices and seasonings for their good quality and even sometimes because I like their packaging. But even with the best in the market, there are some little problems when they’re all together and out of the cupboard. There are (1) way too many colors (2) way too much plastic (3) paper containers that you can’t wash, so they’ll get dirty before they’re empty (4) and stickers that start to peel off and don’t look all that pretty.
So, here is what I did. I emptied the salt and pepper into simple and inexpensive ceramic shakers. Mine happened to have pretty wide holes, so they work perfectly for seasoning a salad, a steak etc. (remember: less holes for pepper, more holes for salt).
But I also needed another container that would pour salt in larger quantities for when I boil water for rice, pasta, veggies, something I also do almost on a daily basis. So, I dedicated a shaker previously used for powdered sugar for that specific use. The holes are bigger so it pours salt faster.
For the olive oil, I used a clear-glass beer bottle and a pourer. I think the best pourer I’ve used so far is this one from Williams Sonoma. It controls the flow perfectly and almost eliminates dripping. But to keep everything even cleaner, I placed the bottle into a clear glass ramekin. That way, we can take the bottle with the ramekin to the table (we, Greeks, add olive oil to almost everything!) or around the kitchen and it won’t leave a greasy ring on the countertops.
We also use balsamic vinegar daily on salads. I replaced the huge bottle from Costco with a smaller and cuter one (taken from red vinegar) and replaced its old red lid with a cork. I’m still debating, though, if I should keep Costco’s inside cap that once controlled the flow from the bottle… maybe I’ll regulate the flow by hand? I’ll see how it goes and will decide later….
I used a G Wollf & Co. (my absolutely favorite pottery company) small pot to hold the garlic heads which have become a necessity to my cuisine since we moved to the US.
Lastly, I placed everything on a white ceramic cake stand (on clearance at Bed Bath & Beyond because the top and bottom were separated). Of course, I’ll need to refill the bottles and shakers at some point, but is that really a problem? And this is also the end to the dirty salt container and the slippery bottle of olive oil. It is so much easier to wash glass and ceramic!
Everything that is on my kitchen countertops has a functional role. The only decorative exception is this ceramic artichoke from Williams Sonoma (once on sale for $ 2.99), which I love!
Now, my everyday cooking essentials stand with pride next to my stove, beautifully organized!