New kitchen organization gadgets are coming out all the time, but the ones that really make your life easier are the ones that you buy once and keep for a lifetime because they just work. Here are some of my favourite kitchen organization essentials!
I don’t know exactly why, but I find myself feeling very uninterested in wasting my time with buying anything that isn’t going to be in my life for the long haul these days. I think it has a lot to do with our current quarantine situation, of course, because that’s really affecting how we think about everything right now, isn’t it? It’s kind of like, when social distancing started all of a sudden eight weeks ago, suddenly we didn’t have easy access to running out to the store to buy whatever little thing we wanted or needed. Whatever we already had, was what we were going to have to live with, at least for the immediate future. I’ve found myself really appreciating the things that I have that have been trustworthy over the years, things that will be there for us and do the job we need them to do no matter what. Antique furniture that has been passed down in my family for the last four generations, but somehow never goes out of style, favourite sweaters that have been worn a hundred times but still look the same as they did 8 years ago, and kitchen tools that keep things tidy and functional and that I know I’ll still be relying on ten years from now.
Have you been feeling like this too? Online orders are taking a little longer to arrive these days, and if I’m going to be ordering something, I want it to be worth my time. And I really don’t want to waste my time replacing it in a year or two if it breaks or goes out of style.
The other day when I was cooking, I found myself feeling really satisfied at the realization that I’ve managed to create a kitchen that just works. It makes the everyday tasks of running a house just so much more enjoyable. So I thought I’d share some of the things I found myself noticing and appreciating if you’ve been of the same mindset as I’ve been lately.
Anchor Hocking Heritage Hill Glass Jars
These have been in production since the 1940s and they only seem to be growing in popularity. They’re the perfect jar, canister, pantry organizer, fly-proof beverage server, etc. etc. etc. I love the classic look these bring to my kitchen as well as how easy they make it to access basics like flour and oatmeal.
Locking Lid Jars
If you want to set yourself up for a beautifully organized pantry or baking cupboard, these are what you need. Forget about all the new clear plastic organization systems that come out all the time. You’ll tire of their design, you’ll lose the lids, they’ll get scratched, and you’ll find yourself with a pantry full of ugly mis-matched containers again in no time. Stick with the classics, buy yourself a big set once, and reuse them over and over again forever. Stick to hand washing to keep the seals in good shape. You can find these jars here: Basic locking lid jars. Here are the fancy French ones that many people say are the best of the best: Le Parfait Jars
Glass Cake Dome
So much nicer on your counter than having your freshly-baked goods on a plate covered in plastic wrap. It will look like you’re being fancy, but actually you’re just being practical and keeping your counter tidy. I’ve had mine for about 12 years now and I’ve never once felt it was starting to look old or tired. It’s just a classic. This one here has a classic, elegant design for a good price: Glass Cake Dome
Cooking Utensil Crock
So many new kitchens have storage for spoons, spatulas, and whisks built into big drawers next to the stove, which keeps your counters very tidy while still keeping everything at hand. You’ll still want your favourite wooden spoons right there on your counter, waiting to be grabbed at a moment’s notice, and that’s where a utensil crock comes in. They add kind of a classic at-home chef look to a kitchen and if you buy a nice one, you’ll love and use it forever for decor and function. I have a blue Le Creuset one I bought about nine years ago and there’s no reason I’d ever need to replace it. A classic white ceramic pitcher is a perfect choice as well. You can find one similar to mine here: Le Creuset Utensil Crock
A Classic Decorative Fruit Bowl
Honestly, when you have a nice fruit bowl, refilling it every week after your weekly shopping trip (or online grocery order pick-up) is one of life’s little joys. We actually have three and they look great on the counter and keep the fruit corralled. I use a large “Emma” serving bowl from Pottery Barn, which works perfectly. The other smaller fruit bowls I have out are classic blue and white, one striped, one with a hobnail finish. If you’re in the market for your life-long dream fruit bowl, this two-tiered marble fruit bowl is pretty much the greatest thing ever though, at least as far as fruit bowls go. Seriously, that fruit bowl is a work of art. 🙂
A Solid Serving Tray
Trays are great to use as organization, to corral different items on a table, buffet, or counter, but make sure that you make your tray a solid one so it can be used when you want to bring drinks or snacks outside when you have guests over in the summer. There’s nothing worse that carrying a whole bunch of glasses out on a tray that you’re not quite sure is going to make it. A good tray can be an investment, but it’s something you’ll be able to use all over the house for decor and utility.
Glass Food Storage Containers
I’ve been giving myself a real talking-to about my food storage container situation lately. I always admire good pyrex food storage containers for their simplicity and functionality, but I still have the old plastic ones. Honestly, I’m not comfortable heating food up in them so using them is inefficient when I have to transfer everything I store in them to a glass bowl first. And they’re just ugly. I find myself refreshing my supply of plastic containers more often that I’d like because I don’t like them to look old and worn out, and it’s a waste. Glass food storage containers, here I come!
Cast Iron Trivets
Cloth trivets (or “potholders” as they’re often called around here) get stained and sad-looking pretty quickly. Not the best for putting your beautifully-prepared meals out on for guests and honestly, not all that fun for everyday use either. Buy the good ones once and you’re all set.
Stacking Clear Glass Bowls
If your kitchen is going to look organized while it’s not in use, it might as well actually be organized while you’re using it as well. A big set of glass bowls that fit neatly in your cupboard will be used for preparing food, baking, and casual serving. You can never have enough. You always need extra bowls to make your kitchen as functional as possible. If you’ve ever heard of the French method of cooking called “mis-en-place” then you know that there’s no better way to feel completely organized and on top of your cooking game while you’re enjoying time in the kitchen. I have a really great collection of big milk glass mixing bowls that I found at thrift stores that I use frequently, but I still always feel like I could use just a few more of the clear glass ones. You can find this set here: Stacking clear glass bowls.
Of course, I’ve always loved all things cheap ‘n cheerful, and I still maintain, as I always have, that you can find things at the dollar store that you’ll find yourself still using and loving ten years later. You just can’t beat real quality though if you want to be sure that something will really last and be loved for many years to come. Many of these things can be found at the thrift store because they were purchased by some other smart person years ago, used over and over again, and were still in great shape when they were done with them. If you can’t happen to find a certain item secondhand though, they’re definitely worth the investment to buy new.
What organizing items have you had in your kitchen for years and years that you still use and love? I’ll give bonus points to anyone that can name something they’ve had for over thirty years! 🙂
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Courtenay Hartford is the author of creeklinehouse.com, a blog based on her adventures renovating a 120-year-old farmhouse in rural Ontario, Canada. On her blog, Courtenay shares interior design tips based on her own farmhouse and her work as founder and stylist of the interior photography firm Art & Spaces. She also writes about her farmhouse garden, plant-based recipes, family travel, and homekeeping best practices. Courtenay is the author of the book The Cleaning Ninja and has been featured in numerous magazines including Country Sampler Farmhouse Style, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents Magazine, Real Simple, and Our Homes.