Tuesday, 22 March 2016

On the Subject of Storage

I do love making salsa, chutney, relish, pickles and jams. I think I made my first batch of my granny's zucchini relish in my early 20's and I've enjoyed the autumn ritual of preserving every year since.

The problem, for me, is what to do with the jars in the meantime. In our old house there was a big cabinet in the cellar that held everything I made and all the empty jars and lids as well. In this house, I'm still finding places to keep boxes of jars--so far I've resisted putting them in the attic of the garage because I dread hiking them up and down those stairs and going up there to search for jars when I want them. But it's possible that they will end up there. Ideally, I'd love a huge old wardrobe (Pinterest image below) or hoosier that could go in my craft room and hold all my canning supplies and fabric. SIGH. Another thing to save for :)

Image from Pinterest
While I'm on the subject, I really like that old bed frame in the picture, too!

In the meantime, I have a spot in the basement for stockpiled food and my canning. It is not ideal and I'm glad that kids have not knocked anything down and broken jars. This weekend we did a thorough and much overdue cleaning of the basement. Because we have a wood stove down there it gets dusty and I haven't stayed on top of it. I took a picture midway through cleaning and reorganizing.

Oy! The dust! There is a gun safe with egg cartons stacked on it. The cabinet that holds most of the
canned goods and more egg cartons (we save them for my mom who has laying hens).
To the right is a Round Up sprayer (that has a bit of vinegar in it from last year's attempts at weed control).
Next to that is the worm bin.

Across from that area, and at the bottom of the stairs, is a small fridge where we keep extra milk,
eggs, drinks and excess fruit or veg. It is so handy to have the extra space especially at Christmas!
Between that fridge and the chest freezer is a small, inadequate shelf where I keep stockpiled coffee,
soup, vinegar, flour and the like.

It feels very good to go to a nice clean and organized basement. Although I do wish for a beautiful antique to house all my odds and ends, there is nothing wrong with what I have. If the right piece comes along at the right price (and we still have an income) there is nothing stopping me from getting a nice wardrobe with shelves. But there is no rush.

I am tempted to take over the space under the stairs because it would fit all my stockpiled food and be a dark, cool place for potatoes and root vegetables this winter, but I dedicated that space to kids and toys when I painted the bat tunnel. In another year or two I might reclaim that space because, as you can see below, what I'm doing now with potatoes is not working :(.

Storing potatoes in a warm room near a window doesn't work!
I always like seeing how others store their preserves and garden harvests. Do you have space to store what comes out of your garden, and where do you keep your jars and lids when not in use? And what about all that food you've preserved?


  1. Those potatoes are crazy! :-)

    Actually I was going to comment that I loved the first pic and that I liked the suitcase under the bed. I have a similar shelf to yours except it's on wheels. What you may want to do (it's something I decided to do last weekend) is to get a metal shelf that is about 2-3x taller and 1-2x wider than the shelf you currently have. The really good ones hold a few hundred pounds per shelf. You can then store all your jars plus a bunch of other stuff on it. I think they are fab in a basement like setting. Very utilitarian but great for storage at the right price.

    Something like this (hope you are ok with a link) - any box store or large hardware store should have them:


    1. I do need a bigger shelf like the one I have--they are super handy and being on wheels is a great idea too :) I'd still love an antique armoir though ;) It's so nice to have a spot for everything--still figuring out where to put things in this house. We moved into our first house with few belongings and then gradually filled it and knew where everything went. We moved into this house before there were stairs to the basement or a garage, and everything got dumped here while we had help to move and haul things. I've been two and half years finding things!