Tiny house details: Chapter 1 – Spice jars and food storage

Glass Jar storage between loft joists

Glass mason jar storage between loft joists

One of the wonderful things about having my own writing space is that I get to discuss issues that wouldn’t be appropriate on my partner’s blog Rowdykittens. Tammy and I have received a lot of questions regarding tiny house details. Tammy does her best to keep up with these questions by adding notes to her tiny house frequently asked questions (FAQ) page. However, most of the answers on the Rowdykittens FAQ page are rather brief. When I was searching for tiny house tools and appliances I yearned for more details than most blogs or videos provided so today I thought I would start a series called tiny house details. In this series I will cover the tools and materials we chose and why we chose them. Here are a few examples of tiny house details chapters you can look forward to seeing: alcohol stove review, composting toilet system, windows, flooring, lights, loft bed frame, etc. After I complete the series I want to post an easy reference page where Tammy and I can refer readers in the future who have interests regarding tiny house materials and tools.

Chapter 1: Spice jars and food storage

Glass spice jars above stove - photo by Tammy Strobel

Glass spice jars above stove – photo by Tammy Strobel

Shortly after we moved into the tiny house we had some dear friends, Dave and Trina Feucht, over for dinner. Trina is wonderfully clever when it comes to design and what she refers to as “nesting”. Tammy and I were cooking for Dave and Trina and we were having trouble finding our spices in the midst of our moving disarray. Trina suggested that we should think about installing a few small mason jars above the stove to artfully display the spices and allow easy access. We loved the idea, it reminded me of workshops where I had seen similar a storage solution for bolts, nuts and washers of different sizes.

We installed the small glass jars with a simple screw through the lid and surprisingly its one of the first space saving details that guests remark on about our home. The solution is simple, elegant, and eye catching because of the glass. Besides being beautifully shiny, glass also makes it easy to see the

Jar lid

Jar lid with screw to attach

quantity of the contents and is impervious to moisture and pests. Screwing the lids to the bottom of the shelving allows both sides of the vertical space to be used and saves valuable counter space.

Recently we decided to expand this idea further. All of our dry pantry items like rice, wheat flour, sugar, lentils, beans, etc are now contained with glass mason jars and displayed on the shelf above our seating area. In addition I’ve started adding short, wide mouth pint mason jars to take up the space between the 2X4 loft  joists above the front door. I’ll likely start putting drink mixes here like tea, coffee and hot cocoa mix.

What about you? What space saving ideas have you devised for your pantry? Please share in the comments below. :^)

19 thoughts on “Tiny house details: Chapter 1 – Spice jars and food storage

  1. In our medicine cabinate, we have placed everything in the inside of a shoebox lid. It’s a deep cupboard and previously you would find yourself poking about for ages, without finding what you needed. Now, you just slide out the lid and everything is there in a small space. It’s not a very elegant solution, but it was free and easy to implement–it’ll do until we come up with something better.

    • I do something very similar in my pantry with my spices… I also separate them between cooking and baking… much more efficient.

  2. A few weeks ago I changed out all of our random spice containers of various sizes and shapes (we buy in bulk and had been refilling the old spice containers) and put all of our spices in Ball’s 4oz crystal jelly jars and it’s SO much better and easier to find things! The jars look nice and add a sense of continuity, exactly how your jars look! We put our flour, beans, rice, etc in stackable tupperware. I’d rather have them in big jars, but that just hasn’t happened yet, so that’s fine.

  3. I use a wall rail with S hooks (both from IKEA) to hang pots, pans, and utensils. I built a small wall mounted shelf with front dowels to hold wine or books. I’ll be adding a magnetic knife holder to the backsplash next.

  4. I like this idea quite a bit and enjoyed it when I saw it in your Tiny House and others. One question I have had is about the degrading effect of light and sunlight on spices. Do you have any thoughts about this?

  5. One quick thing — It’s recommended most spices be stored in a cool, dark location to keep them fresh. Light and heat deteriorate the natural oils. My suggestion would be to just keep on hand what you’ll need for the next couple of months.

    • Hi Joan and everyone who commented on the effects of heat and sunlight on spices. Its good to point this out. We do as Joan suggests above. We place a small amount of spices we use daily in the jars and consume the contents about every two weeks. The contents aren’t fancy mainly black peppercorns, salt, red cayenne pepper, sugar, tea, and coffee. Cheers,

  6. My grandfather done this at his house and my landlord has done the same thing but they had like screws and nuts in their jars…..lol

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  8. I store my dried food in jars too. I label them with a white out pen. When I change the contents, I take the writing off with a non soapy kitchen metal scrubbing pad

  9. We have a line of jars in the galley of our sailboat (we live aboard full-time). We use them for easy access to snacks: peanuts, raisins, etc. I used three screws with large washer to keep the lids on, since they get exposed to much motion and daily use. Spices are stored in small plastic bags in a dark cupboard. Yours look very pretty!

  10. My mother actually did this 30+ years ago – She saved spaghetti jars and screwed the lids into boards like this, then used the jars to sort my dad’s bolts, nails, and other small hardware. It’s a great idea and very effective since you can see what is stored. Only change I would make is to use empty jars that would otherwise be thrown away. If you can all of your own food, neighbors are usually happy to accommodate.

  11. I’m looking forward to more posts in your series! You’re are absolutely right when you said that many other blogs don’t include a lot of the tiny details about tiny living. We are considering building our own tiny house in the next few years, and I love soaking up everything I find on the subject!

    Thank you!

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  13. I use jelly jars for my herbs and spices as well, but they are on shelves in the dark corner of my cabin. I will be building a new cabin this next summer and I think I will incorporate the jars attached above with screws for those few items like salt and pepper that get a lot of use. I use the larger jars for all my beans, grains, flours, and dried veggies and fruits.

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