There is something rather annoying about digging through the cabinet for the spices you want to use during meal prep. If your kitchen lacks a designated space for all your seasonings, then you may be utilizing a simple stuff-them-all-on-the-cabinet-shelf-closest-to-the-stove technique.
This disorganized approach makes it hard to locate the spices you want. You may end up buying more of spices you don’t need simply because you couldn’t find them in the jumble of bottles. With a small time commitment, however, you can make your spice rack much more accommodating to your cooking prowess.
Before you purchase new products, you need to determine how you want to organize things. “Select a sorting scheme for your spices, such as alphabetical, sweet and savory, regular use and specialty use, or individual spices versus spice blends,” says Aby Garvey of Simplify 101. “Sort your spices in a way that will make them easier to access while cooking or baking.” She also recommends that you consolidate half-full bottles and pitch outdated or long-unopened bottles.
Next, determine where you want your spices located. Typically, they end up in the cabinet or a drawer, but sometimes on the counter is a great option if you only use the same five or six spices every time you cook.
The Spice Cabinet
If you are using a cabinet near the stove to store your spices, there are easy ways to stop the rummaging and find exactly what you need the moment that you need it. “A three-tier rack is simple to organize, allows for easy viewing, and enables plenty of storage,” says the Better Homes and Gardens website. You can find one at most home décor and organization stores. Simply purchase one you like, set on a shelf in your cabinet, place the bottles in the order you determined above, and, voila! You have organization.
Better Homes and Gardens also recommends the use of trays to organize your spices into groups of those most frequently used together. A small tray doesn’t require much counter space during the prep process, and as soon as you’re done, tidy it up and set it back in the cabinet with others. Label the trays by use, such as Baking Spices, Taco Spices, Grilling Spices, etc.
You may also want to consider installing a spice rack inside the door of an upper kitchen cabinet. This gives you the opportunity to keep the spices in single rows, making for quick viewing and access to what you need. Also, for a minimal cost, you can purchase a rotating spice rack (or two) to put in your cabinet to maximize shelf storage space.
Spice Storage in a Drawer
Another location for spices is the drawer, but just tossing them in would be as bad as the mess in an unorganized spice cabinet. Build.com sells universal spice trays that make all your spices visible the moment you open the drawer so you can find exactly what you need with little effort.
Better Homes and Gardens recommends simply labeling the lids and standing them upright in the drawer, but you’ll need to make sure the drawer is full to keep the spices from falling over.
Get Creative with Your Spice Space
What if your jars are all different shapes and sizes, making a spice tray for the drawer impossible or a cabinet spice rack impractical? Ginny, author of the Organizing Homelife blog, had that problem. “Although most of my spices were alphabetized on my lazy Susan, I had to stack them on top of each other because of the space. I also had to be careful not to spin it too fast or I would have little spice jars flying out of my cupboard landing all over the counter. It just wasn’t working and I knew I had to find a better solution.”
She used a variety of techniques to get her spice cupboard more organized, including spice clips to keep frequently used spices grouped together. The point is that you don’t have to organize your spices any one certain way. Whatever works best for you and the space you have available—and gives you easy access to the spices you need without digging for them—is ultimately what matters.
Aby Garvey, “How to Organize Your Spices in Four Simple Steps,” Simplify 101, http://www.simplify101.com/organizing-your-home/how-to-organize-your-spices-in-four-simple-steps/.
“Space-Savvy Ways to Store Spices,” Better Homes and Gardens, http://www.bhg.com/kitchen/storage/organization/spice-storage/.
Ginny G. “How to Organize Your Spice Cabinet – Organize Your Kitchen Frugally Day 3,” Organizing Homelife, http://www.organizinghomelife.com/archives/8422.