Duo Ventures

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Organizing: The Spice Cabinet

Several months ago, I did a post on kitchen organization - but this post includes a few more details on our spice cabinet.  I realize that everyone's storage space configurations are very different, but hopefully some of these ideas can be implemented into other spaces too!

This is what it looked like when I started:

I'm sure some people can relate, right?  It was a messy combo of spices & other random items.  After staring at that disaster for a minute, I realized that the placement of the shelves was not very functional.

There was a lot of empty space on the bottom shelf, so I decided to lower both shelves which: 
1) gives me more vertical space on the middle shelf
2) allows me to reach things on the top shelf more easily  

See the difference?
It was an easy fix, but somehow I had never thought to adjust the shelves until then.  I guess sometimes you can get stuck with certain layouts, & don't even think to change it...

|organize the contents|
To start, I pulled everything out & wiped down the shelves.  I found a nice array of items in there including baking ingredients & supplies, foil baking dishes, measuring cup, juicer, oils & vinegars, mortar & pestle, and tea:
My goal was to dedicate this cabinet to spices & cooking ingredients only - so I moved all the baking related items & food prep gadgets to other areas of the kitchen (more details on that later). 

|transfer spices to new jars|
Initially, I was storing spices in various containers, most of which were still in their original packaging- but I also had some spices in Ziploc bags & old pickle jars which you can see in the photo above (for our extra special spices that are from Lebanon and/or spices my sister-in-law prepared herself...like mint for example).

I knew I wanted to transfer all the spices into glass jars of some sort.  I'm a big fan of uniform storage containers.  It's the easiest way to create visual organization.

There are so many kinds of spice jars out there - which did not help my indecisiveness.  I checked out The Container Store, Target, and Bed, Bath, & Beyond, but eventually decided to go with square glass jars from Wal-Mart:

I used the smallest 4 oz size for the majority of our spices:

In addition to the 27 small spice jars, I bought 3 medium size jars (for mint, sumac, & cinnamon sticks) & 2 larger size jars (for Lebanese 7 spices & Za'atar):

|label jars|
I love the clear jars because they make it easy for me to see which spices I'm getting low on.  One of the other reasons I chose these particular jars was because of their flat sides - which made adhering labels super easy.  I made basic clear labels with my label maker (you could also use round labels that would work perfectly on the tops of these jars - if you store spices in a drawer):

|add storage organizers|
I also picked up a 3-tier expandable self organizer (from Garden Ridge) which makes it much easier to see & reach all of the spices:

For our oils & vinegars, I bought a lazy-susan/turntable so we wouldn't have to dig to the back of the cabinet to get things:

And finally, I keep the mortar & pestles on the top shelf along with our olive oil:

Before & After:
Much better, right?  It wasn't a huge project, but the easy switch to uniform glass jars makes all the difference!

Happy cooking!