Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Organize It!

I've always had a ton of herbs and spices.  So many, in fact, that sometimes I can't find basil, for instance, and I'll think I'm out.  So I go buy more basil.  Then I discover I actually have 3 jars of basil and a bulk refill.  When I moved last year, this is exactly what I discovered was happening.  I'd been wanting to find a better way to organize my spices for ages, but just hadn't been quite motivated enough to do it.

I had one of those little round shelf things that turn shoved into one of the shorter cabinets that we all seem to end up with in our kitchens.  My herbs and spices were always overflowing from that, even.  I never knew if I was out of something or had 3 bottles of it.  It's so easy to accidentally shove a small jar or bag to the back of the cabinet.


When I moved last October, I was determined to fix the situation.  I'm not sure if this is good or bad, but there are 3 cooking stores within a few blocks of my new place.  I know, right.  It's rough not to go in there and just spend every penny I have on awesome gadgets and bowls and pots and things.  I did deem it worthy to spend money on these awesome spice racks, though.  Is spice rack even the right term for what this is?  It's more of a spice panel, I think.  This is actually 3 of them put together.  Each panel has 12 little containers on it.  I have one of those label makers you can get from the office supply store and I labeled every jar with a black on clear label of what's inside.  It's funny, the labels look like they fit with the whole setup so well that most people assume they just came with the spice rack (panel?).  That's kind of awesome.

I actually need one more to fit absolutely everything.  I still have a ton of things in the cabinet, but they're things I don't use quite as often like asafoetida and fenugreek seeds.  These weren't cheap, but they're so worth it. (No, they didn't come from Ikea, the Ikea ones have crappy magnets and are on these tiny little metal shelf things that sit on the counter).  I'm constantly admiring how awesome this looks in my kitchen.  Not only does it save space in the cabinets, but it's so easy to know what I have or need to refill.  And yes, everything is in alphabetical order.  I wouldn't be able to find anything otherwise!

You could probably rig something like this up yourself if you're so inclined.  I'm just a bit of one for instant-gratification sometimes so I let someone else do the work for me.  Cookworks, where I bought this, is always out of these.  The sales lady told me when I bought them that they'd been out for weeks and had only just got them in a few days before I came in to buy the last three.


Another cool idea for organizing the rest of the stuff in your cabinets is to use canning jars.  I went nuts and jarred up just about every single thing in my cabinets.  This is only one of my cabinets, I'm not sure what happened to the other photos I took, but dang, what a difference.  I had a similar thing going on with all of this stuff.  I had 3 different little bags of pecans and various bags of crystallized ginger hanging out, all in different parts of different cabinets.  I can find everything so easily now and nothing gets stored in plastic, which I love.  I started out using the labels that came with the jars, but as I wash them and refill them with something different than what the label says, I just use masking tape.  That works just fine and it looks kind of cute and homey, actually.

Now go organize your cabinets!


  1. Flippin' love it! I'm absurdly into organizing stuff as well, so I can completely relate...

    I love how all of your beans, grains, etc. look in the canning jars (I use those, too!), and those spice racks are awesome!

    You're making me want to go shopping and copy your beautiful kitchen asap :)

  2. niiiiiice! My spices, beans, nuts and seeds are on my list to organize. I am drooling over your nice organization skills! :D