It turns out I’ve been storing my herbs and spices in the absolute worst way possible… on my kitchen counter in a spice rack. It wasn’t until I started researching for my new book that I realized heat from the stove and light from the window speed up their expiration, making this an ineffective way to store spices.
Another problem was I have more herbs and spices than Marco Polo, so not all of my bottles fit in my spice rack– which means I had additional bottles overflowing my cabinets. One day when I was strolling the aisles of a home improvement store, I discovered a product that would solve both these problems and organize my spices properly once and for all.
The magnitude of this change can not be understated: every time I open my new spice drawer I get happy butterflies dancing in my heart.
No more trying to figure out where a certain spice bottle is located, or spinning my rack endlessly looking for the right herb. Enough of having TWO bottles of various spices, one in the spinner and the other in my cabinet. No more toppling of bottles. All it takes is a drawer, these handy dandy spice bottle drawer liners and a labelmaker.
You can also purchase new spice bottles so everything looked cohesive, it’s just a nice aesthetic touch if you can swing it but isn’t necessary. We’re reusing the spinning spice rack for the art supplies so I ordered 24 new spice bottles. This is what my stash looked like before the makeover:
That’s a lot of little bottles, yo.
There are many fancy ways to label your bottles, however most are time intensive and involve additional equipment like a vinyl cutting machine. I went super simple and used my favorite label maker, because done is better than perfect, am I right?
Here’s the play-by-play on how to easily organize your spices once and for all:
herbs and spices
food-safe funnel (optional)
Step 1: If you ordered new bottles, wash in warm water and dry thoroughly in advance of this project (at least 24 hours, you don’t want any moisture left in the bottles!)
Step 2: Pull out all your spices and do a sniff test to see which ones are expired. If they have no fragrance, they’ll have little taste, so it’s time to go. Make a list of the herbs and spices you need, and buy them on future shopping trips. This list will also be helpful so you know which labels to make. As you go, evaluate whether you really use each product. For example, my poppy seed bottle still had the seal on it from when it was given to us in the spice rack 13 years ago! Toss spices and recycle bottles as needed.
Step 3: Type out and print all your labels. There are many settings on my labelmaker, but I did the standard version because it was the simplest!
Step 4: Next, pour the spices in the correct jars. If I had two bottles of the same spice, I determined which was freshest and tossed the other (or combine if you have enough room in the bottle.) A small funnel helps in this process, but isn’t 100% needed.
Step 5: Place the spice drawer liners into the drawer to determine if you need to cut off any length. One they are the correct length, remove the adhesive backing and push firmly into place piece by piece.
Step 6: Arrange your spices in ABC order on your counter and start laying in the drawer in that order. Listen to the organizing angels sing. 😉
My overflowing spice rack and cabinets are now under control. If you have a drawer you can spare for it, I have to say, organizing your spices in a drawer is the way to go! We’re all huge fans, even my kids can now reach them and add a little cinnamon to their applesauce or oregano to their pasta. Win-win!
Do you have an avalanche of herbs and spices too? What’s your biggest kitchen organization challenge?