Organize your spices on a (tight) budget
Because they are small containers of different shapes, spices can get to be a big mess in a hurry. If you are suffering from spice avalanche when you try to find the dried mustard powder, never fear!
This video has some good ideas to stop that madness and help you organize your spices.
In the video above, I do an easy clean-out to minimize what herbs and spices I have. Then I discuss a few good ways to store all types of dried seasonings. Watch it!
Step 1: Love it or toss it
It’s time to trash every spice you haven’t used in 5 years. You aren’t going to use them. It’s okay. Let them go. It doesn’t mean you are never going to cook yummy food. It doesn’t mean you are a bad person. It means you didn’t use the exotic spices in 5 years. Who cares?!
As with everything, the fewer spices you have, the easier it will be to find the ones you need. The trash bin is your friend for this project. Use it. Click To Tweet
Step 2: Make a list
Write down which seasonings you want to replace.
According to cooking sites on the internet, spices lose their spice after 6 months. That seems a little extreme to me. So, let’s pick a more friendly number. How about 2 years? So anything that’s older than 2 years goes on your shopping list to be replaced.
Don’t buy spices in bulk. Unless you are making pizza everyday, you aren’t going to use a gallon of garlic powder in 2 years in your home kitchen.
Which ones should you replace?
Honestly, I recommend you do a total spice overhaul. (It’s like a total eclipse of the heart, but not as dramatic.)
I’ve tried to just buy new ones as they run out, but that’s how we got into this mess in the first place! Too confusing. Too many containers and they are all different ages. Who knows which ones have lost their pizzazz! Just replace the whole collection now.
Before you get upset that this project is getting too expensive, listen to this secret trick! Buy your spices in little bags at the grocery store instead of cans or bottles. You can find these bags in the produce section, or the latin foods section. The bags are usually 99 cents! So much cheaper than name brands.
Finally, before you put your spices back, put a sticky note with today’s month and year in the cabinet under or behind your spices so you can know how fresh your spices are.
Step 3: Matching containers are nice, but…
Maybe you like the containers you already have. Maybe you have a spice rack which lets you see the whole label, so the prepackaged jars are great for you. I love it. Even less expensive than my solution.
If you decide you are going to go for it and get matching containers, the next step is to count how many spices you actually have (and use) so you know how many containers to get.
Also measure your space — all 3 dimensions. Will the jars fit in the drawer? Will the lazy-susan turntable fit in the cabinet?
I’m not usually a fan of buying things just so they will match (as you know if you’ve watched the clutter challenge videos in my closet). But the spice containers from most stores are too tall for my spice drawer. So, I bought gorgeous matching containers from the container store. I was pleasantly surprised to find out they only cost $1.99 each. IKEA also has great, inexpensive spice containers.
Step 4: Organizing the spices
You may like the stacking spice racks which install around the inside of your cabinet.
You may like the magnetic strips and containers which stick right on those inside a door or wall.
You may have a couple of lazy-susans which let you see everything.
Those are all great.
What I don’t think are great, are the stair steps that only let you see the top of the containers. You can label the jars at the top, but I still think it’s a pain because they knock each other over when you get something from the back, top shelf. Lots of people love these step thingys. And maybe you do, too. But if you DON’T, you are not crazy and it’s okay to change your system.
I like using a drawer. Get a tension divider (or 2 if you want to really organize your spices in a particular order.)
Write the names on the lids, or use a label maker on the sides.
I don’t alphabetize my spices because it’s not a big priority to me. Do you?
I try to keep the sweet ones on one side and the savory on the other. Whoop de doo. How do you organize your spices?
Store spices close to where you use them. There’s some talk about the heat stealing their flavor. That may happen over time, but walking across the kitchen to get a spice steals my desire to cook. So, you’ll have to decide for yourself!
Why all the talk about spices?
That’s the end of my organize your spices tips. You may be asking yourself, why is Nonnahs talking so much about spices?! Well I’ll tell you.
The January issue of REAL SIMPLE magazine was kind enough to include Get Organized Already in their list of organizing tips from the pros. On page 82 you’ll find my tips about buying and storing spices inexpensively as a way to eat more healthily in the new year. If talking about spices is good enough for REAL SIMPLE, it’s good enough for me!
Thanks for reading and for watching the video, too!
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