Having your spices organized is a great time & money saver. Being able to see what you have on hand makes meal planning easier, saves money by reducing duplicate spice purchases, and saves time because what you need is easily accessible, so you don't have to hunt down what you need.
As a homeschool mom, I spend a lot of time in the kitchen & don't want to spend 20 minutes hunting for a spice I need to get lunch ready. Organizing your spices will also cut down on any mishaps (like accidentally putting cinnamon in instead of having 10 bottles of garlic powder because it was hiding every time you needed it so you bought another one (we really only had 4, but that was still way too much).
Select a Location
Start by looking around your kitchen and determining the best place to store your spices. Would a cabinet or drawer work best? Do you have open counter space where you could place a nice display? Maybe a magnetic strip or board on the wall would work best? If you need to pick up an organizer or order a display, do it first so once you get started you don't have deal with a mess while you wait for something.
Get Everything Together
Get all of your spices out on the counter, along with a notebook & pen. Check expiration dates. Toss anything that is old and write it down so you know to replace it. Those that aren't expired or don't have dates, you can check by smelling them & looking carefully. If it has lost it's smell or looks faded, toss it out & write it down.
Then, go through and check for duplicates. See if you can combine containers or use an empty glass container if you had several small ones. Now that you've gotten rid of old spices, combined duplicates, and wrote down anything else that you realized you were out of, it's time to figure out what organizational style will work best for you.
Organizing Styles for Spices
How you organize your spaces will depend on the space you have available, how many people cook at your house, what you cook most, and your own style of organizing. Here are the most common styles:
- Alphabetical: Everything is nicely arranged from left to right in alphabetical order. This works well for those using trays or a turntable. With multiple cooks, this can pose a problem so make sure you agree on whether crushed red pepper flakes go under C for crushed, R for Red Pepper, or P for Pepper (I vote R!).
- Cooking Types: Do you do a lot of baking? Maybe you want those spices in the front of a cupboard or the top of a drawer system. Do a lot of grilling? Maybe you have space to store those near your other grilling supplies. This system works best if your kitchen is set up for work stations, but doesn't work as well in small spaces.
- Categories: This is pretty much my style. Things are grouped by what I use them for and how often. It may not make sense to anyone else, but it doesn't have to! It's about finding what works for you…and whoever you share the kitchen with.
I have a drawer and a spice cupboard. The drawer is for those smaller bottles and has a double tiered organizer in it that I grabbed at the dollar store. The top level is for spices I use frequently and the bottom is organized alphabetically for those I want on hand but don't use weekly. The cupboard holds a few healthy cooking oils and then all my larger spice containers. We have been making the switch to organic single spices and making all our own blends, so I also have some empty spice jars I got on Amazon. I have been buying most of our spices in bulk, so I refill the glass containers in the kitchen & then store the sealed bags in our pantry.
The top shelf holds spices we don't use often in the back and the cooking oils in the front. The second shelf is just above eye level for me, so it holds all the things I use frequently but not daily and the things the kids aren't as likely to need. The bottom shelf is eye level for me and the older 2 boys, so it holds my sweet potato fry seasoning (will be posting this recipe soon!), garlic powder, and all the spices I use daily & for making my teas. We had an organizer on the counter, with 3 pullout shelves, but most of our bottles didn't fit right in there so it had too much empty space & we gave it away.
Organizing your spice cabinet can be done in so many different ways. The main thing to think about when designing your spice center is to create a plan that works best with your particular cooking style and needs.
Looking for more ways to get organized? Check out the entire 31 Days to an Organized Home series!
Are you looking for more tips beside what is being shared in the 31 Days of Homeschooling Tips for Moms? I would love to invite you the community inspired by this series, as we strive to inspire, encourage and empower our readers in everything homeschooling.
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