small kitchen spice storage
Home Organization

How To Organize Spices In A Small Kitchen

So you already know that your kitchen feels cleaner when it’s organized, and when it feels cleaner, you’re happier to be in there. Right? Of course. You feel more comfortable cooking, you’re less stressed in the mornings, and your spouse is happier because he can actually find things without a treasure map and a compass.

But when it comes to kitchen organization, one area almost always gets overlooked and pushed to the side. It gets put on the “Later” list. The “Not That Important” list. Which is totally fine. But after a while, that “Later” list has been sitting around for a year and that overlooked area is still a hot mess. You know what spot I’m talking about, don’t you? Yep…your cooking spices.

small kitchen spice storage

Tackle Your Kitchen Spice Storage

So today’s the day, BFF. The day you turn that “someday” task into a “now” task. You’re going to tackle that kitchen spice cabinet with the ferocity of a jaguar in heat. Okay, maybe not that dramatic…but you’re doing it. No more wasting time, no more putting it off. I promise you, you’re going to be kicking yourself for procrastinating this long.

So tell Alexa to crank up your favorite jams, pour yourself a [big] cup of coffee, recruit your kids to join in, and let’s knock this out.

1. Empty It *All* Out

Step one is the biggest of all. You’ve got to take everything out of the cabinet or drawer where you store your spices. Every single thing. Even the shelf liner. As you’re emptying it out, I want you to look at the dates on those spice bottles. If you find something with an expiration that starts with 19, you win a prize. A very sad prize.

Trash anything that’s expired. I guarantee you won’t need to add a replacement to your shopping list, because if a cooking spice has expired, you obviously don’t use it very often. Spices usually have a shelf life of 2-4 years before they lose their potency and start tasting a little “off.” If your bottle has passed it’s stamped date, I’d suggest not buying another until you need it.

2. Analyze Your Space

If you’re cramming 40 bottles of spices and seasonings in a tiny cabinet or jar that spills over every time you want to make cinnamon toast, I need you to know something about yourself. You’ve got way too much crap in your kitchen. Nobody uses that many spices and seasonings on the regular. And if they did, they’d already have them organized. So since we’ve established that’s not you, it’s time to be choosy with who gets to stay and who has to leave.

Take a few minutes to figure out how much space you actually have for seasoning storage. If you can only fit 15 bottles in one place, keep your main 15 on hand and buy trial-sized baggies from your local grocery store when you need something random for a Pinterest recipe you want to try. Don’t try to keep 15 in one cabinet and 10 in another. Pretend you’re a minimalist and pare down to your “signature spices.” Pack up the rest and donate them to a local homeless shelter or church.

spice jar labels made with Cricut Maker

3. Re-Jar Them All

This is totally optional, but highly recommended. Not just from an appearance standpoint, but a functionality aspect, too. Spices and seasonings come in containers of all shapes and sizes. Some are glass, some are plastic, some and short and some are tall, and some have terrible lids that are more trouble than they’re worth.

If you really want to up you’re storage game, I definitely suggest ordering some empty spice jars so everything is kept in the same size container. Your cabinet or drawer will be so much easier to navigate, everything will fit better, and it’ll be so much easier to see when you’re running low on something.

For my own spice storage drawer, I ordered these clear spice jars from Amazon and made modern vinyl labels with my Cricut Maker for them all. You can see my full tutorial on making these spice jars here.

4. Use An Organizer

A lot of times, those fancy specialized organizers for kitchens aren’t really necessary. But for spices, this professional organizer [me] says you need it. There are tons of different styles on the market, from stair-step risers to pull-down shelves to baskets that hang inside cabinet doors to separators for drawers, and even tiered lazy susans. You can find any style you need to fit your storage space.

The reason behind using the organizer is simple. If they’re all just sitting around in the bottom of a cabinet or rolling around in a drawer, that big mess you started with is going to happen again. You’re going to be in the middle of making chili and you’re going to realize it needs more garlic salt. And you’ll soon realize the garlic salt got pushed to the back so you’ll knock down 6 jars trying to get to it. And since the spoon is in one hand and the garlic salt’s in the other, you’ll say you’ll fix it later. But you won’t…

Long story short, get an organizer. The one I use is this one from The Container Store and I love it because it’s adjustable and will fit in almost any drawer.

Cricut Maker spice jar labels

5. Alphabetize Spices & Seasonings

Time to get the kids involved! My 11 year old actually really liked doing this for me, and if your kids are old enough to know how alphabetizing works, they’ll probably like it, too. If they’re a bit too young to do it on their own, this is a great teaching session!

Alphabetizing isn’t just for Organization Addicts, it’s actually really helpful for the regular Mom like you who is short on time (and patience…I see you!). There’s a reason that grocery stores organize the spices this way. It makes them easy and fast to find. Take a note from the Grocery Store Playbook and do the same in your own kitchen. It may only shave off a few seconds from your day , but those seconds add up over the course of the year. 🙂

Show Off Your Accomplishments!

After you’ve turned your pile of spice jars into an organized dream space for a home chef, show it off! I want to see your before and after photos! You can email them to me at lela{at}lelaburris{dot}com or share them on Instagram with #lelaimorganizedish and tag me @lelaburris. Trust me, that pretty cabinet or drawer of yours deserves some hand claps and heart eyes!

 

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