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So, you’re in the kitchen, cooking, and you reach over to your spices to grab the garlic powder… and… can you grab it?
Or are you digging through cinnamon, cumin, and coriander to find it?
Do you have spices clogging up the works? Herbs you haven’t used in years? Bottles of… you’re not even sure what?
Let’s get that sorted out, ASAP. If you cook, EVER, you’ll appreciate having your spices organized. It really makes a huge difference in the whole cooking experience.
I cook almost every meal for my family. I prepare the food at home. I think we’ve gone out to eat fewer than 10 times since we moved here almost a year ago. So having convenient access to my seasonings is kind of a big deal.
So you can see why having my spice drawer look like THIS was bumming me out. Right?
What a freaking mess! I was picking up 5 bottles before I found the one I was looking for. And sometimes, I wasn’t even sure if I had what I needed. The other day, I made a recipe that required ground cardamom, and even though I thought I had it, I wasn’t positive, and I couldn’t find it… so I left it out.
Well, it turns out I DID have it. I just couldn’t find it in this mess.
The first step in any organizational endeavor is to gather everything into one place. So, to organize your spices, wherever you have your spices and herbs stored, bring them to ONE location in the kitchen.
In our house in Maryland, I had a spice drawer and an herb drawer (they were narrower)… but really, this is all in the “seasonings” category, so gather them all.
Then, clean the drawer, cupboard, shelf, or container they were stored in, really well.
But before you put the spices back, go through ALL of them and declutter the ones you’re not using, and won’t use any time soon.
And be honest with yourself. I know a lot of you will think I’m crazy when I say this, but despite being Italian and genetically required to use basil liberally, I don’t. I almost never use basil. So I had a teeny bit in a container I’ve had for I’m-not-sure-how-long, and I got rid of it. I also tossed some dried veggies and herbs mixed together for a dip mix, but which I never used… and a couple of other things I’m not wild about.
Once you only have what you’re keeping for sure, make sure that you’ll know what they are when they’re stored. You need to be able to see the names of all the seasonings, without touching or picking them up.
On the ones I have which were going to be standing up in the drawer, I wrote the name of the seasoning in sharpie on the lids. Some of the lids are black, so I ordered some metallic sharpies to do those when they come in the mail. On others, which had larger flat lids, I used my trusty label maker.
When everything is labeled, you’ll need to return things to their new home. Whether that’s a cabinet, drawer, or spice rack, there needs to be a system so that things don’t fall apart again.
That was my problem originally… I kept arranging my spices, but there was no reinforcement to keep them where they were supposed to go. Enter: my favorite drawer dividers. They’re seriously the best, and I use them all over the place. So, I’ve organized my spice drawer, and with the labels and dividers in place, I know it’ll stay this way!
But what if you don’t have a drawer…? Read on.
There are a billion different ways to organize spices and herbs in your kitchen, depending on what your space is like.
- Maybe you have a drawer like I do, or two narrow drawers. Drawer dividers are for you.
- Or you might have a cabinet and prefer racks or strips of clips to hold your bottles, or you might prefer containers in a cabinet (like clear organizing boxes – one for spices, one for herbs. Or one for savory things, and one for baking ingredients).
- Maybe you don’t have much in the way of cabinets or drawers, but you have a spot on the wall or the fridge for magnetic spice containers to hang.
- Maybe you buy your spices in bulk, and prefer to have one type of matching container for all of them. (I wish we had this option, but we can’t buy bulk spices here.)
Whatever your situation is, the steps are basically the same for how to organize your spices and herbs.
How to Organize Your Spices – Step by Step
- Gather all of your spices and herbs into one location.
- Clean whatever they were stored in before.
- Declutter any spices and herbs that are too old or unloved.
- Make sure your spices and herbs are labeled properly so that when they’re in their storage place, you can see what they are at a glance.
- Replace your spices and herbs into their new home in an organized way that makes sense to you. Spices vs. herbs, savory vs. baking, or arranged alphabetically are all perfectly good methods.
- Be sure to use physical “reminders” like drawer dividers, labels, or containers to keep the organizational system in place even months into the future as you use and replace things.
Are you ready to organize your spices and herbs for good?
Get to it! Mine took me 11 minutes to do, from start to finish. Set a timer, and let me know how long it takes you to do yours, in the comments. GO!