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Need help organizing spices...

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
My DH is a great cook and he uses a TON of different spices when he cooks. I just don't know how to organize them though. They're not supposed to be in the light, or near the stove so I have them in a lazy susan cupboard that looks like this I bought 2 Tupperware spice organizer things, but they don't work because we have too many spices and we never seem to buy the right size for the containers. Any ideas?
post #2 of 18
I'm wondering if you have any extra drawer space (or drawer space you could make available)? I ask because this is how I have always wanted to organize my spices. It looks like it would fit most of what I see in your picture (which, byt the way, YIKES! :LOL). You do have alot, so you might end up needing two drawers though.

That's my first thought...I'll keep pondering this though!

post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
I really don't have any extra drawers, or any that I could make into spice drawers. I've been thinking about using a cupboard, but how to organize them into a cupboard so we could easily see and reach them has me puzzled. My DH is a great, but sloppy cook, he just paws through things to get what he wants. Usually he's in a big hurry, but that means that whatever system I come up with has to keep the containers from flying around. Hmmm, what a puzzle...

Anyone else want to jump in here?
post #4 of 18
WOW! And I thought I had a lot of spices!!!

What about the refillable multispice containers. That would at least eliminate the numbers and numbers of bottles. I think each one holds like 5-7 different spices. I've seen them in camping supply places.

A question- are all those DIFFERENT spices? could you consolidate if they aren't? Have you asked your DH for input since he is the one that uses them most often?
post #5 of 18
I've got the same problem and at my old place had virtually 0 cabinet/drawer space. I got the spice rack from martha stewart that comes with the tins of spices. After a couple of years the tins started to corrode. So I went to mountain rose herbs and bought small cobalt blue glass jars. They look very nice on the spice rack mounted on the wall of my yellow kitchen. I buy most of my spices in bulk at the coop so I can buy the right quantity to fit in the jars. When I buy something in a larger bottle, I just keep the bottle put away and refill the spice jar on the rack as needed.

This way I can keep 40 different spices right at my food prep area.
post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by thistle
A question- are all those DIFFERENT spices? could you consolidate if they aren't? Have you asked your DH for input since he is the one that uses them most often?
Yup, all different. The Penzey's people know us by name!
Thanks for all the ideas! I'll get DH involved and take another look at the kitchen. Maybe it's time to do a major reorganization.
post #7 of 18
:LOL that pic is pretty funny.
I'm thinking if he just throws stuff up in there you don't have much chance of keeping it organized! :LOL
But my thoughts: it looks like a lot of wasted headspace in that cabinet...maybe you could trade cabinets w something else? I have mine in a cabinet w three shelves, and then I have 3 turntables (lazy susans, whatever) that I bought to go in there; one small, one large, and a med one that has two tiers. And the spices are alphabetized, or else I would never find what I need.
One way to simplify would be to not buy dried herbs and grow your own. Herbs are super easy to grow and taste 5000% better than dried. I grow basil, oregano, rosemary, sage, fennel, marjoram, chives, garlic chives, parsley, cilantro, etc. This will clear up space in your cabinet; you get the added joy (and aroma) of caring for the plants; and the difference in the food is amazing. You can buy herbs already started in pots at Home Depot if you have one for a less than $2 (and they have a great selection), or more like $4 if you have to go to Lowe's.
Good luck!
post #8 of 18

My dh bought this screw/nail sorter for me to use and it's THE BEST FIND EVER (what a smart dh!!). It cost about 15.00. I wrote the spice name on outside of each drawer w/ permanent sharpy marker and use those little "snack" baggys on the inside to keep herbs fresher. It's the best thing!
post #9 of 18
Oh wow- that looked like our spice cabinet a few years back- Penzy spices, tupperware holders and all plus the lazy susan.
We bought a very large tupperware modular mate (the tallest and largest). We keep that in the cabinet away from sunlight. We keep high fragent spices in there in ziplocks- tumeric, indian spices etc.We keep the everyday spices in the tupperware spice countainers so they are easy to get at. The 2nd level spices that are used more like every 2 weeks or more are kept in their penzy spice container in there own area sometimes in alphabetical order.

But go thru everything and get rid of anything older than 9 mo (they expire believe or not) Also write down all spices you will keep and put it into excel and then alphabetize so now you have a checklist. This can be taped on the fridge so you have an inventory sheet. You will find you have doubles and triples of different things as well. good luck!
post #10 of 18

We got one of these, and it made a huge difference. It would go better in a square cabinet, but maybe you could do some shifting.
post #11 of 18
What great ideas you ladies have! Another neat one I saw on the Clean Sweep show was a type of lazy suzan... well, sort of. It was a tall cylinder that spun around. In vertical rows all around you could slip your spices in so that all you could see was the tops of the jars. It came with jars that all looked the same (which I think helps!) and you just label the tops. Then you can buy in bulk (which is cheaper anyhow).

Here's how our's are organized:
On top of the counter (small counter about 1-1/2 ft. wide) there is a wicker office desk organizer. It works handily for spices for some reason, with 3 rows that are stepped up a little from each other. That only has savory-type spices. Then in the cabinet above it are 3 shelves. On the bottom two shelves go all the baking ingrediants (flour, salt, etc. but also baking spices - cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, mace, etc.) These do not include baking utensils, though. So I do not have measuring cups mixed in there. Then on the top shelf, which is harder for me to reach, are all the bulk spices in a small square wicker basket. These are only refills, not ones I'll need to pull out every day. This helps it not look nearly so cluttered. And it makes things easier to find.
post #12 of 18
Here's one on ebay (not my auction) that I was trying to describe.
The one on Clean Sweep was much more stylish, but you get the idea. I want to get one once we move to our new house (2 months!), since the office organizer things is a tight squeeze for most spice jars.
post #13 of 18
Not sure this idea will work for your situation, but I promise you'll at least enjoy looking at it. It may not be very compatible with kids but it's beautiful.
post #14 of 18
Oh my goodness, the magnets look beautiful!
post #15 of 18
I have many herbs and spices as well. I asked my husband to make a very narrow shelf (about 2-1/2 inches deep) and we put it up right above my workspace under the kitchen cabinets. Put brackets on the ends so the jars can't fall off and actually made the shelf turn a corner for more space. Any herbs in very large jars I just switch to a smaller jar so it fits on the shelf. We used a decorative bracket for the ends and painted the whole thing to match the cabinets. I love the way it looks and all of the spices are laid out in one row so it is easy to find what I need. I keep the most common ones right in front of my work space the the less common ones down at the end. I have a very small kitchen area but if you have more space you could certainly have two shelves. Those jars were taking up so much of my cabinet space!
post #16 of 18
My dad made a cool one for my mother. He trimmed the shelved in one of the cabinets so they are only about 3/4 as deep as they were. Then he built a spice rack on the inside of the cabinet door. It's awesome! All her spices fit in there & you can see them all. And there's no visual "clutter" because it's inside a cabinet. You could even do 2 cabinets if you neede that much space. You do lose a little cabinet shelf space, though.
post #17 of 18
I like to keep my spices out of the light, so they are in a kitchen drawer, in rows. I have flat- sided jars so they aren't rolling around, and just put them facing up. Of course, that means i have no junk drawer. Well, I do, it's in my desk.
post #18 of 18
I have a similar amount of spices. I am really anal about buying them in the same brand if I can so that at least the sizes are similar and stuff is easier to find. I have one of the cupboard multi-level racks and I put the biggest stuff in the back and then gradually get smaller so that I can see in the back. Right up above my rack I have another shelf that I put my larger (Costco sized) spices on. It's probably the ONLY space in the entire house that is organized.
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