In the old days, the kitchen was only that -- a kitchen.  Now, we use the kitchen for a variety of functions-- everything from entertaining to doing homework.  With so many things going on in the kitchen, it’s easy to see how it can get disorganized super quickly.

The kitchen is a vast area with many opportunities to DIY to organization and tidiness, so it’s crucial to break this large process down into smaller more palatable projects.  We thought the most fun place to start would be the spice rack.

The one category that seems to be the largest and most unruly of the kitchen is the collection of spices and seasonings. Have you ever had a night where you were shopping for groceries based on a recipe, and you had to buy an entire container of a spice for just 1 teaspoon? Eventually those nights add up, and so does the spice collection. How on earth can you have a functional kitchen with spices literally overflowing everywhere?

It’s important when organizing anything to keep visibility in mind, especially in the kitchen. It’s the norm when planning a meal to simply glance in the pantry to get a cursory idea of what you already have. Don’t be the person who has six containers of cumin because you didn’t see the bottle.  This is an amazing idea for organizing your spices and using a space that’s often under-utilized:  the inside of your pantry door!

The Steps:

  1. - Start by measuring a space on the inside of your pantry door. Make sure this space comes in far enough as to not interfere with the hinges or knob of the door.
  2. - When you have the dimensions of this rectangular shape, go to the hardware store and purchase and piece of sheet metal roughly the size of what you measured; it can always be cut down to the proper dimensions.
  3. - When this sheet is the correct size, drill it to the inside of your pantry door and a comfortable height for you.
  4. - The next step is to go online and purchase magnetized spice containers. These containers are the perfect size to empty most standard sized spice containers into. The tops twist for light applications of sprinkling over food, or the top can come completely for fitting measuring implements into the container. They have clear tops for easy visibility and some of the containers you can order even come labels to clearly identify what you have. But the reason for these in particular is that the bottom is magnetized and you can easily stick these containers to the sheet metal you have just installed to the inside of your pantry door.

Pro tip: If you don’t have the budget for spice containers, you can buy a packet of magnets and superglue one to each spice container that you already have! It’s not as neat, but it does the job.  You can also get cheap containers from the dollar store closest to you and use those, so that they all match. Here are some of our favorites: Dollar Spice Containers

      5. - You can organize the spices in any manner that works for you at this point. Some people prefer to line them up alphabetically, and other separate them into groups that are often used together. There are a plethora of options.

A common complaint for storing spices in the pantry is that if you are in the middle of preparing a meal and you need to amend the seasoning in your dish, you then must walk all the way across the kitchen to see what you have while you should be keeping an eye on the meal.

An option that may appeal to those of you who prefer to keep your seasoning closer at hand when cooking up a meal for your family is to utilize the shallow drawer many people have right next to the stove top that is often used for utensils. First off, like the previous idea, this works out best if you buy uniform properly sized containers for your spices. These glass jars are perfect for this application. After you have the jars, it’s time to label them, and you could just use the sticky labels that come with the jars, but there is another method that makes them more versatile.

Don’t forget that chalkboard paint can make wonderful (and removable labels).  Simply tape off a decently sized rectangle on your jar and fill it in with chalkboard paint. When it dries, write the name of the spice you want to fill it with. When the jar empties, you are not obligated to fill it with the same seasoning because you can wash the old chalk writing off and write your new spice on it!

If you’re still into traditional labels, that’s fine too--  you can always peel and stick to match the colors of your kitchen.  

Now that you’ve got your spice collection under control, take that momentum and go forth to a different kitchen zone that could use a little modification. Stay tuned and see what  transformation we tackle next!