Compulsive Organizing: Spice Cabinet

For the past few months (dare I say more than a year?) I’ve been guilty of muttering…or yelling…long strings of angry words every time I had to go into my spice cabinet. Living in an apartment that is little more than 800 square feet means my kitchen is nothing too large, and neither is my storage space. Which means that my spices were squeezed onto one small shelf, all stacked on top of each other like sardines in a can.

I was able to live in denial for the two years we lived here, because I hadn’t accumulated nearly as many bottles. But as I’ve been stretching my diet to healthier things and eating lots more homemade Asian foods (which typically require a large variety of spices), I found myself getting more and more frustrated.

You know it’s time for a change when every time you cook you start yelling, “WHY can’t I EVER find ANYTHING IN HERE?!?!?!?”

Not that I did that or anything.


So, I went out and bought a spice rack. For the second time. And I wound up returning it, for the second time. Which not only served to highly amuse my darling husband, but also to get me even more frustrated. Is there such a thing as a spice storage system for people with no counter or drawer space and the inability to put any major holes in anything?

This got me searching. And searching.

One of my favorite blogs – Apartment Therapy – did a feature earlier this year on spice racks.

Yes, I’m way too excited about it.

Go read their feature on 10 Practical Ideas for Better Spice Storage here.

My particular favorite, which I’m actually considering doing someday, is this one shown here on Traveler’s Lunchbox (and the photo below) made out of an old printer’s tray. Brilliant! I love that it has room for labels, since I’m not skilled enough to quickly recognize all my spices by sight and would most likely end up making some horrible errors.

However, time nor budget have allowed me to try this particular method yet.

Finally, I came up with my own solution. And that was to separate all my dear friends into two categories, thus keeping them in two separate places.

Spices that don’t get used very often like cinnamon sticks, marjoram, bay leaves, etc.,  got set aside to be put into a box, while ones that I use very regularly like cinnamon, garlic powder, and italian seasoning, made the cut to stay on my tiny shelf.

Now wait a minute, you say. How do you ever remember what spices you have if half of them are boxed up?

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used these labels to figure out if I’ve got something. No more digging, no more swearing loudly at the spice cabinet.

And I actually have extra space in there now!

It’s a beautiful, beautiful thing.

How about you? Any secrets to spice storage and organization? How do you maintain your sanity in the kitchen?


2 thoughts on “Compulsive Organizing: Spice Cabinet

  1. Ooohhh… I’m drooling over that spice rack! I have been looking for MONTHS to find a solution to organizing our daily supplements. My spices are pretty well organized in the pantry (although the whole pantry needs a re-do… it’s looking like a train wreck in there). My family takes daily vitamins & supplements & currently we’re yanking bottles of all different sizes & shapes out of the container they’re in…. it’s not working… it’s driving me nuts… this would be a perfect solution.

    Great idea on listing your spices too. I like being able to grab things at a glance. I have my spices in a drawer (in those Tupperware spice containers) labeled on the top. So it makes it easy for my kids to grab what we need.


    • Yes…I was going crazy!! Not just when I was cooking but when I was planning what to eat and couldn’t remember if I had a particular spice or not. This way all I have to do is check the list! Best project I’ve ever completed. I highly recommend it!

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