So, I recently went from a spice rack to a spice drawer. My old house had a nice pantry with a built-in spice rack on the door, which worked really well.
After moving to this new house, even though I got a bigger kitchen, I wasn’t sure where I should put my spices. Should I buy some sort of spice rack, or try to make something?
In the end I ended up putting them in a large drawer.
I started liking the spice drawer. Just like my behind the door spice rack before, it’s easy to access and keep out of view when not needed.
BUT the big problem was that THIS is what my spice drawer looked like:
With everything being in different sized containers, it was just a big old mess. I knew it had to get it organized, but the tipping point came when my husband was digging through the drawer looking for a pack of “hot” taco sauce. It’s not like it took him forever to find it [ in that big mess.. ] but I could tell by the sound of the rummaging that he was frustrated with how disorganized it was. 🙂
So the next day I started the big spice drawer cleanup.
Spice Drawer Organization Steps
I’ll go through all the steps I took to easily and *inexpensively* get all my spices organized in the drawer.
Step 1: Evaluate Your Spices & Spice Drawer
The first thing I did was take everything out of the drawer. I grouped spices together in sections on the counter depending on what kind of cuisine I typically use them in. My groups were: European, Indian, Asian, and Mexican.
Sometimes I had doubles of the same spice. I just stacked them on each other to make it clear how much quantity there was.
I also grouped all the empty jars together. All those empty jars were just cluttering up my drawer, yuck! Some of the “empties” included random spice mixes I had made like 2 years ago and never touched.
Once I had all my spices arranged in groups on the counter, I wrote a list of all my spices. Turns out I only had 28 different spices, which was less than what I’d thought.
I also measured my spice drawer just so I’d be able to see how many jars of a particular shape would fit.
Step 2: Choose New Spice Jars
Choosing the spice jars was a little bit tricky for me. Whenever I’m gonna spend money on something, I always spend way too much time thinking about it!
Amazon has a lot of spice jar kits that you can choose from. They’re pretty decently priced, although my main caveat was that I wanted 8oz jars (most of the spice jars sold in kits are 4oz jars). I also wanted them to have a wide enough opening that I could easily use even a tablespoon to measure an and scoop without making a huge mess.
In the end, I already had the perfect solution. My mom and I had split a bulk purchase smoked paprika recently, and I had put it in a wide-mouth half-pint canning jar. I took the other empty jars I had in the cupboard and put some spices in them to see how it would look. Bingo! Just what I wanted.
I bought two more 12-packs of the same jars. You can find them on Amazon here but I will say that it’s about $10 cheaper to get them at WalMart, and then you won’t run the risk of having them break in the mail.
Step 3: Fill Spice Jars, Label and Organize Drawer
So, I spent $16 to get 24 more jars (in addition to the 12 I already own) and here’s the result:
I really like using these jars for things like making yogurt, refrigerator oats, and single-serve desserts – and now as spice jars too.
They’re awesome! They’re easy to fill (no funnel necessary), easy to clean, easy to scoop from, easy to grab a pinch when I only need a pinch. I though the 2-part lids would bother me but it hasn’t been a problem.
I like the “text-free” look of these jars, since I set them on their sides in the drawer. It’s easy for me to identify my own spices just by the colors.
But, since I do sometimes have family guests coming over and using my kitchen, I did decide to put labels on the tops of the jars. That way, if there’s any confusion about what’s in a jar, all one needs to do is check the lid.
I used my handy Brother P-Touch label maker to make the spice jar labels. I love using this thing because the labels look nice and clean, and they’re easy enough to remove if you stick them on the wrong spot.
For anyone curious, these are the settings I used:
- Label Length: Auto
- Margin: Narrow
- Tab Length: 0.0″
- Size: Small
- Width: Normal
- Style: Bold
- Underline/Frame: Off
- Font: Helsinki
Spice Drawer Organization: Final Thoughts
Organizing my spice drawer was a lot more fun than I thought it would be. Now whenever I’m cooking – and I cook just about every day, so I’m using the newly organized spice drawer a LOT – it’s really satisfying to open up the drawer and see all the neatly arranged spices in their shiny new jars.
You can’t exactly tell in my photos, but there is still enough room in the back of my drawer for about 5 more spice jars. I also removed the taco sauce packets, decorative sugars, and anything else that didn’t really belong there.
Hopefully this post gives you some inspiration for your own spice storage solutions! 🙂