In regard to her spices, she said: "Seriously, I think that I had some spices that were well over 10 maybe 15 years old. Yes, really. They are gone now. There are some that still may be a little too old but we will roll with it."
She further wrote in to share with me the following:
My spice shelf needed the most help. I needed to let go of some spices.
Seriously, some were 10 to 15 years old.
Good bye, lemon pepper that has been living rent free in my cupboard and hitching rides to each new abode for the last at least eight years! Goodness.
I had a stair stacker and just went with what I had and tossed what I hadn't or wouldn't be using in the next year. If I need more spice I will probably go the bulk route as it is usually much more cost effective.
Organizing Spice Cabinet With Items From Dollar Tree
Container from Dollar Tree
Ferris from The Hamman Family Blog shared some really awesome and still cheap storage solutions for the cabinet where she keeps her spices.
She went to The Dollar Tree and purchased some storage containers with dividers. (You can see the picture -- it is the red box.)
She explained: "The red fabric containers from the dollar store turned out to be really awesome. The inside separators are just Velcroed in so you do not have to use it if you don't want to. I bought 2 of these.
I used the separator for 1 and not the other. Also, since these are from the dollar store they are not the strongest so I reinforced the bottoms with some extra cardboard. This seemed to make them strong enough to pull in and out and not feel like they will break or drop all my items everywhere!"
Further, she stated: "The top fabric box has the separators in it. In that box is my vegetable oil, olive oil, pams, and some red and white cooking vinegar. The bottom box has my extra spices in it."
Ferris (see above) also shared these pictures of how she organizes her spice packets and a few small spices.
She has them on the inside of her cabinet door, with a homemade door organizer.
Again, she used little plastic storage bins from the dollar store.
She explained, "I used the baskets that I got from the dollar store and screwed them to the cabinet. (Well Jake screwed them to the cabinet.) I love the way this turned out. It was so nice tonight when I cooked to just quickly grab the items I needed because I could get to them easily!"
She explained that she "rehoused spices into drawer in kitchen.....alphabetic order, need more stickers. A work in progress…"
Further she stated, "The only place I could have my spices was along a thin rail that ran along the back of my pantry. Fine for me but now my daughter enjoys cooking and she was not able to read the labels. So we re organised to have them in a more user friendly place."
Putting spices in a drawer can clear up counter or cabinet space, but the disadvantage can be trying to see what is what when you need to grab something while cooking.
Adding the labels is a great fix to that problem. Great idea Bev!
Here are some available pre-printed spice labels if you're interested:
Debate: How To Arrange Spices? Alphabetically Or By Type?
There seems to be a debate raging about whether to arrange your spices alphabetically or by kind.
I honestly don't think there is a right answer. The answer will really be what your preference is, and what works for you.
Quite a number of readers have shared with me that they do it alphabetically.
For instance, Laurie shared, "I found arranging them in a loosely alphabetical order helps me find what I want easier."
I can understand that. If you have a lot of spices you can look through quite a number of jars and bottles before you find the one you want if they don't have some type of organization scheme.
I just guess I personally find that a bit stifling to imagine doing while I'm in the process of cooking something, and I could easily see people messing it up when they're helping you put things away.
On the other hand, I've also gotten discussion about why spices should be grouped by like item.
For example, one reader who did this week's challenge, Caroline, and blogged about it at Southern Mom Says explained on her blog:
I grouped all my spices together by like items. For example, all the Italian type seasonings, Oregano, Basil etc together and then the spicier stuff like Cumin, Paprika, Chili powder and then the sweet and/or baking spices together like Cinnamon, Powdered sugar & All Spice together. This will hopefully keep me from buying duplicate spices and also being able to tell quickly what I need to replace.
I personally think that is a great way to organize your spices!
I know a lot of people also like alphabetical, but sometimes if you use several spices together frequently Caroline's method may actually make it easier to grab all the right ones together, and save yourself some time.
On the other hand, everyone knows how to alphabetize. Not everyone thinks exactly the same way about what spices would make sense together.
Therefore, I really think this is a decision each person makes for themselves. Of course, it's not a huge deal either. You don't like the method you choose after trying it out -- just switch and see how that goes!
Do what works. What works for you?
I hadn't even thought of grouping the spices by 'type' and I can see how it would work for most cooks.
I choose to alphabetise the spices to make it easier for my daughter who is just starting to cook more elaborate meals in the kitchen. She may not know spices by 'type' so A-Z makes it quick and easier for us all. :)
I switched things up and put the spices in a smaller drawer by themselves, put all the bagged spices into lrg baby food jars, used a shoebox to corral them, gave away some stuff I never use and chucked the yuckies!"
Has This Inspired You To Get Organized?
I hope these real life examples of how people have organized their own spices have given you ideas you can use as well.
If you're now inspired to get organizing, I would encourage you to join the 52 Week Organized Home Challenge here on the site. Over the course of the year we tackle every room and type of item to get your home decluttered and organized.
In addition, if you do this particular task I would love to see your results. You can share your before and after pictures here and I'll add them to the hall of fame, so we can all celebrate your accomplishments together!
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