I love starting the year off with a kitchen clean out. I’m pretty good about throwing away foods that expire along the way—except for spices. I tend to imagine that they last forever (they don’t) and often end up with multiples of certain spices or dried herbs that I can never use up before they lose potency or go rancid. So, this year, I’ve decided to figure how how to better organize spices so that I can keep better track.
There are a lot of DIY ideas for spice rack organization that are functional, but honestly, they mostly look meh to me. At best. So I’m happy to have found these 6 easy ideas which are actually stylish enough that we’d be happy to use them in any of our homes.
An organized kitchen that’s pretty, too: it’s my favorite combination.
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Top photo: hexagonal magnetic spice racks | Gneiss Spice on Etsy
1. A smart counter display
If cabinet and drawer space are limited in your kitchen, you’ll either need to cut way back on your seasonings or find a clever way to display them on your counter. I think the monogrammed spice block set at Williams-Sonoma (at top) is beautiful and it will last forever. Then again, if you don’t have zillions to blow on spice organization—because $175 is a whole heck of a lot of money to spend on this!—I discovered a far more affordable 21-tube spice tube rack that I was surprised to see at Dean and Deluca (below). Just be sure to have a steady hand when filling the containers!
2. A spice drawer rack
Unless you’re doing a big kitchen remodel, skip the fancy built-ins and pop one of these inexpensive spice drawer racks from The Container Store in your kitchen drawer instead. This way, all of your spices are face up so that you can see what each one is without having to stand on tiptoe searching for that missing bottle of cumin. If you have the drawer space, this is a fantastic option and keeps your kitchen clutter-free, while putting spices all within reach.
3. Printed spice labels for bulk storage.
If you have lots of spices and herbs, you know how easy it is to confuse cayenne for cinnamon (Liz confesses she’s done that, eek!) or all the various dried green herbs. So printing matching spice labels isn’t just for super anal organizers. It actually can help you organize your spices so that you can identify them more easily. Here are two options:
If you use lots of dried herbs and spices in your cooking, buying them in bulk is extremely affordable and you can easily store them in a kitchen drawer using air-tight containers, like the kitchen display by Janis Manacsa that I found on Houzz (top). If you do this, you can print labels straight from your smartphone with something like the brilliant Epson Labelworks Bluetooth Label Maker that we recently reviewed, which is as easy as it gets.
However if you’re storing bulk spices in an open area where everyone can see them, you might want to use these pretty printable spice labels we found at Snippets of Design instead (bottom). Stuck onto reusable, refillable spice jars—Amazon has tons of options—they offer a clean, modern look for spice organization. Especially for those of you who love the look of dried herbs and spices so much, your inclination is not to “clutter up” the jars with labels.
4. Magnetic spice jar rack
Magnetic spice racks have been trendy for a while and certainly you can make your own at at home, but I’m not sure that I trust my DIY skills for this one. Instead, I’d invest in one of these gorgeous hexagonal magnetic spice racks from Gneiss Spice on Etsy. Whether you need just 6 jars or up to 24, it’s such a lovely way to show off all those rich colors. Just know it’s not the best idea if your top cooking herbs are dried oregano, dried sage, dried parsley and dried cilantro but it’s great for your top workhorses, while the rest can be stored in a pantry for less frequent use.
5. A wall-mounted herb garden
So many recipes that I love call for fresh herbs, but it’s painful to drop $3 or more on a single sprig of fresh sage, thyme, or rosemary (or all three) when I know that I won’t use but a fraction before it wilts. Growing your own herbs is easy and can save big bucks. It can also look cool, too, if you take inspiration from this wall-mounted herb garden and dry spice rack that I spotted at Home Design Lover. How genius is this? So pretty and functional, this might be my next weekend project.
6. A swing-out cabinet spice shelf
When you’re researching how to organize your spices, this might be the platinum option. Only, in wood. If a kitchen remodel is in your future, you’ll never regret splurging on a swing out spice shelf in your upper cabinets. I added this particular model from Home Depot (you can also see it on Houzz, created by custom cabinetry makers Wood-Mode) in my last kitchen renovation, and I have never regretted it. It swings out like a door so that you can see both sides of the shelf, and there’s plenty of room to hold all the spices I need, including those random bottles of celery seed and fenugreek that I needed for that one recipe that one time.