I know you have heard it all before. Variety is the spice of li… No, wait. An organized kitchen saves time and energy. There’s a lot that can be said for an organized array of spices and seasonings. When you’re cooking. It’s a huge time-saver to be able to reach in and grab just the spice you need. And it helps do away with those ‘spice disasters.’ You know the ones. Who hasn’t put paprika instead of cinnamon in your nice hot bowl of oatmeal?
Begin by deciding how you want to go about designing your spice area. You may choose to keep them:
- stored in a cabinet
- on the counter in a neat display
- on a magnetic strip
- in a creation all your own
Whichever way you choose to arrange them, you will want to have a plan.
Choose an Area and Choose your Equipment
The first step is deciding where and how you want to store your spices. If you have ample counter space you might decide to keep them out in the open. If you are short on space, using a small cabinet or a lazy susan in a larger cabinet might work as well.
A great way to store your spices is inside the door of your pantry or cabinet with a narrow spice rack. You can find spice racks that install in your cupboard and slide out or down for easy access.
Space above your stove may look convenient, but it isn’t the best storage spot. The heat that rises from the stove is not good for the spices. Neither is having to reach over hot pots and burners. Pick a space that is convenient for you but also safe.
Gather Your Spices
If you are like I was, your spices are scattered to the four winds. Begin by gathering all your spices so you can inventory them.
First, check for any out of date spices and throw them out. Next, check each spice to see if it still has vibrant color and smell. If a spice looks dull and faded or lost its aroma, it’s time to pitch it. If a spice seems to be clumpy, hard packed, or smells musty, time for the trash. Finally, combine duplicate spices. How many times have you bought the same spice, not knowing if you have enough for a recipe? I used to do it all the time.
Once you have all of the same spices combined, you will be ready to organize them.
Depending on your space, there are several ways to organize your spices. Here are a couple suggestions:
Alphabetical – This is pretty self-explanatory. No matter what storage arrangement you choose. You just start from left to right and arrange the spices in alphabetical order. A lazy susan in a cabinet works well for this. Just pick a starting point and spin around, alphabetizing as you go. Some of the larger items may not fit on the rack within your alphabetized spaces. That’s okay. You can keep those items organized or by using one of the other tips below.
Type of Use – This method works well. If you’re like me, you don’t just cook in the kitchen. I have spices that I use to grill close to my grill. I also keep spices that I use a lot next to the stove, especially salt and pepper. Setting up your kitchen this way can save time. And we can all use a little more thyme in our lives. See what I did there?
Categories – This style of organizing spices may only make sense to one person. You. But that’s okay. You may want to separate your spices by savory and sweet. Or spicy or mild. Or even by the type of food they go in. You may even want to separate your spices in categories as simple as “I use these all the time.” to “I rarely use these.” Use whatever makes sense to you.
Organizing your spice cabinet can be done in so many different ways. The thing to think about when designing your spice center is to create a plan that works best for you. And stick to it.