Organizing Your Spices

Organizing your spices will save you time, money and frustration. It will also make cooking quicker and less stressful.

First of all, gather all of your spices together. While doing that, discard spices that have expired. Also throw away the ones that have lost their potency like the ones that have lost color, smell or taste.

Write down the names of spices you are discarding in your grocery list so that you can re-stock them.

Sort spices into groups like cooking (basil, oregano, chili powder, paprika), seasoning (salt, pepper), grilling (barbeque spices, rubs), baking (cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, cloves) etc.

You can also separate whole spices and powdered ones.

Combine half bottles of the same spices into one if possible to save space.

If the spices are not in their original containers, transfer them into matching/coordinating containers (preferably clear) and label them. You can create labels on your computer, print and stick. You could also use a label maker for this purpose.

If you know the expiration date, include that also on the label. You can use erasable pen/pencil to write the expiration dates. This way you can change it when you refill the spice container.

You can organize the spices according to how often they are used, by country of origin/type of meals you cook (Italian, Mexican, Indian), alphabetically by names of the spice or in any other way that will be easier for you to find and grab what you need. Organizing your spices alphabetically will be easier if there is more than one person that cooks in your household.

Group spices that go together. Keep your grilling spices together, spices for baking together, spices for main dishes together and so on. You can alphabetize within each group.

Use basket(s) or boxes to store spices that are in small pouches (like taco seasoning). This way they won’t “disappear” among large containers.

You can organize spices inside cabinet(s) or drawer(s) close to the stove. If you are right handed keep them on the right side of the stove and vice versa. Make sure the labels are facing you when you store them so you can easily see/read them. Also, put spices you use most often in the front for easy access.

Store spices in such a way that you can easily see all of the jars/containers.

One option is to group spices that go together in shallow baskets or trays and then put them on the shelf. This way you can take the basket out and quickly see what is in it.

Another option is to get shelf risers. You can reuse empty boxes of parchment paper, cling wrap or aluminum foil as risers to elevate items like spices, jars, cans etc. in the back of the cabinet so that they are more visible. Leave the cardboard tube/core inside for strength. Wrap the boxes with contact paper for a decorative touch.

Use an in-drawer spice rack, tray or insert for organizing your spices inside a drawer.

Clean and dry the spice containers before refilling them. Use air tight containers to store spices to ensure the freshness and longevity of the spices.

Maintain the organization. When a regularly used spice is half empty, add it to your grocery list to re stock so that you don’t run out of it.

When purchasing new spices, write the expiration date on them so you know when it's time for new.

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