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I don’t know about you but my spice drawer used to always be a nightmare. With all the different sized containers; big, small, round, square, plastic, glass, labels on the top, labels on the side, how can one gain order?! This leads to a convoluted spice drawer and that my friend is just downright tragic. Tragic I say!
With my type A personality and my love for organization, I have always fought to gain control over the spice drawer. I mean come on, if you can’t gain control over your spice drawer, what hope is there for you? hehe I have spent many afternoons tackling this project. I have lined them up by size, by category, by alphabet, I have tried spice racks, created spice drawers, laid out spice cabinets… you name it, I have attempted it, but no matter how I “stacked” them, it would only take a matter of minutes to find them in a disarray all over again.
From the moment I moved out on my own, I have always owned a large collection of spices. But I only used about four of them. I always thought that a woman needed to know how to iron a shirt, fix a leaky toilet, replace a button, keep a clean home, change the oil in her car and know how to use spices. I mastered all of them except for one… spices! I guess that isn’t true, in the first 35 years of my life, I mastered the art of using four of them; salt, pepper, cinnamon and garlic salt. The other 27 plus jars just rolled around, collecting dust.
Occasionally I would crack open their lids and take a whiff, put the lid back on and quickly put it away. I had no idea how to use them. Boy, have things changed, now I have at least 15 different salts in my pantry, everything from pink Himalayan to black flaked. I can now appreciate the difference between ground black pepper and fresh cracked pepper. And thank goodness that I have become friends with the other 27 jarred spices because putting garlic salt on everything… well, just made everything taste like garlic. :)
I have learned to appreciate buying spices in bulk. Always purchase bulk spices from a store that uses good quality spices, and has high volume of foot traffic so that they roll through their stock. This keeps the spices fresher. You can also buy just the amount you need for a just a few months at a time, so your spices stay fresh, and often you can find organic bulk spices. And, because you are not paying for a bunch of little individual bottles and fancy marketing, bulk spices are cheaper!
I finally created my dream spice system. I used 4oz mason jars which are perfect for holding various spices that usually come in odd ball shaped containers.
Clean out a space where you can setup your new spice drawer. That could be a kitchen cabinet or drawer. I replaced the shelves in my pantry with full-extension roll out drawers. Keep in mind the placement of your spices. Ask yourself, is this spot convenient? Can I reach into this space with ease? Is the lighting in this area bright enough so I can read the spice labels? Tip: Wipe down shelves/drawer and place one or two Bay Leaves on each shelf. The Bay Leaves will keep the weevils away! What’s a weevil?! Weevils are often found in dry foods including nuts and seeds, cereal and grain products, such as pancake mix. In the domestic setting, they are most likely to be observed when a bag of flour is opened.
As I mentioned, I used 4 oz mason jars for my spices. If your drawer is shallow, you use smaller jars or if you have the space and a large quantity of each spice, you can use larger jars.
To hold the jars in place as you open and close the drawer, I purchased 18″ tension rods at my local department store. I tried this system without the tension rods and I found that they slid around a quite a bit, so this really helped.
Do you have spices that you prefer to “grind” as needed? Such as fresh ground pepper? If you do, as I do, you may have noticed that these types of grinders often leave a trail behind them. Here is a simple and easy approach to keeping your spice area clean. Place a jar lid under the grinder so when you set it down all the crumbs will fall into the lid. (smacks forehead with this epiphany)
I hope this gave you some ideas and encouragement to tackle your own kitchen “woes”. Sending you organizational blessings! amie sue