Do you have celery seed? How much basil is left in that jar?
Too often, we purchase unnecessary spices simply because we’re unsure of what we have in our cabinet or rack. Your spices may have started out organized, but with each new jar, chaos can begin to take control. Reclaim your spice rack with these easy steps.
Take everything out. You’ll never know just how many spices you’ve accrued until you empty your spice rack. Take everything out, even the spices you know you’ll keep like salt and pepper.
Audit your items. Now that everything is out of the cabinet, it’s time to determine what stays and what goes. Be honest with yourself – what spices do you use? What hasn’t been used in years? Put your spices into two piles: “Keep” and “trash.” Realistically, the lifespan of ground spices is only eight or nine months, so if you can’t remember when the spice was purchased, it’s time to trash it. Be sure to read expiration dates, and put anything that’s expired or soon to be expired in the “trash” pile! Before you continue organizing, toss the “trash” pile. Good riddance!
Choose your A-list. Just like in Hollywood, your spice rack has both popular stars and a lesser-known cast. Separate your spices into two piles: A-list and B-list. Your A-list pile consists of spices you regularly use like basil, salt and pepper. Put items you rarely use or have only used once in the B-list. Again, be honest with yourself. If you don’t use dried orange peel on a weekly basis, don’t put it in the A-list pile!
Get organized. Now it’s time to get organized! Make sure your A-list spices get prime cabinet real estate, and organize within each grouping. Alphabetize or group spices by cuisine (Indian spices, Chinese spices, etc.) Choose a method that is easy to remember and that you’ll realistically use.
Use similar containers (optional). It’s perfectly acceptable to keep your spices in their original containers, but you might find it easier to stay organized if your spices are in similar containers. We recommend using small, labeled mason jars to store your spices. They’re easy to find and inexpensive – you can get 12 for less than $1 a piece! To learn more about organizing with mason jars, read: Upcycle This: Organize & Decorate With Mason Jars.