Thursday, February 12, 2015

Organizing the Spice Drawer

Anyone who regularly spends time cooking knows how helpful it can be to have all your spices close at hand and readily accessible while you are preparing food, and how frustrating it can be to not find exactly what you need at a moment's notice!

For a while, I kept all my spices in a small basket in a cupboard near the stove. Over time, the basket was filled to overflowing, and it became increasingly difficult to find what I needed. Money was wasted as I purchased doubles of spices, not knowing I already had them in the basket!

I decided to tame the spices and make them easily accessible and fun to use while cooking.

The first step came when we purchased a narrow cabinet that fit perfectly next to the stove. Because we found an unfinished one at a "seconds" store, we were able to get it very inexpensive, and paint it to match the rest of the kitchen cabinets.

The top drawer was the perfect depth for small baby food jars. Baby food jars also happen to be just the right size to hold the contents of a small, store-bought spice jar. I found a friend who goes through many baby food jars a week, and asked for all her extras. After washing them and removing the labels, I spray painted all the lids with black chalkboard spray paint and let them dry.

One idea I have previously seen was to write the names of the spices on the lids with chalk, so that they could be erased and re-purposed as necessary. This was my original project, but found that the chalk rubbed off too easily after only a short amount of time, so I decided to use a silver sharpie instead.

I chose all my most commonly used spices and arranged them in their new jars in alphabetical order right next to my stove. Often while I am cooking, I pull the drawer open and leave it that way. Everything I need to season my food is right at my fingertips!

Of course, there are some spices in my basket that I use only on an occasional basis, for canning or fall baking. So my basket is still necessary, but I was able to consolidate quite a bit, and make it much more user friendly! I also wrote the names of each spice on the lid, so that I could easily see what I had on hand.

In the cabinet space below my pull-out spice drawer, I was able to set up all my candy making supplies, as well as make space for my newly organized spice basket. Now all my little cooking helps are neatly organized in one spot in the kitchen!

Having small jars to hold the spices has allowed me to buy more spices in bulk containers and just refill my small containers as needed. This has already saved much money! Thanks to all this organization, there is also space to store the larger bulk spice containers as well.

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