How To Organize Your Spice Shelf and Baking Supplies

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Spice-shelf organization is a project I’ve attempted and failed at many times. Because even when I did organize the spice and cooking-supply cabinet, it was usually back to a gigantic mess within just a few weeks.

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My first recent attempt at cooking supply organization – it wasn’t easy to use so it didn’t last.

After much thinking and reorganizing, here’s how I finally created a workable spice and baking system:

1) I did my research.

And by “research” I mean that I looked in the spice cabinet of every home I visited for several months under the guise of helping the host cook or clean. Then I interrogated the owner of said spices to find out what she liked and did not like about her current system.

Browsing Pinterest and the rest of the Internet for ideas could also work 🙂

2) I figured out what my own problem areas were.

I noticed that I was:

  • Trying to stick to a system that no longer worked for my family’s changing needs.
  • Not able to find spices easily.
  • Battling with overly-crowded spice and baking shelves.
  • Allowing shelves to be almost bare where I used to keep pre-packaged foods.
Cooking cupboards, take 2

My second attempt at organizing ingredients – a great start but still not quite how I wanted things.

3) I started thinking about what I did want.

I realized that I needed to move some of our crowded baking supplies over to our bare cabinet where I used to keep the pre-packaged foods.

I also knew I wanted a system that would be so easy to use it would actually last for a long time.

And I knew that I wanted my spices in alphabetical order so we could quickly find what we were looking for.

4) I slowly gathered supplies.

During one of my cabinet-opening sessions at a friend’s house, my friend Katie showed me a spice rack full of clear empty spice jars she had put in a closet. She was planning on delivering those perfect jars to Good Will. By the end of the day, Katie’s spice jars were in my kitchen instead 🙂

I also gathered random items around my house that I thought might possibly be useful:

  • Christmas cookie tins that I hardly ever use
  • Small scraps of wood from one of Nathan’s woodworking projects
  • Some of Grace’s leftover scrapbook-type paper that’s sticky on one side (awesome stuff by the way!)
  • A sharpie
  • Scissors, both plain and fancy
  • A little bit of kitchen-style scrap fabric from Lily’s fabric bin.

5) I got to work.

Prep work is important but all the planning, thinking, and preparing in the world isn’t going to get my cooking supplies organized. The actual organization part is all about the hard work.

So Lily and I rolled up our sleeves, she hopped onto the counter, and we started organizing.

Here’s how we organized the spices:

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  1. We alphabetized all of the jars on the counter.
  2. Since I had two different types of jars I wanted to use (my clear ones and Katie’s clear ones), I decided which spices would go in which jars.
  3. We washed jars and put spices in their new jars (this was tricky to keep everything straight, so we only worked with a few jars at a time!).
  4. We threw out the jars we didn’t need to keep.
  5. We used scissors, sticky scrapbook-type paper, and sharpies to put new labels over the old ones.
  6. We made sure the labels would be facing the front when in the cabinet for easy viewing.
  7. I used wood scraps to make little “steps” on one side of the cabinet.
  8. I covered the plain wood with scrap fabric to make it prettier and safer (no splinters).
  9. We put the spices back on the shelf!

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Since we have a lot of herbs and spices, I also cleared out a shelf (a bonus of decluttering!) to use for “spice overflow.” When a jar starts getting low, I simply refill it from our overflow shelf:

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Here’s how I organized the rest of our cooking and baking supplies:

  1. Baking supplies we use often were put in one container.
  2. Baking supplies we don’t use very often were put in another container on a higher shelf.
  3. Cake and cupcake decorating supplies were given their own little tin.
  4. Sugars and flours put on a separate shelf.
  5. Items with corn have a shelf, too! (Corn starch, corn meal, etc.)
  6. Meat rubs were given their own section in a cupboard, separate from the rest of the spices.
  7. Cooking oils and vinegars were also given a proper home!
  8. I labeled the shelves!
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The containers make cooking and clean-up extra easy – we just pull out the tin we need, use items from it to cook with, then put the container away when we’re finished!

In Conclusion:

When we finally got to work, it took me about 1.5 hours to organize the cooking and baking supplies, plus Lily and I spent about five hours organizing our spice shelf on a separate day, but it has proven to be well worth every second!

Six months after revamping our spice situation, spices no longer fall on my head, I can quickly find everything I need, and my family members can also easily find the spices they need when they’re cooking.

Plus, this system is so easy to follow that the spices get put back in the correct location. Every. Single. Time. That, my friends, is a huge success in this house!

What tips or questions do you have about spice shelf and baking supply organization?

{Linking up at All Kinds of Things.}

Special Note: If you liked this article, then you’ll love my brand-new eBook, Chaos to Clutter-Free – go check it out!


Comments

  1. Oh my! My husband would love this. My cabinet looks worse than your first picture, and I have no plans on trying to organize it….(is that awful?). I do have a spice rack though so that helps keep some organized on my counter. Great job! It looks like your hard work paid off.

    • That was a during photo – I didn’t get a picture of the full mess beforehand! If your cabinets don’t slow you down or bother you, then they’re probably already organized enough to work for you 🙂

      And, thanks – I still get excited to use our baking supplies!

Trackbacks

  1. […] PS You may also like my recent article about how to organize your spice shelf and baking supplies. […]

  2. […] main bathroom, and my bedroom closet. Day Two: The kitchen (Lily and I spent hours cleaning and organizing our spice and baking shelves to create a workable system and it has been well worth the effort!). Day Three: The girls’ […]

  3. […] me nine hours total but is so worth it (pictures of the first two hours are here)! I love having my spice shelf and baking supplies organized again, my recipes in the recipe binder, and my cabinets neat and tidy. Cooking is so much more enjoyable […]

  4. […] Day 30: How to Organize Your Spice Shelf and Baking Supplies […]

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