Every time a recipe has called for paprika, I’ve groaned inwardly because I know it will mean having to grab the massive box of spice packets and sift through them, hoping there’s some in there. I got to a point in March (yes, that’s how long I’ve been meaning to write this blog post!) when I decided that I really needed an organised system so I wasn’t constantly throwing out out-of-date packets of spices that I bought in bulk and never got round to using. Here’s how I did it:
First things first – write down the names spices that you actually use/ need/ want.
Then, make sure you have appropriate storage for them. I love IKEA’s RATJAN jars – at £1.60 for four – these glass jars are a steal! I love how my measuring spoons fit through the opening as well so I’m not cursing the bottle every time I need to measure out a tablespoon of something.
Clear everything out. I tossed everything that was in the nearly empty, messy jars that I had and gave everything a good clean. I then dried all the jars and the lids, making sure there was absolutely no moisture left and began to refill.
I bought the spices I was missing in smaller packs and refilled all my jars, making sure all the packs were folded and resealed carefully for storage in a larger box. The larger, transparent box is stored away from heat in a dark cupboard and has a list of spices that are stored within it – easily viewed when I open my cupboard door, so I know what I have and what I’m running out of.
I then used my DYMO labeler to print labels that would go on the back of the jars with the name of the spice and the date that I filled the jars. That way, if there was ever a spice I hadn’t used in a while and we got to August 2018, I’d know that it would probably be a good idea to throw it out instead!
Why the backs of the jars you may ask? I really like how the jars look when displayed with no labels on them. The kitchen is the one room in our home that is absolutely packed to the rafters and I figured the less visual clutter, the better. I know what the spices are without having to look at the label but if I was ever unsure, or if my husband is cooking, there’s a label on the back to help.
As far as storage goes, one of my biggest gripes was not being able to see all the jars at the same time and losing jars in the abyss that is the back of a shelf. Lakeland, which is other retail store I am absolutely obsessed with (second to IKEA), stock these AMAZING expandable shelves. You will not be able to NOT buy these shelves when you see them – and no, this is not an affiliate link or a sponsored post. They save a ton of space, are easy to clean, have a non-skid surface and are adjustable. You’re already adding shopping for them aren’t you? They are brilliant for cupboards with oils and condiments too – you can actually see everything upfront, you don’t end up knocking things over to get to something else and they are wonderful to use.
I placed the expandable shelves onto the existing shelf that we have in the kitchen. This was an inexpensive shelf from IKEA that I upcycled using the same shelf liner as I used in my fridge. You can read more about that in my post on organising your fridge. The shelf was installed on the wall behind the cooker, so when I’m cooking, all I need to do is turn around and reach for what I want. I know that ideally spices should be stored in a dark space in a cupboard or pantry, but this is what works for our home and by storing them in little jars like this, that I go through quite quickly, I’m doing the best I can with what I have. They are installed away from the cooker so they are not exposed to heat, though.
For when I don’t have to measure things out exactly, I use these spoons which I love – they’re long and skinny and you don’t end up getting spice powder everywhere!
I hope this post helps some of you who may have wanted to sort out that spice cupboard for a while and haven’t been motivated to! With Ramadan around the corner, this is me – nudging you along – to get it done!
How do you organise your spices? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!