Organizing Spice Cabinet??

Cresson, PA(Zone 6a)

This has been a battle of mine for a while. I have probably 30+ different spices, baking goods, etc in one corner cabinet in my kitchen, and I have found it incredibly hard to organize them well enough that they aren't taking over my entire cabinet! MOST of the countertop spice racks (that I have seen) would not house but maybe 1/4 of the spices I have, however, this cabinet has so many spices, if I were able to get them all better organized (and still be able to reach all of them) I would be able to have more room for other things in there. This cabinet is fairly large in depth as well.

How do you all typically organize your spices? I really don't have a very large kitchen. I do have quite a few cabinets (though, I'll admit, I wish it were more LOL!) but all my cabinets are already being used by other things as well (ie: pots, dishes, boxed goods, etc) I'm just looking for some ideas as to how I'd be able to better organize my spices, in a way that is easily accessable. I'd prefer nothing for the countertop due to space issues there as well. Any ideas?

Thumbnail by MrsLidwell
annapolis, MD(Zone 7b)

I like to see the spices I have as I cook creatively and each visual review may spark a "that would be a good addition" to a new dish! I haven't gotten one of these, but a friend has one and I think it would work well for my situation. Read the first review about "labeling" each space so that a place for each spice and each spice can be maintained by all the cooks in the family. Here's the link

Thumbnail by coleup
Cresson, PA(Zone 6a)

Yeah, I saw those on amazon too, and thought about getting one or two. Just haven't made that "leap" just yet, not entirely sure that will solve my problem with as many spices as we have. I keep adding more to that cabinet too, now that I've come across the McCormick grinders LOL! The griders DEFINITELY taste much better for seasonings than the other spices LOL! My hubby really likes the peppercorn grinder much better than regular ground pepper... it definitely has a much stronger, flavorful taste. In fact, he uses it so much, I've gotta find where I can get a bag of just peppercorn in a decent size quantity so we can stock up on it LOL! Heck, actually thought about trying to grow some, but, after reading up on it, decided against it. Too evasive

Northeast, AR(Zone 7a)

I have had the same problem as you, Mrs.Lidwell. Just last week, I bought 2 spice carousels that hold 12 spices each. I may end up ordering a 3rd one. They're stackable and they look neat and will fit on the shelf behind my stove. Since they'll be out in the open, I wanted something stylish, but easy to dust. The spice containers also have a dial on them that measures for me. So if I want a teaspoon, I can just dial the amount I want without having to get a measuring spoon. Of course the spice jars also have divided lids. One side allows you to sprinkle and one side allows you to pour out the spices. Here's what I ordered:

I can't wait to get them and organize my spices. Would something like this work for you?

Cresson, PA(Zone 6a)

That is a pretty cool looking spice rack... but also pretty expensive I think. I'm also kind of hoping to find something that wont take up much countertop space and since that only holds 12 spices, I'd wind up having to buy 2-3 of them. Something like that might work after we put together our pantry cabinet we ordered last year but haven't been able to put up yet. We were planning to put that together after we redid our kitchen floors (one less thing to try to shuffle out of the way to finish the floor job), but now, other more important house repairs are needing done, so it might be a while before we can get to that project lol.

I tell ya what, I'm SERIOUSLY considering just saying forget it... store all the spices in those "snack" size zip lock baggies (without the containers of course lol) and tossing those baggies into a little basket I have laying around. I've looked into so many different options over the course of the last 2 years or so, I just cant decide what would be the best option for us, and least expensive. lol

(don't mind my grumpiness lol... I've been up for over 31 hours straight... I get a little grumpy after 24.. lol)

Northeast, AR(Zone 7a)

Yeah, that spice carousel is pretty expensive. I got mine for $17 each with free shipping. I didn't want to spend even that much, but I decided that if my kitchen were organized, I might cook more. And eating at home means saving money. So then the carousels didn't seem so bad. LOL

I saw other spice racks that might have worked for me, but these just really called my name. I looked at some other stainless steel spice racks where the spice bottles have magnets on them, so they stick to a stainless steel backsplash behind the stove or under a cabinet. They were pretty cool.

They're rather expensive too, but you could make your own. Just get a metal sheet to mount to the wall and glue magnets to whatever spice jars/bottles you want to use. They you can just stick them to the sheet. That was the route I was going to take, but then I found the carousels.

You might check at Lowe's and see if they have some kind of organizer you can put in your cabinet.

Cresson, PA(Zone 6a)

I'm actually kind of thinking maybe something like this might work...

Hangs them on the cabinet doors that way, freeing up not only cabinet space but also countertop space as well, and once I get my pantry cabinet up from downstairs and put together, shouldn't be too terribly hard to transfer over to those doors. Hm, I just don't know if this is held up by self adhesives or if its nailed/drilled into the door.

or even something like this...

Northeast, AR(Zone 7a)

I considered those too. I bet you can put them up with screws. I used to have wire racks like that and wouldn't you know I gave them away a couple months ago before I decided I need them. LOL

I actually had one that I cut into pieces to go in my pots-n-pans cabinets to hold the lids. And I put another one in the bathroom cabinet. These wire ones are easy to cut with a sawzall or hack saw.

I've seen them at Lowes fairly cheaply too. They are perfect for all kinds of storage.

The first rack you link to wouldn't hold the square canisters that some spices come in, and I was afraid they wouldn't hold my bigger spices that I get at Sam's Club. The wire rack seems to be a multipurpose rack.

Did you buy a pantry? Or are you making one? I'd love to see it.

Cresson, PA(Zone 6a)

Yeah, I was thinking the same thing regarding the first link. I'm kind of hoping though, that it wouldnt need screws (think hubby would have a fit if I put holes in the cabinet doors LOL!) But, if I opt to go for that kind of storage, i'd talk to him first anyway.

I bought a pantry. I think this is the one we got (we ordered it last summer)

We haven't put it together yet, but when we do, maybe I'll post a pic of it in this thread (if i remember lol! I'm not sure we're even going to be able to get around to it yet. Like I said, hubby wants to pull up the carpet in our kitchen and put down hardwood flooring first before he puts this together lol)

Northeast, AR(Zone 7a)

Oh, the hardwood sounds like a great idea!!! Have y'all picked out any yet?

When I screwed my shelves into my cabinets, I used short screws that didn't go thru to the other side. So from the closed doors, you can't tell there are shelves screwed to them.

Cresson, PA(Zone 6a)

No, we haven't picked out the flooring yet. LOL Seems everytime we have a little extra money and start looking around... BAM, 3 other things in the house break that we need to sink our money into LOL!

central, NJ(Zone 6b)

I have a spice rack magnetically attached to the side of the fridge(did that WAY before all those magnetic strips came out, someone stole my idea!!LOL) that is adjecent to space by cooktop with mostly used spices then 1 narrow cabinet with those metal rack that look like steps,(similiar to this
I have them all alphabetized

Northeast, AR(Zone 7a)

I got my two spice carousels in yesterday and today I filled them with my spices and put labels on them. I LOVE them. Each container holds a lot of spice, so I was able to get rid of a bunch of spice bottles. Stacked, the two carousels fit perfectly on the shelf behind my stove. They also came with the hardware to attach them to underneath the cabinets, but I don't have the space for that. I think they look very nice behind the stove. I did have all the spice bottles sitting on that shelf, but the didn't match and completely covered the shelf. Now it looks organized and tidy.

Here's a picture, in case anyone is considering this type of storage. I highly recommend it. If you shop around, you can get them for under $20 each. Each holds 12 spices.

Thumbnail by ButterflyChaser
Cresson, PA(Zone 6a)

It holds 12? Kinda surprised cuz it looks like it would hold more than that (only cuz I can see 5 containers in the picture, so was thinking if it rotates, then that leaves a lot of space in the back where they could have put another container or two). It does look pretty stylish though! I'll have to keep that in mind when we get our pantry shelving put together. After more thought about this, I'm thinking ideally I should probably take them my spices completely out of my cabinet (stored somewhere else i guess), just because, this cabinet I have them in right now, since its a corner cabinet, it is HUGE (so deep, I have to use a ladder or climb up on the counter to reach the stuff in the very back corner of it... and im 5ft 7in tall.. so, not too short for a chicka lol!) After I get my pantry cabinet, I'll probably go with something like yours, butterflychaser, or something that hangs on the door. Most likely though, something like yours (that way hubby dont get upset with me for putting holes in the pantry cabinet doors right after he put the time in to putting it together LOL!)

Northeast, AR(Zone 7a)

Mine is actually TWO carousels. Each carousel holds 12. So the two together hold 24. You can buy and stack however many sets you need. These two work for me. I thought I'd need 30 spice jars, but I've actually filled up only 23. I have a couple of spices I rarely use, so those are in the cabinet. The most used spices are in these carousels.

I'm not sure how much each spice container holds, at least 1 oz. I've been able to pour almost a full tall spice bottle into one container. I guess it depends on how ground-up the spices are.

I like having everything match. The numerous different spice bottles I had looked so untidy to me. Stacked, the two carousels are only about 11 inches tall and about 8 inches in diameter. So they don't take up much space at all.

I have a corner cabinet like yours, and like you, I have to have a step stool to reach it. But it is great to hold paper products (paper towels, napkins, paper plates, plastic utensils, etc.) I can reach the front of the bottom shelf, so that's where I put stuff I access a lot (Paper plates).

I'd love to have a pantry. Maybe in my next house...LOL You'll feel like a queen when you get your hardwood floors and pantry. Be sure to share pictures!

Cresson, PA(Zone 6a)

LOL! Will do! We're also going to be getting a stand up freezer (one of those ones without the fridge part). I've been big lately into buying in bulk. My hubby basically told me last summer that I had a choice, I could either get a pantry cabinet or a dishwasher. First I said dishwasher, but then, later after rethinking things... I said pantry cabinet because we'd need more storage space more than I need a dishwasher LOL! The stand up freezer will be in the basement though, in the garage, because we don't have enough room for it upstairs.

So, that spice carousel.. you bought two and stacked them? I thought it was all one unit LOL! Where did you get it from again? Amazon?

Once I get that cabinet cleaned out with the spices, I think I'll probably put all my baking goods in there (since, really, I don't bake all that often lol... more cuz I'm scared to do a lot of homemade baking because of my son. Hes type 1 diabetic and we gotta count all the carbs he eats, and well, i'm SOOOO not good at "eyeballing" things LOL!). I'll also put all the boxes of like sandwich bags, freezer bags, aluminum foil, that kinda thing. I saw on amazon some racks you can use under shelves for those kind of things that I eventually want to get as well.

Northeast, AR(Zone 7a)

I got the spice carousels from Ebay or Amazon. You can search both and see who has the best prices. I was going to bid on a pair on Ebay. The seller listed two carousels for $12 plus $12 for shipping. I forgot to bid on them because I bought a new (2005) van that day and bidding completely slipped my mind. The next day I remembered and checked to see what they sold for. They only got one bidder, so the total cost with shipping was $24 for the pair. I was so mad that I forgot to bid! But I checked around and found this pair for $32 total. So I wasn't so mad at myself then. LOL

A standup freezer would be great! I just bought a used deep freezer for $50 and I love it! I beginning to cook in bulk and I love being able to freeze large batches of soups and chilis. I also want to freeze a lot of my herbs this summer too. I'd rather have a standup freezer than a deep freeze. I'm trying to find organizers now so I can stack foods on shelves so I'm not digging thru the freezer to find stuff.

I subscribe to several diabetic emails that send me recipes for different low-carb foods, including desserts. Oftentimes, you can substitute other things to get the same taste without the carbs. They often use applesauce in place of some of the sugar. There was a recipe to make brownies that called for black beans instead of something else, can't remember. But a friend said the recipe was awesome. You could tell the brownies were made with beans at all.

You might subscribe to the emails from Diabetic Living, Healthy Eating, Healthy Living, etc. I get tons of recipes from them to suit my diabetic diet. Maybe there's something there your son could have too.

Cresson, PA(Zone 6a)

I originally wanted a chest freezer, thinking, without shelving, there would be more room for storing lol. But, my husband talked a little sense into me about the upright freezer... for, as you said, organizational purposes lol. Here's an idea for ya, get some plastic totes with lids, mark on the lids "beef" "chicken" "pork" etc, then you can organize them by type of meat in the totes... and to further organize, find some thick plastic sheets sized right for the tote. Then put those in there to seperate, for instance, "hamburg" from "steak". Not sure how big your chest freezer is, so not sure how big the totes would need to be, but this might help, atleast for a while, till you find a different organization method.

I subscribed to a few emails similar to those, think even a few of the same ones you do, when my son was first diagnosed. My biggest complaint about MOST "diabetic" cookbooks, websites, etc that I've seen is, most of them count exchanges, not carbs. Exchanges are a bit too inaccurate to use for my son, as he is on the insulin pump and he only has approx. 3 grams to play with. Meaning, 3 grams more or less than the accurate carb listing wont have a drastic affect on him, but more than that, even just 4g. can play a major role in how his next blood sugar reading will be. So, I try to be as accurate in his carb counts as possible. I'm sure as he gets older, things like that will change, but, he'll be turning 7 in April, and is still pretty sensitive to some things.

When I do make things from scratch (or even from an old recipe book my grandma gave me lol) I've recently started getting into the habit of posting the recipe on, because if you put the recipe in correctly, it will give you the nutrition facts label for the dish. I like that website the best because of that, and because I can choose to either make the dish public to all or keep it private for my own personal use (like for those few dishes we all have that have "secret ingredients" or family recipes passed down many generations). I do substitutions from time to time also, but again, very rarely. He can have sugar and all that good stuff, but I do keep it at a minimum. I just dont always do substitutions, again, because if I don't have the time to plug the recipe in on recipezaar then it becomes a guessing game for me to figure out how many carbs to deduct when replacing splenda for the sugar or any other substitutions needing made.

I also just dont always have the time or energy to bake. Typically, because of doing sugar checks 24/7, I get approximately 4-5 hours of sleep a night. So, many times, when I plan to bake something for the kids one day, I wind up backing out because of sheer exhaustion.

I do make homemade baked goods from time to time, not as often as I'd like, but sometimes I do, it just all depends on how much time I have, how energetic I'm feeling that day, and if i've had the time to plug the recipe in the website lol.

Northeast, AR(Zone 7a)

Wow, you have a lot to deal with! And your son too. No wonder you're exhausted.

Thank you for the info about recipezaar. I've never heard of it, but it will be a handy site to visit in the future. I like knowing the nutritional value of what I eat as I try to focus on more healthy foods.

That's a good idea using the totes in the freezer! I have some empty ones now that I could use. Great suggestion!! I might even still use the totes when I put shelves in the freezer since the totes stack better than slabs of meat and bags of veggies. I like that idea!!

Cresson, PA(Zone 6a)

:-) no prob. Yeah it can be difficult at times raising a child with diabetes, but its really great to see his facial expressions when he does get the seldom sugary treat lol he reacts way different and with true gratitude when he gets them.

Our sons dietition is the one who told us about when you type it into the browser bar, it will direct you to I think.

Let me know how the tote idea works out for ya!

Northeast, AR(Zone 7a)

I'm bettin' he doesn't take his treats for granted like most do. My dogs get so excited when they get a "pig's ear". Sam's is out of them lately, so when they get their next ear, they'll both get even more excited I'm sure. Most of us take for granted that we can eat "the good stuff" and we eat way too much of it. We don't even taste it, I'm sure.

I use totes everywhere, and I'm sure they'll be perfect for my chest freezer. It's so big that I can't even reach the bottom of it. The lady describing it to me led me to believe that it was a miniature freezer, about half the size it actually is. But I'm really glad it's this big. I'm cooking in bulk and freeze most of what I cook. This summer I hope to have a big bountiful garden too and freeze some of that stuff. I'm excited to incorporate the totes into the freezer. That may solve the issue of not being able to reach stuff in the bottom of the freezer. My arms are about 2 inches too short. Very clever idea, MrsL!!

Cresson, PA(Zone 6a)

Lol yeah he literally jumps for joy. Like this morning, I surprised him with pop tarts for breakfast ( something he hasn't had in like 2 years). At first he looked at the box, not sure what it was, then turned it over, got a big smile on his face, and hollared in excitement. I had to tell him to quiet down cuz my Dr was sleeping on the couch (she's sick today) and hubby was sleeping (he did the night time bg checks till 3am last night). Was totally cute tho lol

I'm glad the tote idea will work for ya hun!

Northeast, AR(Zone 7a)

Isn't it funny how it's the little things that can make a little fella deliriously happy? We all love getting that occasional sweet surprise.

By they way, I'm loving my spice carousels. Not only do they look nice, but they're very functional too. I really love that measuring dial that will spit out exactly what you tell it to. Of course you can also pour or sprinkle from the different tops of the spice container. But I'm using the dial the most; it will drop the spice out the bottom. Each click of the dial is 1/4 teaspoon. To go all the way around with the dial will dispense 2 teaspoons. Pretty nifty!!

Cresson, PA(Zone 6a)

I think that's the spice rack I'll prolly go with after we get our cabinet set up. The more I look/read about it, the more I want it lol

Northeast, AR(Zone 7a)

I kept passing it up and looking for something more "Tuscan". But something kept drawing me back to it. I'm really glad I got it. I only use about 20 of my spices regularly and the two carousels hold 24 spices. So it's perfect. And I really love that it rotates easily and I can see who's who. It came with lots of labels. I had to make four labels myself with my labelmaker, but that's all right.

When you get yours, if it doesn't have labels for some of your spices, let me know and I can make them for you and mail them to you. My labels almost match, just slightly different.

Cresson, PA(Zone 6a)

Can you use like, printable address labels on them? I think I have some blank ones I could use

Hillsborough, NC(Zone 7b)

My issue with spices in a cabinet is that some always stay hidden behind others and when I go to grab...over they go. The prob with the racks is that spices in tallish jars or extra wide don't fit. I like to keep the spices in the native jars and not transfer to the jars that come with the spice racks. Also if I buy a supersize from Costco-- then I would end up with extra that likely would not all fit into the jar that comes with the rack.
You mention lots of cabinet space-- do you have a deep drawer? I keep all my spices in a deep drawer. I print the name on the lid. So easy to find what I need and the drawer holds dozens. All I need to do is glance at the lids. If no drawer, the when you get that pantry up -- you might consider putting the jars in a large tub on a lower shelf. Some of the storage tubs come with wheels. Then you could pull out..look down ...and there will all those spices be. No moving them, sliding over, or knocking over while on the "hunt"

Cresson, PA(Zone 6a)

No, no deep drawers :-(

My hubby hasn't put together the cabinet we bought yet either... hoping he'll get around to it sometime this spring/summer, though with all the other projects we need to do this year, I'm not holding my breath on that yet lol

Northeast, AR(Zone 7a)

MrsL, You could use any kind of labels you want I suppose. But most labels won't be laminated so they'd stain as you use the spices. Here's a picture of my spice containers with labels. They come with clear labels with green print on them. The labels are on a sheet. There are probably 40 or so labels per carousel. They include a few clear ones you could write on with a sharpie. But I'm kind of compulsive and I like everything to look the same. So I made my own labels for the four spices they didn't have.

In this picture, the "Cream of Tartar" and the "Cloves" are the labels I made myself. They're a pretty close match.

Depending on the spices you use, you may not even have to have extra labels. They have most of the common spices on labels already.

Thumbnail by ButterflyChaser
Cresson, PA(Zone 6a)

Ahh, gotcha :-) thanks!

Hamilton, IL(Zone 5b)

If you know of any home builders out there.... here's my fantasy idea..... the back wall section between the upper and lower cabinets. Have narrow medicine type cabinets recessed into the wall with sliding doors. Including adjustable shelves would be a plus!

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