Our spice cabinet was a nightmare. Actually, it would be more accurate to call it our spice/medicine/vitamin/random jar/pharmacy paperwork cabinet… and anything else cylindrical in shape that didn’t have a more logical place to go in our kitchen.
There were a few problems that had been bugging me with this cabinet. For starters, the only shelf that I could actually see well was the bottom shelf, meaning that anything that landed on the top two shelves would potentially be lost and its existence forgotten. This results in the occasional duplicate purchase or two… or three… oops.
Second, Jay – the love of my life – has a major spice addiction. He loves seasoning everything and he loves creating his own seasoning concoctions for dipping bread in. He orders them online and finds new seasonings when we go on vacation. This means that our spice collection grows considerably faster than it ever gets consumed. And sometimes it ends up expiring before it has a chance to flavor up a meal for a second time. Ew. Finally, it was downright dangerous. Because I can’t easily reach the top two shelves, and because they are completely packed with expired spices, duplicate spices, and Jay’s newest purchases, opening the cabinet frequently resulted in a few bottles crashing down on top of my head. Not fun. Who wants to go to the hospital with a fennel seed concussion?
I’d tried a few different things to clean out the cabinet, but with no luck. A gizmo I bought at The Container Store ended up taking up more space than it provided, and a drawer/shelf combination that I returned because no spice cabinet disaster needs a $40 fix like that. Aside from the cabinet, we also have a small rack on our kitchen counter that holds 16 jars of spices. I think it was a hand-me-down when we first got married. I’d spray-painted it black and rubbed off all the gummy labels years ago, rewriting them on with a permanent marker but never satisfied with how blah the whole setup looked. It was time to do something once and for all.
The first thing I did was to pull everything out of the cabinet. I trashed out all the expired medications and put the unexpired bottles and vitamins all in one basket (they had previously been in separate baskets) on the top shelf. Then I sorted out the spices and pulled out all of the bottles that had expired there, too. It was quite impressive (she said sarcastically so as to hide her embarrassment).
I’d seen some spice jar labels before, but they were usually for the fronts of the jars and since our jar fronts weren’t exposed in their holder. After poking around on Etsy for a bit, I found some simple black and white labels and ordered them. I had a bit of trouble printing them, but the seller was super helpful and eventually I had my labels. (You can order similar ones from her here.)
All that was left was to decide which spices I wanted in my rack, which had previously held 4-5 that we had probably never even opened. I emptied and washed out the jars of the ones that went unused, then chose our 16 most-used herbs and seasonings and put the new labels on the tops. Ta da!
The stickers are just paper, so I know we’ll have to be careful not to get them wet. But as far as I’m concerned, this was a one-time fix. This rack has lived a long life in our home – if we end up needing new labels again I think I’ll just invest in a new spice rack. For now though, I’m loving this one. :)
Our newly-cleaned cabinet looks much better too, and my fears of hospitalization as a result of a spice avalanche are over. I’m so happy with how this turned out, and I’m especially thrilled that it didn’t cost me $40 to do it. Now all I have to do is keep Jay from filling it all back up again! :D