How to Organize Your Spices

in DIY, How-To

Fall is coming!! Did you know that?! Of course you did. Duh, you own a calendar. I’m being annoying.

Whenever a new season starts to approach, I feel the need to clean under my bed, scrub my oven and wash under my refrigerator. I gotta get my life together, you know?

I’ve been meaning to organize my spices for what seems forever. Look at this mess.

There’s multiple jars of the same spice, spices in brown bags, spices in plastic bags, spice bottles with missing caps…basically a gigantic pile of spice mess.

I decided to get it together…and make my whole cooking experience a little bit easier.

Let’s start with the jars. I decided on these jars.

You can buy them from Sur La Table or The Container Store. P.S. I bought mine from The Container Store.

Here’s another jar option from Ikea that’s slightly cheaper, though not sure if they’re airtight which is important when storing spices. If they are airtight, those would be awesome.

Next, I wanted to label them. And since these jars are cylinders, I knew a label probably wouldn’t go on it super smooth AND I wanted to be able to wash them.

I want to do this once! I’m thinking way long term with this project!!

I decided on painting the tops with chalkboard paint. I’m storing them in a big drawer so I wanted the tops labeled, but if you want to put them in a cabinet, you can easily just put the paint on the front of the jar.

First, I wrote down a list of all of the spices that were in my cabinet. The last thing you wanna do is dump them in the jars (without labels). That’d be a headache.

Next up is the painting part!!

Just try and paint inside the lines of the jars. No biggie. I gave these tops two coats.

I bet a coat of primer would’ve been a good idea. But I dunno…I didn’t have any.

After about 20 minutes, they were all dry.

I took my list of spices and wrote the names on the lids with a piece of chalk.

Then one-by-one I filled up the spice jars and put the tops on.

See! We’re totally read for pumpkin bread…chili…maple bacon scones…and apple cider doughnuts!

P.S. My favorite thing about these jars is how they fit a whole tablespoon!! It’s the little things…

{ 86 comments… read them below or add one }

Nishta September 12, 2011 at 8:10 pm

I’m a freak for spice cabinet organization, too, but I think my favorite part of this post is your yellow nail in the last picture. Love!

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Analosa September 12, 2011 at 9:05 pm

Great idea! I’ve been wanting to do something like this for a long time.

Love this kind of organization tips!

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Dana September 13, 2011 at 1:44 pm

The jars are adorable! I really really need to organize my spices, the cupboard is overflowing a little bit and there are two many half empty jars of things that we have more than one of. Thanks for the inspiration!

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Donna Young September 20, 2011 at 3:47 pm

OMG! Can you say BRILLIANT?!? This is the best idea since sliced bread! Now who can I con into doing it for me?!? Thank you so much for sharing!

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cat@neohomesteading.com September 22, 2011 at 3:59 pm

So neat! I have an entire cabinet that is essentially a war zone. I recently re-mounted my cabinets to ceiling height, so I end up reaching with tongs praying to find the spice I want before it smashes me on the head. This is not only super organized but really cute too!

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Meghan September 23, 2011 at 2:22 pm

Finding this was perfect timing. My fiance just said to me last night that I need to organize the spices since my collection has grown. I discovered Penzey’s – need I say more? These jars would solve the problem since the names would be on the top – I have to dig through 3 rows of spices in my cabinet. I have a drawer that I can give up – now I just have to measure it to see if these jars will fit. Thanks so much for sharing!!!

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Kimberly October 1, 2011 at 10:49 pm

This looks fantastic! Do these jars fit cinnamon sticks and bay leaves?? Thank you!

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Adrianna October 1, 2011 at 11:28 pm

They don’t fit cinnamon sticks, unfortunately; but they do fit bay leaves! I just kept my cinnamon sticks in the jar they came in.

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Michaela October 7, 2011 at 6:01 pm

Um, genius.

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Rebecca October 11, 2011 at 7:54 pm

I have never organized my spice cabinet. But this post gives me something to dream of on a cruddy winter day!

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Hanna October 12, 2011 at 5:40 am

Just in case anyone was wondering – I actually have the Ikea jars, and, while they might not have a plastic seal thing like some other jars might have, they have screw-on tops that you can screw on as tightly as you think necessary

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Andrena December 15, 2011 at 4:14 pm

This is fantastic, except one issue – storage of all the bottles. How do you store them all so they don’t gather dust and also so you can see the labels/tops at a glance? Currently, all my spice bottles are labeled on the top and in a shallow box, sitting on a pantry shelf. It works fine, but it gathers dust. I have a three drawer wood storage/file box that each drawer is 13 1/2 L x 12″ W x 2 1/2″ D. I’d like to put all my spices in glass jars or tins in these three drawers. I can’t find the proper jar. All the jars I’ve found, without having to spend $150 plus, are too tall. Any advice? Thanks

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Liz January 17, 2012 at 1:48 pm

I used Ball 4 oz. Mason Jars from Wal-mart and they are under $8 for a 12 pack. 5 oz. probably would’ve been better, as my spice jars that were new or quite full almost did not fit. But it still worked, and the price is hard to beat. http://www.walmart.com/ip/Ball-4-oz-Quilted-Crystal-Jelly-Jars-12-Pack/17203435

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paulette smith November 19, 2012 at 7:21 pm

you could use a nylon stocking covered cover to keep the dust off and it washes great!

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Liz January 17, 2012 at 1:46 pm

I did this craft over the weekend and CANNOT begin to express how happy I am about it. Fits a tablespoon, is easy to keep organized, and lets me buy bulk spices from now on! So, so perfect!

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Adrianna January 17, 2012 at 4:46 pm

So awesome. Glad it worked out. YAY!

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Allison January 18, 2012 at 4:50 pm

This looks really cool love the jars.
Do you store them in a drawer or cabinet? I’d love to see an after pic with them all together. Just wondering….if they’re in a cabinet-isn’t it hard to find what you’re looking for with the labels on the top??

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Adrianna January 18, 2012 at 5:37 pm

I store them in a drawer. So when I pull it open I can see all of the names on the tops’ of the jars.

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Rainbow71 April 1, 2012 at 7:01 pm

I just finished this project this weekend. Didn’t take a long time and was totally worth the effort. I’ve been wanting to organize my spices for years and never liked any ideas I saw until I found your site. Thank you!

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Shannon May 9, 2012 at 12:28 pm

Thank you so much! I just bought a new contruction home and want to do glass front cabinets near the stove. However, all I could think about is the dreaded spice cabinet that I need near the stove. I never thought about storing them in cute bottles, nonetheless in a drawer. This is the perfect solution AND all of my spoons will fit inside! My home will not be ready until December so I have plenty of time to tackle this. Happy! Happy! My husband (who does most of our cooking) will be thrilled as well.

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joyce November 19, 2012 at 11:10 am

I’m definitely going to try this! But instead of only labeling the lids, I’m going to paint on part of the jar itself since I tend to open up spice bottles at the same time while cooking and not re-lid them and mix the lids around lol Thanks for sharing!!

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paulette smith November 19, 2012 at 7:18 pm

Just wondered did you put nail polish or clear laquer over the name so it wouldn’t get rubbed off by mistake. That probably doesn’t happen to you but, to me it would. Just wondered.

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Leslie - The Extruded Noodle April 23, 2013 at 11:53 am

I love this idea especially that the jars all match! Organized AND creative!

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Abby April 23, 2013 at 12:11 pm
Lauren June 11, 2013 at 8:53 am

Ahh I love this idea with the liquid chalkboard pens but the tops of my spice jars are the flippy ones with two sides with different holes, and I can’t seem to get the pre-printed labels off the sides of the jar :( Might have to stick with sharpie on this one but what a neat idea!

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Tobi January 17, 2014 at 12:52 pm

Oh my, this is so pretty and well organized. And it makes me think of the PG tips box up there in my cupboard with aaaaaaaall the spices that didn’t fit in the use-often shelves (i have 6 – how can that not be enough?!) crammed in. Honey, we’re moving! Thanks for the black board idea. Great stuff.

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Johnf323 June 25, 2014 at 12:27 am

That is some inspirational stuff. Never knew that opinions could be this varied. Be certain to keep writing. fgebbbdbgddk

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