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…

{ 88 comments… read them below or add one }

Michelle September 2, 2011 at 6:46 am

This is beautiful. Organizing my spices has been on my ‘To Do’ list for a long, long time. I love it!

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Katrina September 2, 2011 at 10:15 am

This is such an awesome idea. I have a rack, but could use idea this for the leftover spices. Thanks!

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Sue/the view from great island September 2, 2011 at 10:47 am

I’m inspired to get into my cabinet and start weeding it out. Great DIY post!.

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Lisa Lou September 2, 2011 at 11:05 am

I love Ball jars! I never in a million years would have thought about this. Thanks for sharing! I am off to get some cute jars:)

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Erin September 2, 2011 at 1:23 pm

If I had anywhere to store my spices beside a shelf in a tiny cabinet I would be all over this. I have thought about doing the magnetic storage tins and then place them on my fridge, but I worry they will fall off.

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Katie September 2, 2011 at 1:26 pm

I totally dig this idea. It’s clutch to have a whole tablespoon fit in your spice containers! No one wants to scoop multiple times, let alone shake the spices into the tablespoon and then have more on the counter than in your food :-)

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Adrianna September 2, 2011 at 5:19 pm

I know! This used to happen to me. So annoying.

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J @ ... semplicemente j ... September 2, 2011 at 1:39 pm

Simply beautiful … I think I have some updating to do to my spice cabinet!

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Abbie September 2, 2011 at 1:46 pm

Beautiful! Once I finally buy a house (put an offer in yesterday- fingers crossed) I have been planning on doing this too. I love for things to be uniform. Plus, small glass jars full of beautiful spices is just wonderful!

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Adrianna September 2, 2011 at 5:20 pm

Yay Abbie!! Grown-up stuff! Fingers crossed.

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Lynda@Me and My Pink Mixer September 2, 2011 at 2:20 pm

Love these! What a great idea to store the jars in a drawer so you can easily see the names of the spices. Doing this project soon :)

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Carissa September 2, 2011 at 2:31 pm

I just discovered your blog yesterday and I love it! I couldn’t stop reading! These jars are super cute. I’m sick of having all different shapes and sizes and the tablespoon not fitting in. Seriously, that’s key!

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Stacey! September 2, 2011 at 2:51 pm

This idea rocks my face off. Also, I feel silly for never thinking about storing spices in a drawer instead of up in a tall cabinet. Once I was making PDub’s Prune Cake, and while reaching up to grab the cinnamon, I knocked the cayenne pepper over, and it tumbled down into the dry ingredients of the cake. Apparently I hadn’t secured the lid very well, and it was Disaster! Failure! Starting all over!

Anyways, I love these adorable wee little spice jars!

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mombo September 3, 2011 at 2:44 pm

BUMMER> Sounds like something I would do.

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Michelle @ Chellbellz September 2, 2011 at 2:54 pm

Funny last night I was cooking and my very exspensive basil jar fell out the cabinet and spilled all over my stove while I was cooking. The Basil burned up near the fire and I got so upset with myself and said next weekend I am organizing everything! Then i wake up this in my inbox!!! I can’t wait to make this a project.

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Kristan September 2, 2011 at 3:01 pm

I love this! I think this may have to be my first organization project for the fall.

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laura @ glutton for nourishment September 2, 2011 at 3:13 pm

best idea ever!

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Kitchen Supplies September 2, 2011 at 3:19 pm

Funny how it’s the little things that make a huge difference, a little organization goes a long way. My spices have been falling out of the cabinet as I looked for them while cooking. Starting pulling them all out because I couldn’t stand it any longer. Even found some spices that expired in 2002, yuck!

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DessertForTwo September 2, 2011 at 3:36 pm

I love this! But you’re making me feel guilty. I would never take the time to do this. I wish I would, but I just know that I won’t. But I’m going to bookmark this and maaaaybe one day do it.
I’m so intrigued by the tablespoon actually fitting into a spice jar!

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Jen of My Tiny Oven September 2, 2011 at 3:47 pm

I have been meaning to do this for a long long time!! They look beautiful!

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TheFoodGospelAccordingtoRuth September 2, 2011 at 4:14 pm

I love this idea!!! I have multiples of just about every spice in my pantry and was trying to figure out the best way to consolidate! Thanks for the idea!

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Danielle Cococcia September 2, 2011 at 4:20 pm

GREAT idea! My spice cabinet is horrendous–I basically have to move every spice jar every time to find what I’m looking for. Love this idea–and putting them in a drawer instead of a cabinet. Thank you!

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Holly Henderson September 2, 2011 at 4:39 pm

Love the yellow nail polish! So sunny. : )

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bonnie September 2, 2011 at 4:45 pm

Brilliant!

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Cindy B. September 2, 2011 at 5:00 pm

Great idea!!! Love it!!!!!!!!

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Jen September 2, 2011 at 5:12 pm

You are evil šŸ˜‰ Now all I can think of is my messy spice drawer and how to convince my husband to buy me all the utensils so I can re-create the lovely spice jars you have haha.

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randjm September 2, 2011 at 5:17 pm

Don’t you still have leftovers? Where do you put the spices that were too much to fit into a jar? I do like how the jars can be easily relabeled for a different spice later on.

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Adrianna September 2, 2011 at 5:18 pm

I actually didn’t have any leftovers. The jars are 5 ounces so they’re big enough to fit everything from a normal sized spice jar. It worked out perfectly!

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Bev Weidner September 2, 2011 at 5:26 pm

This is SO amazing I might have just wet my pants a little.

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Jen September 2, 2011 at 5:29 pm

I have a terribly cramped cabinet for our spices (which is terrible considering I probably have more than 30 different ones). The only way I can tell them apart is by the jars… when we remodel our kitchen in a few more years, this idea is totally going to rock our spice rack!

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Angharad September 2, 2011 at 5:37 pm

I basically love everything about this, from the chalkboard to the writing on top to the cuteness to the tbsp fitting…jars make me happy. I do the same things with my spices, though they don’t look nearly as cute as yours. Also: with rice, beans, flour, sugar….everything and anything bulk. It makes my pantry prettier and that is a legit enough reason, right?

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Jo @ Jo In the Kitchen September 2, 2011 at 5:37 pm

I love love love this idea!! Thanks šŸ˜€

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Mira September 2, 2011 at 5:49 pm

Wonderful idea šŸ˜€

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France September 2, 2011 at 7:24 pm

Love the yellow nail polish too! what a clever idea to use chalkboard paint on the jars.

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Lynne @ 365 Days of Baking September 2, 2011 at 7:44 pm

Awesome! I just went into my spice cupboard yesterday, knocked I don’t know how many plastic bottles over, spilling them out onto the kitchen counter and thought there’s GOT to be better way to do this.
I think I’ll have to look for some plastic items that way if they do fall onto the counter AGAIN I won’t have shards of glass to clean up. Those jars are really cute though!
Thank you for the motivation!

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Kiran @ KiranTarun.com September 2, 2011 at 7:51 pm

Great idea! Thanks for sharing! I found some amazing similar chalkboard containers from World Market. They are huge to store grains and what not.

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Sarah at Mr. Food September 2, 2011 at 8:00 pm

My spice rack definitely looks like your “before” pic & could definitely use a little fall cleaning :) What a cool project, thank you for the great ideas! I love how the jars fit a whole tablespoon perfectly.

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Samantha September 2, 2011 at 8:06 pm

I love that you used chalkboard paint! So easy to change the labels. I’m totally thinking about doing this with my spices, ’cause at the moment they are all over the place! It also helps re-familiarize with the your current spices. I love it!

Samantha
http://aladywholunches.blogspot.com/

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Rebecca @ How the Cookies Crumble September 2, 2011 at 9:54 pm

I love this idea! Wish I had more space for the wider jars. I like the containers with the see-through lids that some of your spices were in. That would prob work great in my space.

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kitty Quintana September 2, 2011 at 10:19 pm

This is an awesome idea! Need to get busy shopping for jars!

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PerniciousPeePee September 3, 2011 at 2:05 pm

This is PerniciousPeepee, and I don’t think you understand how peepee works. It’s time for a secret lesson. FIRST, you put the PeePee in a cup. DRINKAY! DRIN-KAY! SO PERNICIOUS!!!!!!!!!! WHAT A PERNICIOUS FLAVOR!!!!!

Hello, SIPSIPsiP! That is how I Organize my peepee collection. PerniciousPeePEE SIGNING OUT!

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Peggy September 3, 2011 at 3:13 pm

I did this ages ago bc the cupboard was such a mess. I found that the Tupperware little rectangular tubs have worked GREAT. They fit stacked together really well since they rectangular and Tupperware has a revolving stand that lets you pack a LOT of them into a tiny space. Now the only problem is the additional spices I have accumulated since then – the ethnic blends, etc. that I end up storing every which way. Sounds like it is time for another set of tubs and one more revolving stand for them. But stacking the small Penzey’s jars around the revolving stackers is working well enough for now. This is what I’m talking about: http://order.tupperware.com/pls/htprod_www/tup_show_item.show_item_detail?fv_item_category_code=10004&fv_item_number=P10068298000 (disclaimer: I have no affiliation with Tupperware and haven’t even bought any for years!)

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Adrianna September 4, 2011 at 1:22 am

Oh that’s a really good option! They’re pretty inexpensive, too! Thanks, Peggy!

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Rachel September 3, 2011 at 4:40 pm

Since the school year is starting there is now way I will get to that for fall. Looks like a great project for next summer!

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Susan September 4, 2011 at 12:19 am

Love this idea but I have horrible handwriting!! I mean horrible. But I may try this but I wonder if I could find round stickers that would go on the covers???

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Adrianna September 5, 2011 at 5:15 am

Totally. I’d check Avery Label’s website. I bet they some stickers you can print out that would fit perfectly.

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Koko @ KokoLikes September 4, 2011 at 7:12 am

LOVE LOVE LOVE this idea, you are genius!!

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Carley @ Baking&Broiling September 5, 2011 at 12:38 am

The chalkboard paint is genious! I am totally doing this! Sounds like a trip to Ikea is in my future :)

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Carrie September 5, 2011 at 2:04 am

All that’s missing is liquid chalk pens! So much less messy than labeling the lids with sticks of chalk. I wrote a little bit about it here: http://www.thecreativesalad.com/2010/10/06/pantry-organizing-supplies/

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Adrianna September 5, 2011 at 5:15 am

OMG! Such a good idea because the chalk was kind of annoying to write in. Liquid chalk pens!! Who knew. Thanks!

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Rebecca September 6, 2011 at 7:59 pm

You’ve inspired me!

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Josie September 6, 2011 at 10:15 pm

Wonderful idea! Don’t forget to put the date on them too. After about a year, the volatile oils in the spices begin to break down and dissipate which means the spices lose flavor.

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Adrianna September 7, 2011 at 12:34 am

You’re totally right! I need to do this.

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Spice Sherpa September 7, 2011 at 3:16 pm

What a fantastic idea–and a great DIY gift for a hostess!

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kickpleat September 7, 2011 at 5:03 pm

Love this idea! Now I need a spice drawer :)

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Ashleigh @ashleighskitchen September 8, 2011 at 7:59 am

Such a cute idea! I love it!

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Alexis September 8, 2011 at 3:27 pm

Massively brilliant! So simple and effective. Next rainy day I have home, this is my go to project!

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Lee September 11, 2011 at 6:45 pm

Love the idea. I just checked The Container Store website and there are 2 sizes of the jars.
What size did you use?

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Adrianna September 12, 2011 at 5:42 pm
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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Vilma December 3, 2014 at 2:13 am

I love cooking with spices! I love to buy them but I wasn’t sure how to store them. Thanks a lot for this article! These jars are so sweet and useful at the same time! I will definitely buy some of these for my spices!

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odzyskiwanie utraconych danych April 21, 2015 at 7:41 pm

Heya great blog! Does running a blog such as this take a
large amount of work? I’ve absolutely no expertise in programming however I had been hoping to
start my own blog soon. Anyhow, if you have any suggestions or tips for new blog owners please share.
I understand this is off subject but I just had to ask. Appreciate it!

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