storing all the spices!!

sybilkrizinskiNovember 30, 2005


How do you store all the bottles of spices? I have moved

them to three different locations and I still am not happy

with them. All of those little bottles and jars are necessary for my cooking and I feel I need all of them. I have them in plastic see-through boxes and am wonderering

if that is as good as it can get? Your thoughts will be

appreciated!!! Thanks, Sybil

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honestly? I keep stuff I don't use much (like bay leaves) in ziplock bags in the freezer. that means I've only got half a dozen that I need to keep 'out' and I have them in cute little ceramic lidded pots that a local girl makes (the putty-style rope caulk made a great seal between pot and lid, though I did dust it with cinnamon powder to cut down on the stickiness)

those little tiny bottles never made much sense to me.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2005 at 3:57PM
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I keep the few that I use in bottles so I can shake the spice on the food. The ones that I will occasionally use are in the pantry on one of those step organizers.

I now buy all my spices at the health food store or supermarket in the bulk food section. It's much fresher and cheaper this way because I only buy the amount I need, especially if it's a spice I hardly ever buy.

I hadn't thought of putting spices in the freezer instead of the pantry. Can I freeze any spice?

    Bookmark   November 30, 2005 at 5:22PM
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I have a box (shoe-box size) in the cupboard. I'd show you the exact one, but they don't make it anymore.

But ***I LABELED THE TOPS*** of the jars. Bcs I can't see the sides.

If I kept them in the drawer, I'd do the same.

And I refuse to spend time "decanting" my spices into some other container. I just store 'em in the bottle they came in. (If I bought them in bags, I'd decant, bcs bags are a pain to store.)

And, I don't have very many. When we packed up the kitchen for the remodel, I threw most of them out.. And I've only bought new if I actually needed them. I've realized I don't cook that much anyway, or *that* exotically.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2005 at 5:49PM
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Ye gods...I wouldn't tell this to anyone but you guys:

Last night I tackled my spice shelf. It's actually part of a very long shelf in my pantry. Would you like to guess how many spice bottles I had?


Many of them were dated. I threw out 41 altogether, including many from 1997 and 1998, and one from 1986! Some were undated but very dusty. Out! Spices and herbs lose their powers after a time, and I had some real weaklings.

Still, if you've done the arithmetic you know I kept 50 of them. This number doesn't include the ones I bought in bulk. Those are in individual plastic bags stored in a big glass jar.

But to answer your question, Sybil, my DD gave me a neat chrome rack that sits on the shelf and has three levels, much like a small set of steps. I'd like to get another because it works very well to keep the spices both visible and accessible.

It looks like this (from, except mine is chrome:

    Bookmark   November 30, 2005 at 6:18PM
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I store mine in a drawer, labeled, alphabetical. I like putting them in a drawer because you can even vacuum out the spills without removing all of the jars.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2005 at 10:45PM
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I buy very few spices in the little jars. My most used ones are the large size from Costco. They are on a lazy susan in the corner cabinet, so I just spin until I get to the one I want. The little jars (maybe 5?) are on a small lazy susan in a different cabinet.

I go through the large size containers every six months or so.

Gloria (not real spice creative)

    Bookmark   December 1, 2005 at 1:02AM
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I have a tall,narrow cabinet next to my stove,it has three shelves. I took all my spice bottles, including baking things like colored sprinkles, then organized them by shelf. Rarest used things on top, like the colored sugar and root beer extract, most common on the bottom shelf (like salt, pepper, cinnamon), and everything else in the middle (oregano, bay leaf, etc.) Then I made a typed list of what was on each shelf, then taped it inside the door. It worked for a while, but then I tried some unusual recipes that used lots of different things. By the time I had all the necessary bottles out, I was too lazy to return them to the proper spots. The only thing I am sure about is the salt;it always ends up on the bottom shelf because it's such a big box. The rest is just a dis-organized mess. If I can't find a spice I need, I buy another, so right now I think there are two white peppers and 2 bottles of vanilla. Needless to say, I don't recommend this method!

    Bookmark   December 1, 2005 at 6:05PM
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ok... I wil throw something into the mix.... I keep my sweet and savory spices in differnt areas. The *sweet* stuff.. like cinnamon and alspice that I use for baking stay in the baking area... the savory nearer the cooking zone.


    Bookmark   December 1, 2005 at 8:29PM
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I keep all my spices in a rubbermaid box, in the fridge. One year I had moths and they got into everything, even my spice bottles, so all my dried goods now get stored in sealable containers or into the fridge or freezer. The freezer apparently kills the moths off, if you carry them in food into your house. The fridge and freezer help to keep the color of some spices, according to the site I've linked.


    Bookmark   December 2, 2005 at 4:17AM
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I keep the most used ones in little plastic mounts inside my cabinet doors (of course then you can't squeeze as much into the cabinet, but I have found cans of beans and tomatoes there that are years old, so maybe I should cut down on what I keep there anyway!).

The rest are in a drawer on the other side of the kitchen.

I prefer to buy very small amounts of spices at Whole Foods or a health food store where I know they will be fresh. But these are in horrid messy plastic bags with hard to see tags. I am always looking for very small airtight containers - almost anything sold as a spice jar will be too big. I found some small plastic containers at The Container Store but I don't even know how many weeks ago that was, and they are still in the bag. Somewhere.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2005 at 10:01AM
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I too split my spices up: baking spices and cooking spices. I'd forgotten.

I sometimes use cinnamon for cooking (sweet potatoes, squash), so I got a second jar--I'm too lazy to walk over the baking section twice (once to get it out, once to put it away). I mean, geez, that cabinet is a full 7 feet away! (lol! I have a pretty small kitchen)

It just seemed sensible to have a second bottle--there's room for it.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2005 at 10:22AM
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Elizabeth- if you're talking REALLY small quantities, you might consider the 'glassmaker's' tins,2120,33146,43326

    Bookmark   December 2, 2005 at 12:02PM
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I would have guessed we had 5 but I just counted and there are 12 (after I tossed 3). My husband does the shopping and apparently he is starting a collection??

Alisande, this will make you laugh... I don't think I could NAME 50 spices!

    Bookmark   December 3, 2005 at 2:56PM
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About spices and aging - the worst offender are chili pepper/spice items - the weevils will hatch out and they will live out their lives inside the confines of the little metal cans. You can put them in the freezer, if you wish. Just know that when you buy grains and cereals and some spices - the weevil eggs ARE there. This is why they say to "move the products" ... in other words, eat them before the eggs hatch! I used to give my students extra credit for all the weevil infested foods they could find in their homes - just amazing. Please understand - the infestation comes from "within" - not from bugs crawling into the containers. Those eggs are just not killed in the processing.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2005 at 11:57PM
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I am always looking for very small airtight containers - almost anything sold as a spice jar will be too big. I found some small plastic containers at The Container Store but I don't even know how many weeks ago that was, and they are still in the bag. Somewhere.

Years ago, Tupperware used to sell something called "Smidgets" (or something like that) which were useful, though they often were opaque or tinted. I buy my spices at the co-op, too, and looked for a long time for appropriate containers. I finally found some at a Japanese grocery store chain in Seattle (Uwajimaya). They're clear containers with white tops and they hold maybe an ounce -- plenty for me most times. They were a little pricey, but I haven't seen anything since that really fills the bill. I don't see these on the Uwajimaya Web site, but I know they can be purchased over the phone and by mail. If anyone is interested, let me know. I'm pretty sure I have the ordering information.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2005 at 1:11AM
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I recycle spice jars, and for bulk spices, use old jelly jars. I don't want to count, because I like ethnic foods, which means LOTS of wierd things in the collection.

Anything that is more a flavoring than a food is in one cabinet. It's not exactly "arranged", except that spices that are often used together are close together, and the stuff that is seldom used is on a higher shelf or in the center of the turntables.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2005 at 11:40AM
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You know those metal containers with the clear panels in the lid? I found some at Family Dollar for $1 each. But, I think they are aluminum instead of stainless steel.

I shared my savory the last time we discussed spice storage. As Talley Sue picked up on, they are foriegn (I bought them in Italy for .75 each); they don't hold much, which is good. They came with spices that I dumped out so as not to have to go through customs with strange powders.

Here is a link that might be useful: Containers

    Bookmark   December 5, 2005 at 7:49PM
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