Friday, January 14, 2011

Spice Cabinet (and then some) ~ Day 12 Organizing Challenge

I was hoping this would be on Toni's list. It was on my list.

The BEFORE: I pulled everything out of the cabinet:

Then I sorted them, pulling out any expired ones, any I havent used since we moved in (that was 5 months ago)

I would love to get magnetic spice containers for the door, or a bunch of matching little bottles so everything would fit better. But we have put ourselves on a very strict budget, and I KNOW I could make do with what I have on hand. I had bought these pink and brown stacking containers when I lived at my old apartment. (picture doesnt show the lids) They matched a bunch of my other kitchen stuff, and I had committed to buying only the spices I need, out of bulk bins (when I could), to save money and reduce waste. The top of the next one screws into the bottom of the first one, they also came with lids too. They worked well for the spice shelf I had at my old aparment. But I dont love the stacking aspect now. Since I am on a budget, I decided to use them, this time, later if i find a good price on something better, I can upgrade.

I didnt have enough for all of my spices though. I needed a way to use the original bottles and the cabinet just hid any spices that werent right up front.

I thought they should be in a container or tray of some sort, that can be pulled out. I went to my stack of boxes bins and containers I had gathered before the challenge began and found this:
its a photo box lid, I liked that it wouldnt take up too much space itself and was almost as big as the shelf. It almost fit, and I thought it would be fine to sit up on the edge of the cabinet, it would make it easier to slide it out to see all the spices in the back. So I loaded it up: But it was pretty floppy as a "basket" or "tray" so I started brainstorming. I remembered the white plastic basket in my tupperware drawer and had taken another matching white basket out of the spice cabinet (it held all my "sweet" spices, as a way to sort before). The one in the drawer wasnt really being fully utilized. I put both in the cabinet to see if they would fit: Fantastic! I can still put the "sweet" spices(cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, cloves, etc) in the small one, and the "savory" spices in the big one.
I had a bunch of little baggies of bulk spices. (a tip, when writing the bulk bin code on the twist tie for checkout, also write the name of the spice on the tie, so you can identify them later. I used my handy dandy label maker for the spices in the little pink and brown containers and the bulk taco seasoning(so much cheaper than the packets). It didnt fit in one of the little containers, so I grabbed a container that was almost empty, (was garlic, and there is garlic in taco seasoning, so I didnt have to wash the container) I ripped the lable off and filled her up: I put both white baskets back in the cabinet, and straighted everything else out: The top shelf holds the spices that arent used often, but were still good, and extra vitamins, the 2nd from top shelf holds the very large spices and hubby's chewy vitamins. Next is my food scale and measuring cup. I was happy to have the room to move things to more logical accessable spaces.

While I was up on the step stool filling the top shelf, I saw my freezer divider on top the fridge, (it was removed when fitting a bazillion wedding cupcakes in the freezer) I realized I was going to need that when I do challenge for Day 11, but it was a little buried, so I cleaned up the top of the fridge.
I didnt take a before pic, but found one from a while ago.
While the top of the fridge was empty, I thought I would show you how I use the cabinet above: I have a bunch of reusable plastic dishes we only use when we throw smaller parties. Like between 8-20 people. I dont have to have a bunch of real glass dishes to go around, and dont have to worry about them getting broken. Any party with more than 20 people is held in our home theater/shop and we use paper plates. I even have re-usable plasticware. Misc leftover party paper plates and napkins live in here too, in a plastic shoe box:
I decided to put the plasticware in the baggie, because the tray was balance precariousely and I was sure it would spill out. Getting the baggie out of the drawer inspired me to do some more organizing.
One reason it was so jam-packed:
3 aluminum foils, 2 parchment papers, and 3 plastic wraps. 1 foil and 1 parchment paper belong to my darling MIL who loans me things when I need them. I cannot explain why I still have them, when obviously I no longer need them, or why I had all the other duplicates. I only put the smallest rolls of the ones that were actually mine, put the others aside for elsewhere storage and put MIL's aside to take down to her house. I pulled a small stack of straws out for the silverware drawer and set it aside for elsewhere storage too.
I did some other organizing and straightening in the kitchen too, but I will wait to post all of that for when I do my pantry post. If I ever get my pantry wall set up...


  1. Our spice cabinets are a lot a like. And in the same location in the kitchen: A little bitty cabinet to the right of the stove on top. My problem is that there is a lip around the out side of the cabinet. I can find baskets to put in there, if I turn them side ways first and then can turn them the right way. But you can't just pull them back out. The container I used is as good as it's gonna get. My question is this: What do you put in the skinny cabinet below this one? Mine doesn't have any shelves, so I stack vegetable oil and extra juice down there. It's a mess too.

  2. I love what you did!!!!!! I am so glad I read your blog because I threw out a few spices that were old and had some sitting in baggies. I hated that but when I read your blog I quickly ran and got them out of the garbage washed them out and re-used them. Thanks for saving me a trip to the store to get spice bottles!!!!!!

  3. Jenna, my cabinet has a lip around the edges too, but there's just enough space with those 2 white baskets I can pull them out just fine, id keep looking. The cabinet under was actually something id requested when we designed our kitchen, it holds cookie sheets, cooling racks and cutting boards.
    Dianne, I have an evr growing/shrinking pile of recyclable containers bins and baskets in my craft room that I go to for organization stuff. And I've been saving so much from recycling, I just can't justify spending money, even a little bit, on things before I try to be creative with what I have on hand first.

  4. Love your creative, cost-conscience ideas! Keep up the great work!

  5. Cyndi, that's a great idea for the skinny cabinet below the skinny spice cabinet. I've never put much thought into what to put in it and how to do it. Just like I didn't put any thought into the small closet that's beside the "laundry closet". I've been using it as a "dirty clothes closet" for the three years that we've owned the house. There weren't any shelves in the closet, so it just seemed like the thing to do. I realized yesterday how stupid that is of me, especially how I'm always complaining about the pantry (supper deep cabinets, can't see what's in the back) and that we don't have a linen closet. So yesterday I started the process of a makeover on that closet and I'm excited.

  6. I like seeing these kitchens on the pictures, but I haven't seen a gray kitchen yet, so I'm not sure how I'd feel about it. It's beautiful, but I wonder if I'd get tired of it too soon..Food Display Cabinets