Less Noise, More Green: Kitchen Reorganization Series, Part 3: Herbs and Spices

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Kitchen Reorganization Series, Part 3: Herbs and Spices

This is the third part of an eight part series on how I reorganized my kitchen to work more efficiently for me!

I was excited to get these next cabinets reorganized. Situated right next to and over the stove, these cabinets hold the nuts and bolts of home cooking: cooking oils and vinegars, sauces and herbs and spices. I search in these cabinets every time I cook and there were two problem areas that needed fixing.

Here is what the cupboards looked like before:

Oils and vinegars on the top shelf, seasonings on the bottom shelf.

Over the stove I had jams, dried fruit and nuts and tea.

Problem number one: How do I organize all the herbs and spices? I had three trays full plus many more loose jars, all shoved in the cupboard. Boy, have I wasted a lot of time trying to find what I need. You can buy all kinds of fancy spice jar organizers but I really wanted to design a system with what I had, so here is my solution.

I divided the jars into four groups:

1. Herbs and spices I use the most, including garlic powder, ginger,  basil, oregano and cinnamon.
2. Herbs
3. Spices
4. Herbs and spices I hardly ever use.

I found a fourth tray and put all the trays back on the shelf with group number one the easiest to access and group number four the hardest. Each tray is easy to slide in and out of the shelf, which is useful if I am cooking something that calls for multiple seasonings. Divide and conquer!

To create more room I was able to move some baking items to the baking cabinet, which had space, now the tea and coffee was gone. I love it when a plan comes together!

Here is how the bottom shelf looks now. I tidied up the middle shelf and left the home canned goods untouched on the top shelf.

The other inefficiency in the cupboard was the oil and vinegars. Because of their height, these items only fit on the top shelf, which wouldn't be a problem if I wasn't vertically challenged! Every time I needed an oil I had to stand on tip toes and use a wooden spoon to move the oil into my hand. Pathetic, I know!

This solution is so ridiculously simple. I used a basket I already had to corral my cooking oils on the counter next to the stove. I also put the salt and pepper in there. No more reaching!  With the oils gone I was able to line up the vinegars on the top shelf so I can reach those easily, too.

In the cabinet over the stove, I moved the dried fruit and nuts to the baking cabinet and the tea to the drinks cabinet, leaving lots of extra space.

These changes are not earth shattering, I know, but when you run a busy kitchen which is tight on space, any increase in efficiency is appreciated! I love that the solutions didn't cost any money, just some creative thought.

How do you store your herbs and spices?

If you missed them, here are parts one and two of the series:

Kitchen Reorganization Part 1: The Naked Truth or What's in my Drawers

Kitchen Reorganization Part 2: Drinks Cabinet

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  1. Ok, your series finally got me to clean out and reorganize two kitchen cupboards. My husband now has his own space for his items, and we aren't stepping over each other during our morning 'coffee/breakfast/get the kids out the door' routine : ).

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