If you cook a lot, chances are you have more than 20 spices. If you rarely cook, chances are you have salt and pepper and maybe some cinnamon to make cinnamon toast. I fall in the camp of lots of spices; over 70 at last count so I have had to be creative in my storage, as you may have to. I grew up in a house where my mom alphabetized her spices. I thought it was normal and everyone did it. Because I like to cook and bake I have found that I can save time by making sure my spices stay organized. You really only need to organize them once and simply maintain them once a year. You will want to make sure that your family members are introduced to your system in order to stay organized.
Steps to get spices organized:
- Search for the expiration date on your spices. Spices do expire so make sure that you look. If you have spices that are still in metal tins, chances are they are more than 10 years old and need to go.
- Get rid of any spices that you know you are never going to use. Did you buy mace and can’t remember why or can’t think of when you are ever going to use it?
- Check for duplicates. Do you have three pumpkin pie spices because you keep buying it when it is Thanksgiving pie baking time? Can you consolidate and put all in one container? Keep the freshest and discard the rest if you know you are never going to use all of the spice by the time the expiration date comes.
- Find a place to store that is easily accessible when cooking and away from heat and humidity. I use a corner cabinet that can fit three lazy susan’s in it; one in the back corner and two up front. This way you can access all of the spices by simply turning each one around. Some are also double decker; this would be a great idea if your cabinet has the height available.
- Think about taking the time to alphabetize your spices. You really only need to do it once because as you cook you will know where to put the spice back as it goes in the empty spot.
Hot tip: make sure that you store spices in a cool dark space. As tempting as it may be, do not store near the stove. Heat and humidity will not be a friend to your spices and you will find that they will not stay as fresh.
You really only need to organize them once and simply maintain them yearly. You will want to make sure that your family members are introduced to your new system in order to stay organized, and knowing the alphabet helps!
To Joyful, Simplified Living,
MS. Simplicity, also known as Melissa Schmalenberger operates her business as I Did it with MS. Simplicity. She is a Professional Organizer based out of Fargo, ND and her website can be found at http://www.mssimplicity.com/
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