Smart & Simple Way to Organize Spices (with a printable inventory!)

Smart & Simple Ways to Store & Label Spices

Over two years ago, a few projects were taking longer than expected and not yet ready for the blog (#storyofmylife). Not wanting to skip another blog day, I decided (very last-minute) to throw a post together that would show the clever ways we were using the small upper cabinets in our kitchen. Without fancy backdrops or staging, I snapped a bunch of photos, wrote the post, and published it. (You can see this original post HERE!) Well…the blog world is a crazy one…and wouldn’t you know it, that post is one of my all-time most viewed posts. It’s gone viral on Pinterest and has had a few big features. I still see people pinning pictures from this post every single day. That post is nothing big or special, but it does shows some logical and super simple solutions for using often wasted space in the kitchen. One of my ideas was to organize spices in a basket that fit the cabinets just right. Here is the exact photo I shared years ago…

Smart & Simple Ways to Store & Label Spices

I was honestly somewhat shameful of that photo. Sure all my spices were corralled and quite handy, but the Type A/organization blogger in me of course wanted all matching jars and pretty labels. Would you know it…people pin that photo all the time. Ever since that post (and every time I see it on Pinterest), I have wanted to re-visit our spice basket, but I somehow kept finding other projects to keep me busy instead. Here we are all this time later, and my spice basket looks pretty similar. Same good storage solution, same poor labeling!

Smart & Simple Ways to Store & Label Spices

We honestly love storing our spices in a basket, it’s one of the solutions that just works really well for us. I love that everything is corralled into one spot, there is no tipping of jars inside a cabinet, and I can pull the entire basket down and get what I want/need quite easily. The only problem was that I was having to look through every single jar to find the one I needed. Reader after reader commented that instead of making a big fuss over new jars and labels…just label the tops with a marker. Duh.

So this weekend, guess what I did!Smart & Simple Ways to Store & Label Spices

Don’t get me wrong. I still would love to see all matching jars and pretty labels in my spice basket. But can I be honest? I hate transferring spices to new jars. I don’t know why. I empty all of our dry goods and snacks into containers, I’m not sure why spices are different. It’s partly because I hate ending up with more than can fit into the new jar…meaning I have to store both the pretty jar and the original jar. I even had all matching jars once upon a time and have since re-purposed them elsewhere around the house because I hated transferring the spices. So this is me… embracing my desire to keep the original jars yet still finding a way to make it more functional! The answer: Sharpie Markers.

Smart & Simple Ways to Store & Label Spices - Markers

Several readers told me to try DVD markers on the tops of the black lids so the ink would show up. I am sure that works great, but I found that a Metallic Sharpie also worked perfectly! The lids don’t have a ton of space to write. Just take your time to print clearly…and removing the caps makes adding the names a little easier.

Smart & Simple Ways to Store & Label Spices - Lids

A plain ol’ black Sharpie was perfect for the red-topped jars.

Smart & Simple Ways to Store & Label Spices - Lids

Smart & Simple Ways to Store & Label Spices - Lids

So.much.better. It’s the little things, isn’t it?

Smart & Simple Ways to Store & Label Spices

Now when I pull my spice basket down, I can quickly and easily see where everything is. Why did this take me so long to do? Oh…because I was obsessing over a pretty solution and overlooked the obvious one.

Smart & Simple Ways to Store & Label Spices

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While I was organizing my spices, I also took the time to make a Spice Inventory printable, which I’ve been wanting and needing for forever!

Smart & Simple Ways to Store & Label Spices | Spice Inventory Printable

After consulting quite a few different lists, I tried to compile all the most commonly used spices into a single sheet. Just in case there are some I missed, there is also room to write in any extras!

Smart & Simple Ways to Store & Label Spices | Spice Inventory Printable

If you would like your own copy of this Spice Inventory, I have it available for download over in The Organization Toolbox right now! Hop on over and grab it, then come back to see how I used it!

If you need access to my Organization Toolbox, simply subscribe to THIHM Newsletter below and the Organization Toolbox Password will be delivered straight to your inbox!

Already have access? Visit the Organizing Toolbox HERE to access your free Spice Inventory Sheet!

Now that you have your inventory printed out, here are two quick ways to use it! (I’m not sure which way I like better, so I’m trying both for now!)

Smart & Simple Ways to Store & Label Spices | Spice Inventory Printable

One option is to laminate it and use a dry-erase marker to keep it updated. When you run out of a spice, rub off the check mark and be sure to add the spice to your grocery list if it’s something you use all the time. Once you’ve re-purchased it, update your inventory again!

Smart & Simple Ways to Store & Label Spices | Spice Inventory Printable

The laminated sheet fits nicely right into my spice basket…

Smart & Simple Ways to Store & Label Spices | Spice Inventory Printable

…which fits nicely right up in the cupboard where we store it!

Smart & Simple Ways to Store & Label Spices | Spice Inventory Printable

(By the way, my basket is from Target, and I think they still carry it. I also JUST saw very similar ones at Walmart for about $4!)

Another option is to print the inventory and use a pencil to fill it out.

Smart & Simple Ways to Store & Label Spices | Spice Inventory Printable

Then slide the inventory into a home binder, kitchen resource binder, or cookbooks. I keep a catalog of my recipes as well as all my kitchen measurements/resources in one handy notebook, so I slid the worksheet right in. (Psssst…you can read more about my Recipe Catalog and Recipe organization HERE!)

Smart & Simple Ways to Store & Label Spices | Spice Inventory Printable

Now when I meal plan and fill out my grocery list, I don’t even need to access my spice basket, because everything is all in one place. #lovethat

Smart & Simple Ways to Store & Label Spices | Spice Inventory Printable

I am beyond thrilled to finally have this project done after all these years. Sometimes it’s the littlest adjustments that can make a big difference in your day-to-day life…it’s just a matter of finding the hour to do it. Do you have a small project that you’ve been overlooking and just need to get done? Try to do it this week. Decide to do it, and go get it done.  Does your spice cabinet or drawer need some attention? Print out my inventory and find a solution that works best for your kitchen and your cooking style!

The Organization Toolbox

The Organization Toolbox | 100+ FREE Printable Pages to Help Organize Your Life & Home

I’m spending the first 12 Tuesdays of 2016 filling up my new Organization Toolbox with small organizing projects and helpful printables! If you missed other posts in this series, catch up here:

I hope your week is off to a great start! Back here on Thursday, I’m sharing my latest furniture makeover which also happens to feature some pretty awesome wallpaper. See you soon!

Megan Signature

P.S. Love this Spice Inventory? Be sure to check out my collection of over 200+ kitchen organization printables to get every area of your kitchen, meal planning, and grocery shopping organized and on track! This printable pack includes more Inventories for every area of your kitchen, as well as printable Spice and Pantry labels!

Get your Pantry sorted and organized with the worksheets in The Ultimate Kitchen Printable Pack - 200+ printable pages to organize and improve function in every area of your kitchen!

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My FREE 5-week email course will help you CLEAN OUT & IMPROVE FUNCTION in each area of your KITCHEN!

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16 Responses to Smart & Simple Way to Organize Spices (with a printable inventory!)

    • Hi Beth!!

      Thanks so much for this awesome comment last week! I am so glad I gave you an idea you could try right away! Hope it worked out and you’re loving the results!

      Happy Sunday!
      Megan

  1. Love this. I do this in my camping trailer, because it is way easier to store everything in a basket or old shoe box in there. My kitchen cupboard that the spices are in is just a crazy size, but it is put right in the right spot in the kitchen so I guess I will take right spot over great storage. But writing on top of my spices might help me when I just throw them all in the cupboard and shut the door!
    Thanks for sharing the printable. I need to look again at menu planning and some lists to know what I have on hand. It might make dinner time less annoying to me!

  2. I love real life organization. As much fun as pretty containers and pin worthy projects are, real life solutions that can be done in 10 minutes make a huge difference in my house. I just put my spices in a basket and I can’t wait to see if it helps to contain the never ending clutter that seems to be a problem in that cupboard.

    • Hey Erin

      Thank you so much for this kind comment. Yes…real life solutions that actually work are better than pretty pictures of hard-to-obtain results, right?? Thanks for this great reminder! So glad you gave the basket trick a try. Keep me posted if it helps!

      Hope you had a great weekend!
      Megan

  3. We have been using something similar for years. Spices in a, of all things, photo bin. I found that the garage sale stickers (small round ¾” maybe) fit in the top of most spice jars. I do “transfer” because spices are soooooo much cheaper at Costco in bulk, but usually I transfer from big spice jar to little spice jar. Because no one has the time/money/energy for fancy spice jars!

    • Thanks for sharing these great tips, Jen! I thought of the garage sale stickers too actually, but I worried they wouldn’t stick?? They always fall off our garage sale items, lol. Do you have a trick for keeping them on?

      Hope you had a great weekend!
      Megan

      • No real trick, just be sure to clean the top well (I use rubbing alcohol) beforehand. I think the small raised lip around the top of the spice jars helps them to not be knocked off accidentally. The only other tip I’d share is write the spices on the stickers while they are on the page, soooo much easier than when they are on the jar!

        Jen

  4. It is the little things that make the biggest difference! It took me all Sunday, but I finally added contact paper to my shelves -yay! The kind I had before didn’t stick, just rubber mats that kept bunching up. How d you deal with lining any cabinets in temporary housing? (I think you might have covered that topic before but I have forgotten).

    • Hey Sarah!!

      Yes, it IS the little projects that make a difference. Shelf liner is another one of those that always help rentals/housing feel more like “us,” and I also find it keeps things cleaner, don’t you think?? As far as how I do it, I try to make sure I use removable shelf liner and have never really had any issues. You could always cover foam core sheets in shelf liner if you’re worried about damaging the cabinets!

      Hope that helps and hope you had a great weekend!
      Megan

  5. Hi Megan
    Nice to see you did manage to label your spices and in an easy way. Yes many of my projects too have to wait because I would like my organization to be perfect and it is wrong as making the things easier could be at least the first step. Sometimes I say to myself I could at least put in order and then in a second time try to do better.
    About spices, I haven’t as manay as you have so it’s no so tricky to find the right ones, they are up in a cabinet too and on a lazy Susan so I couldn’t label the tops but you give me the idea to do it for others things so it’s quite nice. I love your basket too and it gives me great ideas for others objects too ! Have a nice time. Michèle

  6. HI Megan, I am having trouble getting the spice printable to load. Other printables in the toolbox work but not the Xmas or Spice one.

    • Hi Rachel!

      Thanks for writing, I’m so sorry you’re having trouble accessing the printables! They are working fine on my end, so here’s a few things to help you troubleshoot.

      First, make sure you are accessing the printables here: http://thehomesihavemade.com/the-organization-toolbox/

      If you don’t have access to the toolbox, you can subscribe to get the password here: http://eepurl.com/bILZfb

      Lastly, be sure you are clicking right on the big graphics for each printable. The PDFs should open in a new window…from there you should be able to print or save.

      If these tips don’t work, please let me know and I’ll troubleshoot further!

      Happy Wednesday,
      Megan

  7. Did this last weekend- so obvious and easy but such a big difference, thank you!
    Does Target have these baskets every year? I also had a hard time deciding between two small half baskets or one larger full one like yours. Thoughts?

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