Smart & Simple Way to Organize Spices (With a Printable Inventory!)
Over two years ago, I threw a post together (at the very last minute!) that showed the clever ways we were using the small upper cabinets in our kitchen. Wouldn’t you know it, that post is one of my most popular of all time. And not because it is big or special, but rather it shows some really logical and super simple solutions for using often wasted space in the kitchen. One of the ideas shared in that post was how I organize spices in a basket. Today, I want to dive a little deeper into this solution and explain you why it works so well!
Here is the exact photo I shared years ago of how we organize spices in a basket.
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!
Why Organize Spices In a Basket?
We honestly love storing our spices in a basket, it’s one of those 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!
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.
How to Label Spice Jars For Basket Storage
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.
A plain ol’ black Sharpie was perfect for the red-topped jars.
So.much.better. It’s the little things, isn’t it?
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.
Inventorying Your Spices
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!
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!
Once you’ve downloaded the inventory and 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!)
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!
The laminated sheet fits nicely right into my spice basket…
…which fits nicely right up in the cupboard where we store it!
(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.
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 binder, so I slid the worksheet right in. 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 (Psssst…you can read more about my All In One Kitchen Binder here!)
I am beyond thrilled to finally have this organize spices 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!
Get This Kit!
The Spice Inventory is now available for download from The Organization Toolbox! Click HERE to shop or learn more!
If writing the names of spices on the jar lids doesn’t quite work for you, I now have Printable Spice and Pantry Labels now available for download too!