If you have followed me for a while, you know that I do a quick dinner recipe once a week. So, my herbs and spices are key for keeping my space organized when cooking. This post will show tips on organizing herbs and spices to speed up your cooking and reduce the cost of accidently buying more spices than you already have. Then, check out my video of organizing my herbs and spices areas. Yes, I have more than one. And lastly, I share with you my favorite checklists (I made) over the years to help me keep track of my spices and herbs.
- The most effective way to organize herbs and spices
- How should I organize the jars in my herbs and spices area?
- What Herbs and Spices Organizers should I use?
- How I organized my herbs and spices
- Two Types of Herbs and Spices Checklists
- One Complete Checklist for keeping track of herbs and spices
- Checklist for organizing different areas of herbs and spices
The most effective way to organize herbs and spices
Before organizing your herbs and spices, determine if anything has expired, lost flavor, or changed colors. Herbs and spices last about 6 months. The whole spices in your pantry usually last for up to five years. While you can use them, they will not give you the same taste as if they were fresher.
Find your own herbs and spices system.
Now that you have organized your herbs and spices, it's time to figure out your system. Do you prefer to have all the spices and herbs in one place? Do you prefer to have them separated into sections like frequently used, not used as much, and only used for baking? If you use several spices for a particular cooking type and make it often, you probably want them to stay together.
Baking spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, cream of tartar, pumpkin, and apple pie spice mixes can be placed with the baking supplies.
Herbs can be divided by ethnic styles of foods and frequency of use.
Find your easy-to-access cabinets and drawers.
When finding a place to organize your herbs and spices, pinpoint the cabinets, and drawers, around your stove for easy access. The easiest method to reach should be the one with the most frequently used things. Some areas that work for spices and herbs are darker areas that are not too hot. Drawers, behind the cabinet door, or cabinets work nicely.
Same-size jars work best when organizing herbs and spices.
While I love the look of exactly the space-size glass jars for my herbs and spices, I don't want to spend more money on these items. When buying my herbs and spices, I like to keep them with the same few brands to know they will fit where I store them. Sticking with small or standard-size jars keeps them fresh and used before they go bad. Buying too large of a bottle will make it difficult to store it in your newly organized areas.
How should I organize the jars in my herbs and spices area?
You can organize your spices and herbs in alphabetical order. Making sure the jars are not blocking one another works well too. Keep away from direct sunlight to protect them from drying out too quickly.
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If you feel that you don't need to organize it in ABC order, you can organize them by task or group by items you use. Examine how you use your spices to determine your order.
What Herbs and Spices Organizers should I use?
There are various types of herbs and spices organizers in the marketplace. Do your research on what you are looking for and where you will be placing these herbs and spices. Measuring the opening and the depth of the cabinet will help you determine the dimensions of the correct size herb/spice organizer you need.
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For drawers, be sure to check the clearance of the opening. Some drawer organizers are too tall and may not fit the jars and the organizer. Check out my post for these drawers to help you with this situation. I had this exact problem when I organized my new kitchen cabinet drawer.
Don't limit yourself to one type of organizer if you have different areas you want to store these items. Your baking spices could be stored in a bin, while the other larger containers may be stored on a tier shelving system. Some also can be pulled out or placed in a drawer for easy access. The sky is the limit!
I have used them all, and my favorite organizers are the pull-out organizer, tiered type, so I can see all the labels. I also like the ones that are minimal for the drawer. Feel free to check out my DIY post where I share my drawer of spices/herbs.
Below are some options I found on Amazon (affiliate).
You can purchase organizers at Target, Walmart, The Container Store, Amazon, Home Depot, and Lowes, to name a few.
How I organized my herbs and spices
I made this video that hopefully helps you get inspired to organize herbs and spices. I go through my kitchen and talk about how and why I organized it the way I did. Please be gentle; I haven't made a video in a few years. Time of video: 3 minutes and 22 seconds
First, I divided the video, starting with frequently used herbs and spices to less frequently used ones.
If you don't want to watch the video, here is what I talked about.
Frequently Used Herbs and Spices Items.
I stored my frequently used items on the right side of my range in the upper cabinet. This cabinet houses all the larger container spices, herbs, salt, and pepper I use. It's the go-to cabinet for those quick weeknight meals when I need to make something in 20 minutes. This happens at least 3-4 times each week.
Then I talked about the frequently used drawer cabinet. This drawer has only frequently used smaller bottles of herbs and spices. It's a tiered drawer organizer that sits in the drawer so you can see all the herbs and spices at a glance. Note: I updated this organizer recently because it was too big for my cabinet when I reorganized their cabinet.
The second area for Organizing Herbs and Spices!
The next area I discuss is the spices and herbs I use less frequently. These herbs are usually rotated and cleared out every few months. I use the regular bottles from the store and store them in ABC order. This organizer is a pull-out drawer that leans forward so you can see all the items. It's pretty sturdy and can withstand a lot of wear and tear.
Baking areas where I store spices for baking only.
Then I talked about an area in my baking cabinet that houses the spices and other things to use for baking. These items are most infrequently used since I am not a baker. I make too much of a mess, my husband says. LOL
Two Types of Herbs and Spices Checklists
I am a big fan of checklists; these below helped me keep my herbs and spices organized over the years.
One Complete Checklist for keeping track of herbs and spices
If you are looking for a checklist to help you maintain your herbs and spices, here's a handy one I created to keep all your herbs and spices organized.
Checklist for organizing different areas of herbs and spices
You can try this checklist if you have different areas where you store your herbs and spices. I give you space for everything, and you can even track the areas. Click here to read more on how to use this checklist for organizing the different locations.
And, of course, there is a second page. LOL
I hope this helps you get your herbs and spices organized. It sure helped me! Now it's your turn. Do you have lots of herbs and spices? How do you organize them? I would love to hear from you. I would appreciate you visiting my YouTube channel, subscribing, and giving a thumbs up to this video. Till next time, happy cooking!
Please note these are affiliate links through Amazon, and at no additional cost, I will earn affiliate fees if you decide to make a purchase.
I don't use many spices and herbs so I would keep them in my freezer and everything worked well. I encouraged my husband to start doing some cooking and he uses spices and herbs so we ended up with a lot of containers. I made a list on the side of the fridge and put the list in alphabetical order and described the container, glass jar, tin, bag etc. My daughter bought tin containers at the dollar store and put magnets on them and sticks them to her fridge. Each spice is labeled on the lid and is easy to see. She purchases her spice from the bulk barn so she never has too much that won't all fit in the container. Your article is so helpful for people to find a way that works well for them.
Because I don't really cook, my own kitchen has limited spices. I keep salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika to the immediate left of the stove (even though I'm right-handed, I mainly use the left-side front burner, so I like the nearest upper cabinet). Any other spice mix is likely to go into something I'm just mixing (like dried mustard or dill weed) or shaking onto something (like cinnamon/sugar mix for cinnamon toast), so that goes in the cabinet immediately above my kitchen's small workspace counter.
However, I was thrilled to see you go through all of these options for seeing how my client work measures up. So many clients want completely matching spice jars, but I urge them to do reality checks — will they really decant spices from the original containers into little glass jars? I like your suggestion to stick with a few brands to keep the similar size/style of containers. And I'm thrilled you agree that it's OK to keep different types of spices in different areas of the kitchens, because baking spices rarely cross over with ethnic cuisine spices, and it seems silly to feel pressured to keep them in the place space when the space isn't convenient.
Thanks for commenting, Julie! I rather buy the same brand or similar to get that uniform look in my spices and herbs area.
Diane N Quintana
Sabrina, I love your recipes and have tried a few of them. They are as delicious as they look in your posts and as easy as you make them sound.
I'm a good basic cook and tend not to store too many spices. The ones I use I organize alphabetically and they are in a tiered organizer in my kitchen. There are also a few spices that don't fit in the organizer which I keep in the pantry.
It's tempting to keep spices (because they are so expensive) beyond the time when they expire. I love that spices are now sold in small jars or small bags so you don't have to buy a huge jar when you only really need a tiny amount.
Ah, thank you, Diane! I love hearing about people's different organizing styles for their spices and herbs. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. =)
I have a lot of herbs and spices. What has worked for me is keeping the standard-sized ones in two pull-outs to the side of my stove. They are at eye-level, not very deep, and work super well. I have them roughly alphabetized inside these. I keep my larger containers of spices (e.g. from Costco) in my pantry. I also keep the salts and peppers in their own space, because they are bigger and bulkier.
My daughter loves the system she bought where all the containers are the same size. If I were young, or starting fresh in a new home, I might do this too.
Stacey Agin Murray
I use a lazy susan in a corner cabinet to store my spices. I usually keep them grouped by how I use them--Italian spices together, Mexican spices together, and the ones I use infrequently go in the center of the lazy susan while the more frequently used ones go on the outer perimeter. I often buy bulk-sizes of my most popular spices and keep the larger bottles in my pantry. I use a tiny funnel to refill my already existing spice bottles. But, I do agree--I would rather keep to certain brands and their bottle sizes than decant all of my spices into matching jars.
I cook a lot and like my spices and herbs handy. Since my husband cannot eat anything with a hot or to him irritating spice, I don't have as many as I used to keep. I have 4 pull out containers. One is for baking, one is for cooking Italian dishes, one is everyday stuff like onion, garlic, etc., and the fourth is what's left. On the outside of each container, I have a list of what is in that container. This has really worked for me.
If I didn't already know you are organized, this post sure convinced me! I've got a few bins in the pantry--labeled with herbs or spices and that's about the best I can do given the space we have. Wish I had a drawer for the pull-out type. My sister has had one for decades and I've always been envious!
My goodness, Sabrina! You are indeed the Queen of Organization! I agree that it's best to have your frequently used spices at arm's reach and others tucked away where you can get at them if needed. I have some spices I've not used in 6 years, but keep them just incase ...
This is a really great tips on storing herbs and spices. Unfortunately for me, I only own a container of Mrs. Dash to store.
Well done, and I have to say how impressed I am with all the spices you use! I think I have maybe 5 in my cabinet so organizing isn't a real problem, but I still enjoy seeing a professional at work. 🙂
Thanks, Marquita. I really love my spices and herbs. =)
It was nice seeing you live and in person. I don't keep many spices because living alone I don't cook much for myself so my spices tend to get old and I end up throwing them out when I actually cook and need fresh supplies. You might want to add a column to your list entitled "expiration date." When I moved I was amazed at how old some of my spices were. Out they went.
Great article. These checklists will come in handy. The number of times I have accident bought my third tub of jerk seasoning forgetting about the other two.........
This came at the perfect time - this morning I looked at my spices and seasoning storage. It is not placed on eye level therefore I pull the whole plastic container out and sort through until I find what I need. A spice rack would be ideal but it would take up space on my kitchen surface which I like to keep clear.
I need more cupboard space.
Storing and accessing spices is one of the trickiest parts of kitchen organization. Your tips really help. I have a spice rack mounted on the inside of a pantry door where we keep our most regularly used spices (alphabetically organized). The lesser ones are in a drawer container inside the pantry (not so alphabetically).
I loved the video. It's great to see people in action that we only really know from their written word. I thought I was pretty organized with my spices. Well, at least I"m organized for me. But you really have a great method for organizing your spices. I've never thought of organizing them in a drawer. I don't have any drawers near my stove where I live now. But it is something I might consider in my next home.
Herbs and spices can be hard to organize, but you gave some great tips! I have mine in plastic handled bins in alpha order.
Great job on the video Sabrina! I'm not a big cook or baker but I found the info helpful. I especially like how you labeled the spot on your drawer organizer of which spice should go where - extra smart organization I love!!
Excellent suggestions, Sabrina. Am a very organized person but when I go through your posts they make me realize how much more I could do. In this case when it comes to herbs and spices. Not at the moment though because I have exams.
Liked the video. I could do a "before" video to go along with this. It would be a 5-minute shot of me digging through about 50 spice bottles before coming up with the one I was looking for.
I have limited space in my kitchen, so keep all my spices a jars in a drawer, I found them short enough that they will stand, enabling me to put more containers together. Love the video aspect, I have been thinking I need to start doing these in my blog posts as well. Great job.
Kudos to you for stepping outside of your comfort zone with your video - it made it all so much clearer. I also have a lot of spices, but a very small kitchen, so I have two small plastic bins in which I put all the jars and packets, one is for A-F and the other is G-Z. There are so many herbs and spices that begin with the letter C! I can easily pull out the appropriate bin and find what I need.
Thanks, Janet. I have done videos before with me behind the camera but never in front of it. So scary. I have to find the right lighting. Like anything else, the more I do it, the easier it is. =)
That worked for many years, but I changed my cooking and shopping routines during COVID, so I often had more groceries on hand than I used to. In addition, many items were stored wherever I found room for them instead of with any logic. Now I've got them in same-sized jars, as you suggest, and ordered some cute labels from Etsy. It's easiest for me to store all my spices alphabetically.
This information is something most of us can use Sabrina, so thank you. Like you, I'm not a baker and for the same reason so I too keep my baking stuff together.
I also alphabetize the spices I use most often and have those in a rack on the inside of my pantry.
Herbs and spices really help favor up the summer meals. Thanks for visiting and commenting, Lenie.