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Spice Organization

Posted May 08 2013 7:00am
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When we think of spring cleaning we often think of big projects that need to be done outside, such as breaking out the patio furniture, cleaning the cushions, power washing the patio, or cleaning out the garage. It’s easy to forget about the little things that need to be done inside, but spring cleaning is the perfect opportunity to tackle these tasks as well. When is the last time you cleaned out or organized your refrigerator or pantry? It doesn’t take a lot of time but can really make a difference when you’re searching for that jar of mustard in the back of your refrigerator or the bag of quinoa in your pantry. I like everything to be organized and visible so I don’t have to dig through bottles, boxes, and jars to get to the item I need.

I’m an organizer to begin with, and this whole packing-to-move process has pushed my organization into overdrive. I decided that my spices/dried herbs needed an overhaul before packing them up because who wants to move disorganization into another house? And also, that whole all spice I bought for turkey brining in 2007? Yeah, that needed to be tossed (it’s recommended that you keep ground spices for one year and whole spices for up to three years).  

I decided to take it a step further than just tossing old spices/dried herbs and purchased those cute little jars above (I ordered 40 from Bed, Bath, and Beyond for around $40) so that all of my spice jars would be the same size and fit better in my cabinet. Also, now I can buy small amounts of spices online or from a spice shop to refill my jars when needed instead of purchasing whole new spice jars. I simply filled the jars with my spices/dried herbs and labeled them.

Side note: spices should be stored in a cool, dark place away from your stove (a popular storage spot) to prolong their freshness. If you really want to experience the flavor of spices, buy them whole and grind them yourself with a mortal and pestle or a spice grinder.

A few examples of how I group my spices/dried herbs so I can easily find them…

  • Spices for ethnic dishes: smoked paprika, cardamom, garam marsala, curry powder, chinese five spice, turmeric, cumin
  • More traditional everyday spices/herbs: thyme, parsley, bay leaves, basil, chives, italian herbs, herbes de provence
  • Spices for heat: red chili flakes, cayenne pepper, ancho chili powder
  • Spices for baking: cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice, cloves, ground ginger, all spice

I hope I’ve inspired you to tackle that small task on the bottom of your spring cleaning list. Maybe spices aren’t your thing? Cleaning out and organizing laundry room shelves, a linen closet, or even art supplies are great projects as well. Happy Spring, happy cleaning, and happy organizing!


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