I am back to organizing the kitchen this week. After this mini spring cleaning sprint last week, I feel recharged, and I have done more things around the house this week, than any other weeks combined.
Today, I bring you my ideas on how to store spices -and canned food- in your kitchen cabinet.
The cabinet where I store my spices is standard size. I mention this because most people I know have this very skinny cabinet (some awkward space next to the range). If this is your case, I can understand that storing spices can be a bit of a challenge. I hope my system can spark some ideas and help you re-arrange and organize those tiny little jars. And I bet there are probably many spices that you seldom use.
Decluttering The Spice Cabinet: What To Toss and What to Keep?
I started with what I like to call an organized mess. Looking at the picture right now, it didn’t look that bad. But, in my head, I knew I needed to make some significant spices decluttering. I am embarrassed to admit I found a few spices in the back of the cabinet with the best-by date of 2012. Now -in my defense- these were spices that I never used: lemon peel, cardamom, and sesame seeds. I probably bought them for a one-time recipe.
If you are wondering if spices ‘go bad,’ the answer is that spices don’t spoil, but once their shelf life is over, they lose their potency and flavoring qualities. If you use them, they won’t make you sick, but your dish won’t be tasty. So, before I went on a jar-tossing spree, I researched the shelf life of ground spices, herbs, and others. Here is the rule of thumb:
- Whole spices: 4 years
- Ground spices: 3 to 4 years
- Dried leafy herbs: 1 to 3 years.
I also learned that sugar, non-iodized salt, and honey do not expire. And they can last a lifetime when stored properly!
How To Store Spices and Canned Food
While cleaning my spice cabinet, I realized I had a sound storage system using my two 3-tier expandable shelves. One for storing spices and one for storing canned food (which I keep inside the same cabinet).
So technically, I only had to do my logical and usual process when decluttering: take everything out, wipe clean all the shelves and put back only whatever was worth saving, and the spices that I really use.
I keep my canned food inside the same cabinet -not in my pantry-. I realized it was more practical to have the cans next to the range and my food prep area in the kitchen. The 3-tier shelf system makes it easy for me to see what I have, at a glance.
I decided to make a slight change, which was to move my most used spices to a separate cabinet, to the right of the stove, since the front right burner is the one I regularly use. So, I moved my staples -garlic salt, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, cumin, Italian herbs, adobo, basil, and oregano- to a lazy Susan.
Can I tell you how pumped I am to have a lazy Susan finally? I don’t know why I waited so long to buy one.
And because in my book, when it comes to cleaning and organizing, it is either go big or go home, I spent the rest of the day cleaning the very top of the cabinets (you know, that small space between the top and the ceiling?).
And, of course, I also took a trip to the dollar store and found a couple of bins that helped me organize other things like vinegar, boullion cubes, seasoning packets, and the like.
The little containers didn’t need labels. But I had to; it’s in my blood. A least I know that the Marsala Wine is on the left where it clearly says cooking wine.
And some Chicken Noodle Soup that should always be in your kitchen cabinet or pantry. Always.
I also picked up a handy dry-erase poster, and I taped it on the inside of the cabinet door. Let’s see if I will keep up with the canned goods inventory. I will let you know how that goes!
So here is the result after a one-day-cleaning spree…
By the way, I know the second shelf is sinking a little from the weight of the cans…Husband has a plan. He always does!
See you soon!