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.
If you are part of our Facebook group, you may know that I am totally improvising this challenge. I wake up any day of the week and say something like this: “Umm, the spices cabinet is looking a little ‘ratty’, I think it’s time to clean it” – That -my friends- is the honest truth! – So 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 kind of 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 the back of my head, I knew I needed to make some major spices decluttering. I am embarrassed to admit, I found a few spices in the back of the cabinet with best by date of 2012. Now -in my defense- these were obviously 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: 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:
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- Whole spices: 4 years
- Ground spices: 3 to 4 years
- Dried leafy herbs: 1 to 3 years.
I also learned that some things like 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 spices’cabinet, I realized I had a good storage system going 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, and that 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 just tell you how pumped I am to finally have a lazy Susan? I don’t know why I waited so long to buy one.
Below are a few links to some 3-tier shelves and lazy Susan that you might one to check out. These are affiliate links.
And because in my book, when it comes to cleaning and organizing 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 vinegars, boullion cubes, seasoning packets and the like.
The little containers didn’t really need labels. But I had to, it’s in my blood. Hey! at 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 am really going to 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!