Spice jar organization is a little thing you can to do make a big impact inside your cabinets. Here’s how I completely streamlined my mismatched spice jars and saved a ton of space in our small kitchen in NYC. If you’re looking for an easy kitchen organization project that yields big results, try this.
The other week I was feeling restless with the state of our NYC kitchen. I had one of those tiered spice jar risers, and while it did the job (I love this for my LA home), I couldn’t get over how much space it took up in our already limited cabinet space in our apartment.
Buying a tabletop spice rack wasn’t an option either. Counter space in our apartment is even more limited, and it’s actually not ideal to store spices like this, as the variance in heat from cooking accelerates expiration dates.
After finding the perfect space-saving spice rack, I ordered some spice jars and spice labels, then got to work. I finished this project in a few hours, and every time I open my cupboard, I get great satisfaction at my matching spice jars. As an organization nerd, dare I say these streamlined spices even make cooking a little more fun?
Here’s everything I used for my spice organizing project plus some extra tips on spice jar organization.
Spice Jar Organization
Spice Jar Labels and Supplies
While you technically don’t need to re-jar and label your spices to organize them, I highly recommend you don’t skip this step. It’s a relatively affordable upgrade (around $50 for 24 spices) and honestly what makes THE big visual impact when opening your cupboard. There’s something extremely satisfying about the streamlined uniformity here, and aesthetically takes things to the next level. Bye bye mismatched bottles, hello decluttered beauty!
- Spice Jars – there are plenty of spice jar options if you search on Amazon, but I love these glass spice jars with bamboo tops. These jars are 4 oz., which is about the same size as common brands and Trader Joe’s spices and seasonings.
- Cute Spice Labels – Etsy is chockfull of different spice labels to fit any home aesthetic. I was torn between these modern black spice labels and these white labels but went with the black because we have black accents in our kitchen.
- A chalk or paint marker – Mark expiration dates on the bottom of each jar, then wash away or use nail polish remover whenever you’re switching out or refilling your spice jars.
How To Organize Spices
Toss Expired Spices
Just like you’d toss expired beauty projects when cleaning out your vanity, be sure to toss any expired spices, herbs, and seasonings so you’re starting fresh. Make a list of any expired spices you need to repurchase, then make sure you have a jar for each spice.
Label Your Jars
When labeling your spice jars, you do need to be a bit methodical when placing them. My guess is, if you’re reading this post, you’re just as type A as I am, and the last thing you want is for your labels to be various heights on your jars.
Take your first jar and take your time placing the label, ensuring that it is centered in the middle of the surface and not tilted. This will be your “blueprint” jar that you’ll use.
Make sure you have a flat surface like a countertop or table, then lay your blueprint jar next to an empty jar. Try to align the label of the empty jar to match the height of the blueprint jar.
Honestly, the key here is to take your time so that you don’t have to peel off and relabel anything. As you’re putting the label on your jar, try to place it as lightly as possible, just in case you do need to remove it and try again. Then once you have it where you want it, you can press it firmly to you jar. Repeat on all jars.
Decant Your Spices
Now for the fun part! Fill your new, gorgeously labeled jars with your spices, herbs, and seasonings, and stare at the beautiful masterpiece of your new streamlined collection.
Use the Right Organizer
If you’re afforded the luxury of having ample kitchen space, then you can use traditional spice risers or even a turntable for your spices. You can even organize your spices in a drawer with a spice drawer organizer. As I mentioned above, a spice riser works in our LA home (I like that you can see exactly what’s on each elevated row), and in most cases, this is probably the best way to organize spice jars. However, I needed something more efficient for our tiny NYC studio.
If you have an apartment kitchen or small kitchen, look for a two-tier pull-out spice rack. Not only does it allow you to utilize vertical space (a big trick to maximizing space in a small kitchen), it keep your spices in a dedicated area, and reduces the overall footprint of your spices, meaning more room for other pantry items.
It took me about 5 minutes to secure my pull-out spice rack to the back of my cabinet using the screws provided. (If you’re a renter, the holes are tiny enough to patch with wood filler.)
Sort Your Spices in Their New Home
I’m a big fan of organizing spice jars alphabetically. It’s straightforward, so there’s less of a chance that my husband Matt won’t put something where it doesn’t belong so long as he remembers the alphabet.
Alternatively, you can sort your spices by usage (your most grabbed jars at the easiest reach), or type. For example, group all herbs together, then seasoning blends, and so on.