I’ve always bought most of my spices in the bulk section of whatever food co-op I happened to be living near at the time. This method of purchasing has many advantages: spices are cheap, you only have to buy as much as you want, you can sniff things before you buy them, and so on. The major disadvantage is that you wind up with a million little bags of spices that need keeping track of. Historically, I’ve also had almost no personal kitchen space to organize my spices in. Now, I have a dedicated spice area, but the disorganization has persisted:
Yuck, no? I could catalog the problems, but let’s just move on. Since I moved into my own place, I’ve been on the lookout for a spice rack of some kind, but most of the ones I saw for sale involved countertops. I have almost no counter space. Then, I saw this great post over at my aim is true. Eureka! I got myself some aluminum tins, magnets, and a little glue (thanks to Susan at West Coast Crafty for the glue suggestion, btw):
Then I got to work. The project will take several hours, but most of that is glue drying time.
Step 1: glue the magnets to the back of the tins. Remember that glue fumes are no good for your brain–work in a well-ventilated area. We were having nice weather so I did all my glue work out on the patio:
The glue will need a little while to dry. I did some housework and got on with reading The Hobbit, since my knitting group has apparently now also become a book club (yay!). I also pulled all the spices out of the cabinet to fully asses the spicing situation. I discovered (big surprise) that I had duplicate or even triplicate bags of some things. Yikes!
When the glue has set, transfer your spices into the tins. I used a Sharpie marker to label each tin:
The * mark indicates that there’s still more of the spice in the cupboard, so now I’ll know to check there before running out to buy more (the mark will come off with a little rubbing alcohol when the cupboard supplies are finally exhausted).
Currently they’re organized alphabetically, we’ll see how that works out. If you don’t have fridge space, you can also use wall mounted magnetic knife racks, which can be found at Ikea and probably most kitchen supply stores. You can also get magnetic sheeting and mount that on the wall. Be warned that each of these options will up the cost of the project considerably and you may wind up finding it more economical to just buy a magnetic spice rack. However, using just the fridge, I calculated that my setup cost 1/3 to 1/2 of what I would pay for a premade magnetic spice rack with comparable storage capacity.
Finally, since I’d cleared up the bagged spice situation, I was also able to reorganize the cupboard:
So much tidier, no? The top shelf holds the duplicate spice supply, middle shelf is for “savory” seasonings and some sushi making supplies, and the bottom shelf is baking things, mostly my collection of extracts.