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The Solution to the Spice Capades


Problem: Solved.

Before:
Spice Drawer

After:
Spice Drawer Storage Solution

Pretty big difference, eh?

I probably spent about 5 hours scouring the internet for spice containers. Granted, there are some pretty nice spice racks out there. But I’m cheap, and knowing just how many spices we had to deal with, paying $3-$4 per container or $50 for a 16-spice rack was just not reasonable. And then I found these. At just $.68 a piece, the price was right. We bought some of the 8oz ones as well, for some of our bulkier spices, and they are stacked nicely in the cabinet. The 4oz container is the perfect size for your typical spice jar, there were only a few abnormally large jars whose contents didn’t quite fit. I don’t know how well these would work if you wanted to do one of those fancy magnetic racks – the lid just slips on and I wouldn’t trust it to stay on when positioned horizontally. They are probably not as airtight as they could be either – but they are just too pretty in that drawer!

I made up some pretty labels for all the spices we had, and got some clear stickers to print them on. An hour or so later a voila! No more spices gone wild!

I’d love to start purchasing better quality spices, preferably that come in bags instead of bottles, since I’ll just be dumping them into these containers anyway. Anyone know of a good online source for reasonably priced spices?

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29 CommentsLeave a Comment →

  1. 1
    Posted On March 23, 2008 at 10:01 pm

    Ho cool! I wish I could my stuff in order, but I need a whole weekend to get organized. Maybe over spring break?

    Reply

  2. 2
    Posted On March 23, 2008 at 10:47 pm

    Beautiful! Inspiring! I can’t imagine that I will ever be that organized, or that I’ll ever have a drawer large enough for all of those containers, but I love how you’ve done this.

    Reply

  3. 3
    Posted On March 24, 2008 at 10:04 am

    Ooooo, looks fabulous! My spices all stand in one of my cupboards. Do you have a solution for a cupboard instead of a drawer?

    Reply

  4. 4
    Posted On March 24, 2008 at 11:24 am

    Lovely!

    And at a way cheaper price than the Ikea ones too!
    Though those ones are known to work on their side and not fall open.
    I can’t see myself actually using one of those magnetic spice racks, though, so these might be a good alternative for me! Thanks for sharing!

    Perhaps putting a small bead of silicone around the inner rim of the lids would make them more air-tight?

    Reply

  5. 5
    Posted On March 24, 2008 at 11:28 am

    I love that idea! I plan to eventually follow the Alton Brown method of spice storage with a magnet or velcro strip so that I can store them where otherwise space would be wasted. Of course you need containers that seal better for that, but I like your idea as well. Very space efficient!

    Reply

  6. 6
    Angie
    Posted On March 24, 2008 at 1:03 pm

    That looks fabulous! An organized spice rack/shelf/drawer is so important to me – I do so much cooking myself! Here’s something you might be able to use – it’s my FAVORITE place to get GREAT spices, some very unique blends too, at a reasonable price (I’m cheap too). And they sell them in a variety of packaging – hope it helps! http://www.penzeys.com/

    Reply

  7. 7
    Posted On March 24, 2008 at 3:11 pm

    Amanda-

    Surprisingly it didn’t take long at all. Once I found the actual containers, it only took maybe an hour or so to dump all of my spices into them. I was surprised at how quickly it all came together. :)

    Reply

  8. 8
    Posted On March 24, 2008 at 3:11 pm

    For a cabinet – the containers stack fairly nicely. You could put the labels on the sides of the containers rather than on the tops. Granted, you wouldn’t get to see all the pretty colors of the spices, but it’d still save lots of space compared with regular spice jars!

    Reply

    • Pamela Takeshige
      Posted On November 17, 2012 at 7:39 pm

      I have a question about the tins: If I do put a magnet on the outside and put them on my Refrigerator, for example, will the lids slide open for fall open? Do the lids have some kind of twist on them to keep them closed?

  9. 9
    Posted On March 24, 2008 at 7:42 pm

    Thanks for the great information. *stumbles*

    Reply

  10. 10
    Matt
    Posted On March 25, 2008 at 2:49 am

    Very nice! That’s very similar to what I ended up doing, except I have something like 80 whole spices, so I had to get a small drawer unit and alphabetize them, with ~20 spice jars in each drawer (also, because I’m OCD, I color-coded them all based on which drawer they belonged for easy sorting and replacement).

    I got my jars from a local thrift store, but I really like the looks of the ones you have, thanks for the site link! Now I’m going to end up redoing all my spice arrangements!

    As for a place to get quality spices online, it’s Penzey’s all the way.
    http://penzeys.com/

    They have a local store here where I live, so I now shop in-person, but I’ve ordered from them many times and found them to be helpful and well-priced for some high quality stuff.

    Alton Brown also recommends The Spice House at http://www.thespicehouse.com/ I cannot personally vouch for them since I’ve not had a need to order from them since Penzey’s is around here, but they seem to be highly recommended.

    Reply

  11. 11
    Posted On March 25, 2008 at 12:02 pm

    Beautiful! If you don’t have an extra drawer, try SpiceStack, a new empty spice rack that holds 27+ bottles from the grocery store in your kitchen cabinet. The drop-down drawers put your spice labels at eye level and allow you to find everything quickly while cooking. Not bad for $29.95 – check it out at http://www.SpiceStack.com and Happy Spring Cleaning!

    Reply

  12. 12
    Posted On March 26, 2008 at 5:45 pm

    wow! looks great! i really need to organize my spices! enjoy!

    Reply

  13. 13
    Maven
    Posted On March 26, 2008 at 7:27 pm

    I switched to half-pint canning jars a few years ago. It just made sense when I grow and dry my own parsley/basil/dill/etc. Between those and the BIG Tone’s jugs of garlic powder and cinnamon, I need a spice pantry, or at least a spice book rack. I will be looking into your little canisters for things like anise and celery seed…the stuff I use in small amounts.
    Thanks!

    Reply

  14. 14
    Evette Palustre
    Posted On March 26, 2008 at 7:43 pm

    I’ve been wanting to do this for quite some time, but the prices I’ve been seeing have kept me from starting my “spice” project. I would love to get the ones they have at Dean and Deluca, but your setup wonderful. Where did you find them for 69 cents?

    Reply

  15. 15
    Elizabeth
    Posted On March 26, 2008 at 8:04 pm

    Try Penzy’s spices! Their spices are delicious and they also have some fantastic blends that they create. I believe that most of their spices come in two size bottles and refill packs if you don’t need or want additional bottles (Even though their bottles are great!) Visit http://www.penzeys.com.

    Reply

  16. 16
    Posted On March 27, 2008 at 2:33 am

    This is gorgeous! I’ve got a bunch of tiny jars that I spent a week or so labeling as my get-rid-of-winter-blues project last year, but this looks even more organized!

    My favorite place to get good spices inexpensively is the health food store – any decent one will sell them in bulk and they are dirt cheap. Anything I buy is rarely more than a dollar or two for the little baggie I fill up. Most places get them from Frontier Herbs.

    Reply

  17. 17
    Posted On March 27, 2008 at 10:41 am

    What a great find! I should use these to organize my sewing room, as well. I can just see it – brown buttons here, straight pins here, black binding here . . . Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

  18. 18
    Posted On March 27, 2008 at 11:50 am

    The best kept secret in spices is world spice market, Just next to Pike Place Market in Seattle. Their prices and quality are amazing! They even ship you the spices before you pay…that kind of old world charm somehow makes the food taste even better!
    http://worldspice.com/home/home.shtml

    Aaron

    Reply

  19. 19
    Posted On March 30, 2008 at 5:27 pm

    I have the same tins! I bought them a couple years ago, and had labels printed up online. I love, love, love my spice tins! They fit perfectly in a shallow drawer, and it’s so handy to be able to see through the tops. Plus they look so pretty!

    Reply

  20. 20
    Posted On April 2, 2008 at 11:58 pm

    Those tins are such a great idea. If I had the drawer space, I would so be doing that.

    Reply

  21. 21
    Posted On April 29, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    Great! Our drawer is bigger and messier and I’ve been thinking about alternatives for ages. I just have to find a similar container in Germany…

    We buy most of our spices from Asian or Indian stores. The spices are very fresh and sold in no fuss bags at €1 a time.

    love your blog!

    Reply

  22. 22
    kate
    Posted On May 5, 2008 at 12:27 am

    Where did you get those tins that cheap? What a great idea!

    Reply

  23. 23
    sally
    Posted On June 5, 2008 at 11:05 am

    where did you get those spice containers,

    Reply

  24. 24
    Susan Morris
    Posted On December 3, 2008 at 1:53 pm

    Looking for and oil flask and eye dropper just like Alton Brown’s. Can anyone help?

    Reply

  25. 25
    Posted On December 29, 2008 at 11:53 am

    It looks great. It looks so much better. I spend a lot of time in my kitchen and yesterday, I finally got fed up with my spice organization.I am in the process of organizing my spices and I found your site while googling. I am leaning towards using a drawer rather than my cabinets. I had to downsize into a smaller home and need all of the space I can get!

    Reply

  26. 26
    Kim Tinsley
    Posted On February 15, 2009 at 9:28 pm

    Please, tell us where you got your tins!

    My spice drawer is filled with all the typical different size spice bottles from the store. I’d like to have my containers all the same. It would look nice (like yours!) and it would make it easier to locate the spices, rather than by the tiny labels I’ve put on the bottle lids…..especially when I’ve left my glasses elsewhere!
    Where did you get your containers for such a great price?

    Reply

  27. 27
    Jason Komut
    Posted On May 29, 2009 at 5:54 am

    Susan Morris,

    Alton Brown uses a turkey baster and a flask to store his olive oil.

    Reply

  28. 28
    Jeff
    Posted On January 9, 2010 at 12:07 am

    I contacted specialty bottle about there tins a while ago. I asked which ones they had (if any) that were air tight. They didn’t know but graciously agreed to send me samples to test. I held the tins under water for 7 days. The small ones seemed to fair the best. And the ones with the twist did better than the ones with the full screw on lids and the standard pop on lid. I was not able to test any of the ones with windows.

    That being said plan is to keep the spices in the bags, bags in the tin and velcrod to the inside of my pantry door.

    Reply

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