Spice Cabinet Organization and weekend tips

Spice Drawer organized with RAJTAN

Spice Drawer organized with RAJTAN

My spice drawer didn’t aways look like this.  In fact, about a year ago the spice cabinet was stuffed with tons of various shaped bottles, jars and bags of spices.  I came to the conclusion that my kitchen size wasn’t going to change, but the organization was.  I sacrificed one of the small drawers near my stove and the nearby wall to devote to spice storage. To begin any organizing process, purging is necessary.  My kitchen clients are always surprised to hear what the shelf life of spices is.  According to a Woman’s Day recent published guideline, spices have the following shelf life: • Ground spices (nutmeg, cinnamon, turmeric): 2 to 3 years • Herbs (basil, oregano, parsley): 1 to 3 years • Seasoning blends: 1 to 2 years • Whole spices (cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon sticks): 4 years • Seeds: 4 years (except for poppy and sesame seeds, which should be discarded after 2 years) • Extracts: 4 years (except for vanilla, which will last forever) RAJTAN jars After dumping old spices, I decided on a number and purchased one of my favorite organizational tools–the RAJTAN jars from Ikea (cheaper from Ikea than this amazon link).  I tried a magnetized spice system and a cool looking counter spice rack, but decided on the RAJTAN for several reasons:  1) the jars closed tightly 2)they are completely dishwasher safe. 3)a teaspoon fits in the opening of the jar 4)they are cost effective, coming in at .87 cents each 4)I am not limited by a system to add and subtract jars as needed. Spice storage Ikea also sells a RAJTAN spice racks that fit six jars.  The RAJTAN spice rack comes in a natural birch color, but can be easily painted to match any wall color (as I did).  Installing a simple command hook to hold my measuring spoons inside a cabinet has been a major time saver.  I always have a measuring spoon nearby when I am cooking and the sets stay neatly together.  No more straggling spoons at the back of a drawer for me! I would recommend thoroughly washing and drying your new spice storage before filling.  It is recommended to let the jars air dry overnight to avoid any moisture remaining.  After purging the old spices and deciding which spices I needed, I transferred the spices into their new jars.  (A simple, paper funnel can be made to accommodate the spice jar’s opening.) I then used my trusty P-Touch labeler with clear label tape to identify each spice on the top of the jars.  There are many different schools of thought about labeling spice jars, but I really like to see the jar and the spice-not the label. While we are talking about spice jars, they have a few other fun uses as well.  Any of these ideas could be a weekend organization project for less than $1. Spice container turned box top holder Bed, Bath and Beyond, as well as Cost Plus, sells a magnetized spice holder that is PERFECT for containing Box Top for Education clippings.  The strong magnet on the back clings safely to the side of the refrigerator and the opening in the top is the perfect size for cut cardboard pieces to slide through.  This would be a fun project for any grade school child in the house to manage.  When the container is full, the contents can be dumped into a ziplock and sent to school where they really do add up.  Love this idea for less than $2! Spice rack in the laundry room? Who ever thought that you could use a spice container in the laundry room?  I think it’s a great idea!  The same magnetic spice rack mentioned above clings like a dream to the side of your washer or dryer.  It is the perfect place to slip the pennies and dimes that rattle inside your dryer.  I also like the idea of using a dollar store magnetized pencil caddy to collect larger items that make their way into the laundry on a regular basis.  These containers keep the clutter out of the way, but accessible for family members to claim their lost items. I have several other posts planned on uses for the RAJTAN and other multi-purpose organizational items.  Organizing can be quick, inexpensive and take the headaches out of daily life. Have a happy weekend and happy organizing all! –Lorinda, Vacaville Organizer

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