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How to prevent your spice collection from taking over your kitchen

(and always have the right spice for the recipe)

I don’t know about you but I love to try new recipes and have a decent amount of spices. Nothing crazy (and they aren’t old!) but a good variety. When I was first married and we moved into a new home, neither my husband nor I had that many spices. We were trying lots of new recipes in search of our repeatable family meals and each one seemed to require a new spice. It also bothered me that almost every spice came in a different size and shape of container. Even if I alphabetized them for quick access to the spice I needed, I couldn’t always see the short containers and they just didn’t look “uniform.”

I decided to put our spices in cute, matching glass jars with labels I made. This seemed like a great idea until…..our collection started growing. For one, I didn’t have easy access to purchase the new glass jars, so our collection was still not uniform looking. We lived in a small town a few hours from any significant shopping and the internet was in its’ infancy. Alas, no next day, free shipping to my doorstep of any item I desired! It began to feel like a never-ending organization project.

frequently used spices

Secondly, and most frustratingly, we ended up with duplicates and started running out of cabinet space! If either of us went to the grocery store without checking the spice collection first, we would end up buying the spice because we knew the recipe wouldn’t taste right without it.

My solution for duplicates ended up being super simple. The glass spice jars came with a pre-printed list of spices. I decided to use this to track my spice inventory! I checked off all of the spices we currently had and taped this list to the inside of the cabinet door where the spices are located. I keep a picture of the list on my phone so that I never buy something I already have at home. I update the list every time I buy a new spice and replace the list picture on my phone. No more duplicates!

TN spice inventory
Download DOCX • 35KB

------- Here’s a copy of my updated printable spice inventory list --------

I also got over the need for container uniformity. If the recipe calls for an obscure spice that I know I won’t use again for a while, I buy the smallest container I can find. I store the frequently used spices in the original glass jars in a cupboard right next to the stove and everything else is stored on lazy Susan turntables where I can see each spice, no matter how tall or what shape of container. (And yes, if you’re wondering, I still store them alphabetically.)

everything else

Now that I have explained my fool-proof system for organizing my spices, I’d love to hear from you on that one obscure spice that you love. Drop me a note at or list them in the comments below. Let’s get spice-y!!!

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