The Definitive Guide to Organizing Your Spices

Ariana Cuadra
Savory Spice Team
Savory Spice Shop

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The Definitive Guide to Organizing Your Spices

If you love to cook, you know how important it is to have your spices, herbs, and seasonings within reach. We all know what it’s like to have spice jars tumbling out of your cabinet or cramped in drawers. Not only is it unsightly, but it can make it difficult to quickly find what you need. We’ve put together all our best tips for keeping your beloved spices neat and organized!

Organize Alphabetically by Theme

Here at Savory Spice, we organize our spices alphabetically and by theme. To make this easier for you, our labels are all colored differently to reflect our 10 categories of seasonings, from Herbs to World Flavors. Whether you have a spice rack, cabinet, or drawer dedicated to spices, grouping your seasonings by color/category will drastically reduce the amount of time you spend looking for the cumin.

Keep Your Favorites Separate

If there are a handful of seasonings you use more than others, keep them separate in a special place for everyday use. Just remember, heat and sunlight will cause spices to lose their potency, so storing them near the oven or window is a big no-no. (Read our blog on keeping your spices fresh!)

Make it Work for You!

A lot of people opt to buy their own empty spice containers and decant their spices into them for a clean, uniform look. Containers come in many shapes, sizes, and styles that can work for any kitchen space. Our standard-size 1/2 cup jars may be best for you, but sometimes shorter square containers work better for drawers or you may prefer shorter, wider circular jars that stack perfectly on your spice rack. Find the shape that’s right for you and stock up for all your future spice organizing needs.

Decanted spices

Label Everything

Sure, our new colored label system will help tremendously. But what if you can only see the tops of the jars in your drawer? Or you’ve decided to go the decanting route? Labels, labels, labels.

Like containers, there’s a whole world of labels out there. An ideal oval that fits on the top of your new square jar, or a chalkboard label that can be wiped clean and rewritten when you replace those dill seeds with cumin seeds...the possibilities are endless. You can even take it to the next level and use different colored pens or markers to match our color categories!

And if you don’t want to handwrite on labels, find an option with an easy-to-use template. Avery has a wide variety of label sizes and templates that make it simple to print a set of labels for your personal spice collection.

Do you have a favorite way to organize your spices? Share it with us in the comments!

Comments on this Article

(guest), on June 12, 2018

That's pretty much the way I have my Spices organized. It makes me happy to know that I followed your suggestions. Since I have a cabinet full of wonderful spices, they must be organized. Thank You!

(guest), on June 12, 2018

I love your hints, because they are based in common sense! There is no one perfect, "one-size-fits-all way" to do this. As you wisely said, "Make It Work For You". I have a suggestion to add re: organizing - in addition to your wise advice (and your color coding!) about starting with theme and alphabet. I also sort by size/state of processing. In other words, my ground allspice, cloves, cinnamon, pepper, coriander, etc. are all together, and then grouped together but in a nearby spot in the pantry are the corresponding whole seeds/berries, etc. of each. Likewise for ground herbs vs whole dried leaves (oregano, thyme, sage, etc.) The reason? In general, the more finely divided, the shorter the shelf-life, so I check them more frequently for expiry date, give them priority placement in the cooler and darker spots in the pantry, etc. Also, there's nothing worse than gathering the wrong size when cooking in a rush and distracted. Ruined a lovely recipe once when I mistakenly dispensed a Tbsp of ground oregano instead of dried leaves!

(guest), on June 12, 2018

This is a great article and super ideas for how to organize the spices. My pile just keeps growing!! But I do put my most frequently used on counter. I keep mine in a drawer laying down and that works. One thing I do that might be helpful to others is that I write the date I purchased them on the bottle with a sharpie. That way I know after a year to toss that jar. You are reminding me I cannot wait to come in and get your brand new SMOKY spice mixture!!! Cheers, Deirdre

(guest), on June 12, 2018

You've got some great ideas and tips..."Make It Work For You" is the best suggestion. Do you have any references as to where to purchase the square containers in bulk? I have a spice drawer that is full of round containers, but the square ones are a better / neater fit. The guest from June 12, 2018 had a helpful tip: "write the purchase date on the bottle with a sharpie"...great idea! I have several spices that probably need to meet the trash bag. Thanks for all of your great advice!

(guest), on June 12, 2018

Years ago when we were choosing cupboards, friend showed me her spice cupboard. WOW! So, we purchased a spic cupboard. It has the rack on the door of the cupboard and it is my spice cabinet. I have alphabetized ALL of mine to fit on the door. I do have groups of my own blends, bases and extracts that do not fit on the door. Everyone loves my spice rack because you can fit so many spices on one door. Best advice is just to organize in a way you can be consistent with and that works for you. Spices are used when we purchase what we use because we store them in a place we can access. Have fun.

(guest), on June 12, 2018

Can you offer advice about referigerating spices?
And, at some point I would love to you discuss the different cinnamons.
Thanks for all your great information!
Savory has been my spice shop since 1st opened in the Denver area. Now loving my Sellwood shop.

(guest), on June 12, 2018

Hi all! In my previous house, I put my spices, all laying down, on a pull-out base cabinet shelf that has sides on it. In fact, there were 3 shelves. I alphabetized. I also kept tools like a spice grinder, mortal and pestle and nutmeg grater with the spices. I have now moved to another house and I am keeping my spices, again alphabetized, in the shallow drawers of an antique typesetters cabinet that I use as a kitchen island.

Ariana (registered user) on June 12, 2018

Hi everyone! We love reading all your comments and suggestions. We particularly like the suggestion about separating your whole spices from ground to keep a better eye on their freshness. As for writing the purchase date on your bottles, we TOTALLY agree! That's why we write the purchase date on every single bottle and bag that you buy in our stores or online. To the customer who asked about a discussion of our cinnamons, check out my blog from January: Spice Journey: Cinnamon. I think you'll find it very interesting and informative.

(guest), on June 12, 2018

What perfect timing. I had noticed my spices were losing flavor they were so old so I have been throwing out and replacing. I absolutely love that you write the date of purchase on my new order. Am loving cooking with some of my new blends. Especially the Park Hill Maple and Spice Pepper.

(guest), on June 12, 2018

Are yo going to start carrying spice racks- I need one that holds a lot:)

Ariana (registered user) on June 12, 2018

Hi there! We do carry spice racks :) Here's the link to them: Spice Racks. Happy cooking!

(guest), on June 12, 2018

Hi! I have 4 SpiceStacks, and I use your 1/2 and 1/4 cup jars. I remove the labels, and re-label them so they have a uniform typed look. I have one of those old spin the wheel to select the number/letter ones, and some colored plastic tape. I love the way it looks, and since my collection is so large I organize them by world region. I keep my large jars on top of one of the SpiceStacks (onion powder, garlic powder, pepper, etc...). The only confusion I had was where to put Cumin, because it goes in nearly EVERYTHING!

(guest), on June 12, 2018

I just got this - OMG - What a difference! This is the best spice organizer I've ever had!

(guest), on June 13, 2018

Liked your article. I have kept my spices in alpha order now for years. It keeps me organized and makes my spices easy to get. As you said "make it work for you". Really like the new labelling. Thank you.

(guest), on June 28, 2018

I too have kept mine in alphabetical order for years. I would love to do them by category also but that would make it hard for guest cooks. Including my husband who is color blind. I think one of my next projects will be to move my spices to a larger cupboard. I use an expandable organizer. It is full, and I need to get another one to expand. Sounds like I have a fun weekend coming up!

(guest), on June 28, 2018

I too have kept mine in alphabetical order for years. I would love to do them by category also but that would make it hard for guest cooks. Including my husband who is color blind. I think one of my next projects will be to move my spices to a larger cupboard. I use an expandable organizer. It is full, and I need to get another one to expand. Sounds like I have a fun weekend coming up!

(guest), on August 12, 2018

I found someone who created a spice c and herb periodic table. He gave me permission to use the design. It is covering sheet metal, and has magnetic containers for my spices.

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