I have a slight obsession with spices and salt in particular. If I’m in a new market or shop and see a spice I’m not familiar with, I’m very likely to buy it. Different types of salt are another weakness of mine. At the moment I only have six varieties of salt since I’m trying not to be a salt hoarder. With so many jars and bags of spices and things it can get cluttered pretty quickly. Over time I’ve learned to keep an organized and beautiful spice cabinet that doesn’t cost me a fortune.

Sourcing Spices and Herbs

I buy most of my spices and herbs in bulk either from a local natural foods store, Sam’s club, or online. With years of experience cooking and baking from scratch I know what I use enough to buy in bulk. Everyone will need different things for their kitchen so pay attention to what you go through more often and stock up on those items.

Baking supplies in my pantry.
Baking spices.
Spices and herbs in my pantry.
Savory spices.
Pantry storage.
Spices in my pantry.

Buying spices at the grocery store is one of the most expensive ways to buy them. You are paying a lot for the packaging and marketing from those companies. We have two local natural foods stores that have bulk spices and herbs. One sells them packaged up in 4 ounce or 8 ounce bags. This is where I source most of what I use.

The other store has the products in jars and you can buy as much as you need. I will shop there if I need a small amount of a unique spice and I’m not sure I’ll use a bigger bag of it. This is a great way to try out a new spice without spending a lot.

Finding Fun Jars

Besides salt I tend to hoard fun jars. In the past I may even have bought something just to have the jar. After removing the labels and giving them a good clean, I store them with the lids so they are ready to use. Other jars I’ve bought at garage sales or thrift stores. I bought my set of vintage spice jars for $2 at a garage sale years ago.

Often the labels can be pretty hard to remove. My method is to soak them in hot water for an hour or so and see how much will come off. If the glue is stuck on, I rub on a little oil and let it sit overnight. The next day the glue will scrub right off. After running the jar through the dishwasher it’s ready to go.

Creative and Convenient

Having lots of spices in lovely jars is great but if you can’t find what you need while cooking it’s not helping you very much. Moving five things to find the nutmeg or paprika gets annoying pretty fast. I use vintage baking pans to organize my spice cabinet so it’s easy to use. Most of these I’ve picked up at garage sales and thrift shops for a quarter. I never pass up a vintage baking pan!

Each pan holds a category of spices or herbs. When I cook or bake I can pull out the whole pan and get whatever I need easily. I’m a bit clumsy so carrying something to the stove in a container is much safer than trying to carry a bunch of jars.

Seeds and dried onion and garlic for my spice cabinet.
Seeds and dried seasonings
Salt, chili powder, and spices for my spice cabinet.
Salt, chiles, and spices
Dried herbs for my spice cabinet.
Dried herbs
Baking spices for my spice cabinet.
Baking Spices
Various spices for my spice cabinet.
Miscellaneous spices
Bulk containers in my spice cabinet.
Bulk spices
Baking ingredients for my spice cabinet.
Baking supplies on a lazy Susan.
Spices on a lazy susan in my spice cabinet.
Savory spices on a lazy Susan.

Spice Cabinet Organization

As you can see in the photos I have each category of spices and herbs in a tin or on a lazy Susan. I can quickly and easily access whatever I need for baking or cooking. With so much going on at my house I don’t have time to waste rummaging through a cabinet to find something. This system also allows me to put things away while I’m working so clean up is much faster.

Below you can see both sides of my spice cabinet. In the middle of the bottom and middle shelves I keep spice blends that I make and a few purchased ones. My Chili Powder, Cajun Seasoning, and Garlic Herb Seasoning are always on hand.

My spice cabinet.
Right side of my spice cabinet.

Restocking

Another advantage is that I can quickly see what I need to restock so I’m not spending money on a duplicate item. My extra items are stored in my pantry and when a jar is getting low I refill it. I keep a post-it note inside my cabinet door so I can write down anything I need to buy. Other supplies I keep on hand for restocking are a sharpie, funnel, and clean jars stored with their lids. Having a small funnel makes filling various jars much easier. Here’s a funnel set similar to mine.

Shopping list for spices.
Refilling spice jars.
Supplies for refilling spice jars.

As you can see I also date the bulk packages so I can be sure to use the oldest ones first. When I’m putting away newly purchased items I put them behind any I already have. This will help you rotate your food so nothing expires. Also it helps you see how quickly you are using a particular product.

Be a Spice Cabinet Nerd!

I am not ashamed to say that collecting spices, refilling jars, making spice blends, and hoarding fun jars is one of my favorite parts of my job as a homemaker. Some grey rainy days are just made better by pulling out a handful of jars and mixing up a spice blend. These simple tasks that bring joy, beauty, and delicious flavor to your home have a value. They make a bigger difference that you can imagine. It’s also great to be able to whip up a recipe on a whim since you have all the ingredients on hand and they are a pleasure to use.