spice org chart
So let's talk spices! If you cook as much as I do, especially if you cook lots of Indian foods, you have lots and lots of spices. If you have ever shopped at an Indian grocery store, you also have lots of spices in lots of quantities. So if you have lots of cabinets and a large walk in pantry, no problem! Although all of it can still get overwhelming if you don't have a plan. However, if you have limited space, like me, you really really have to have a plan! So I did. Here is how I organize my spices and spice drawer and maybe it will help some of you. End of the day though, you have to do what works best for you!
So, first things first. I use a lot of spices and since I cook pretty much all my meals every day, I go through quite a bit of spices. So, I tend to buy decent sized bags of spices instead of small bottles that you can get in the grocery stores. One of my pitfalls early on was storing all the leftover spices in their original bags in a bin or in a cabinet somewhere. Well, first they took up a lot of space. Second, they weren't stored properly and spices do lose their potency if they get old. Lastly, if I couldn't see them, I tended to forget they were there. Not to forget that it was a pain to go through everything to find what I was looking for each time! Here is my spice cabinet now:
This, of course, is only the first two shelves as those are the ones I can reach without the aid of a step stool. This means that I have room to grow and keep things that I don't need as often on the top two shelves. So, my stove is on the left of this cabinet so my spices that I cook with are easily reachable. I did my spice drawer on the right of the stove because I am right handed and I tend to always use that burner. On the bottom shelf, I keep the things that I use the most. My oils, vinegars, and my small bottles of spices that I refill when they are empty. The refill containers, I keep on the second shelf. Labeled and stored in my handy dandy plastic containers that I showed you guys in my food prep post. So versatile aren't they?? Of course I would own a labeler, because it's just smart to have one! Plus there are always spices that look the same. The best part of these containers is that you can choose the size based on how much you have to store.
The lids fit tight and they are clear so you can clearly see how much you have left and when you need to get refills. I use these to fill up my Indian spice container and my small spice jars that I keep handy on the first shelf. The best part is you can do all your refills easily and at the same time. I also have one of these super helpful spice funnels to help make the process quick and clean.
Efficient right? Also, when everything is in it's place and organized well, you just feel more like cooking. That's why I always try and keep my counters and island clear. One obvious reason is that it's a small space and a super open floor plan, so if the kitchen looks unorganized and cluttered, so does the entire room. Plus there is just something inviting about cooking in a clean and clear space. Just like the fridge that I showed in an earlier post (can be found here)...if you open it and you can see everything you have to work with, you are more apt to want to cook versus getting on your favorite app for delivery. Since I had gotten rid of most of my stuff before moving overseas, I was able to start fresh and the appliances that I chose to keep on my counter helped to keep that clean aesthetic.
That's basically it. Besides a white SodaStream (I like bubbly water SO much more than regular and I don't know why) which I keep on the other side of the counter by the sink, that is all that I keep on my counters. I will show you how I store all my appliances and canned goods in another post. Just think, I cook lots and lots of meals and my 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom, 1350 sq foot condo can house all my tools and spices without anything being out and about. So it can be done! As I helped my sister get her hot mess under control, that really meant purging all the excess things that she hasn't used in years. Plus all her stuff was scattered throughout her kitchen. YES, if you lived with it as long as she and her family have, it does become familiar so that everyone knows where it is BUT that doesn't mean that they can't re-familiarize themselves with where it should go! Mixing bowls should not be in four different places and appliances should not live in back dark cabinets that you have to crawl down to find. That is the best way to NEVER want to use the appliances. That leads to food that you may have wanted to cooked but you didn't because it would just have been too much of a pain to dig out that food processor. I dare her to tell me that I am wrong! See what we accomplished together at her place!
Look at all those empty shelves...when we started, everything was jam packed and chaotic. I need ya'll to trust me...if she can get her kitchen organized, anyone can!
LINK TO ALL THE THINGS:
Vitamix (this is the one I have, in white of course!)
Vitamix Small Mixing Cups (if you make sauces or grind spices - I do...alot!)
Label Maker (LOVE)