Picture this: You're whipping up your mom's famous chicken noodle soup when you get to the part of the recipe that calls for a bay leaf. You know you have some stored in your kitchen, but your spice rack isn't exactly living up to Marie Kondo standards at the moment. Not only is your soup left simmering without said bay leaf, but now you've sufficiently messed up your dedicated spice cabinet even more.
That's why it's so important to find a spice organization system that works for you and your space — regardless of whether it's a walk-in panty or a cramped cabinet. To start, professional organizer Sarah DeGrim, owner of Stylish Spaces, recommends going through your current stash to see if anything is expired, if there are any duplicates, or if there are spices you simply don't use, and get rid of them. Then decide where you're going to house your spices, whether in a cabinet, a drawer, or some other unique storage solution.
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She also recommends keeping things extra organized by decanting the spices into matching jars and alphabetizing them with matching labels. "This is going to do a couple of things," DeGrim says. "With matching labels, it's going to [be] easy to find your spices. It's going to fit whatever space you have and look much more uniform."
Anna Bauer, professional organizer and owner of Sorted by Anna, echoes this and recommends storing your spice collection as close to the cooking area as possible. However, that can get tricky depending on your living situation. "I've had to use a tiered lazy Susan on top of the fridge because [the kitchen] was so small," she says. "[And I've had] to use magnetic spice organizers on the fridge of a tiny Chinatown apartment."
No matter your space (or cooking abilities), you can take a cue from one of these top-notch organization hacks to get your spice stash in tip-top shape.
25 Clever Ways to Organize Your Spices
1. Store your spices in test tubes.
For those who liken their culinary skills to working in a laboratory, these little test tubes are available on Amazon — wooden holding rack sold separately. So all you need to do is grab a small funnel, steady your hand, and pour. Pop this test tube spice rack on your countertop for a guaranteed conversation starter.
Get the look: Depepe Glass Test Tubes (30 pieces), $17.99
2. Showcase your spice collection on clear shelves.
If you have extra wall space, follow the lead of stylist Anne Parker and designate a little square footage for shelving. In her cozy kitchen, the wall above the stove is peppered with both wooden and clear acrylic open shelving, displaying a perfectly curated collection of cutting boards, ceramics, and, of course, spices. The uniform size and shape of the jars and labels ensures that the spice storage solution is both cohesive and visually appealing.
Get the look: AOZITA 4-Ounce Glass Spice Jars (14 pack), $16.99
3. Take advantage of the back of the pantry door.
If you don't have any available wall space, don't fret. You can also mount these clear ledges on the back of your pantry or cabinet door, as cleverly demonstrated by Nida from The Home Diary. Just make sure that your spice storage solution doesn't interfere with your ability to close the door.
Get the look: Sezanrpt Acrylic Wall Spice Rack Organizer, $24.99
4. Embrace a tiered lazy Susan.
Jars of spices always look so inviting in any kitchen space, so why not keep them right on your countertop à la this setup from The Tidy Pantry? With this tiered, stainless steel lazy Susan, all of the ingredients you need to give your meal a pop are right at your fingertips. This is a great idea for anyone who is short on cabinet space but has some extra room on the kitchen counter — it's a classic that even Ina Garten would approve of.
Get the look: William-Sonoma Two-Tier Revolving Spice Rack, $32.95
5. Store more spices with an extendable riser.
Spice collectors rejoice! This bamboo rack maximizes cabinet space by expanding from 12 to 23 inches in width as needed. It's an attractive storage option that provides three tiers to stash and display a small collection neatly in your cabinet.
Get the look: The Container Store 3-Tier Bamboo Expanding Spice Shelf, $35.99
6. Incorporate your spice collection in the appliance garage.
While an appliance garage is meant to store, well, appliances, that doesn't mean you can't reserve a little space for your spice collection, too. That's exactly what @homedesign.meadowview did in their kitchen, using the shelving on the inside of the doors to stash various spice bottles. Now, you can quickly and easily add a little cinnamon or pumpkin spice to your morning latte.
7. Reserve a drawer for your spice emporium.
A spice drawer, like this one by Nikki of At Home With Nikki, is an excellent way to keep your favorite herbs handy. Follow the creative's lead and use the same bottles and labels to keep it looking neat and oh-so-organized.
Get the look: Marie Kondo Narrow In-Drawer Spice Organizer, $34.99
8. Splurge on a wall-mounted spice rack with artistic flair.
If your spice collection is limited, consider featuring your all-stars in an adorable, handmade spice rack similar to this wood and ceramic design. The spice storage idea will serve as a nice departure from the commonly used plastic or clear glass jars but it will also act as a pretty piece of wall decor.
Get the look: Vintage Wooden Hanging Spice Rack With Ceramic Drawers, $45
9. Hang spices below the upper cabinets with hooks.
We rank this 12-piece hanging spice rack as one of our favorites due to the clean, minimalist design. All you have to do is hang the hooks below the upper cabinets, and voila! You've cleared a little extra cabinet or counter space and you've contributed to keeping your kitchen clutter-free.
Get the look: Lisa's Kitchen Shop 12-Piece Hanging Spice Rack, $50
10. Stock up on mason jars.
You don't need to live on a farm and spend your days canning peaches to take advantage of mason jar storage. Follow the lead of Jeska over at Lobster & Swan and trade in the store-bought spice containers for glass mason jars. You can opt to mix and match sizes or stick with one for a cohesive finish. Either way, as proven in this cozy kitchen, the storage idea will add a charming farmhouse vibe to your space. (The dark wooden shelving doesn't hurt either.)
Get the look: JoyJolt Store 8-ounce Mason Jars With Lids (set of 6), $13.95
11. Invest in clear risers.
If you want to keep the spices that you use on the daily close to your stove, turn to this clear countertop spice rack that features three risers. Jocelyn from One Space at a Time employed the tactic in this kitchen, which looks great and makes it easy to find everything you need. We especially love the glass jars with wooden tops and stylized font labels.
Get the look: Brightroom 3-Tier Shelf Clear, $10
12. Add shelving to a niche.
Spice racks don't have to be fancy, but this design by Scribe Studio, organized by the team over at Tidy Nest, is ready for its close-up. A simple niche is decked out with rows of glass containers topped with wood lids that are sitting pretty on marble shelves ... swoon! We don't think anyone's spice collection has ever looked so good.
Get the look: Sage & Sill Acacia and Glass Storage Containers, $16.99 - $33.99
13. Dedicate an entire shelf in your pantry.
No niche? No problem. Dedicate one shelf in your pantry to your spice collection. By using tiered shelves like the ones that @Naddy.Ned used in this pantry, you can store even more. You might even consider adding a lazy Susan to the mix for a bit of variety. Complete the look with stylish white labels.
Get the look: Expand-A-Shelf Three-Tiered Shelf, $12.99
14. Store them with your pots and pans.
The placement of these pots, pans, and spices is definitely an homage to Julia Child, and we are so here for it. A metal peg board with hooks holds a variety of skillets, while an attached magnetic spice rack displays tins from Gneiss Spice. This seems like a doable kitchen organization DIY project, don't you think? It's your very own wall-mounted spice rack ... and then some.
Get the look: Gneiss Spice Magnetic Spice Jars, $160
15. Splurge on a pull-out spice cabinet.
Spice cabinet or drawer? How about a combination of the two? We say a gigantic yes to this clever idea by the team over at Neat Method. What looks like a regular cabinet door on the outside turns out to be a customized pull-out unit just for spices and the like. Talk about easy access to your favorite flavors.
Get the look: Rev-A-Shelf Pull-Out Wood Base Cabinet, $335.99
16. Put a wine rack to work.
Have a spare wine rack collecting dust? Breathe new life into the forgotten piece of kitchen decor and turn it into a spice rack. If you don't already have a wine rack, you can buy one or follow the lead of Anika from Anika's DIY Life and make this nifty wooden design. The nice thing about making your own, instead of using an old wine rack, is that it will be narrower — perfectly sized for spice jars.
Get the look: JIIKOOAI Criss-Cross 18-Jar Bamboo Countertop Spice Rack, $28.99
17. Opt for a magnetic spice rack.
Welcome to our very favorite method of organization: the magnetic spice rack. These tiny little jars include lids that will stick to any magnetic surface. So pop them on your fridge or buy a magnetic board to hang them on your wall using this DIY tutorial from Jessica Wellington Interiors. We love the way it just blends into the metal tile backsplash in this kitchen.
Get the look: Gneiss Spice Small Empty Magnetic Spice Jars (12 Jars), $70
18. DIY a whimsical spice house.
Who needs a spice cabinet or drawer when you can use a cute little house to store your spice collection? Using an IKEA dollhouse, you can make this tiny abode that will provide shelter for your cooking and baking essentials. Simply paint it and add some contact paper to upgrade a childish toy to a whimsical piece of kitchen decor.
Get the look: IKEA Flisat Doll House/Wall Shelf, $39.99
19. Carve out space for a built-in spice cabinet.
If you're planning a kitchen renovation, add this custom storage idea to your to-do list stat. Erin from Erin Zubot Design carved a hole out of the stove alcove wall and added her own spice rack. The built-in beauty features five shelves flaunting a dark wood finish and brass rails.
20. Invest in a pull-down spice rack to save space.
When it comes to storing your spices out of sight, we recommend this compact option that extends into a pull-down-style rack so you can see everything in one place. Once you've used your favorite spices or seasoning of choice, ease it back into position, where the contents will be neatly stored and concealed until your next meal prep session. Plus, it can be used for more than just spices, as seen with Clutterbug's genius cookie sprinkle storage.
Get the look: YouCopia SpiceStack Spice Bottle Organizer, $39.99
21. Mount wire baskets to the wall.
Darcy from The Purposeful Pantry has the right idea. Grab a few wire baskets and mount them to the wall. Quick, easy, practical, and stylish spice storage — what else could you ask for?
22. Downsize to smaller spice tins.
If you're looking for a small space storage solution for the kitchen, search no further. Downsizing your spice collection from glass jars to tiny metal tins is a stylish way to stash your essentials while saving a few valuable inches, as demonstrated by Chris Loves Julia.
Get the look: SZILBZ Stainless Steel Spice Tins (6 pack), $13.99
23. Make use of cabinet caddies.
Kitchen cabinets are only so big — and if you have a small kitchen, they are even less so — which can make it hard to store a significant spice collection. Enter pull-out cabinet caddies. These allow you to fit a lot of herbs into a tiny space, while still keeping everything neatly organized.
Get the look: Häfele Pull-Out Spice Rack Set, $252.88
24. Make use of the space below your shelves.
Another great spice storage solution that is especially handy in small kitchens, is an under-shelf spice rack. This clever option slides right onto existing shelves, and just like that, you have additional storage to stash your collection. Renter-friendly and stylish — now that's a win-win.
Get the look: Yamazaki Under Shelf Spice Rack, $36.37
25. Level up with a shelf riser.
Talk about pulling more storage space out of thin air! These shelf risers are genius. You can use them on the counters or in your cabinets — either way, they allow you to make use of vertical space that would otherwise not be used. Now you can feel free to expand your spice collection to include more than salt and pepper.
Get the look: West Elm Reds Wood Design Kitchen Shelf Riser, $259 - $299
Spice Storage FAQs
How do I organize a large collection?
For a larger collection of spices, Bauer recommends having a good backstock in addition to your spice organizer of choice. "I love Bell [mason] jars for stuff like that," she says. "You can decant and fit all your spices together, then have your backstock in a higher cabinet. That way you know when to shop or when to get rid of [expired spices]."
How do I store spices in a small kitchen or pantry?
Smaller spaces require a little more creativity, especially if you don't have a cabinet or drawer to work with. In these cases, Sara Losonci, a professional organizer and founder of Shelfie, recommends using magnetic spice jars on a fridge or metal strip.
How do I store spices without a spice rack?
There are plenty of ways to store spices without a spice rack. From tiered lazy Susans and expandable cabinet shelves to dedicated drawers and countertop options, there are easy ways to get around storage without using a rack. Losonci has even used bins with dividers in narrow cabinets as a more organized spice solution. "Tiered lazy Susans are really great if you have the height in your cabinet," she says. "Make sure you buy the one that has the most space in between."
How often should spices be replaced?
Though expired spices likely won't make you sick, they won't do you any favors in terms of flavoring your food. Dried spices usually last about six months.
What are the most common spices to include in a collection?
While the spices you own should depend on the kinds of food you cook or bake, there are some common spices that are ideal to have in your rotation so don't have to run out to the grocery store mid-recipe.
- Bay leaves
- Chili powder
- Curry powder
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Black peppercorns
- Red pepper flakes