How to Store and Organize Spices- Kitchen Organization 101

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I am starting a kitchen organization 101 series and will try to write as many posts as I can with ideas and tips to keep the kitchen organized and clutter-free. If you have any ideas for the series or want to write for this series mail me or check out our submit-a-guest-post tab above. 

One of the unique characteristics of our Indian food are the Spices. There is an amazing variety of spices in India whether in terms of color, texture, smell, taste and the property it lends to our food. If you visit the spice aisle of any supermarket you will be amazed at the sheer number of different spices, I can bet some you might not have even heard of before.

But thanks to the number of herbs and spices required in Indian cooking it is a task in itself to think of how to store and organize your spices in a kitchen. If you live in a standard size apartment with an average kitchen like ours, you have to think of multiple ideas for storing and organizing spices.

Organize_Spices

Before I tell you how I store and organize spices in my kitchen here are some tips to make this process simple for you:

Kitchen Storage Ideas for Spices 

1. Keep opened and unopened packets of spices separately. I keep all my unopened spice packets in our pantry closet (will do a post about it soon) and only the spices that are opened are stored in the cooking area. This means less chaos and clutter in your cooking area.

2. Take those spices out of the cardboard packets. Put them in spice jars, bottles or containers but definitely take them out of the packets because once opened it is essential that they are not exposed to moisture at all. Moreover the fragrance of the spices is also  leached if the spices are in contact with air. In general, it is a good idea to keep spices away from light, air, moisture and heat.

3. Do make a note of the expiry dates of the spices. Most spices are good to keep for at least a year or more and usually they finish way before that but in cases of some spices that are rarely used may have gone bad.

How I store spices and herbs in my kitchen

Well for a long time in my previous home I had a spice cabinet in my kitchen which was all I had for organization. But before we moved to our present house, I had chalked out where and how I wanted to store my kitchen stuff especially my spices. Right now, I have three systems for storing spices in my kitchen. These storage systems are apart from the spices I store in my pantry closet.

Masala_Dabba

The traditional masala dabba (spice tin)

I know it is not fashionable to have these anymore but in my experience this is the most practical way to keep spices that you use frequently for your cooking. It is easy to keep the regularly used spices, it is also very handy and I keep this on the kitchen counter to use while cooking.

Spice_Rack

Spice Rack with Glass Jars

This wooden spice rack with glass jars is kept for those spices and herbs which are used not very frequently like cumin powder, cinnamon powder, black pepper, chilli flakes, oregano, basil leaves etc. The great thing about this Spice rack is that it looks good and I can also take the spice jars to the dining table and if someone wants a dash of pepper or oregano, we can use the jar for just that.

Spice_pull_out_shelves

The Spice drawer

This is where the most spicy action takes place. We have two of these vertical pull out shelves which are completely dedicated to storing spices. These drawers utilize the entire depth of the counter and therefore provide more space than the usual drawers. Since these are not visible to everyone, I bought not-so-expensive matching plastic containers to store the spices in this shelf. Although they are not expensive they are not cheap and are food-grade.

Tip: I cut out the name of the spice from the packet and keep it in the spice jar to recognize their names. You can label the jars but I often switch out spices from one jar to the other and this method of labeling them is easier for me.

Spice_Jars

These three storage systems are enough to keep my spices organized and my kitchen clutter free. In case you don’t want to go for any of these options, I snooped around the internet and found five more spice racks online to help you organize your kitchen.

Spice_Racks_Online

1. Emsa Green Spice Box from FabFurnish – I love its design and the way the spices are stacked.

2. Trudeau Spice bottles from FabFurnish – Frankly I think it looks very good but it might not be the most practical for our kitchens.

3. Prodyne Spice rack from Zansaar- This stylish spice rack comes with 12 bottles and can be mounted on the wall or kept on the counter.

4. Home and you spice canister set from Snapdeal – This 10 box set from Home and You with stainless steel canisters can start off your spice collection beautifully.

5. SG Home Ribbed pattern masala dabba from Snapdeal- This modern take on the masala dabba comes with a mirror finish box and ribbed pattern design on the box.

So these are some of the ideas, tips and ways in which you can organize spices in your kitchen. What’s your preferred method to store and organize spices? Do let me know through comments below. 

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Comments

  1. Loved the fab furnish spice box but why it is so expensive.
    Anamika’s recent fabulous post…23 Week Pregnancy Update by ShefaliMy Profile

  2. I loved your spice jar note idea…i keep the boxes only in my fridge as i keep forgetting what is the in jar.
    Anamika’s recent fabulous post…23 Week Pregnancy Update by ShefaliMy Profile

  3. Lots of great information here, Swapna. I’m happy to say I follow a lot of this, including putting the labels into the bottle. I don’t use the traditional masala dhaba because I feel that the aromas change. However, I like number 1 and number 3 as options.
    Looking forward to more in this series
    Corinne Rodrigues’s recent fabulous post…Listen To Your HeartMy Profile

  4. Being organised in the kitchen , helps your cooking much easier , thats what I have felt . Inspired to upgrade my kitchen storing sets swapna ..
    sangeetha menon’s recent fabulous post…How to Travel With A Baby By Train – Essentials and ChecklistMy Profile

  5. That first spice box is so elegant and organized!! I usually cut out the spice names from the packet and stick them on the container. But yours is a better idea – more suitable for reuse!
    Fab’s recent fabulous post…Sponsored Video: Help a Child Reach 5 with LifebuoyMy Profile

    • Thanks Fab! :) I saw this idea at my husband’s aunt’s place and it was like a smack your head simple idea. :)

  6. I too use the round dabba, gifted to me during house warming. Though I ogle at all the fashionable ones, its easier to use the inbuilt spoons, gives an average measure too..

    And just my two cents.. it would be very useful for readers like me, if you had linked the images or text links to their respective website links so that we need not have to search for them.

    Awaiting more of the series.. why not a kitchen tour or better a house tour?? the red is really tempting :)
    Archana’s recent fabulous post…Slow RealizationMy Profile

    • Thanks for the comment and your valid suggestion but there is a reason for that. ;) And a house tour? Sadly the house is not big enough to warrant a tour. :P

  7. Hi Swapna. I also can not do without my traditional masala dabba. It is perfect for indian cooking as we need a lot of masalas for everydish and it saves you from opening many jars. Some things like fennel seeds, ajwain , dana methi which are not used that much I keep in small thin glass bottles and fit them also in this masala dabba.
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  8. Nice post. Two of your ideas are already being followed in my home – the spice dabba and cutting the name of the packet and putting it in spice jar instead of labelling it. Since, I have been trying to remove plastics from my home, I have shifted to stainless steel storage cans. I also have pull out drawers, so I am storing everything in see-through steel cans.
    I had written a post on kitchen storage – Healthy Kitchen Storage
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  9. I use the second one that you have listed. Though mine is bigger, as in it has more bottles. It does work for Indian spices and the best thing is that the glass spice bottles can be stuck into the dish washer!
    Shefali’s recent fabulous post…10 Things I Never Thought I Would Do Before I Became A ParentMy Profile

  10. we hav the traditional masala dabba and I love using it. Its so organised. You give all cool ways to organise. U shud start a consultation :)

    • Thanks Afshan! I think I would be a nightmare for people who asked for a consultation asking them to chuck their long hoarded stuff. Yeah I am pretty brutal with stuff cos I hate clutter! :)

  11. Most of us use this traditional masala dabba but I would love to have the spice drawer…thanks for the awesome ideas! :)
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  12. Am following these tricks to keep my masala’s.But sometime gets lazy to refill the empty container and directly use from the packets.Which later sucks all moisture and unfortunately i have to throw them in bin. =p
    BTW i love your red kitchen cabinets.lovelia!!

    http://sailorswiferamblings.blogspot.com/2013/09/chronicle-of-pirate-attack-survivor.html
    Anu Dev’s recent fabulous post…Chronicles of Pirate attack survivor…………………My Profile

    • Thanks Anu! Yeah that does happen when you use directly from packets but I have a hack tip for that! Will soon share in a post. And yes the color red is a showstopper for whoever visits my house. :)

  13. Great presentation. I too have steel dabbas for my core masalas. Tupperware too has some good storing dabbas no?
    Indrani’s recent fabulous post…Automated External DefibrillatorMy Profile

    • Thanks Indrani! Yes I dream of turning my kitchen into a tupperware or rubbermaid haven one day. I love love containers that can be stacked perfectly and create a visual symmetry. I think that comes from a strong need to have balance in everything I do. :)

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  1. […] Have a place for everything and keep everything in its place. Scurrying around hunting for that hidden spice or for the right lid for that saucepan can eat up valuable time and might even result in a burnt dish! Check out some cool must have products for Kitchen organization and a very popular post on how to organize and store spices. […]

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