Organizing spices can be tricky since they are all different sizes, shapes, and colors. Even labels are not promised to be the same! Depending on what type of cook you are, or aspire to be, the amount of spices vary from house to house along with the storage for the spices.
One thing is for sure, the only way to get a uniformed streamlined look is to decant your spices and relabel! Decanting is just a fancy word for saying “pour out and transfer to another container” It is a small change that makes a huge difference visually, and it also allows you to maximize the space you have.
I prefer glass spice jars over plastic ones, because they preserve the spices and keep them fresher for longer. There are so many different styles to choose from when it comes to spice containers - just like any other. There are silver lids, gold lids, bamboo lids, I could go on... Normally I choose based on my clients style, and what aesthetic they present in the kitchen. Gold lids are a little more modern looking, silver is more classic, while bamboo lids have an earthy, natural clean look to them. It is truly a personal preference. Sometimes I match the spice jar lids to the kitchen hardware, or the cabinet pulls. So if you can't decide, reference the colors that are already in your kitchen!
Where you decide to store your spices depends on what space you have available in your kitchen or pantry. If you have more shelf space, then that is where your spices should be. If you have more drawer space, then that is where your spices should be. Your space will dictate where your spices should be stored.
After you pick your spice jars, make sure you count all the spices you currently have so you know the number of jars you need. You might be surprised that you need more than you think. This process is a great time to check those expiration dates too! I always get a giggle out of the oldest date I find. Even in my own pantry! Just the other day I found something that was several years old. So it happens to everyone! Now is the time to check those dates and toss the expired ones, then start a shopping list of the ones you need to replace or are almost out of.
Next you will want to pick what labels you want to use. Some spice jar kits come with the most common spice labels in them. The only downside is they might not have the unique spices like Trader Joe's “Everything but the bagel” seasoning. So what do you do then? I prefer to either make my own or work with a shop that you can special order labels from - or pick up a label maker!
The simplest of ways is to use a label maker, my favorite label maker brand being Dymo! It can be found at Target or amazon for about 25 bucks. I love this because you can create any label you want and have it instantly. The other plus for this method is that when you find a new spice that you are adding to your pantry you have everything you need to add to your collection. I recommend getting a clear plastic label tape for your spice jars. With clear labels they easily show the content of the jar and can be wiped down easily.
Another option is buying pre-made labels, The Talented Kitchen has beautiful labels. I have used them and love them; they even take special orders. The Shop Offers a spice label set and then if you need to have any made they can accommodate that as well!
The last thing you will need is a funnel! Trust me it makes this process way less messy! It's the key to not destroying your kitchen in the decanting process. I always decant spices over the sink or a trash can because it can get a little messy. But ,the end result is a beautifully organized spice collection.
The last thing to buy is either a tiered spice shelf unless your spices are planned to go on a shelf or in a drawer organizer. I love the clear acrylic 3 tiered shelf organizer from The Container Store. Also, another recommendation would be a wooden spice drawer for your spices stored in a drawer.
Lastly you can add an expiration date with a marker on the bottom or back of the spice or use a label maker to add an expiration date to the bottom! Just another easy way to keep track of that date!