Cook and Pan's 5 Easy Tips to Clean Up Your Messy Spice Drawer!

Spices can instantly take the flavor of whatever you're cooking to a whole new level. It is therefore no wonder that we always have an abundance of them in the house. Keeping them together and easy to find can be a challenge, but with a few simple tweaks, you can easily organize them and set yourself up for success.
Inventory your spices
Get all your spices out of the cupboard, even the ones that are hidden at the very back of your pantry. Put them all on the counter, or some other surface where you can see what you have. This is usually the first step in organizing a space because it's really important to really see what you have to determine the best solution. Once you have all the spices listed, try grouping them by flavor. We often have several of the same herbs, so this step is crucial in organizing them.

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Find the best before date

We've all played fast and loose with best before dates; like that yogurt that expired a week ago but still smells and tastes good or that can of beans that has expired but has never been opened. Spices are a different story altogether, in that some food experts believe they don't actually expire because they're dried. They do lose some of their potency and flavor over time, though, so it's really up to you how long you want them in the house. A good rule of thumb is that if you haven't cooked with it in over a year, it's probably time to let it go. So take a few minutes to go through your collection and toss out any spices that no longer need to be there. This step alone will help free up a lot of space.

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Give them a home

Once you've put together your herb collection, you need to think about where all these herbs will be placed. Preferably somewhere near where you cook, so that you can easily reach it. But this place will really depend on the space you have available. The classic spice drawer? Open shelves on the wall? A turntable in your closet? Don't be afraid to move other kitchen items so you can create a home where all your spices can live together.

Bring unity to the pots

There's just something visually appealing about the unity of jars. Unfortunately, unless you're very brand loyal with your spices, you probably have a mishmash of jars, bottles, and pouches that you currently store your spices in. Consider putting your spices in matching jars. You can use a jar designed specifically for it, a mason jar, or really any jar that matches your kitchen decor. Try to make sure the jar is sealed airtight to maintain freshness. It is also important to pay attention to the opening. Opt for a shaker when sprinkling your spices, but if you're more of a spoonful, the top should be wide enough to hold a scoop. Or simply opt for a combination of both!

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Label, label, label

Just like icing on the cake, think of the label as a decorative, but absolutely necessary, finishing touch. Not only does it help you identify the content, but a clear and consistent labeling technique also helps reduce visual clutter. Labels can be as simple as handwriting the name on masking tape or as beautiful as a custom printed design. Just like any other space you want to decorate in your home, it's about what works for you, your lifestyle and budget.