Spice Rack Reorg and Recycled Containers

After making my first batch of homemade taco seasoning the other day, I started to put the spices back into my under-the-stairs closet pantry. As I  stood there with the numerous containers of spices in my arms, I realized that the racks were in dire need of reorganization!

I wish I’d gotten a picture before I completely emptied the racks. You probably would have thought I was a nut and that it didn’t look like it needed reorganizing. But, I lean “just a little” to the perfectionist side of being organized and it was driving me “just a little” crazy that the jars/containers weren’t in alphabetical order. I know… crazy… but that’s me!

So I grabbed a big box and started pulling all the containers/jars out of the racks. I decided that I was going to organize them alphabetically and get rid of things that past their printed expiration dates, and combine multiple spice jars into one. I can’t believe I found a jar that was marked 2007! I know it’s just a spice and it probably would have been just fine, but out it went. I did save a couple that were marked 2009… please don’t call the food police on me. 🙂

My newly alphabetized spice racks.

Okay, I’m afraid to admit this, but I’m still “just a little” crazy even after the alphabetical re-organization! I so wish all the containers where the same size or at least all the same type! LOL! But I’ll deal with it. At least now I can find spices a lot faster. The only ones that aren’t in exact alphabetical order are the large containers in the top right shelf. That’s because they are too tall to fit into the lower shelves. And this picture doesn’t show the slanted ceiling in this pantry.

I think the picture to the right gives a better idea of the slanted ceiling and the size of the pantry (you can click on it to zoom in to make it a little bigger). I think I’ve done a good job organizing it and you’d be amazed at how much is actually stored in it… like the 15 or so hidden recycled juice bottles used to store water. But I’ll save that for another in-depth post on all the organization I’ve done in my food storage areas.

I’ve mentioned quite a few times lately about using recycled containers. Here’s how I’ve used, or plan to use, recycled containers:

  • Small peanut butter jars make great gift containers for Noreen’s Peanut Butter Cups cocoa.
  • Mayonnaise jars store homemade mayo.
  • Whipped topping containers are the perfect size to take salsa/dips to church potlucks.
  • Spice containers are useful for sharing things like tomato powder, green onion powder or homemade packaged mixes like taco seasoning mix.
  • Take-out soup containers can be reused to take homemade soup or stew for a quick meal to a family who has just moved.
  • Tin cans… did you know they can actually be used to vacuum seal dehydrated foods. I haven’t done this yet, but I’ve seen how it’s done… it’s on my to-do list… and I’ll show you how in a later post.
  • Glass drink containers, like the ones tea come in… work perfectly for taking along homemade salad dressings when invited for dinner at friend’s.
  • Glass olive containers can be used to store spices. They can even be vacuum sealed in a canister, if the cap has a bit of a rubber seal.
  • Those little mashed potato side dish containers from the chicken place work great for sending leftovers to work with hubby! They even say they are reusable on the bottom!
  • And lastly, the little containers for salsa from the Mexican fast food places work great to hold small amounts of ingredients when baking/cooking.

Beware! Recycled containers can easily take over your kitchen cupboards. So don’t go overboard and become a hoarder. Allocate a small area for recycled container storage. When it’s full, don’t save anymore! But if you’re a giver like me, you’ll find that you are constantly rotating them so your storage space never gets full. 🙂

And I will tell you that I only recycle plastic/glass containers that have labels that come off quite easily after soaking in hot water for a few minutes. If there is a little sticky spot after soaking, I use a really cool tool called a Goo Gone Pen. I also use this pen to remove old labels from mason jars I get at the thrift stores. This pen was a really great investment, there isn’t a sticky spot I haven’t been able to get off with it. Sometimes I do have to move up to the bottle of Goo Gone and a cheap paper towel. But it works every time!

Did you know that the word “spices
occurs 35 times in 32 versus
in the NKJV of the Bible?
You can read them all here.

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