Storing herbs, according to a professional organizer

As a professional organizer, one of the most frequently asked questions I get is how to keep spice jars tidy in the kitchen. Whether you cook a lot or almost never, chances are you have quite a few herbs and spices in a cupboard, drawer, or pantry. They may even be scattered across all three spaces, making it hard to find what you need for that new recipe you’re about to make.

To keep herbs fresh for as long as possible, it’s important to organize them so that it’s easy to know when to refill and when to throw them away. If you can see them all in one room, you can check more often and more efficiently when the jars are almost empty and what the best-before date is.

If your herbs need a better system, try following ideas that show how to organize herbs.

Christina Wedge

1. Put them in a drawer

A shallow drawer near the stove or wherever you prepare food is one of the best places to store spices in the kitchen. That’s because they’re easily accessible, even when your hands are busy preparing food. If the drawer height is adequate, spice jars can stand vertically and be secured in place with DIY drawer dividers. Otherwise, lay them flat at a slight angle with a spice jar organizer.

Laura Moss

2. Spring for matching pots

A set of matching spice jars looks aesthetically pleasing and can also serve an organizational purpose. When spice containers are the same shape and size, they fit together better no matter where they are stored. In a drawer, for example, herbs fit in neat rows with or without an organizer to help.

Ann VanderWiel Wilde

3. Use a Spice Riser

If you prefer to use a cabinet for storing herbs, consider adding a shelf organizer to keep the containers aligned. A riser uses the entire surface of the cabinet and allows you to see and reach pots with ease. The best part? Many of these organization tools are extensible to fit different cabinet widths and make reorganizing as needed a cinch.

Adam Albright

4. Put a lazy Susan to work

A professional organization trick I’d like to share is using a round organizer, such as a lazy Susan, to hold round items as it really maximizes storage space. This makes them the perfect home for most spice jars. If you have a wide selection of spices and herbs, double up with a lazy two-tier Susan or place two side by side in a closet or pantry.

Jay Wilde

5. Save space with a Snap

Small kitchens require a little more ingenuity to ensure you make the most of the space available. That means thinking outside the box when it comes to organizing herbs. Because they are relatively small compared to other stock items, spice jars can be mounted on the inside of a cabinet door. It’s a win-win situation because you take advantage of unused space while hiding clutter.

Ed Gohlich

6. Put on a nice screen

Maybe you are a minimalist when it comes to the spices you use in your dishes. If so, consider placing them above your counter. A set of Mason jars in various sizes on a floating shelf is both attractive and a storage feature. Add custom labels so every chef in the house knows exactly where to find the spice they need.

Robert Brinson

7. Keep Them In A Sleek Closet

A narrow pull-out cabinet is a perfect place to store small items such as spices. If you’re blessed to have one or have the opportunity to add it to future kitchen remodeling plans, make this your favorite spice selection station. The containers are less likely to get lost in a narrow space and often the custom sliding cabinets are designed to be placed near the stove for convenience.

Jean Allsopp

8. Reuse Food Containers

Once you’ve organized your food storage containers and have extras, give them a second life instead of throwing them away. Reusing plastic containers is just one eco-friendly way to put things in order and can also solve your storage problem, especially if you buy spices in bulk. Decant herbs into smaller containers, put them in a convenient spot, and keep the rest out of the way until you’re ready to refill.

Marty Baldwin

9. Sort by your favorites

Another organizing rule I like to follow is to keep the most used items at eye level or, in the case of my spices, which are kept in a drawer, in the front. This makes it much easier to find what you need in no time. There are always herbs that are only used occasionally, such as around the holidays; put these in the back instead of mixing them with everyday seasonings.

Cameron Sadeghpour

10. Mark Due Dates

One trick I use when decanting herbs for customers is to mark the expiration date on the back of the jar, using a chalk pen or small label. Some herbal brands don’t list the date, so when you buy a new bottle, quickly find out how long the herbs will last and write it directly on the bottle with a permanent marker. This takes the guesswork out of deciding whether to throw it out when cleaning out your pantry.

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