Organizing "spices" - in desperate need of HELP!


We recently sold a second home and I’ve been avoiding dealing with the organizing of all the seasonings. Obviously we have a lot of duplicates but I’ve pretty much dealt with that. But at the other house I had them in three different rooms: in the kitchen on a shelf and in a cabinet, a hanging shelf thingy on the back of the door and a shelf in the nearby laundry room! Now in this house we have an actual pantry and I can make room for everything. But you can see from this photo that they’re in all manner and sizes of containers.

I have enough of those plastic boxes but how to do it. I’m thinking strict alpha order but should I separate the jars (small and medium) from the things in bags. And some are regular zipping bags and some are the larger Penzeys bags. I’ve separated out the really big containers (used for smoking) and then things for ‘sweets.’ I don’t want to do by cuisine. Beyond that I’m floundering. ANY suggestions will be appreciated. TIA.


Many years ago, I bought a lot of glass jars (about the size of glass spice containers) with lids. I also got a plastic holder for the jars. When I buy spices I transfer them from the packaging they came in to these glass jars. I label the jars and organize them alphabetically.


Organize by flavor profile. I keep all my Thai spices, sauces and pastes in one section, Vietnamese next to them, then Korean, then Chinese, etc. I have Italian oils, herbs and vinegars next to French, then German spices, and so on.

Keep the things that overlap near each other.

Edit: Why don’t you want to organize by cuisine? I just caught that. It seems most logical to me.


I don’t organize by cuisine. Many spices are used in many cuisines. Which cuisine would coriander go in? I think alphabetical is easier. One of the things I keep in mind when organizing anything is that I’m probably not the only person who will need to access the objects. Most people know the alphabet. Whether oregano would be in Mediterranean or Latin American not so much.


That sounds wonderful and WAY too organized for me :slight_smile:

@Bookwich, I don’t have enough of any one ‘dry’ spice to break it down by cuisine and, luckily, at my age, I DO still know the alphabet.

The liquid items are in their own boxes with ‘Asian’ in one and ‘hot’ ones in another and then a few like Worcestershire in a third.

The dry things on the right have the smoker stuff and the (rare occasion) cookie/candy stuff in the bottom. The top 1/2 pint jars are the result of my going a tad crazy at the Spice Market in Istanbul. On the left are the spices that are mostly alphabetized in jars. And the bagged ones top right. It wound up not being AS painful as I weeded out probably 25 jars and ten bags, either dupes or old or things that I never wanted to begin with (Penzeys would send them to me.)

‘Course to gain that one shelf has started the process of the whole pantry. I really have more ‘carbs’ than anything. If I have too many of one thing I make a bag for the local food bank. It’s 90ish degrees here for the coming days so a good excuse to stay in and do this. Lunch was a McDs Quarter Pounder DeLuxe with Cheese, fries and a glass of sparkling rose’. LOL.

Thanks for the support, kiddos.


I have a separate shelf for commonly used items, such as black peppercorns and oregano, but technically, the oregano would be in the Italian section. :slight_smile:

@catholiver Those overstuffed plastic bins bring out my inner Monica.


Actually they’re not overstuffed at all :slight_smile: Just the way they ‘sit down’ might make them look that way. Except for a few at the back, they’re all Penzeys. The three of so at the back are Hungarian seasoning mixes that I got from a fave restaurant in Sonoma. And they’re in alpha order.