Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Spicing It Up!

What are young women made of?
Sugar and spice and all things nice.
~Robert Southey

The one thing I was really excited about doing was organizing my spices and flavorings. Well, to be honest, I was not excited to do this, but I was excited about having it done to to alleviate the frustration of looking for a particular spice because some people just cannot put things in the same place that they were found...not naming anyone specifically, mind you, as whoever it is, is in denial and I would not want to confront the person with the truth causing a psychotic break. (Forgive me. The last few days have been a bit too spicy for my taste. That is, it has been a rough, emotionally-charged week, but this post is scheduled to be published a few days from now, so I might be back to "normal" by the time you read it...maybe...hopefully.)

Some of our herbs no longer need to be bought from the store as I grow them myself, so my husband thought the contemporary, stainless steel, swivel spice rack he bought would be ideal, but neither of us really used it. The bottles that came with it did not seal air tight and about half the size of most spice jars. I could not fit all the contents from a store bought jar in them, so I would have spice left over in the larger bottle after filling. It was not efficient, so the spice rack mostly took up space on the counter and gathered dust. Cleaning something that is of no use is just not logical, so after five or six years I happily donated it to Goodwill. (I never really liked the thing anyway and would have gotten rid of it sooner, but my husband bought it, so I felt he needed realize its lack of potential before I tossed it out. Now that I think about it, I might have used it for craft supplies...probably not though.)

My aunt used to have a spice drawer as she bought most of her spices in tin boxes, laying them face up so that you could easily read them, but I have yet to see organic spices sold that way today. I have been looking for spice racks, which I used to see often in thrift stores, but thanks to crafty women and Pinterest, more people have caught on that they can be re-purposed for many things, like storing small craft supplies or nail polish. I have had my spices on the lower shelf of the cabinet left of the stove, which is where I still like them for now, but something had to be done with organizing that shelf!

I looked for solutions that would better use the vertical space, but everything I found so far just is not going to work well because the spices would have been less accessible or it was costly, as in buying many metal box containers with windows to label. I removed the toothpicks and put them in to the junk drawer just below this cabinet, which is also organized now. I threw away some old food coloring as I usually use Wilton's food color and then usually only for cake decorating: those supplies are in a Wilton tool caddy. I took out the straws and put them in the cabinet next to the sink. I moved a couple of the protein supplements to put with the other ones we use in smoothies.

What I had left was just spices and flavorings. I also had a few mix packets that I had removed from another cabinet. Now the question was how to organize the spices. My husband was in favor of  alphabetical order, but I had always liked the baking spices grouped together and the others I use most toward the front. Experience suggested to me that there needed to be some kind of labeling to indicate this new organization of the spices, for those who resist the notion.

I decided to use our label maker and place the labels on the wall in the back. This is how I arranged them from left to right: flavorings (front), mix packets (back), misc. herbs (front), Italian herbs and spices (front), meat seasonings (back), hot spices, peppers, salts (front), seeds (back), alliums, baking spices, and popcorn seasonings (front).

Although we have spices that are not organic, the majority that I have are from Frontier and Simply Organic. What I like about Simply Organic is that the lids are labeled with the name of the spice so on a step stool I can read the lids. I may write the spice names on the other lids also.

As it is, I cannot tell you how much better this cabinet looks. Sometimes I open it just to motivate me to do another area! Who would have thought that my smile was in an organized spice cabinet!

~ My Lord, the smallest accomplishments can bring great pleasure when the uncontrollable harshness of life is all around. Thank you for this ability that You have given to us. ~

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