Spice Cabinet Makeover

I guess this isn’t EXCLUSIVELY a “spice cabinet”…but it IS where I keep all my spices…so we’re going to go with that.  This was one of those jobs that wasn’t really that HARD….but yet I kept putting it off and putting it off. I’m not sure why.  Why do I ever put stuff like this off?  Cuz I CAN!? lol.

I actually think my procrastination had more to do with not having a whole lot of good ideas for how to DO the makeover….more than a lack of motivation. I was VERY motivated! Every time I tried to put something away or get something out, there was inevitably something tumbling out onto the counter or floor (often onto my bare foot!) ugh. I was pretty fed up with the whole thing.

Several weeks ago I bought a couple of these bi-level spice organizer racks. I figured they were a start. But I knew I was going to need something more than that.  Then about a week ago I came across the tension rod idea and I decided it was time to bite the bullet and get on it.

Here are the “before” & “after” pictures.  For some reason the “before” picture doesn’t quite do it justice. Trust me…in person it looked worse.   :-)

But if you look close….you’ll see what an unorganized situation I had on my hands.  Tall stuff in front….little stuff in back…never being able to find ONE thing without having to move TEN things!  I had duplicates of stuff….and expired stuff.  Too much STUFF.

First thing I did (the first thing I always do when tackling something like this) was take EVERYTHING out and spray it down with my trusty 1/2 ammonia, 1/2 water solution. I was actually quite surprised at how DIRTY this cupboard WAS!  It hadn’t really occurred to me that a “spice cupboard” would need CLEANING in addition to ORGANIZING. But mine did.  Every single surface needed wiping down.

After that it was simply a matter of deciding what to throw out and then what to put where.

The main features of my “spice cabinet makeover” included:

  • small spices jars and cans found a new perch on the tension rod.

  • bi-level organizer shelves improve visibility of medium to larger spice jars and containers.

  • moving the top shelf up and the bottom shelf down making more room for taller items on the center shelf.

  • creating a “baking zone” on one end (I had no idea I had so many SPRINKLES!!), and a “grilling, seasoning, etc. zone” on the other.

Nothing earth-shattering here…just using a few “common sense” ideas that made a big impact on my humble spice cabinet.

Only drawback?  Now I don’t want to USE anything in it…so it STAYS this way! :-)

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  1. Mary says

    Also, make sure to throw out old expired spices and baking items. They lose their flavor and abilities. Recycle if possible! Old spices are still good for some things, like cayenne, is good for getting rid of ant mounds outside. Cinnamon will help prevent mold from growing while planting your spring seeds indoors.

  2. Sarah says

    I started redoing all the cabinets in my kitchen once you got me redoing my pantry with your post about it (my Tupperware cabinet is still a mess…haven’t figured that one out yet). I found that when I used the stands for the spices, I still couldn’t see the names and find anything and things in back were hard to get to…, but I have quite a bit of a spice collection ( and found plenty of duplicates while reorganizing). I put 2 metal spice racks ( the kind that holds them side way) side by side to hold my spices and put labels on the lids so that I knew what everything was and even alphabetized them. I used your container idea from the pantry for the remaining shelves. I have 3 clear containers on the next shelf with easy to grab handles to pull them down. They are labeled with what is in them so I know what is where at a glance. One container might be labeled for sauces and marinades, the other says it has baking soda, baking powder, etc. It is much more visually appealing to see the baskets but it also helps to organize the cabinet. Thanks for all your inspiration!

    • Sarah says

      Oh, and for bottles in the containers I wrote on the tops with a sharpie their names so I could quickly identify the one I want to pull out.

  3. says

    I love the tension rod idea! I would love it even better if I knew how it worked, hahaha. =) Is it a flat tension rod and therefore the spices actually sit on it? The only tension rod that I can envision is small and round and I don’t see how the small spices would sit on it without falling off. My spice cupboards need help too! =)
    Just last night I added some new spices to it and I thought, ‘sheesh, I am going to have to do something about this.’ I have always used lazy susans in the past, but in my current home the cupboards aren’t deep enough, dumbest thing ever!

    • Melanie says

      Go to bed bath and beyond. The have different size lazy susans! I have the medium sized one, but need a small for some of the cabinets that are smaller.

    • Jillee says

      Yep. It’s just one of those regular round tension rods. The spice jars are sitting on it leaning slightly back against the wall. Does that make sense?

      • says

        That does make sense and thanks! For some reason I just couldn’t tell for sure how they were staying in place. I see tension rods in my spice cabinet’s future! =)

  4. Frankie says

    Oh wow!! Now you have given me some inspiration! I don’t really have alot of spices but my cabinet could really use a makeover. Love the tension rod idea. I’m going to get one today!!!

  5. says

    I like the tension rod idea, too! We had to do an emergency move this year due to mold, and the place we are living temporarily had a lazy susan in it. It was stored in the microwave, and no one knew what it was! I used it for my baking spices with my baking dishes, and all the others are in the “spice” cabinet. Still, I don’t like going in there because I can’t ever FIND anything! I’m moving very soon, so when I move into our next place – this idea is coming along with. LOVE your blog. It reminds me each and every day to find at least “one good thing” to be thankful for. Makes life much more positive!

  6. Jill Mount says

    About a month ago I redid my spice cabinets (I have 2). This was the result of a kitchen remodel that put the spice cabinet too far away from the mixer. So now I have a cabinet for baking things and one for cooking. I think of them as sweet and savory. I discovered things like 4 bottles of vanilla extract when I thought I had one, 6 boxes & bottles of cinnamon, and 3 jars of cloves in addition to ground cloves. I bought new jars and transferred some of the spices, threw out a bunch, gave some away, and now feel much happier!
    I love your shelves and the tension rod idea, too.

  7. Kathy says

    Love the tension rod idea… so clever! My friend uses turn tables (lazy Susan) in her spice cabinets. That works great too. No need to move everything in front, just spin!!! Keep up the great work. I love getting your daily One Good Thing email.

  8. Sherry says

    Hi Jillee, I love the cabinet makeover. I just completed one myself. I had a stockpile of empty Tupperware spice containers taking up space in my cupboard, so I took all of my spices(all shapes and sizes) and transferred them to the Tupperware ones. I discovered an extra 2 feet of storage space in my pantry. I also bought 2 sets of the 3M Command adhesive hooks and hung my dry measuring cups and measuring spoons on the inside of my cabinet doors. Again more shelf space. It is great figuring out ways to find more space and reduce clutter and chaos