How I Became a Really Good Knitter
by Organizing my Spice Drawer.

For everyone out there who thinks design and furnishings are the most important things in a house, cover your ears. I mean your eyes.

They aren’t. A nice couch and a beautiful dining room table are great, but when I redid my house last year I was shocked at what made me the happiest. It was storage.

The bookcase in my front hall changed my life. I now had a place to put my books, photo albums and board games. Yes. I have board games. I don’t play them, but I have them. In case you want to come over for a rousing game of Buckaroo.

I also bought a simple lid holder from Ikea that screws onto the back of your cupboard door. It made me a much happier person and will eventually result in me getting a fantastic job. I’m pretty sure of that.

I redid my freezer, filling it with white tupperware bins so I could easily throw chicken in one, beef in another, seafood in another and on and on. Everything is separated and compartmentalized for easy access. The end result? Prettier hair.

I bet you think I’m kidding don’t you? But the truth is with the time I’ve saved with these few organizing tricks I now have time to play board games, look for jobs and spend more time on my hair.

So now I’d like to share with you how I became a really good knitter.

This was my spice drawer several months ago:

I would like you to imagine for a moment trying to find an emergency “pinch” of ginger in that.

This is what I found at the bottom of my spice drawer.  Mm hmm.

This is what my kitchen table routinely looked like when I needed a pinch of ginger.

Clearly this was not working.  So I trucked on down to my local Bulk Barn and found these:

They sprinkle.

They pour.

And they have a magnet on the bottom so they’ll stick to your fridge (if you so choose).  I happen to not choose.

They’re clear on top …

… so you can label them and see what’s inside.

So I bought every single one my Bulk Barn had and bought a few more from my local hardware store.  You can get ’em everywhere.  I bought the round sticky labels at my Dollar Store and got to work.  I’ve never had so much fun in my life.  And this is coming from someone who was once interviewed Jerry Springer on the top of a double decker bus.  I know fun.

After all the jars were filled and labelled, the really fun part came.  Lining them up in the drawer.  I KNOW I’m not the only kitchen geek who gets such a big kick out of something like organizing their spice drawer.  It’s even more exciting than getting the perfect invisible seal with Saran Wrap.

Here we go!

Oh!  I should have warned you.  I also painted the cupboard I keep my spices in.  Did that during the great Style at Home cleaning fiasco.

See?  All painted.  O.K. … as I was saying …. Here we go!

EEeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!  It’s so exciting!!!

Oh! Oh! Oh! Ta Da!

Isn’t it the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen?  Seriously.  Even those of you with babies.  Isn’t it the most beautiful thing you’ve seen?

I really am a grown up aren’t I?  Because this spice drawer is one of my greatest achievements.  And this is coming from a woman who toilet trained her cats.

Doesn’t it just make you want to cook something?  Or at the very least, think about cooking something?

In fact … I think I will.

Right after I finish up with my knitting.  I’ve become quite a knitter what with all the spare time I’ve had on my hands.  Did I mention that?


55 Comments

  1. Shannon says:

    so so jealous. My spice drawer is currently a big plastic storage tub shoved down the bottom of my butlers pantry. (no I don’t have a butler, just the big fancy pantry)

    I have been meaning to actually buy a big knobbly swirly antique frame, paint it black & put a peice of stainless steel in the middle. Hang it in the kitchen & get magnetic spice holders like yours.

    But I have been busy eating things, fostering sick animals from the pound & gardening. :S

  2. Suzette says:

    I found your site through Design Sponge, and I think you are hilarious! And so handy, it’s inspiring! I love the spice drawer, great job!

  3. Norell says:

    I love it. I recently heard my husband muttering possible nasty things when he was looking for spices. Since I am always the perfect wife (LOL), I purchased two new stacking shelves from the Container Store and all new spice jars from World Market and re-organized, labeled and (hold your breath) alphabetized all my spices. It made me soooo happy & my husband actually noticed about 3 weeks later. Now I just need to know when my new perfect hair will arrive!!!

  4. Karen O. says:

    These are awesome! I was gonna ask where you could get them in the States, but I did a search and there they were at Bed Bath & Beyond. Thanks. ^.^

  5. Pau says:

    They’re beautiful! It makes me weep at the sheer beauty of it all. Thanks for the inspiration!

  6. mimi says:

    I’m soooooo jealous!
    You can get a sprinkle and pour version of those? someone please tell Ikea- they sell them, but no sprinkle and pour. They do sell a magnetic rack for them, if, like me, you lack the drawer bit.
    Great job, Karen, when will we see this knitting?

  7. Justina says:

    Hey! In my opinion organizing is also a part of design:D I love your new drawer and the colour of cabinet;)
    have a nice day!
    Just

  8. Valentina says:

    I can’t wait to have a house of my own to organize everything into boxes and stuff, and especially my spices. and I’m not joking. I really can’t wait to do something like this! Impressive, Karen!

  9. Clem says:

    Brilliant! That is one well organised spice drawer. As a fellow organisational junkie I appreciate how much pleasure organising something like that can give you. Your hair is definitely now shinier.
    May I share a my top tip for labelling jars? I keep all my spices and dry goods in glass jars. Sometimes I want to switch things around – say I bought (just for example) some buckwheat flour for pancakes and then realised that I don’t like buckwheat. So i get rid of it and want to re-use the jar. Sticky labels are hard to get off, so I use glass pens to label everything. It looks cool and scrubs off with minimal effort.

  10. Liz says:

    I am gutted. I actually thought there would be knitting in this post.

  11. I Love Love LOVE this!!

    My spices currently reside above the stove, and take up almost ALL of that space. I’ve been brain storming on how to get that into a more manageable size. I thought about using the same idea that my mom implores, which is a “step rack” that she found at WalMart. Yeah, we don’t have it here. Too bad she lives in Houston, TX, and I’m in NC! *sigh*
    Back to the drawing board with me!

  12. Tracy says:

    Now that you can find the ginger, you can make ginger snaps to go in the FABULOUS Monk Cookie Jar !!!!

  13. Sherry (BTLover2) says:

    I love it! I’d want to stare at it all day.

  14. Nicole says:

    HAaahahahaa!! You are spectacular and that drawer makes me drool. Excellent work.

  15. I love these little spice canisters, I’ve been using them for years. I did choose to stick mine to the fridge (albeit the side). While cooking I also occasionally stick them to the stainless backsplash behind my range… although I soon realized that reaching across lit burners to get the paprika is not a good idea. Ok let’s be honest, I never know what to do with the paprika except for getting it confused with the cayenne. They are handy little canisters though. They do need to occasionally be emptied out and thoroughly scrubbed. Over time they lose that perfect unmarred aluminum finish. They do clean up nicely, the little clear window on the top holds grime a little more stubbornly, but as long as you aren’t the type to keep a grimy kitchen you should be fine.

    • Karen says:

      Chris – I wanted them on my fridge in order to save the drawer space, but the side of my fridge butts right up against my stove. Grease. Grime. Guck. Yuk. – karen

    • mothership says:

      ahhhhh! Paprika= garnish,garnish,garnish…
      Eggs~ scrambled, fried, deviled.
      All sorts of dips.. hummus, baba ganoush, any/all cream cheese or sour cream based.
      Potatoes~ mashed, baked, fried-french or hash. Gratins.
      Casseroles.
      Fish.
      Chicken.
      Anything pale!

  16. Karen-Emmanuelle says:

    I simply love you! lolll
    Love everything on your website. Love your witty comments. Thank you for making me laugh every week and for the weekly trips to my local Dollarama 😉

  17. S. says:

    I recently bought some of those too and I love them. They’re lined up along the top if my stove, where those lovely magnets keep them from tumbling into the great beyond. (The inaccessible space behind my stove.)

    I write the spice name on the lid with my whiteboard marker, so if the contents change, I can just wipe it off and relabel. I haven’t switched over all my spices yet, but I plan to this fall.

    • Karen says:

      S.! I used peel off stickers. They just come right off with no effort at all. I’m not even sure how they stick in the first place, but they do. 🙂 karen

  18. Jane Price says:

    Your spice drawer is a work of beauty.
    Did you really toliet train your cats? HOW????
    Were they kittens? Is it still working. Aahhh, a house with cats and no litter box…………..

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jane – Yup. I really did it. They aren’t doing it anymore, because one took to it but the other one was too little, so she revolted. If I had waited until she was a little older and bigger it would have been a complete success. I linked to my post on how to do it. Here’s the link on how to toilet train your cat again. Good luck!

  19. WOW, that is exciting! It’s so pretty and organized!

    p.s. is that a monk cookie jar I see?

  20. Rhonda says:

    Man, you need a book to go with that title. That’s awesome!

  21. kathryn says:

    beeeaauuuuuutiful job Karen. fridge etc storers – beware of light and heat spoiling your spices if you aren’t a speedy user! xxx

  22. Sharon says:

    Im not sure that ‘gorgeous’ and ‘spices’ ever went together… but today they do! I just went from six to midnight! Also, that monk/friar cookie jar is by-far the coolest thing Ive seen!

  23. Lang says:

    Ok, maybe it’s just an excuse (my sister keeps telling me I need “a system, baby” for the spice cupboard) but when I’ve looked at those little cannisters it seems like they have plastic, not glass, tops, right? I thought it would be hard to clean them and that they’d get yellowed from spices. So nothing has happened yet. Avoidance on my part you say?

  24. Alisha says:

    I bought those amazing little canisters at Wal-Mart, 6 canisters came with a metal plate with a magnet on the bottom so you have the option of fridge placement or screwing it to the wall/under a cupboard and then attaching your awesome spice canisters. Mine are on the fridge but I really love having the option!

  25. Laurie says:

    Fabulous idea! You may have saved me $500 bucks. Getting new cabinets and thought I might like to have a pull-out organizer. Not even necessary! Bless you.

  26. Julie shinnick says:

    oh such a cool feeling! We are currently doing a kitchen reno, and one of the best things was having the spices down in a shallow drawer ‘faced up’ ohhhhh I get a thrill chill everytime I open that drawer!! (And I am not even the chief cook in the house!!)
    Well done you and I can hear you squeal with delight everytime you open that beautiful drawer!
    xx

  27. Jane says:

    It’s all good until your best friend (who realizes how OCD you are) comes over and purposely messes with your spice alphabetization, thus messing with your kitchen and your mind!

  28. Lesley H says:

    EPIC! This is truly the most beautiful thing I’ve seen in years. And the corner drawer just enhances the beauty and symmetry. Will you be hosting tours?

  29. Cameron says:

    Love your drawer! I too was hoping for some good knitting pics though. Well done!

  30. Janelle says:

    These are more beautiful than any of my three children. And more useful. Oh sure, the children can sprinkle and pour, and one of them got stuck to the fridge once, but it had a lot to do with raspberry jam and nothing to do with the power of magnets. Ask them to line up in the drawer and hold Madras curry until the next time I need it and they’d fail time and again. Also, they need to be washed a lot more often and I can’t just stick their names on their foreheads, I actually have to remember them. I’ll spare you further comparisons, but for the record, I could go on and on.

  31. Pam'a says:

    There’s only one thing to say, and that’s “Eeeeeee!”

  32. Wendi says:

    It IS incredibly beautiful! And…Hooray! knitting! Make sure you get on Ravelry! It’s a life saver.

  33. Jennifer says:

    I might pee my pants laughing. Your drawers are gorgeous 🙂 Mine are a similar set up. They’re filled with the little tins that came with the ‘Martha Stewart’ spice rack. The big ‘un. I couldn’t stand the ‘clutter’ of the damn spice rack thing hanging from my wall. So now the tins are in the drawer, out of sight, name side up. Alphabetized. And it makes me very, very happy 🙂

  34. Holly says:

    Wow all those spices fill that drawer nicely! They probably barely slide around (that would be my concern) but I guess I could just put a metal tray on the bottom of my drawer…imaginary problem solved.

  35. vegeater says:

    so that’s the secret to good knitting. this has been eluding me…

  36. That spice drawer is to die for – wow, it makes me want to start tackling the organizational nightmare that is my new abode – I have been procrastinating since the end of June mostly by going away!

  37. Lene says:

    You, are my new hero!

  38. JennC says:

    That is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. And I *do* have children. I want to be you. No, wait. I want to be your spice drawer.

    • Karen says:

      @JennC – Thanks! I know. It’s very sad isn’t it. But it’s more beautiful than most children. I love my spice drawer in an almost unhealthy way. ~ karen

  39. Zina says:

    Oh my. I’ve been wanting to do this for ages. We don’t have an extra drawer to use, though. (There’s five drawers in our entire kitchen.) And it’s a rented kitchen, so I hesitate to drill into the tiles. I was thinking I might try putting one of the metal sheet thingies up inside the cabinet door instead using teensy screws, and then using those spice containers (probably the IKEA kind, I’ve never seen them at our pound shops, regrettably).

    Oh, my. I’m so envious of your spice drawer!

  40. Monika says:

    i’d like to think great minds think alike. i’ve had these for about two years on the inside of the pantry cabinet door; their backs have magnets. i bought 30 of them and a sheet of metal from ikea–ornage, cheap, cute–and screwed it in. two years later, still functional and wonderfully nice looking. good job! keep knitting.

  41. elisa says:

    i did this, it made me extraordinarily happy. until i moved into a place with kitchen without drawers or cupboards, and thought they’d look nice stacked up on a shelf. naturally, they fell down and knocked my beloved salt cellar to shatter on the floor. i see now why i needed magnetism involved in the whole thing.

  42. Ange says:

    No joke, this really WAS inspiring! I just got back from picking up a dozen of these at Walmart. I had been hemming and hawing over spice storage options (since the old shoebox and ziplock baggy system had lost its appeal). I was just about to choose glass jars until I saw this post. Definitely made me go back to the canister plan. Thanks Karen!

    • Karen says:

      Ange – You’re welcome! O.K. I have to tell you it’s been a while now and my spice drawer has not lost it’s appeal one iota. It still makes my heart go pitter patter. You’re going to LOVE the canisters. – karen

  43. Winn says:

    I also used the similar storage containers from Bulk Barn … Since they have a magnetic strp on the bottom I have them neatly on the side of my white microwave. Since I know most of them by site I have their ID underneath .. Looks neat and since my storage is minimal it’s GREAT … Love your site too!

  44. MAGGIE says:

    You are a woman after my own heart. I get chided a lot by well meaning people about my penchant for organization. I not only can’t function without it, but it makes me ecstaticly happy. My fellow teachers cannot believe I can keep all 24 of the children’s desks, books, pencils, markers, crayons, coats, etc. tidy all the time.
    I keep a binder of every social event I host. My daughter just told me this last Christmas, that she understands why that works for me, but that it is……..and then she stopped…..I finished her sentence with “intimidating?” She didn’t disagree. Oh well!
    I am also a passionate knitter. The kids got me a Vera somebody knitting bag and a gift certificate at JoAnn Fabrics. The idea of a new knitting carry all tote meant more to me than “Vera Somebody.” Can’t wait to organize all my knitting projects. It’s very comforting knowing that I’m not the only organizational, knitting freak out there. Thanks for sharing your ideas on spice storage. I LOVE IT!

  45. Miriam says:

    I know this post is pretty old, but I was wondering…what did you do with the packages and bottles the spices originally came in? I’m sure you didn’t just chuck them.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Miriam – Ohhhhhhhhhh yes I did chuck em! I like to reduce/reuse/recycle but if things are ugly, they’re ugly and I don’t want them around. I keep my cinnamon in an antique silver salt shaker as an example. I kept a few of the generic glass containers for spices that I don’t use often and didn’t fit in the drawer, but as far as the actual jars and packages from McKormics … they were tossed. And joyously so. ~ karen!

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