The Spice Drawer Makeover

In the last post, I shared some thoughts and tips about creating efficient storage in the kitchen.  During the process of deciding where everything was going to go in our kitchen, I had to address the idea of storing spices.  There are SO many ways to store spices and each one had it’s pros and cons.  I had to decide what kind of kitchen I wanted to have.  Did I want spices out on the counter in some neat turnstile sort of arrangement?  Magnetized to a stainless steel strip along the backsplash?  Hung in a carrier on the wall? Arranged in a nearby drawer?  In uniform jars, or all different sizes/types/etc?

Overkill? probably…. but have you met me/read about me!?  Organized is my middle name.  In my house, we obsess over the details.

To start things off, I got some ideas from the internet.  I google image searched “Spice Rack” and came up with ALL sorts of options and ideas, and ways to incorporate spice racks into the kitchen.  I came across this article which gives some awesome tips on kitchen organization ideas:


I immediately liked the idea of the spice drawer, and picked a drawer next to the stove that was shallow and a perfect size and location to hold our spices.  I enjoy neat countertops with lots of working space, so I wasn’t all that thrilled with the countertop-holder verison of a spice rack, and anything mounted would be too far away from the stove.  Not to mention a lot of them come with predetermined spices, and no room for expansion.  Not my idea of useful.

The next step was to get an in-drawer organizer — these are sold in so many places and come in a variety of sizes, materials (wood, white or clear plastic, etc).  I found a fairly cheap one that was made of light, easy to cut wood (good, since it turned out to be JUST slightly too wide for the drawer!  Hubby happily sanded it down for me.

At this point I thought we were home free.  I layed down a bunch of spice jars that we had in there. It looked just like the picture! I went to close the drawer, and BAM!  Spice jars were too big and hit the countertop. whoops.

Lesson #1. Always measure ALL dimensions. Not just length, width and height of the drawer.  While I DID measure the diameter of the jars, I completely forgot about how they would be affected by being tilted at an angle. *sigh*

This thankfully wasn’t a lost cause, as we had several sizes and shapes of spice jars to begin with which obviously wasn’t our first choice (uniformity all the way!).  I found some at bed bath and beyond ($.99 — woo!) that had shaker tops and fit perfectly in the drawer.  YAY!  Clear glass with black tops, they would look great.  Now, all I had to do is figure out how to label the jars.  Again, I turned to my friend google.  I was browsing through a bunch of ideas, and Mark happened to be looking along with me.  I got to one photo, and he said “Stop! That one. Just like that one.”

Borrowed from: http://cargocollective.com/erikarimmer/Anthony-Bourdain-Spice-Jars


Mark enjoys watching Anthony Bourdain, so it seems fitting that he would like something designed with him in mind.  I bought some Avery labels – rectangular and round – and set to work in photoshop creating something similar to the photo.  The result turned into this:

2013-02-16 23.18.42
Unlabeled spice jars….getting excited for the completed project!
2013-02-24 23.16.20
Rectangular Labels: Printed on 4×6 labels, and cut down to size. So easy to do! print, peel and stick.
spice jar tops. I designed these in photoshop and then transferred them to the Avery online design tool. Much easier to print that way. =)
2013-02-25 18.15.24
Our Finished Drawer! (YAY)

All in all, this was a VERY simple project once we figured out what we needed.  Assembly was a snap (and kept me occupied while watching top chef).  The only downside is that the circular labels on the tops are too small (again, me and measurements. ) but for now, they’ll do.

Overall this was a fairly cheap project (under $50).  Yes, the materials cost about the same as a countertop set, but this is much more customized to the spices we own and might buy in the future.  The nice part about this is that the labels don’t seem to leave residue (though they might over time), so in theory, I could re-use jars for different spices later on.


Has anyone done something customized with their spices at home, or maybe tried this project?  I’d love to read about it in the comments! =)


2 thoughts on “The Spice Drawer Makeover”

  1. These are amazing. I am so impressed and suddenly overcome with a desire to run in and relabel all my spices! Thanks so much for posting.


  2. In addition, as your spice collection grows, I’d like to recommend a wonderful and super-inexpensive product at the Container Store. http://www.containerstore.com/shop?productId=10026838&N=&Nao=20&Ns=p_sort_default%7C0&Ntt=drawer+organizers

    If you scroll through the comments, there’s a product review I posted a while back with a photo of a spice drawer that I organized using these wonderful little slotted organizers. It allows me to store the bottles standing up, which works out better in our kitchen. Of course, my tops aren’t uniform or pretty like yours are, but I’m planning to adapt your amazing ideas and transform my tops ASAP! Thanks again!


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