DIY Spice Labels and the Best Way to Organize Your Spices
Are you looking for a convenient way to organize your spices, but are frustrated with the current containers on the market?
Do you want your jars to be pretty without sacrificing function?
Or are you just plain overwhelmed with all of the options out there?
Maybe you’ve thought about organizing your spices a lot but the task itself seems too daunting, so you keep putting it off.
Well friends, sadly, this was me for many many years. But, not anymore…
Now, I have a spice drawer that is both functional and Pinterest worthy!
Step 1: Picking the best jars for spices
First things first, what exactly do you want in a spice jar?
The best containers for spices should meet the following basic criteria:
- The jar needs to hold at least 4 oz comfortably. 6oz – 8oz spice jars are ideal as they give you plenty of wiggle room. There’s no sense in having a spice jar that won’t hold the full contents of the spice container you bought at the store. No one wants to store an extra box of 1/3rd full spice jars for their next refill…no thank you.
- The neck of the jar must be wide enough for you to measure directly from the jar. We all know what a pain it is when the tablespoon measure doesn’t fit. So instead, you find yourself attempting to pour chili powder into the measuring spoon. Props to you, if that has ever gone well at your house. At mine, I can tell you, this has always resulted in an epic fail.
- It needs to be air tight. Honestly, who has time to refill their spices every few months because the container doesn’t keep them fresh? I know I certainly don’t.
- Labels must be easy to read. Now don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of hanging tags on jars as if my kitchen drawer is full of beautiful party favors. But, when I go looking for a spice in the midst of cooking, I need to be able to find it and fast.
- It needs to look good. I spend a lot of time in my kitchen and I use my spices regularly…I want to enjoy both finding and using them and if they don’t look nice, I’m simply not going to.
Well friends, I can tell you, I scoured the internet trying to find the very best containers for spices. What I found is they are all either overpriced, too small, or too inconvenient to label or use. So instead I chose something less traditional...
Now I use Mason Jars for spices
This 8 oz glass spice jar meets every one of the above criteria and I can tell you there has never been one that is easier to use.
Most commercial spice containers will fill the 8oz mason jar about 1/2- 2/3rds full leaving you plenty of space. Also, the 8 oz mason jar has straight walls leaving the neck of the mason jar the same width as the jar itself. Not only does this mean that ANY measuring spoon will fit just fine, but it also means that you don’t have to get out a funnel ever time you refill. You just simply unscrew the top and pour it in.
And as far as being air tight goes, mason jars are far superior to almost any of the commercial spice jar storage options out there. Now this leaves our final two criteria: does it look good and does it have clear and easy to read labels? Yes and yes, and after using these labels personally for months now, I can tell you they are both super convenient and look so pretty, you’ll smile when you use them. You’ll find my printable spice jar labels below.
Step 2: Deciding on your Storage Plan
Now that you’re sure you want to use mason jars for your spice storage solutions, its time to decide how many of each jar you need.
This can be the most intimidating part, but don’t worry, I’ve broken it down into simple steps, so you can tackle it a few minutes at a time.
Just remember how worth it its going to be in the end. Ah, where beautiful meets well organized, the Monica Geller inside of you will be so happy. Hang in there, you can do this.
- Pull out all of your spices, yes all of them.
- Organize them in alphabetical order. Yes, I know this step seems needlessly OCD, but I promise you it’s worth it. By spending a minute organizing them, you will catch all of the duplicates you own. Yes, I am assuming you are like me and will find upwards of 3…or more like 7 (but who’s counting) duplicates among your stash. If you complete this step and find none, you truly are a rockstar!
- Now that you have them organized, its time to count how many spice jars you will need. I found that I needed 45!
- Now you must consider two things: First, where is your kitchen’s best storage for spices? And second, how much space are you willing to dedicate to spice storage? Do you want to keep your spices in the pantry or in a cabinet? Or, do you want a kitchen spice drawer? If you’re going to be using a cabinet or pantry for your spices storage, feel free to skip ahead to Steps 3 and 4 below.
- I chose to organize spices in a drawer. Since our cabinets are small in this house; I did not have any extra cabinet space to keep my spices in. And as far as pantry storage goes….that’s not really an option here. Our pantry is actually down 6 stairs; one of the quirks to living in an older house with all its charm, means that somethings are not exactly convenient. Since, I was definitely not going to open baby gates and go down stairs every time I needed a spice, I decided to dedicate a deep drawer for organizing spices. Now that I was working with a single drawer to fit all of my spice containers; I needed to make every square inch count. Which brings us to step 5:
- Measure where you want to keep your spices and use this to guide which mason jar storage containers you choose. My drawer was 16″ wide and 19.25″ deep. I also measured that I have 7.5″ of clearance in height (this will be helpful later).
The jar measurements are as follows:
- 4 oz glass jars :2 3/4″ in diameter and 2 1/4″ tall
- 8 oz glass jars : 2 3/4″ in diameter and 4″ tall
- 8 oz wide mouth jars : 3 1/2″ in diameter and 2 9/16″ tall
- 16 oz wide mouth jars : 3 1/2″ in diameter and 4 3/4″ tall
This section is just for those of you who want to use drawer storage for spices. If you’re going to be using a cabinet or pantry for your spices storage, feel free to skip ahead to step 3 below.
But, if you are like me and chose a drawer, you have a few more steps. Sorry friends….but again, remember that glorious end goal…I promise it will be so worth it and you’ll be full of pride for having made it happen.
- First, you must consider the tall the drawer is. If you intend to use the 8oz jar you need to have 4″ of clearance minimum. Which, unfortunately, means that most standard height kitchen drawers will not have sufficient clearance. My standard height drawers measured just shy of the 4″ requirement at 3.75″.
- Note, if you only have standard height drawers and you’re set on organizing spices in a drawer, don’t be discouraged. You can still use the 4 oz glass spice jars as they are only 2.25″ in height! And trust me, the 4 oz spice jar alone will serve you far better than other commercial options. It still fits all your measuring spoons. The lid is still airtight. The beautiful and functional labels still look great on it. Honestly, it really only has one downside: capacity. With it only holding 4 ounces, you really must make sure it is all the way empty before refilling it. Even then, the quantity of some full commercial containers will not quite fit.
- Next, you need to determine how many jars you can fit in your drawer. My deep drawer had more than enough clearance for either the 8 ounce or the 16 ounce jar. It was even deep enough to allow me to stack two of the 4 oz glass jar and even two of the 8 oz wide and short mason jars. When the jars are stacked they actually measure a little bit higher than the standard 8 oz jar, so I always remember which ones are stacked at quick glance.
- Note: stacking will only work if you find a logical pair. You don’t want to bury a spice and not be able to remember whats on top of it. I used a stacked pair of 4 oz jars for things like “whole cloves” and “ground cloves” or “sesame seeds” and “poppy seeds” and a stacked pair of 8 oz jars for things like “salt” and “pepper”.
My 16X19.25″ drawer is able to fit 5 side to side and 7 front to back of the 8 oz jars. Meaning I could comfortably fit 35 spices in identical jars.
Now I told you earlier, I was hoping to get 45 spices into this drawer and I needed a few bulk containers, for things I use constantly. For that reason, I really wanted to use several different sizes of jars. In the end, I came up with the following arrangement for my drawer:
I’ve included this workable drawer template (Spice Organizer DIY) below, so you too can figure out your best way to configure your spices drawer. Just download and open it up and you will see full instructions for use. Once you put in your drawer dimensions, you can move individual jars or rows or columns of jars around until you find your drawer’s best way to organize spices.
Step 3: Gather Your Supplies
Order your jars
Order your labels (I've found that Amazon has the best deals for labels)
Step 4: Make Your Own Jar Labels
This is truly my favorite part! And again, I’ve made it simple for you.
Click here for your printable labels pdf and your spice drawer organization template.
Step 5: Transfer your Spices and Label your New Jars
This part is SO satisfying, and actually goes really fast!
Step 6: Fill your Spice Drawers and Stand Back to Admire their Beauty
This is actually one of my dear friends’ empty spice drawers. She recently refurbished this gorgeous childhood dresser of her husbands into her new kitchen island and decided to make the top two drawers into convenient spice storage. Such a great idea, and the final result is absolutely breathtaking!
Visit my full article to get your free printable labels and drawer organizer here.
- Mason jars
- Round labels