This post was created in partnership with Mountain Rose Herbs.
As you can imagine, my collection of spices, teas, herbs, superfoods and dry goods is quite extensive. Since I started this blog, it’s only become more expansive and quirky. I have the basics, like dry quinoa, salt, pepper, coconut, paprika, green and black tea. But I also have berbere, dragonfruit powder, reishi mushroom slices, fennel infused salt, cornflowers and tiny caps of blue magik spirulina. There’s a lot going on.
As I get older, my tastes have become more curious and adventurous. Also, I’m a sucker for any spice, tea or dry good that’s a pretty color or interesting texture. That’s the stylist in me, saying: who cares that it’s impractical… it’s gorgeous!
Some people collect shoes. I collect flavors.
The result is cabinets and drawers teeming with oddities all crammed together. My tinctures are squished up next to apple cider vinegar. Maca is sitting on top of a giant jar of coconut oil. And my many salts are spread out amongst all of the cabinets, all in different containers (I don’t remember how this happened).
I’ve tried a number of different organizing concepts, but nothing has really hit the mark 100%.
I want utility and beauty. Form and function.
I’ve tried pure utility and pure beauty. And neither works on its own. Utility has its place, but if I’m bored by my spice cabinet I lack inspiration to make inspiring recipes (which is the foundation of everything I do). And of course a purely beautiful solution lacks efficiency, which I need in order to have ease in my creative process.
Mostly I store dry goods in my kitchen cabinets above my sink, in 1 drawer that I reserve for tea and in a tall cupboard with about 6 shelves.
Organization ideas I’ve tried:
- Storing dry goods and spices in zip-lock bags set in baskets. Pros: You can see all of the spices in their clear baggies. Small amounts of herbs and dry goods don’t take up extra space. Easy to label with a marker. Cons: Messy and impossible to keep organized. Doesn’t keep products safe from pests. I basically had to pull out my entire cabinet whenever I needed to find anything. This method was basically useless.
- Pretty turquoise glass jars with cork tops. Pros: Inspiring to look at and made me feel like a french countryside witch / herbalist. Cons: I couldn’t see the color of the spices. They were hard to clean. They don’t fit standard cabinets well. And they’re wicked expensive for being so impractical.
- Metal jars with clear tops and magnetic bottoms (these ones). I’ve seen these used on fridges as magnetic spice storage. The likelihood of them getting knocked off of your fridge and exploding everywhere is 10/10 DEFINITELY will happen. I never used them on my fridge. I stacked them in my cabinets and used them in drawers. Pros: You can stack them to fit almost any cabinet size. Clear tops makes them ideal for drawers. Magnets keep them stuck together, so they don’t fall all over the place in your cabinets. The lids are nice and tight. And they’re affordable. Cons: They rust easily. You can’t see what’s in them if you stack them vertically. If you stack them on open shelving units you’re likely to have a whole stack fall over and bust. And if you set them in drawers without stacking then the magnets are pointless.
- Mason jars in a variety of sizes. This has been one of my favorite solutions yet. Pros: Small sizes stack easily in cabinets. Jars are clear so you can see what’s in them even when stacking vertically. The tops for different sizes are interchangeable. Mason jars are affordable and accessible. Heavy duty and heat-resistant glass rarely shatters. You can write on the metal tops. And mason jars can also be used as cups! Cons: Largest sizes don’t stack easily. The aesthetic is ok, but I wouldn’t use these for open storage like pantry shelving.
I decided that if I was going to have a dry goods storage situation that met my high standards (beauty/utility in equal amounts) I would have to invest in some different jars. Since mason jars worked so well for me, I knew I wanted stackable, clear glass jars that would show off the colors and textures of my favorite dry goods.
So I got these French flip top jars. They have a rubber gasket seal and a tight clamp down-lid. They stack like a dream. They’re perfect for storing (and showing off) my favorite teas and dried flowers. I’m a fan of all of the sizes, but I like the biggest size for products I use frequently. The wide mouth makes for easy scooping. And I love that they seal super tight and are easy to clean!
I decided to get some fanciful glass jars with cork tops too, in a variety of sizes (these and these). As I said, I’ve had these before. Are they impractical? Sometimes. I mean, yes the tiny ones are impractical. BUT! If you want to show off precious infused salts, vanilla beans or saffron they’re perfect. Not gonna lie, I really like the feeling of pouring colorful powders and herbs out of bottles and vials. It makes me feel like an alchemist. This time around I opted for large, medium and small jars. The ones I get from Mountain Rose Herbs are 100% recycled (woo!).
While looking for cork vials I stumbled across these jars and had to have them. They’re printed with grams or kilograms indicating the quantity each jar holds. They’re beautiful, hold a good amount of product and the twist-off top is a great addition. The jar opening is big enough that I can fit a tablespoon in there as needed.
I was originally intending to stack my jars in my cabinets and pantry. But after receiving them, holding them in my hands and filling them with my potion ingredients I decided they were way too pretty to hide away in closed storage. An open shelving pantry situation seemed like the perfect solution.
I spent an afternoon reorganizing my props (and in the process culling some old props) so that I could free up space on the open shelving unit I keep in the kitchen. After some creative problem solving, I had all of the room I needed to store my beautiful elixirs!
As I said in the beginning of this post, my bulk dry goods situation is pretty overwhelming. So I chose to use my open shelves to feature my most beautiful and frequently used products. The rest of my spices and dry goods are still being stored in my cabinets (mostly in mason jars and more of those French flip-top jars). The storage is similar to what you see pictured here, minus the plants (and way more crammed together).
Top shelf: wild rose vodka tincture, honeysuckle gin steep, hibiscus roselles.
Shelf one: Love Tea, dragonfruit powder, pink peppercorns, vanilla bean powder, beet powder, whole cardamom pods, chia seeds, blue cornflowers, sunflower petals, blue magik spirulina caps, fenugreek, dried red roses.
Bottom shelf: white sage.
Now that I’ve gone through and organized this space, I can see what superfood powders and garnishes I’m in need of! Note to self: get cacao nibs, cocoa powder, fleur du sel, mushroom powders, ashwaganda, bee pollen, vanilla bean….
I realize that I forget what I have on hand if my products aren’t visible, so this open shelving pantry works perfectly for me. And no doubt, I absolutely love making my latte potions by pouring and spooning colorful goodies out of my jars! Serious plant lady magic right there.
Ok, so before I sign off today I have a question for you… do you label your jars? I tend to label my small jars of herbs and spices with stickers that I cut-to-size. It is seriously helpful for cabinet storage. But I don’t care for the look of labels on my open shelving unit. Any tips on beautiful ways to label jars? The best I’ve seen is an old-school label maker. But I don’t love that look for my aesthetic. Plant people… help a girl out!
This whole process has me excited to learn more about herbal medicine and magic. Any herbalists out there? What are your preferred storage methods?
Thanks to Mountain Rose Herbs for sponsoring this post! Sponsorships support my art and help me to keep blogging full time. All words and opinions are my own.