How To Clean Out Your Spice Cabinet – Organizational Tips

If you are wondering how to clean out your spice cabinet – how to even BEGIN that project – I have some organizational tips and tricks to get you started. I just underwent this labor of love and I can’t wait to show you some things I found tucked away behind my thyme and oregano. Keeping your spices organized and managed is apparently important. 

how to clean out your spice cabinet

How To Clean Out Your Spice Cabinet – Organizational Tips

Full confession – I married in 2001 and this was my first attempt at an organized spice rack. In fact, my entire kitchen feels like a cluttered drawer of mismatched socks. I have so many cabinets but none of them are being used to the best of their ability. So, 2020 is all about fixing that. 

I figured I could start with something small – my spice cabinet – because it’s literally the thinnest depth of all cabinets which meant the least amount of work, right? Not so much. Wait until you see what I found. 

Why Keeping Your Spices Organized Is Important

If you are wondering WHY you should do this… I just want to kick off this entire post with the cold hard facts that I found ten-year-old spices in my drawer. No, older than that! Some were pushing 20!! OH MY GOODNESS DID I SAY THAT OUTLOUD? 

spice rack organization

I found bottles of sriracha sauce that literally evaporated to black mold.  Sorry for the blurry picture – but I pulled it from the video.

Things were not ok in the back of the fold. You need to get in there every now and then. If you are wondering how to clean out your spice rack… it’s one spice at a time.

We spend so much time buying fresh ingredients and high-quality meats, right? We want to serve the best meals possible to our children (and husbands – fine). So, why then would I want to risk pouring a 5-year-old soy sauce on as a marinade? I need to stay on top of this. 

And if we aren’t talking about health concerns, then it’s simply about flavor. 19-year-old oregano is just dust, people. It’s just dust.

I’ve been married a long time… and over the years I’ve purchased repeat items. Things were shoved in the back of my spice cabinet that I didn’t even know existed.

Was it a waste? Yes. Will I make the same mistake again. NO.

Keeping your spices organized

Take Everything Out Of Your Spice Cabinet And Check Expiration Dates

The first step to getting your spice cabinet organized is to sit on the floor and to pull out every single item – one at a time – and check the expiration dates. This isn’t as easy as you think. Those suckers are small and are hard to find! 

In hindsight, I would have just made two expired piles – liquids and spices. You will have to deal with each of them a bit differently once you are done. But either way, you have to remove these items from your spice rack and set them aside for recycling. 

There will be spices that you can keep, of course! Put those in a pile as well. You will just need to give them a quick wipe down before replacing them back into your organized spice cabinet

Pull everything out at once. Purge! Face the demon head-on! Address your fears! And just for fun, try to see what your oldest spice is. Watch the video above to see what my answer is. CRAZY!!!

spice cabinet messy

Ask Yourself If You Still Use It

The next thing you really need to decide is whether or not you truly want to use the spices that aren’t expired. Be honest.

We are really trying to edit down the things we have in our lives and if you are keeping a coffee rub you bought three years ago on a glimmer of hope that you will one day decide to be adventurous enough to use it… maybe just give it to your mom. 

This is the year of decluttering, folks! We are taking back control of our spaces and our lives. Do you really need that coffee rub that you and I both know your kids won’t like and you will never use? Honesty starts with you.

wipe down cabinet and clean corners

Wipe Everything Down

Oh, what I found in the nooks and corners of my spice cabinet. Ugly. Ugly! Take a few minutes and clear out the base of each level of your spice cabinet. Give it a good once over. 

Bamboo Spice Rack Step Shelf Cabinet Organizer

Spice Cabinet Turntable And Step Shelf

This section contains affiliate links

I added in two tools to help provide additional room for my spices. They are both really affordable and have lasted 19 years of marriage. I’m not somebody who likes to keep buying things over and over again. So, a spice lazy susan turntable and a spice step shelf have absolutely served me well over the years.

Personally, that’s all I used to spice up my cabinet (see what I did there?) – and I know there are plenty of other bloggers that want you to buy 600 mason jars and print out labels (like literally kill me), but I have three kids and a full-time job and my brain doesn’t work that way. I can’t process that sort of project. I really can’t.

It looks super beautiful and I adore the women that can pull it off. But when it comes to my house – I need functionality and choose to squeeze out all the fluff.

Maybe when I get a little older and have more time on my hands, I will become someone who wants to take spices out of jars and put them in different jars. But not today. 

Organize Like Spices Together 

Listen, we’ve done all of this already – you might as well finish strong. At this point, you should have around 20 spices or so. Maybe 30? Throw the Italian seasonings on the lazy susan and the BBQ spices on the step shelf and call it a day! Try to bulk like items together so you can quickly find them later. Or you can skip this step. No one is here to judge you. 

cleaning out bottles for recycling

Here Comes The Worst Part – Time To Recycle

Now that your spice rack organizer is in place and you feel good about yourself, it’s time to get messy. You have to clean out all the old bottles of soy sauce and hot sauce and siracha and whatever else you have in your life that needs to go out for recycling.

This took a bit of time for me – I’m not going to lie. But it’s like… the law or something. So, I just put on some really loud music and went to town. 

The dry spices are much easier to dump. Once you get rid of the thyme and rosemary dust that you’ve been holding onto, you really could rinse out the containers and reuse them for arts and crafts projects with the kids. I was thinking about that. In retrospect, I wish I did that! 

Organized Cupboard Spice Rack 

Enjoy Your Organized Cupboard Spice Rack 

I hope these How To Clean Out Your Spice Cabinet tips helped you in some way! It was a much-needed project that I had to get through this week and I felt like I needed to share what I learned along the way. 

Now, that I was able to clear up TWO ROWS of my newly organized spice cabinet, I decided to designate it for cooking supplies like saran wrap and foil sheets. I also moved all my trivets and oven mittens to the highest level (they just aren’t photographed yet). 

These items were thrown all around my kitchen – in a few different cabinets. Lack of order entirely! Now, everything has its place and I love it. That’s the point of it all, isn’t it? One small project at a time. 

Stay tuned for more content just like this! If you’d like to sign up for my newsletter so you don’t miss a single post, use the form below. Or you could check out my YouTube channel for visual updates on organization tips that don’t always make the blog. 

Spice Cabinet organizational tips

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