Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sugar and Spice

I told myself that this summer was going to be the summer for projects. I have loads of things on my list, which I'll be sure to share throughout the summer. But the first project that I was ready to head up was organizing my spice cupboard.

Now I love to cook, but I often get frustrated because my cupboard is booby trapped. Where is Data from The Goonies when I need him? I have approximately 50+ spices and seasonings, so this organization is LONG over due.

Spices are crammed in there so tight I have to take
half the cupboard out before I can find what I need.

And look how ghetto I am! I have some spices in Ziplock bags.

This is to show how much was in that cupboard
and the varying sizes of everything.

I got the idea to tackle this from my friend Jenny (check out her blog, it's cool...). She was in the same predicament that I was. Lots of spices, all in different size bottles and lacking uniformity (something us perfectionists REALLY need). She did the leg work and found out that buying jars that would be cute and fun would cost approximately $2-3 a piece. Well, who has that kind of money to spend on spice jars? So she came up with a brilliant idea to re-use baby food jars! I had no idea what she was up to when she asked me to start saving Gabriel's old ones, but let's just say I was thoroughly impressed. She caught some great pictures of her results. Now, my pictures are not nearly as fancy or artistically taken as hers, but you get the point.

I used Goo Gone to get the sticky off the jars
(see my notes for a better way to do this)
Washed them several times to make sure they were sanitized.
This was about half of the jars I used.
I also used larger 6 oz jars for spices I had a bigger quantity of.

Clean Lids!
Spray painting the lids with chrome paint and polyurethane.
I decided to use a polyurethane to seal the lids but it's so important
to let this dry fully before you try to use them.
(I got a little impatient and left finger prints on some of my lids)

Look at how cute my jars turned out!
You can hand write the labels like Jenny did
(which she has fantastic handwriting!),

or you can cheat and print them off like me!

FINISHED PRODUCT!! I feel so fancy now!
Don't they look pretty? I love how the colors look against one another.
My new cupboard!

Couple of things that I wish I had done differently (if you think of doing this yourself):

1. No matter how anxious or excited you are about finishing up, WAIT FOR THE PAINT TO DRY! It's worth it to wait.

2. If you are able to get a hold of jars with the label still attached, keep them on there and soak them overnight in a soapy bath. Then use your fingernail or a razor blade to take the sticky off. I used the Goo Gone which worked until it dried, then I realized I had smeared the glue everywhere. It was a pain to take off.

3. I would still like to find some thing recyclable that goes with my theme to put my extracts and my shakers in.

That's it! I'm so happy with how they turned out! My life is just a little more organized now, which is always a special blessing! I think it turned out really well. And the spices look so pretty in there. It feels so good to be recycling used things and I think the total cost for me was $2 for a can of spray paint. That beats $2-3 a jar and they look just as nice. If you need a place to get jars b/c you don't have any kiddos leaving you with a large amount of them, check out your local Freecycle (this is where I got more jars). More likely than not, some mommy is saving hers and would be happy to give them to you.

Now, all I have to do if I run out of a spice is head to Central Market and just buy the spice in the quantity I need, no wasting of a plastic jar! Go Green and try to organize by using recyclable products. :) Next up, painting the living room!


  1. This was really great to see the success of your project. The one thing that I thought you might enjoy is a Lazy Susan turntable. We use one for our spices in our cupboard. It allows you to put all of the product on it and allow the rotating mechanism to help you find what you are looking for without having to reach to the back of the cupboard.

    This is a link to get a visual of what I am talking about. We found ours at Bed Bath and Beyond.

    - Andrew

  2. Wow, they turned out great! Thanks for the tips--and the leftover jars. I'm so excited to get mine done. It turns out we already have silver spray paint and polyurethane spray, so this whole project might cost me zero!

  3. Andrew - GREAT IDEA! It just so happened that I had one that we weren't using that we had used for Gabriel's ECI stuff, so wha-lah! And yes, it works so much better now with the turntable!!! Thanks for the great idea!

    Sarah- I can't wait to see how yours turn out! And hooray for not paying a dime to make them!!

  4. Love them girl, glad they turned out great!!!

  5. You're so organized Kristina! I always dream about organizing my house in matching containers. Then I wake up and realize I'm still scatterbrained! :)
    I will have to keep Oliver's food jars once he goes down that path.
    Speaking of baby food, have you ever made your own? If so, I would love your insight!

  6. Erin - I did make my own baby food!! It was so easy, so much cheaper, and I felt so much better about what I was putting into Gabriel's body. Really, all you need is a food processor or food mill and then whatever fruits and veggies you want to start feeding Ollie. We used ice cube trays to put the food in and then freeze. Then when it was solid, we'd pop it out, and store it in freezer bags. The size of the basic ice cube trays were the perfect amount for Gabriel when he was little. As he got older, I either just used 2 cubes so he'd have more food, or I started saving some plasic gerber baby food containers and reused those to freeze the food in.

    I didn't make EVERYTHING (like Mango, Papaya, Apricots) b/c it wasn't much cheaper and it was a LOT more work. But I still wanted to make sure Gabriel was able to taste a lot of those different kinds of foods. He still LOVES all three of those fruits.

    Shoot me an msg on FB if you want to know more or have questions! :)