This Genius Organizer Arranges My Spice Shelf So I Can Read Every Single Label

I hunted far and wide for a system that checked all the right boxes.

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April 06, 2021

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Photo by: Heath Goldman

Heath Goldman

Spice organization is practically the reason Pinterest exists. Looking at perfectly tidy photos of spices in matching bottles with beautiful labels is profoundly calming in an aspirational sort of way. I know I will never ever take the time to decant spices into matching bottles — I go through them way too quickly and have way too many spices for me to sustain this sort of organization — but I like to think that I could organize my spices someday if I wanted to. This sort of thought pattern is probably why, for the past eight years of my post-college life, I have lived with a jumbled spice cabinet. To find any one spice, I have to take out at least six other bottles and slide six others around. When this spring rolled around, I decided that I would tackle this project once and for all.

I headed into operation spice organization with one goal: to maximize functionality. When I’m cooking, I want to be able to grab the spice I need really darn quickly. This means I need to be able to read all the labels of my spice jars without having to move anything around.

The Food Network test kitchen uses a really neat trick that I thought about copying at home: labeling the tops of every spice bottle so you can read the names from above. I recommend this idea to anyone who has their spices stored in a drawer. Sadly though, mine are in a cabinet that’s slightly above my eye level, so I can’t see the tops of my spices — just the sides.

Photo by: Heath Goldman

Heath Goldman

Instead, I embarked on an internet deep dive of spice organization systems. Let me tell you, there is a vast, vast world of options out there. Many options seemed to have two fatal flaws. 1. They assume you have spice bottles that are all the same size. The racks that look like miniature bleachers — designed so you’ll see the spice labels on every layer — are always sneakily pictured with tiny spice bottles on the first shelf; clearly they’d have no functionality if you tried to store larger spice bottles on the first shelf. 2. They’re not adjustable. My cabinet shelf is strangely long and tall, and I wanted to be able to use of that space. I’m guessing other people have uniquely-sized storage spaces as well.

That’s when I encountered a product that’s hilariously named the Spicy Shelf. It fit all of my requirements, mainly because it can be adjusted in a myriad of different layouts to accommodate different-sized spice bottles and storage spaces. It comes with two racks that you can stack on top of each other or place side by side. The racks can expand to become wider and taller. Plus, they’re shaped like a "u," which actually allows you to see more spice jars than if you were to simply arrange your spices in a straight line (so smart).

Photo by: Heath Goldman

Heath Goldman

I ordered the Spicy Shelf, set it up in less than 10 minutes and popped my spices onto it. Because I could see all of them, I realized I had a few duplicates, which I combined into one. I rinsed the labels off the empty bottles, transferred the few spices that came in flat bags into these re-purposed old spice bottles and labeled them. Additionally, I took the opportunity to cluster spices that I use often together: all my baking spices on one shelf and crunchy whole spices on another. I’ve been using the rack for a few weeks now, and it works fantastically: I can see all of my spices at the same time, and because of this, I’m actually reaching for ones I used to use less frequently. And just like that, I found a way to get out of a little cooking slump I’ve been in for a few months.

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