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DIY Spice Organization

Spice up your spice cabinet with this DIY spice organization using tins and chalkboard paint


I promise this isn’t turning into a DIY blog! I know I’ve had two DIY posts in less than a week but they’re all food related :) This next one was also a project that I wanted to do for a while but didn’t want to do it while we were still in the apartment. This was one of the first things I said I’d complete once we moved to a house.


I wanted to organize all my spices! I know it sounds OCD but I hate the containers they come in and how I could never find the spice I’m looking for. I wanted to SPICE UP my pantry. Oh, I’m hilarious. No, but seriously, we buy our spices in bulk sometimes at Costco and they come in those ugly plastic containers. You also buy the ones at the grocery store too that just end up being stacked on top of each other with red lids (you know which ones I’m talking about!) and you have no clue what spice is what. You go fiddle with one, the rest come tumbling down.

So this is where this spice project came into play. I wanted a CLEAR way of seeing every spice I had. I didn’t want to fumble around while cooking.

This was actually a pretty fun project. My MOH and I did this after wedding dress shopping on Saturday and it didn’t take long. The only “long” part was spray painting the chalkboard paint a few nights before to ensure it was dry.


Supplies you’ll need:

  1. First, you’ll want to go outside and spray paint your labels. A very thin coat will do. Don’t over-spray it or it’ll start dripping and you’ll be left with ugly drip marks.
  2. Let them dry overnight.
  3. Once you’re ready for assembly, grab all your spices from your pantry. One by one, start writing the spices on the label. Make sure you let the ink dry completely before putting on the tins. They smear easily!
  4. Once they’re dry, you can put them on the tins and dump the respective spices into their tins!

See how easy that was? Oh, want to know the best part of using chalkboard paint & ink?! YOU CAN ERASE THEM WITH WATER!! If you change up the tin with a different spice, if you write it wrong, you just take a wet paper towel, wipe and start over!! So awesome, huh?!

The way I have them now (shown above) doesn’t really help if I accumulate more spices as I’ll have to end up stacking them in front of the rows I have now, defeating the purpose of the labeling system. I found these which will help elevate the spices on different levels or this. Not sure which I’ll do yet but at least I have options :)

Happy spice organizing!

60 COMMENTS

  1. 06/18/2012 at 6:06 am

    I love this idea! My spice cupboard is a health hazard and I end up with hundreds of jars of the same thing because I can never remember what I do and don’t have.

  2. 06/18/2012 at 7:59 am

    Oh my goodness – I LOVE a well-organized spice cabinet! Re-did mine a few years ago with glass bottles from Penzey’s. But yours look sooo cute! Love your handwriting too!! :)

  3. 06/18/2012 at 8:39 am

    I’m doing this asap!

  4. 06/18/2012 at 8:44 am

    Can you come help me? Pretty please! LOVE this!

  5. 06/18/2012 at 8:49 am

    Love this Julie!! I wish I had the cabinet space to store my spices like that but sadly it’s just not in the cards in this kitchen. Next one for sure :)

  6. 06/18/2012 at 9:36 am

    Love this! I have started reorganizing my spices, but never got around to finishing. I need to get on it!

  7. 06/18/2012 at 9:51 am

    Spice up your pantry?!?! Bahaha….you’re turning into me!!

  8. 06/18/2012 at 10:09 am

    Okay – this is a little OCD – but I freakin’ LOVE IT!! The chalk paint just slays me every time.
    My spices are all over hte place and I can’t remember where I have what and everything – I need to organize my place better. This is totally a good project for me to tackle. You Genius, you!

  9. 06/18/2012 at 10:18 am

    Wow – this is so cool! I love it! I am sure that I will be trying this soon – and not just on my spices!!!!

  10. 06/18/2012 at 10:23 am

    Super cute – I love the chalk paint! We are trying to decide what we want to do with my spices after the move. I am debating about something similar with a magnet for the door. Can’t decide yet. But I love yours!

  11. 06/18/2012 at 10:30 am

    Such a great idea! I am moving this weekend and it’s the perfect time to update my spice cabinet! Love it!

  12. 06/18/2012 at 10:35 am

    loooove this! how tight fitting are those lids on the tins? I would love to get some of them!

    • 06/18/2012 at 10:45 am

      The lids are pretty tight, you can grab them by the lids and they won’t slip out from under!

  13. 06/18/2012 at 10:45 am

    Such a great idea! I may have to do this project this weekend!

  14. 06/18/2012 at 10:49 am

    LOVE this Julie!! I wish you could come up to Baltimore and help me organize!! I need some Julie-izing in my apartment kitchen!!

  15. 06/18/2012 at 10:58 am

    Very cute idea Julie! I may just have to give this a try!

  16. 06/18/2012 at 11:17 am

    You should check this out. I plan on doing this!

    http://iheartorganizing.blogspot.com/2011/06/spicin-things-up-part-2.html

  17. 06/18/2012 at 11:18 am

    Awesome, thanks!

  18. 06/18/2012 at 11:26 am

    What a brilliant idea! My spice cabinet needs to be organized like no ones business!!!

  19. 06/18/2012 at 11:30 am

    Love this! This is so nice and organized. Love these labels. I am so doing this!

  20. 06/18/2012 at 11:45 am

    This is an amazing idea! Not to mention cute! We just moved into our first house and I’ve been dreading how to unpack and organize my spice collection. Can’t wait to try!

  21. 06/18/2012 at 12:03 pm

    I want to see an updated picture of that spice cabinet in a month to see if it’s still as organized and if so, teach me your skills! Love those containers!

    • 06/18/2012 at 12:14 pm

      hahaha challenge ACCEPTED!

  22. 06/18/2012 at 12:16 pm

    Amazing!
    I SUCK at upkeep, so in about 8 days all this effort would turn to poop. Sigh. But this is so fun, I might need to train myself to STAY organized!

  23. 06/18/2012 at 12:46 pm

    I just love those jars, chalk, and your hand writing! So cute and a great way to keep organized. Super cool:)

  24. 06/18/2012 at 12:57 pm

    I saw this on pinterest this morning and I am totally going to do it! Did you know that Martha Stewart made a line of chalkboard labels for Avery that you can buy at Staples? They even come with chalk and are sticky.

    • 06/18/2012 at 1:35 pm

      Our Staples didn’t have the small chalkboard labels, they only had the large ones so that’s why we opted to just spray paint her regular ones. Too bad! You should totally go the easy route and just buy them pre-sprayed :)

  25. 06/18/2012 at 1:21 pm

    I’m impressed. Love it!

  26. 06/18/2012 at 1:45 pm

    I seriously MUST do this!!! It will save me from 6 am spice catastrophes when I’m trying to “quietly” cook breakfast.

  27. Megan
    06/18/2012 at 1:45 pm

    Those look awesome! Another trick to keeping spices organized (and this really is OCD), is putting them in alphabetical order. That is how I keep track even when I can’t see the labels.

  28. Emily
    06/18/2012 at 3:18 pm

    These look amazing and super easy! I totally agree with never being able to find the spice you need with all the different kinds of bottles and brands. This way works much better. They are all neatly stacked and labeled for easier finding. Great job!

  29. 06/18/2012 at 3:32 pm

    Ooooh fabulous. I love this. I can NEVER find quickly what I want, especially if I haven’t used it recently. This would make life easier and prettier! Must do…

  30. 06/18/2012 at 4:01 pm

    My spice cabinet is organized but in an eclectic sort of way. I would LOVE for all of the containers to match and be labeled like this. I buy spices in bulk so I have a mix-match collection of containers and labels! I need these!

  31. 06/18/2012 at 4:15 pm

    Wow, this is how my cabinets should look like – all neatly arranged and clearly indicated. Love it! :)

  32. 06/18/2012 at 4:15 pm

    Dude this is so incredibly cool! And not at all OCD – definiteyl in the normal range. And I love how many spices you have!

  33. 06/18/2012 at 5:46 pm

    I LOVE chalkboard paint! Such a great invention! And I don’t know what it is about your tins, they’re so simple but look soo cute!

  34. 06/18/2012 at 5:53 pm

    You crack me up Julie! So funny! But seriously, I love your organization skillzz!!! I love everything about this project! My favorite part is that that pen is erasable. PS, I love your handwriting, and PPS, I like the step organizer if you go that route :)

  35. 06/18/2012 at 9:27 pm

    I am crazy OCD about pantry organization too, and my spices are a total disaster. I absolutely love this idea! Pinning it to try when I’m in my own house again :)

  36. 06/18/2012 at 9:29 pm

    I really, really, really need to do this. My spice cabinet drives me nuts! Great idea!

  37. 06/18/2012 at 11:33 pm

    Fried scallions?? That’s what I call a well-stocked spice pantry! Love the neat, perfect rows :)

  38. 06/19/2012 at 11:28 am

    Ive always wanted to do this! My plan is the same as yours was, do it once we get a house :)

  39. That is the cutest idea! My spices are all over the place in my house, hah.

  40. 06/19/2012 at 4:25 pm

    Such a fantastic idea for spice organization, Julie! Love the little labels, too! Maybe next step is that you can get one of those little stacking shelves from Walmart so that you can have two levels of spices?

  41. 06/19/2012 at 4:56 pm

    Look at you turning all DIY… Can you come do this for me? I’m so not that organized or crafty!!

  42. 06/20/2012 at 7:32 am

    Not OCD at all! I love this idea, may have to do that once the kids go back to school in the fall!!

  43. 06/21/2012 at 4:02 pm

    Complete genius! I love the idea and look of this spice organization! Thanks for the great DIY project!

  44. 06/23/2012 at 3:09 pm

    This looks so fun to do! :D

  45. 06/23/2012 at 5:50 pm

    You could have saved yourself some money by buying the labels as well as the chalk pens from Let’s Talk Chalk on Etsy! We can make any size and shape you want – event the ones purchased from Martha for this blog post.

    • 06/23/2012 at 6:03 pm

      If you clicked the link in the entry where I listed the supplies..we actually got the chalk ink pens from YOUR Etsy store. We bought them from you….

  46. Julie!!! I bought those exact spice tins to re-organize my spices well over a month ago and I haven’t been able to find any labels that will work for them…so I googled it and your blog came up first! I am ordering the labels right now :) I love the chalkboard paint idea too – so cute!

  47. Tabatha
    01/17/2013 at 3:15 pm

    I’ve been looking for something like this for a long time!! Now that you’ve had this in use for over 6 months, how are the jars holding up? I’ve heard from some people that spices can get in the cracks, or the pop lips are difficult to open. Before I splurge on them, I wanted to know how you’ve found the usage of them to be. Thanks for posting this, I can’t wait to be a copycat!

    • 01/17/2013 at 3:39 pm

      You typically won’t get any spices in the crack if you don’t fill it all the way up to the brim. Mine never have any leftover spices on the sides. You’ll definitely be fine :) it’s a really clean way of using your spices too so I can’t imagine you get gunk in the cracks and you won’t be able to open it.

  48. Mary
    02/19/2013 at 10:06 pm

    Quick question – once you put the spices in the jars, what do you do with the original packaging? And how long do spices last for..how do you keep track of the expiration date if you put them in the jars? Thanks!

    • 02/20/2013 at 7:35 am

      I typically store it on the highest shelf above everything else. The point of labeling these spice jars is to have them where I can easily reach and see them so if I need a quick refill, I just grab the original jar and refill :) Spices can last anywhere from 2-5 years, depending on what spice it is. I use my spices very regularly so I don’t put expiration dates on my jars because I know I’ll use them up way before they expire.

  49. Marynell
    03/10/2013 at 10:52 pm

    What size tins did you order

  50. Sarah Higley
    05/01/2013 at 11:01 pm

    What size of Jars did you buy

    • 05/04/2013 at 11:24 am

      If you click the link I provided, it takes you to the exact jars I bought. 4 oz.

  51. Susannah
    08/21/2013 at 1:45 am

    Love this blog post! I’m deep in the throes of kitchen reorganization, but I’ve been putting off the spice rack until last because, with 50+ spices, it’s going to be quite the undertaking. I’m pretty sold on this idea, though. My only question: over time have you found that your tins have become “grimed shut” due to moisture/kitchen grease/warping? Just trying to think ahead on this one…thanks!

    • 08/21/2013 at 8:38 am

      Hi Susannah – no, that hasn’t happened to me. I keep the rims pretty clean after each use and I also keep them stored in a cabinet and not out on my counters so I definitely don’t see that kitchen grease! I’ve had these for over a year now and they still work great! :)

  52. Susannah
    08/21/2013 at 8:46 pm

    That’s awesome to hear. Thanks for inspiring my spice reorganization!

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