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Reader Tip: How I Organize My Spices

Sharon from Mom on Dealz emailed in the following tip:

2012 is here! And with the New Year comes the need to throw out the old and organize what’s left. Around the New Year, I also like to identify small areas of my home that can be easily altered to make my life easier.

One area I focused on this year is the cupboard area above my stove. The cupboards are where we have stored our spices and seasonings since we moved into the house. Due to my 5’2″ height, every time I cook, this spot has been a nuisance to me. The contents are very difficult to reach and despite always keeping the most used items up front, at least once a week I have to grab a stool to reach something.

I finally decided to do something about it and am shocked that such a small organizational project has streamlined and improved my life so much. My big problem was simply (and cheaply) solved by one item — an over-the-door shoe rack!

As you can see I made labels and put them on each slot in alphabetical order. I even had some open slots at the bottom that I have filled with miscellaneous items and the very bottom row has become my sons’ snacking slots. I am loving this easy solution so much I am already planning other uses for future shoe racks! -Sharon

Have you ever used a shoe rack to organize items other than your shoes? I would love to hear more ideas!

Sharon is a wife and stay at home mom to her 2 amazing and very active boys. She also blogs at Momondealz where she helps her readers use coupons, freebies, and giveaways to stay within their budget. Her background as a former elementary school teacher also helps provide her fans with kids crafts that are educational, fun, and frugal!

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  1. Lucy says

    I have one in my very tiny, no storage space bathroom that holds all bath/beauty supplies and another in my daughter’s closet to hold all her smaller sized stuffed animals.

  2. Jen says

    We use an $8 Target shoe organizer for our American Girl outfits. The one sold in their catalog is around $60!!!! Thanks, but no.

  3. says

    I have one on the door next to my computer for all of my work software and my kids computer games, as well as some office supplies. I also have one in my kitchen for my aluminum foil, baggies, batteries and lightbulbs.

    • says

      Off the top of my head: basil, oregano, italian seasoning, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, garlic, chili powder, crushed red pepper, cumin, coriander, curry…those are the ones I tend to use most frequently. Hope that helps!

    • Andrea says

      Spices can be expensive. Look at the recipes you’ve tried already or would like to try and see if you can make a master list of the ones that occur frequently and slowly build your spice rack.

      I know that I have bay leaves, cilantro, garlic, onion powder, oregano, cinnamon, ginger, sea salt, white and black peppercorns (to grind fresh), chili powder, paprika, rosemary and cumin seeds.

    • says

      Just starting out you can get by with just onion powder, garlic powder, parsley, oregano, cumin, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Then you can add a new spice or two as you figure out how you want to cook…
      My Mom only has a few spices in her pantry since she doesn’t like to try new things. I love to cook, and try new things, so I have probably 40 different spices – I added them one or two at a time as I tried new recipes and cuisines. I find that spices are much cheaper at ethnic stores (like the latin market) or (surprisingly) world market.

    • Jessica says

      Aldi sells a lot of the more common spices for a very reasonable price. Once you find a few to get you started, I would check to see if they are available at Aldi first.

  4. Courtney says

    I use it for junk drawer stuff and in the mud room as others said for gloves etc. We have a pop up camper and I have one that holds toiletries and things like cell phones and stuff that gets rolled up and stored while moving and then unrolled and hung up while camping.

  5. Amy Zuck says

    Great idea! Now if only the only closets (with doors) weren’t all the way upstairs in the boys room….. : P but maybe I can hang one on the basement door for something…..

  6. says

    I have a shoe rack also like this on the tiny linen closet door, it holds gloves and hats. I took all the spices and moved them to a wicker bathroom rack that you hang on the wall. I have 2 of them side by side above the freestanding microwave cart. There are green and so is my kitchen works great. If you needed a different color they can be painted. The rack has a top, middle shelf and bottom shelf. I have a few of the larger items sitting on the top.

  7. Sarah says

    My family had more drawer space than wall space, so my mom made one shallow drawer into a spice drawer. She used empty glass artichoke heart jars and any other small jars, to keep the spices in. She labeled the lids with masking tape. I really like this because you can pull open the drawer and have all the spices laid out before your eyes. The shoe holder idea is great too! Anything to keep from searching through a cabinet shelf!

  8. says

    I love this-and I am looking to do this also. I have a few other over the door organizers right now-and I use them almost everywhere, especially in my closets-shoes, purses, tools, etc. I think I could fit a couple of them on it. Nice job!! Thanks for sharing.

  9. says

    For all those with no closet doors, I’ve used the 3M sticky tapes with interlocking “teeth” Some of them hold up to 3-5 lbs each. I put 3 sets across the top of the shoe holder then just hang it on the wall. With 3 sets you would be able to hold 9-15 lbs. I would just check the stickiness every month or so to be sure it’s still sticking.

  10. Cara says

    I am a Mary Kay Consultant and use the over the door shoe rack for small products, like Lip Liners, Blushers, Mascaras etc. At ordering time I just glance and spot count also can film orders faster. Not my idea tho, my friend Nancy did it first!!! We always share our ideas!!!!

  11. Alicia MacFarland says

    I use them to organize winter snow gear (gloves, hats, scarves) and school supplies (scissors, crayon boxes, small games, etc.)

  12. Casey says

    No pantry door, no wall space, all I have is cupboards in my kitchen. We are overflowing with spices! Need some additional ideas. Please help! Have turn table lazy susan, plus rack on wall, but these only hold about 1/2 of our spices. The spices I buy in bulk are stored in mason jars (of various sizes) on a shelf in my dining area. Have had compliments about the look of these. I saw a spice rack at a drugstore for around $20, supposed to save space and easily pull spices out. Anyone have one? Hate digging around, so hard to find what i’m looking for. Wish I could use the shoe holder idea, but no where to hang it even near the kitchen.

  13. Erica says

    We have one on the back of the girls’ bedroom door that holds most of their stuffed animals. No more emptying out an entire bin to find a small Webkinz on the bottom :-) The larger animals that didn’t fit in a shoe slot are in a basket, but there are very few, no dumping necessary.

  14. says

    I use a mesh over the door shoe holder to organize office supplies and “random” things that we need but I don’t want cluttering surfaces. I even put pencil cups in the shoe holders to hold pens, etc. so they don’t rip the mesh. I have things like jump drives, staplers, tape, etc. in this holder

  15. Marlena Edwards says

    Love the spice idea….and LOVE the suggestion of taking a shoe organizer on a cruise!! I use my over the door shoe organizer in my scrapbook closet/door. I use it for different scissors, tape, ribbons, small boxes of stationary, stamps, etc.
    However, I am not fond of the “over the door” part. Is there a shoe organizer you can hang “inside” of the door? I’m just not crazy about the hooks hanging over the top/outside of my door.

  16. AJ says

    I use my shoe rack to organize all my yarn. That way when I want to start a new project it’s easy to see what I have.

  17. Carrie says

    I use one in the closet for winter gear. I wasn’t fond of the over the door parts that you would see on the outside so I used 3M hooks to attach it to the inside of the door. This way I could also choose the height so my 2-year-old can reach some of the pockets to put away his own gear.
    I got one with clear pockets so I can see what is in each slot.

  18. Caroline says

    I have a shoe rack on the inside door of our coats closet where I keep all the gloves, hats, scarves… things like that.

  19. Jennifer says

    We use a clear shoe organizer when we stay in hotels on vacation. It works great to keep all small items organized (sun glasses, keys, etc) and easily accessible.

  20. says

    Shoe racks are great for housing tiny, hard to reach, and easy to misplace items. Some other things you might want to stick in a shoe rack… rolled up belts, socks, ties, or organized mail/documents. Stay young and thrifty :)

  21. says

    I use a stacking shoe rack to hold my t-shirts and sweaters. It velcros over the closet bar and saves so much space. It is also much easier to see what I have than if everything were in drawers!

  22. Lisa C. says

    There’s not enough doors in my house to do all the organizing with over-the-door shoe pockets I’d like to do. I have one in a utility closet holding flashlights, batteries, candles, and tons of miscellaneous items that would be clutter anywhere else. In my room the pockets hold all my great deals/overstock of bath products. And in the bathroom (1 tiny bath with NO storage for 3 teen guys and me), I marked one row of pockets for each family member to hold shampoo, deodorant, tootbrush, etc. The bottom two rows hold our first aid supplies.

  23. Trish Linley says

    Ive used over-the-door shoe racks for my craft items, junk drawer items, etc. Never thought about spices. I have tried different ideas to organize spices and have them readily excessible, but it never quite works out. This idea is amazing! I dont know why I never thought of it. Thankyou so much for the idea.

  24. Jeannine says

    I really like this idea! Anything that helps us momma’s get more organized is a true blessing. That way we can spend more time doing the things we love, like loving our children, reading to them, baking, cooking, shopping, etc.

  25. says

    I JUST re-organized our arts and craft supplies with an over-the-door shoe rack. I had a whole shelf of various bins and boxes full of supplies, and it was taking up a lot of room. Plus I was always having to get out a whole box or bin when I only needed a quick squirt of glue or needed to use the scissors for something. We used screws and hung the shoe organizer flat against a wall. It takes up much less room, and I can easily grab one supply at a time when I need it. I love it!

  26. Sara says

    I have used a shoe holder for the same purpose before. I loved it, it made everything so accessible. I also use one hanging on the inside of my daughter’s closet for baby care items. I got an abundance of baby wash, lotions and diaper creams at my baby shower well over a year ago and that on top of coupon stocked item I store them in there so I can see everything I have plus my husband can find anything and everything if I’m not around. I have also used one on the inside door of our linen closet when we lived in a very small apartment and limited space for storage. It was our medicine cabinet and first aid center. I am a huge fan of using shoe holders for things other than shoes.

  27. Eleanor says

    I used to work at a mother’s day out program. At the end of the day, our classroom had to “disappear”. I used a clear shoe organizer on the entry door for mailboxes for papers going home. Parents could quickly see if there was anything they needed to grab.

  28. says

    I don’t know if someone mentioned this idea already, but I use a shoe organizer in our downstairs hall closet for all gloves, winter hats, scarves, and earmuffs… It’s a great way to see ‘at a glance’ if there are matching gloves, etc. I love it, and love some of the other ideas I saw in the comments here too.

  29. Mary B says

    Put a canvas one on the inside of your shower curtain to hold toys, bottles, etc. It’s hidden from sight and you can take it off and toss it in the washer when it’s yucky! :)

  30. san says

    Love the clear shoe-organizer. I have in various rooms.
    The best one is the one on my pantry door where I keep activity bags for the month for my son. while I am busy cooking or clearing the son, I give a couple of those actiivties for him to sit and do.
    The second best one Ihave felt is in my bathroom closet, where we store body wash, shaving cream, lotion etc which gives us shelf space for the extra towels.

  31. Anna J says

    I love shoe racks! I use one for all the travel items that I get with coupons, toothbrushes(i tend to have a ready supply of these), deodorant(I separate them mens & women’s so my kids can just grab them easily), the little samples you get in the mail of shampoo go great in there too!

  32. says

    Yep! And I just wrote a post on it this week. http://myfavoritefinds.blogspot.com/2012/01/hall-closet-organization.html
    I am on a small closet organizing kick…I did the pantry, linen closet, and coat closet. I used an over the door shoe rack for the coat closet to house the scarves, hats, and gloves. I {and my kids} love it! It freed up the shelf space in the closet that I can use now for my purse, the diaper bag, and a small bin for our portable DVD players. I am also going to get one for our upcoming Disney trip for our hotel. After 3 Disney trips, you’d think I’d remember to take one with us!

  33. Leanne says

    I have one in my coat closet that holds all of our medicines. We keep the most dangerous stuff high and vitamins, chapstick, netipot, etc. in the lower pockets. In the linen closet we have one for our daughters personal care items and in our room we have one for our personal care items.

  34. Claire says

    My techie husband uses two clear over the door shoe organizers; one is behind the office door & 1 is inside the office closet. Because they are clear & plastic, he can use a labelmaker to label exactly what’s in each pocket & you can easily see it, too. It helps him organize the different kinds of cables & doodads he uses.

    • says

      Wow! That’s just what I need in my home office…right now extra cables are dumped into a plastic bin and I have to dump the whole bin to find something.

  35. April Owenby says

    I have one on the back of almost every door in my house. The ones in the kid’s rooms hold socks and tights. One in the laundry room holds cleaning supplies. One in the coat closet holds mittens, scarves and hats. I have extras for crafts supplies and toys. There is no need to waste such useful space – hang a shoe organizer and fill it up!

  36. crystal c says

    Almost every door in my house has one! Pantry has small items like rice packets, seasoning, zip lock bags etc… The linen closet is for all toiletry items – toothbrushes, paste, deodorant, floss, travel sized items and in my bathroom it has all my hair stuff – clips, pins, hair ties, sprays, etc. I’ll be adding soon for my kids rooms to organize their small things like maybe undies/socks etc. I also want one in my garage for who knows what! LOL The baby room has one for creams, hair combs, nursing stuff, etc.

  37. says

    I have a shoe organizer in the back of almost every closet door in my house. We have one on the inside of our entry way door that holds key, gloves, sunblock, hats, gloves, our GPS and anything else that we need to grab as we are going out of the door. I did a blog post on it a while back if anyone wants to see it.
    I have had one in my laundry room for cleaning supplies and dog supplies. I used to use one in my girls bathroom for hair things.
    My favorite idea was when I had a craft closet and used a clear pocket shoe organizer for all the small craft supplies:) You could see what you had at a glance….but it all stayed so organized:)

  38. says

    We use a shoe rack to organize all our little electronic items. We stick the USB cords, power cables, small parts and accesories and manuals for each item in its own pocket.
    No more digging through drawers trying to find the appropriate cord for each!

  39. Jaimie says

    I used to live in a 2 bedroom condo with a stacked washer/dryer in a closet just big enough to fit only that, so I hung a shoe rack on the door and was able to put all my laundry items, stain removers, lint rollers, etc. It was great! The perfect solution to a small storage space!

  40. Tammy says

    My 20 year old college dorm daughter has one hung on the back of her door near her mirror and holds all of her make-up, hair ties, perfumes, hair brushes and hairsprays. Everyone has copied her space saving idea.

  41. Amy Barclay says

    I put an over the door shoe organizer in my daughter’s playroom on the back of the entry door – all her Barbies, etc are there, easy to put up and easy for her to find.

    If Mattel was smart, they’d market one for this purpose!

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