Getting Organized in 2009: Spice Cabinet & Beyond...

I've been organizing like a mad-woman the past couple of days. Something about putting away the Christmas decorations away sent me off on a tangent that involved cleaning out closets and cupboards, and ridding ourselves of all kinds of excess 'stuff' (between fits of baking, of course).

Among my obsessive organizational projects was to completely re-organize the spice cupboard to create a more efficient means of finding what I need.

Here's what I purchased at Bed, Bath & Beyond... two of these metal utensil organizers and a whole bunch of metal spice tins with magnetic bottoms. I got the little round stickers at a craft store.

Regular-sized jars of spices fit nicely inside of each tin. I adhered a little round sticker and labeled them as shown. If you had a white sharpie, you could write directly on the clear lid.

I wanted to be able to remember what date the spices were purchased (with the intent of keeping them fresh on a somewhat regular basis). On the inside of the lid, I placed a little sticker and put the month/year of purchase. If I wasn't sure, I put the current date. You might notice that I'm still not comfortable with '09 yet. My mind was thinking '08!

The utensil trays were nailed into the back of the inside of my spice cupboard. And the magnetic tins stuck easily onto the metal trays, with the dividers acting as a nice 'shelf' so they wouldn't slice down.

Here's my spice cupboard... now organized (alphabetically) and extremely easy to see everything that I have. No more digging around! For the ones down below- I used the same sort of mesh metal but in the form of a tiered sheld (like this one).

A few months ago I also organized my pantry. I bought several of these pop-top containers, labeled them, and have been very happy with how they work, as well as how fresh they keep everything. This week I purchased a few more in which to store all of my acquired baking decor items. And the best part is... ants cannot get into these!

It feels great to have a more organized kitchen. It's much easier to cook and bake when you can find things with ease. This wasn't a cheap project... the large canisters varied in price and the metal spice tins were $2.99 each. You could certainly purchase them a little at a time. If you have BB&B coupons, those will help cut down on the cost. They also carry the metal tins at Cost Plus World Market.

Not food related, but another thing I did to kick off '09 is to give our 7 year old an opportunity to earn a weekly cash allowance. I made a list of things that he is required to do on a regular basis (making his bed, clearing dishes, taking trash out, etc.), and then I also made a list of things that he can do if he wishes to earn an allowance (vacuuming, dusting, watering plants, special projects, etc.). If he does his required tasks and his optional tasks (all without a single complaint) then he can earn an allowance for the week. One single complaint and the allowance offer is withdrawn for the week. We're also requiring him to plan for savings and charity donation with the amount he is given. It's never too early to teach them!

Hope you're having a great start to '09, and I'll be back with recipes in my next post!