Dirty Little Secret Friday {DIY ‘built in’ Spice Rack}

Posted by on January 10, 2014 in House Projects, Organization | 42 comments

Week two. New Year’s Resolution #8 still going strong (and only 50 more weeks to go)!

If you missed it, this year I’ve resolved to organizing one area in our home per week. To keep me motivated and on track, I’m also sharing my progress with you … right here every Friday, in a series called ‘Dirty Little Secret Friday.’

Project Organize

Last week I shared my craft closet organization. I can’t tell you how happy my newly organized closet makes me! This week … I tackled our spice shelf. Here’s the before (and you’ll see why I was so anxious to get on this):

DIY Spice Organization  |  View From the Fridge

Spice shelf before

Backing up a bit … here’s a shot of the whole cabinet that needs help:

Spice organization

Entire cabinet ‘before’. Spice shelf is the top one.

Pretty bad, huh? We buy a lot of our spices from the bulk section, therefore there are a lot of baggies of spices thrown in there. I could usually find the salt and pepper on a daily basis, but beyond that … it was anyone’s guess. If a recipe called for a particular spice, I usually just bought more at the store because I had no clue if we had any of it. Very efficient, I tell ya!

Let’s fast forward to a glimpse of the ‘after’ …

DIY Spice Organization  |  View From the Fridge

Spices now…

Looks promising, huh?

I learned two major things during this project; #1. Spices can easily accumulate mold, therefore you should use them up within a reasonable amount of time. #2. I can’t spell. Hold that last thought..

After much thought about how we were going to organize these spices, we came up with a super simple solution involving paint (because white paint makes everything better), baby food jars, chalkboard paint, and glued together 1″x3″ pieces. Once we got started, we also ended up using some shelf paper, balsa wood pieces, and vinyl labels. The result? A custom looking, built-in spice rack that fits on the same shelf as before. Here it is …

DIY Spice Organization  |  View From the Fridge

Our new spice rack!

Here’s a quick recap of the process (in case your spices are in need of help, too):

Step 1: Empty cabinet, sort, and discard old spices (older than 6 months).

DIY Spice Organization  |  View From the Fridge

Emptied out

We had three containers of cloves. THREE!! I’m not much of a cook, but I think I can count the number of times I’ve used cloves to cook with on one hand.

Step 2: Paint inside of cabinet white. Just because I slowly want my entire house (inside and out) to be white …

DIY Spice Organization  |  View From the Fridge

Step 2: Paint the inside of the cabinet white

and the shelves …

DIY Spice Organization  |  View From the Fridge

Step 3: Cut 6 1×3′s to size (width of shelf), paint, and glue together. To create staggered levels, we simply glued two 1″x3″s together for step 2, and four boards together for the third level.

Step 4: Cut pieces of balsa wood strip to act as dividers between baby food jars and glue pieces to stacks of boards (spaced evenly, making sure jars fit between pieces).

DIY Spice Organization  |  View From the Fridge

Third level – four 1×3′s glued together, balsa wood pieces glued to top, everything painted white.

Since this stack of boards looks a little rough … we simply added some shelf paper to the front of the stack to cover the multiple boards.

Step 5: Secure each step onto shelf using command strips (just in case we decide to remove this later on…)

DIY Spice Organization  |  View From the Fridge

Stacks of wood set into place on shelf

Step 6: Glue balsa wood pieces for the first row directly to the shelf and paint.

DIY Spice Organization  |  View From the Fridge

Super simple built in spice rack

Step 7: Now for the jars … Remove labels and wash baby food jars. Spray paint tops with chalkboard paint:

DIY Spice Organization  |  View From the Fridge

Spray paint tops of baby food jars with chalkboard paint

Step 8: Using a chalkboard marker, label all jars. We had space for 21 spices in this new rack, but after Matt sorted all our spices and threw out the old ones, we didn’t have that many left. To determine what spices we probably would want to make space for, I first took inventory of what we had left over. Next, I looked up a list of the 20 most common spices, and used a combination of the two to determine what we spices we should make room for.

Baby Food Jars used to hold spices

Label your lids!

Here’s where I learned my second lesson … that I can’t spell. Can you find three (of the 21 jars above) that are spelled wrong???

Let me help you …

Baby Food Jars used to hold spices

I need spell check!!!

  • Cinnamon
  • Chipotle
  • Turmeric

Turmeric is understandable (who pronounces it like it’s spelled???), but Cinnamon and Chipoltle were pretty bad mistakes. It took Matt like half a second to find (a get a good laugh out of ) my misspellings.

Moving on …

Step 9: Using vinyl paper, chalkboard marker, and paper punch, label each spice ‘parking’ space. I am reverting to my Manufacturing Engineering roots here (that’s what I did in a previous life). Everything has a place … everything is labeled … anyone could put the spice back where it needs to go.

DIY Spice Organization  |  View From the Fridge

Vinyl labeled spice spots

The labels are erasable, so if we do change it up … it’s easy to change the label.

Wait … were does the ginger go???

DIY Spice Organization  |  View From the Fridge

Oh wait … RIGHT THERE!!!

Here’s a shot of the whole {much improved} cabinet:

DIY Spice Organization  |  View From the Fridge

Much better, huh?

And the all-important (at least to me) before and after shots:

Easy DIY Spice Rack  |  View From The Fridge

Easy DIY Spice Rack  |  View From The Fridge


Next week … our medicine cabinet (I think). Have a wonderful weekend!!

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  1. Um yeah, can you come to Texas and do this for my pantry? I love this , too bad I am too lazy to accomplish it!

    thanks so much for linking up and stopping by my blog, Katie! Have a great weekend!

    • Ha ha! I was hoping this would inspire me to cook wonderful things. Hasn’t worked so far, but I’m still holding out a bit of hope :). Thanks for the party! Have a great weekend!

  2. That looks so organized! I love that you put the names ON the shelf, so that they always go back to the same spot. By the way I don’t know how to spell Chipolte either!

  3. Again I am inspired to clean and organize. My husband is going to have to email you and thank you for your Dirty Little Secret Friday posts. Love this DIY spice rack and I totally have old baby jars (because what true crafter would throw those out) I knew there would be a use for them someday!

  4. Cute paper on those shelves! My spices are out of control–thanks for the inspiration!

  5. I’m with Sonnet, baby food jars are a must have for crafters. I have a box full of them in the garage. This look great you are doing such a great job organizing your home. I think your inspired us girls to get our craft spaces organized from your other post. I’ve been challenged. ;-)

    • Thanks, Courtney! I’m like you … I save everything, especially jars!

  6. What a great idea! I am not following you from lovely thursdays blog hop. My spice cabinet needs a little “TLC’” CLK Fashions

  7. You go gurl, can’t wait to see what the next 50 weeks bring! Thanks for sharing it with us at the #WWDParty. I hope you are having a nice weekend.

  8. This is such an inspirational series! Your cabinet looks GREAT! -Marci @ Stone Cottage ADventures

  9. Very cute! I just labeled my spices this weekend!

    Thanks for linking up to WWDParty!

  10. Very nice!!! I love this idea! Following on Bloglovin from the Sunday Social Media Hop! :)

  11. Great idea, I’m always shoving things around looking for the ONE spice that I can’t find!! My problem would be not putting it back in the right labeled position!

    Love it!


  12. Your dirty little secret series should be a linky…just sayin’. :) I have probably have 50+ projects to tackle here at the estate as well. :)

    Smart move to double label WHERE the spices are returned to… I have a drawer, so this area is okay in my kitchen…but you had me laughing about the cloves!


  13. Love it!!! These steps would actually work in my cupboard and be perfect for my spices!

    • Hi Laura,
      It’s super easy! You should totally try it out! Good luck if you do! Have a great week!

  14. Oh I love this! I’ve been looking for some ideas for our spices, we just bought a new house and need a better storage idea! Thanks for linking up with us at our Weekend Wind-Down Party!

  15. I loooove this tutorial. Can’t wait to use it for my own spice cabinets. Thanks for sharing! Pinning :)

    • Hi Katrina! Thanks!! It was super easy, and now I smile just a little when I open that cabinet (instead of cringing)! Good luck and have a great week!

  16. You’v been busy! It looks great! Thank you for linking up this week at Sewlicious Home Decor! :)


  17. Great idea, but I think I would rather have the labels on the glass fronts rather than the lids. And all the same jar sizes are good for stacking too!

    • Thanks, Linda. They do stack great … just in case we accumulate another three jars of cloves :) Thanks for stopping by! Have a great week!

  18. How do you think it would work by laying the jar on its side instead of up right? My closet is skinny and it would be hard to read all the jars.

    • Shirley, thanks for stopping by! It would be awesome if you could somehow drill half circles on the edge of a board to make a place for the jars on there sides. That would be ideal! Easy to read, and keep them from rolling around. Hmmmm … Let me know if you give it a try! Have a great week!

      • Thanks for answering my question. Wouldn’t the balsa wood stop them from rolling around?

        • Yes … or course. Not sure why I was thinking it had to be so fancy. The balsa wood strips would totally keep them from rolling around. Maybe I should flip mine on their sides??? I just might try it!

  19. Another great idea. I am pinning it! Thank you so much for stopping by and linking up to Saturday Dishes.
    Diane Roark

    • Thanks, Diane! Thanks for the party and have a great week!

  20. Very clever! Its looks so uniform and nice. No more endlessly digging for the spice you need, nice!

  21. I have a double feature for you this week at Bacon Time! XoX0

  22. what a great idea for baby food jar upcycling!


  23. This is brilliant & very clever! I just love it. I’d love for you to link this up at Link’n Blogs Link Party! Hope to see you there! http://learningcreatingliving.blogspot.com/2014/01/linkn-blogs-link-party-8.html

  24. Love this, what a great way to get the pantry organized! Just stopping by to pin this, and let you know I featured it on my blog today; thanks for sharing at Creativity Unleashed!

  25. I love this idea! Very nice work. The chalkboard paint is an especially great idea. I definitely need to utilize this. Most my jars are pints and quarts though haha. I use so many spices and buy in bulk. Thanks for linking up for Fabulously Frugal Thursday.

    • Thanks, Heather! Yes, this would only work for spices that you don’t need to keep much of …. probably not ideal for you! Have a great weekend!

  26. Awesome! Spellcheck has spoiled me too lol! Everything is so neat and accessible now. Thanks so much for sharing! :)

    • Seriously … it’s embarrassing how bad my spelling is!! Thanks for stopping by, Christy!

  27. Awesome tutorial! Very organized! Thanks for linking up with us at the Create Link Inspire party! You were featured today! http://www.marvelousmommy.com/2014/01/7-featured-diy-projects/

  28. Thank you for linking up to the Hit Me With Your Best Shot Link Party Last week. Hope to see you and your Awesome ideas tomorrow night at 7EST!

    ~Ariean http://onekriegerchick.com/

  29. This is just perfect!! Thanks for linking up at Take it on Tuesday!!
    ~ Betsy from Romance on a dime

  30. Katie, I just adore this! Can you come get me organized pretty please? :)

    • Sure … on my way. As long as where you live is a bit warmer than here, I’m looking for any excuse to leave this state!!!


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