Monday, July 16, 2012

Sugar and Spice Kitchen Cabinet Makeover

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Do you have a cabinet in your kitchen that you're afraid to open? Do you cringe and step back just a little as you slowly open the door (in fear that something will fall out and hit you on the head) yet you're forced to open the offending cabinet at least three or four times a day?  I'll be honest, I've got one. This is it:
 It's what I very loosely refer to as the "spice cabinet".  In case you're  new or haven't realized it yet, I like to cook. A lot. I also like to bake. A lot. I also can fruits and make preserves. Not a lot, but often enough that I have "stuff" that it takes to do that.  Over time, this cabinet has become a hazard. Not so much for my sons who are both over 6 feet tall but for me, because I'm only 5'4".  The conditions in high-rise spice cabinet housing are, well, overcrowded. 
There have been complaints, mainly from the  spices, about being "elbowed out" by the larger products, like the vinegar I expect that from vinegar, it can't even play nicely with oil unless I whisk them up a little.  Heck, even the vanilla has recently turned on spices who have the same label. Sister and brother spices, purchased from the same store, fighting for space on the first shelf.



If you look really closely at the photo above, you'll notice that the stuff on the first three shelves is actually hanging off of the shelf just a little bit. (I'm learning photo editing software but, until I figure it out, you'll just have to imagine that there are spiffy arrows pointing to the bottom of the oil, the spices, the salt and the twine holder).
You'll also notice that the stuff on the top shelf has become accustomed to penthouse style living in the spice cabinet and has spread out to take up an entire shelf with ceiling height to spare. Yeah, The food coloring and the sprinkles...they're living the "good life" and, since I have to stand on a chair to reach them, they've been pretty much left to their own devices.  Until today.

WARNING: GRAPHIC PHOTO OF "SPICE GUTS" BELOW.

 This morning, at barely breaking dawn o'clock, when I stumbled downstairs to try to wake up,  I decided that I'd make some tea with a little cinnamon in it. Sounded like a nice idea, right? I thought so too. That is, until I opened the cabinet and a jar of spices fell, (I'm going with "fell" as opposed to  "jumped" or "was pushed", at least until the investigation is complete.) It hit me in the head, smashed onto the counter top, and rained salt-free seasoning and glass shards onto the floor.

It was an ugly scene. It left a scratch on the countertop. I thought about drawing a little chalk outline of the glass and roping off the area with tooth picks and kitchen twine, but decided that it was better to dispose of the body and clean up the mess before anyone else had to witness the carnage. Clearly, something had to be done. I'll spare you the photos of me emptying the cabinet onto the island and going to Target, the Container Store and Sur La Table. Let's just skip straight to the "After" photos:



 I grouped things together and put them into cell blocks containers with other items with whom I felt that they would share a common interest. I also confined the larger items onto turn tables so that they'd quit pushing the spices around.

 I unearthed some metal storage boxes that I had from ages ago to hold sprinkles, food colors and sugars. I purchased clear containers to hold other items. But for me, the most incredible purchase of  the day were the two Spice Stacks (made by You Copia) that I purchased at Sur La Table. They hold 18 full size or 36 half size jars of spices apiece!
They have cool little trays that slide out and tip down so that I can reach them. Before you ask, yes, I really do have that many different types of cinnamon. Believe it or not, there is a difference.

They also come with cool labels to put on the trays so that I know what's inside. I haven't done that yet. You see, I'm trying to decide whether or not to alphabetize the spices.  So far, I've left those that I use all the time on the two tier turn table. The others are in the Spice Stacks, grouped by what I use them for. For now. 
I'm delighted with how it looks, all neat and organized. Even the spices look happier. I'm fairly certain that the only things in the cabinet that are NOT thrilled are the sugars, the sprinkles and the food colors. It's not a big deal because I won't see them until closer to the holidays and by then, I'm hoping that they'll get over it!

xo,




Kimberly