My Spice Collection Was an Absolute Disaster — Until I Splurged on This Gorgeous Organizer Set

published Apr 7, 2022
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Credit: I Spy DIY

For a professional food writer who also writes about kitchen organization, design, and efficiency, I sure did have a messy spice collection. I’ve even interviewed spice shop owners and pro organizers about how to spiff up a spice rack — and I still couldn’t get it together! For years, my spice cupboard felt beyond any kind of reasonable help. It seemed like too much of a lost cause for even the most clever solutions. But then I discovered the relatively new Hold Everything collection from Williams Sonoma. 

Before I tell you about the brilliance of this solution, I should explain my “before.” Because I buy spices from a variety of different sources and stores, I had about a zillion different containers and styles of holders. For example, there were spices in paper bags, plastic bags, skinny glass bottles, short plastic jars, and rectangular tins. There were even remnants of spices dusting the shelves (because I am not good at closing packages). See, the problem seemed way too big to tackle. How do you make sense out of a group of items that has virtually nothing in common? I just dumped everything on the top shelf of the built-in lazy Susan in my corner cabinet.

Credit: Rochelle Bilow
It may look neat, but finding the right jar of seasoning when I needed it was tricky!

To give you a scope of the problem, the picture above is what I sent my editor at Kitchn when we were discussing this very article. Truth be told, I had tidied things up before snapping the pic because I was embarrassed. As you can see, it may look “neat,” but finding the right seasoning was not easy nor efficient. And I wasn’t using this space to its fullest potential.

Now, here’s a photo of what my spice collection *actually* looked like after a week of cooking. Wow. Please don’t judge. Or do! It’s not my proudest moment.

My “before” worked for me on a very technical level — if I needed a spice, I rummaged through the shelf to find it. But the system was inefficient and unorganized (to say the least). I also began to suspect that I was wasting space. (A recent interview with an organizing professional helped me realize that the corner cabinet is much better for storing small appliances, not spices.)

Credit: Rochelle Bilow
Pricey, but so pretty!

And that brings me back to the Hold Everything collection, which is uniquely suited for even the most far-gone cases. Because, unlike other sets, this one contains a few different options for storing and displaying your spices.

You can shop various sets or you can build your own setup. The jars are sold a la carte, or in sets of 3, 6, and 12. (Due to an ordering mix-up, I only received 8 jars, so the rest of my spices are currently still in their original storage containers.) And then you can pick between a brushed white metal shelf riser, a wood stadium stand, or a sleek and discreet in-drawer holder. The options range in price, but they’re all a great investment. Whatever you choose, the solution is both efficient and attractive.

Credit: Rochelle Bilow
Look at that wood!

The jars themselves are better than any spice solution I’ve encountered (and remember, I’ve encountered a lot!). They’re larger than most spice jars, with a 3/4-cup capacity. At 3 inches tall and wide, they’re sturdy, ample containers for my seasonings. If you’re someone who uses spices and dried herbs with wild abandon in your cooking, you’re definitely going to appreciate these as much as I do — no need to refill them every few weeks. And you can easily dip your measuring spoon right in! They also come in two different styles: With a simple lift-off, airtight ash wood top (as I have), or with a sifter lid.

To make sense of my spice collection, I knew I needed to first move it out of the corner cabinet. I took out all of the spices and assessed them honestly. Many hadn’t been opened in more than a year. Figuring they were just wasting space, I dumped out the stale spices and recycled their packaging. After my purge, I was left with about half of the seasonings I’d started with. (Turns out, I don’t use dried dill very often.) Getting rid of the dead weight felt freeing. From now on, I’ll only buy special spices and herbs as needed, and focus just on my daily favorites.

Credit: Rochelle Bilow
Baking spices ready to go and newly organized with my baking supplies.

I then separated the remaining spices into two different categories: baking spices and cooking spices. The baking spices (think: nutmeg and ginger) went into a deep pull-out drawer, corralled in a plastic tub along with the rest of my baking supplies. This freed up the entire lazy Susan, as I used to keep my cocoa powder and flour on the bottom shelf. It also makes a lot of sense to store all of the baking ingredients together — an efficiency trick I later confirmed when baking cinnamon brownies.

Credit: Rochelle Bilow
My new corner cabinet now holds my small appliances.

With the corner cabinet free, I transferred all of my appliances to its shelves. Previously, the ice cream maker, food processor, blender, and extra Mason jars had been scattered around my kitchen, which made using them a pain. The blender base and jar, for example, lived in two separate cabinets! Now everything is efficiently stored in a place that makes sense.

The rest of my spices — the savory stuff — were transferred to the Hold Everything jars and stacked on the wooden riser, which went on a shelf. It’s so much easier now to access my entire collection, and nothing gets lost or hidden. 

Credit: Rochelle Bilow
Starting to look snazzy!

Also important for the design-minded: These spice holders are part of a larger collection, which Williams Sonoma launched with master organizer and author Shira Gill this spring. The whole collection is minimalist, while still feeling warm and cheery (you gotta love that blonde wood). I’ve already invested in the stacking canisters for my dried goods and baking supplies, so my whole kitchen is becoming more coordinated. There’s also a coordinating wine rack, lid organizer, shelf risers, and more. Feeling inspired? If not, go back and look at these before and after photos one more time.

How do you organize your spices? Tell us in the comments below.