The Small-Space Organizer That Finally Got Me Cooking More

published Sep 23, 2021
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Credit: Sarah Crowley

Before the pandemic, my husband and I had been used to eating out 2 or 3 times a week and making easy meals at home the rest of the week. The recipes were fine, if a bit boring; I made them more out of necessity than true enjoyment. If you had asked me then, I would have said I was a “fine” cook, but the idea of experimenting with different recipes each week or reading cookbooks held almost zero appeal to me.

I thought this was because cooking just wasn’t for me. But it turns out all, I actually love to cook. All it took was a pandemic and a small-space storage solution and suddenly, I was mastering the art of banana bread and making DIY cocktails and charcuterie boards for an endless stream of virtual happy hours.

So what was this miraculous motivator, you ask? I’ll tell you: It was reorganizing my spice cabinet.

How Finally Reorganizing My Spice Rack Made Me Finally Enjoy Cooking

This task was one of the first things I did in the early days of the pandemic when no one was leaving the house at all. I had cleaned all the closets, reorganized the fridge, and disinfected every surface within reach.

I looked around the kitchen for what to do next, and the answer was clear: It was time to transform my spice cabinet from a mismatched collection of half-used spices to something that actually functioned. 

To make my high, narrow cabinet work for me, I ordered a pull-out spice rack. This meant I would finally be able to reach the very back of the cabinet without first taking out a dozen spices I didn’t need (or, more often, knocking them over).

Next, I ordered matching glass containers with labels to decant and consolidate my existing spices (somehow, I had three different containers of garlic powder).

It took me an entire Saturday morning to take everything out of the cabinet, install the spice rack, and organize my spices. When it was all said and done, the spice rack was efficient, organized, and incredibly satisfying to use.

“Look at this thing,” I told my husband with pride as I slid the spice rack in and out of the cabinet, admiring all the matching containers. “It makes me feel like I actually know how to cook.”

The spice rack was a tiny change in the grand scheme of things, but the impact was immediate. It made me feel that much more confident in the kitchen. And given that I found myself in the kitchen a lot more than usual thanks to the pandemic, that worked in my favor.

It’s been more than a year since I switched up my spice cabinet, and I’m cooking more than ever. In fact, trying 2 or 3 new dinner recipes out of a cookbook each week is one of the things I look forward to the most at the end of every day. Sometimes the recipes are delicious and other times they’re flops, but the process is always fun, and more than anything, I’m always glad I tried something new.

Ultimately, an organized spice cabinet didn’t make me a culinary genius overnight (spoiler: it won’t have that effect on anyone), but it did give me the confidence to find a hobby in something that once was a boring, everyday chore — and that’s always a win in my book.

This post originally appeared on Apartment Therapy. See it there: This Small-Space Solution Made Me Love Cooking for the First Time in My Life