2010 Notes: Five years ago, I moved into an apartment with a skylight over the kitchen and built-in spice shelves along a wall and decided to overhaul my mess of spice bottles and bags to make them fitting for such a pretty display. I looked for containers that would be uniform, have a wide mouth (to easily dip measuring spoons or fingers for a “pinch” in), were opaque (so that the sunlight wouldn’t damage the spices over time) and wouldn’t cost a fortune to buy in the quantity I needed.
I ended up with 4 ounce tins and affixed them with Avery 5160 Mailing Labels that I’d printed from a Microsoft Word document and all was right and pretty in my orderly, well-spiced world. Until it wasn’t. Four and a half years later, there were problems. Paper labels were peeling at corners, many were smudged but that was the least of the problems… after five years of catching kitchen grease and bits of powders in their rims, a few were grimed shut leading to many expletives when I needed ginger, stat for a recipe and the bleeping lid wouldn’t come off. Some tins had rusted slightly over repeated washings without wiping them dry.
I was not pleased, as I’d hoped those tins would be a once-in-a-lifetime investment, and begrudgingly began seeking out a new solution. Many months later, I found one in these wee bottles.
Pros: Yes, they’re very pretty. They’re also 4.5 ounces each (which means that they will hold the contents of most spice bottles), have a wide mouth and although the pictures don’t make this clear, they are completely airtight (the tins were not). There is a silicon rim along the inside of the lid that snaps shut when completely closed, so wonderfully tight that I’d recommend you open a full bottle of powder over the sink, just in case the vacuum created makes a mess. Because they’re glass, they’ll never warp or rust and will always wash up shiny, which will please me immensely. They’re made by a company named Libbey Vibe, and sold through Amazon quite inexpensively, where you can also buy chalkboard labels that fit the lid and a thin chalkboard marker that is supposed to come off with glass cleaner. I affixed mine with Avery 18695 Clear Return Address Labels (font: Bell Gothic, Size 16) that are remarkably smudge proof, easy to remove (with no residual grime) and re-affix should they land crooked, which all of mine did. For extra “smudge protection” you could cover them with a second blank clear label. [4.5-Ounce Libbey Spice Jars on Amazon]
A Tangentially Related Pro: These jars also come in different sizes, all the way up to 82 ounces if you’re looking to pretty up your whole pantry, not just your spices.
Cons: I’m having a hard time getting the labels around the curve of the bottle exactly flat, there are bubbles. The difference between now and five years ago? It barely bothers me. A bigger issue is that clear jars don’t protect the spices from sunlight, which I will either decide to live with, keep them in the cabinet, or put them out on shelves with a kind of makeshift curtain draped over them. Finally, they’re a little less space efficient as I wouldn’t advise stacking them more than two high (I’d stack the tins in threes, sometimes fours) as it gets too wobbly.
A few 2022 Updates: I gave the spice rack a long-overdue cleaning and reorganization last week. 12 years later, the jars are holding up great. I love that I can remove the inner ring and wash it separately to get the jar truly sanitized, plus all the parts can go in the dishwasher. These days, I keep the spices on a bookcase that’s off the side of my kitchen, away from the light. I use these risers on the shelves, and I labeled the jars with a white paint marker. It comes off easily with a scrubby sponge. Here’s a video of the process on Instagram, and a slightly longer cut on TikTok.
156 comments on how to make an overly obsessive spice rack
I love how the spices look in these jars! I’ve been searching for a great spice storage system, and this may be it. Thanks for the inspiration!
You could paint the outsides. I know there’s good quality glass paints out there that won’t crackle, even in spraypaints.
Very pretty! Much nicer than my current system of storing penzey bags in the freezer and digging through every time I cook. Like daily…
nice post. i had the same problem when we bought our condo 3 years ago. even though it was bigger than anywhere i’d ever lived, i still found myself running out of kitchen space (surprise!). I ended up with something like these and store them on these. of course, i have two of them and they are practically packed, even when pushing them back into the cabinet to create a ‘4th tier’. and i’m sure i’ll end up having to throw out some of them, like lavendar, because they’ll go bad before i use them, but at least it’s pretty!
When clicking over, I just saw these jars from Quattro Stagioni on the Container Store site (I’m sure they’re available elsewhere, since that is a major canning brand) and they also look like they have great potential. About the same price. 5 ounces versus 4.5 so they hold more, but will also be a little bigger.
You have just given me the most exciting idea for a Valentine’s Day gift for my hubs! Thanks you! Your pictures, regardless of what, always give off such a vision of inspiration and passion – Love love love –
funny, i’ve had these on my to-buy list for 8 months now… i will get around to it. someone gave me one as a gift (filled with homemade garam masala!) and i looooved the tight fitting lid – so useful. Anyway, I had issues with printed labels, so with a heavy heart and a big sigh, i bought a brother label maker and have not looked back. The labels affix themselves like a dream (no bubbles!) and can be peeled off if you decide to switch out the contents. Congrats on the new spice organization. I totally appreciate the organization of the kitchen!
looks great. how do you keep the BBE date up to date?
Best Before End
Libbey Vibe large storage bottles can be found @ Century 21 Department Stores if you are in the city or boros, TJmaxx & Marshall/Home Goods. I bought them 2 years ago 4 in a box (large to small size) for something like less then $15 dollars.
Deb, have you visited a Home Goods Store? Sometimes they have incredible finds.
I have both the tins and the jars (in a variety of sizes), though I store the tins on an open shelf with the lid facing out (3 or 4 on top of one another) so not sure glass will work, but the tins are impossible to open, so perhaps time for a new system… I bough the jars at crate and barrel – happy to see there are less expensive ways to buy them.
BBE = Best Before (Date) :-)
BBE — Ha. Can you all tell I don’t sleep much? I honestly don’t pay attention to dates. As long as a spice smells and looks fine, I keep using it.
Thanks for posting this! I’ve been looking for a way to organize the disaster that is my collection of spices in bags, jars, bottles etc. and frankly it had almost become too overwhelming. My question is would I be better off to leave cinnamon sticks and bay leaves (and other things too large for these containers) in the little zip top bags they came in or to put them in a larger bottle? Or does it even matter?
Natalie — My bay leaves fit just fine in there. Cinnamon sticks, only some do. (I have mixed shaped canela from Rancho Gordo… delicious…) I’ve kept those in their jar.
Do these stack well?
Oops, I just realized you already commented on that! Sorry!
LOVE THAT! I was just at World Market and found those same jars for 99cents a piece. I think I’m going back to stock up and ORGANIZE!
I look at OCD as a blessed at times. Hehe.
Oh, I love these. I was just thinking the other day that my spice rack needs some redoing. My tins are not airtight, either, and it’s just bugging the heck out of me everytime I look at them. I wish Crate & Barrel weren’t so close by … I’m not sure the delayed gratification of saving money from Amazon will win out ….
SoupAddict — I ordered mine from Target and they arrived in like two days, possibly less than 48 hours. I was like “I’m not ready yet!” I hadn’t expected it so soon.
Julie — 2 1/2″ diameter base. I really need shelves for the tiny space of wall I have so I can put these out and free up precious cabinet space… I’ve been looking for shelves on and off for the 10 months we’ve lived here!
Those look so cute! I’ve been on the look-out for spice jars just like that. Can you tell me how wide they are on the bottom, though? I have a built in spice rack (converted from an ironing board cabinet.. old house) and I don’t have too much depth to work with. They’re cute enough that I might have to buy a set anyways :)
YOU HAVE A TIPS SECTION?? My god, I’ve missed so much… but good thing I tuned in when I did, these spice bottles are exactly what I need! (College apartment kitchens tend to lack attractive storage, but at least my spices can be beautiful!) By the way, your “Surprise Me!” button gets me through the day – thanks Deb!
It might be too much of a project at this point, but you can get glass etching cream and make them frosted glass to give some protection from the light.
Ooh, that would be pretty.
My husband and I are about to move into our very own house, and while I’m thrilled to be getting all set up, something is nagging me. I swear… or at least I think… that I once saw on your site a missive about spices. Not about these adorable containers, but about where you got the actual spices from. But now I can’t find it — or am I making it up? Was it Ree over at Pioneer Woman instead? My brain went to mush once I saw our house price, and I haven’t fully recovered.
I just found these jars at the Crate and Barrel outlet for $1.95/each. Went nutty and bought 24. Still not enough! Bought the Avery 8293 round white labels and they look lovely on the lids, although I originally intended to put them on the bottoms. Spices look gorgeous and the lids are CRAZY tight. Thanks for the inspiration!
Here’s a pic of the labels (now who’s obsessing?)
I keep my spices in a drawer, and I never would have thought about putting labels on the lids! I was going to put the bottles in there sideways. Thanks for the idea!
How worried should I be about protecting spices from light? I’ve always kept spices in those clear jars they came from but tried to keep them in a drawer. With our move back to West (new big kitchen!) I was planning to make a fresh start with those tins to solve the sunlight issue. But I’m so glad I checked back in your tips section before buying bc, come to think of it, I’ve dealt with grimed shut lids before … and it wasn’t pretty. So I want to buy those gorgeous glass jars … but am I asking for trouble if I don’t find a drawer/cabinet for them? I have way more exposed shelf room for them currently … and hiding them behind a curtain seems unfortunate. (And one more project than I can handle currently!)
I think I may just buy these so I can have a friend build shelves to put them in.
How heavy are these jars when filled? I love the jars but would like to attach magnets to the lids (or bottoms, maybe) so they could go on a wall – like this magnetic spice rack using canning jars – http://www.thekitchn.com/thekitchn/tips-techniques/how-to-make-a-wallmounted-magnetic-spice-rack-great-ideas-from-our-readers-101525
Did you figure out if the lid would hold with the magnet?
Because i think the idea is amazing…. Deb, I actually use the larger version for salt.. have it laying around my kitchen for everyday use.. i live in Panama, and the humidity is so intense that it is the only way to keep salt from sticking…
Keep up the great ideas..
I don’t know how much you like your handwriting, but I use paint pens to write on my glass containers – they’re especially for writing on surfaces like glass and ceramic, and I’ve never liked dealing with labels either. I think you can take them off pretty easily w/ a wipe of rubbing alcohol, if you change the spice or make a mistake.
like these, but i think they’re pretty easily found at any crafts store.
I love the littel wii bottles. Where did you get them?
I’ve used these same bottles for a while now, also with clear mailing stickers as labels. To avoid the bubbling issues, I put my labels on the jar lids. I little risky if you have a million of them open at a time, but I haven’t had any issues with keeping the lids with their respective spices. Photo here.
PS- my first comment, but love the site and read it often! :)
Just wondering where you purchased the pot rack shown in the first linked photo?
Hey Deb- I love these little jars, and snagged a few from C&B myself to gradually switch over too when I run out of a pre-bottled spice (I buy my spices in bulk at my co-op) gee, only 55 more jars to go!
I have been using my p-touch label maker, set on mini-font and print out wee little labels I stuck to the bottoms of the jars. (on the outside)
I like the clean look of the jar, sans label, and peeling off the label if needed is very, very easy with the p-touch. I love having that thing, I make labels for everything now.
My husband even labels the coffeepot (on the back) when it was descaled last, and since I buy a vast majority of our food in bulk and store it in canning jars – this thing is a life saver.
I bought those glass spice jars as well and wanted a place to display them so that I could see all of them at once and found this: http://www.myspicesage.com/3-tier-spice-rack-p-608.html It holds a dozen jars and they fit like they were made for each other. I too am having issues with finding the right labels though. I got some small round Avery labels but I could never get the spice names to print in the middle of the round label. AAA-R-G!
Lots of great ideas, but why not just re-use spice bottles from store? If you buy smaller bulk quantities, and bake/cook often enough you don’t need to worry about BBE. Some spices will perk up a bit if you toss them in a hot frying pan for a few seconds, but you have to be quick to not burn them!
What is BBE?
Several reasons I don’t reuse containers: many are plastic, and I don’t care for plastic; many of my spices come in bags, which are hard to organize and use and finally, I want my spice rack to be easy to use (wide mouths, easy for dipping and sweeping) and uniform. I’m not suggesting that anyone else would or should share my brand of OCD, I’m simply explaining how I reorganized for those who asked.
Best Before End.
Thank you for posting this! I am redoing my spices and am using the exact same type of jars (ordered from Target online). Also bought whole organic spices to put in them.
Great idea!! I have the tins too and have the same grimed shut problem.
I already have some plain 1/2 cup canning jars which would work great and stack well.
Hmm, do I go with plain silver lids or something more cute and colourful…
A friend of mine solved the sunlight issue (without realizing it) by building mini crate-style shelves and installing them on the inside of the cupboard door. Easy access when the cupboard door is open and out of the way (and protected) when it’s closed.
I use the metal tin for my kosher salt, and I can totally identify with the stupid lid not coming off! What I ended up using were wide mouth mason jars. You can get them in 125 mL formats, and the lids screw on. Best yet, they stack like a charm. Of course, they cannot go on a rack, but they fit fabulously in the cupboard that way.
I have been using these jars from IKEA, which I love because they are just the right size and fit into a big long drawer. I have been writing the spice name on them with a sharpie and covering it with scotch tape to keep it from smudging. Low tech!
Alas, no longer available from Amazon…
Did you just check, like, today? For whatever reason their site isn’t working and is showing like 100% of everything out of stock. Or maybe just 100% of everything I’ve looked for today. Can you tell that I use Amazon a zillion times a day?
Target.com has these Libbey glass spice jars in sets of 12! Just bought them, they are fantastic!! I’m just looking for a spice rack to fit them…any suggestions??
Samantha, take a look at comment #39 where I provided a link to a rack that holds a dozen of the jars like they were made for each other. Sally
Right after you posted this, I put these bottles on my Amazon wishlist, thinking I might buy them someday. Well, last week was my birthday, and one of my friends ordered a dozen for me! So today, I need to go find labels. I have a little glass shelf in my kitchen that these will look so pretty on, although I’ll have to stack some of the 2 high.
Hi, I am doing the glass jar for my baking supplies too and stole an idea for chalkboard paint labels so I thought I’d share my photo…I’m not complete done but I ran out of jars. I love your site, thanks for all the hard work!
I’m not sure how to post the photo??
Glad to know I’m not the only one with the crazy spice-rack OCD, though I’m far behind in getting the job done.
I re-use glass jam jars (I always buy the same brand of mirabelle jam, so I have a collection of jars that are all the same model). Pros: They’re free! I go through a lot of spices with all my Pakistani/Indian and Middle Eastern cooking, so the spices I buy from Asian/Middle Eastern stores usually come in 100 or 200gram bags that these jars can accommodate. They’re not completely airtight but the lids have a pretty good seal. Their opening is wide enough to fit a tablespoon through (yes, some recipes require tablespoonfuls of spices!) My hobby is glass painting, and I’ve taken to decorating each jar with the spice name painted on in funky lettering or calligraphy. Unique. And befuddling because I write the names in Arabic and Urdu.
Cons: washing, scrubbing the labels off and air-drying the jars well to get the jam smell out. They do not protect the spices from sunlight. Takes up a lot of space, but then again, I go through a lot of spices.
I used those exact same jars in the same 4.5 oz size to hold lavender honey that I made as baby shower favors. I tied on a cute tag with some twine. The theme of the shower was vintage tea party, with mismatched teacups I bought at a thrift store, so the honey was perfect to use at the party and send home with the guests!
i’ve had this page bookmarked forever and finally just got some of the libbey jars to re-do my spice cabinet. whilst i like the look of the labels, the bubbles/not-entirely-flat aspect really bothered me (guess i’m more ocd than you are). two words – industrial sharpie. just like a regular sharpie but writes on glass (and other materials) without rubbing off. i wrote the spice names directly on the glass jars and they look great! one drawback though – it’s hard to read if the spice is dark (however, the turmeric jar looks fab). thank you for this post!
I love how organized this is. Pretty too.
I had the same dilemma and on an afternoon junking expedition I found two vintage (50’s-60’s) spice racks. Chrome stands that offered the jars up at an angle and only took about 6″x12″ each, perfect for behind my cook top. Each had 12 clear jars (about the same size as store bought jars) with chrome tops. I used a Brother labeler to label the tops. They only cost ten bucks and when I decide to do something different, they can be yard-saled, goodwilled, or passed along and still be charming and vintage. I still find myself stacking yet another spice box on top of the tilted jars……I have to console myself by thinking that I have simply expanded my kitchen prowess into areas that aren’t contained by my way cool spice racks.
You might consider round labels that would lay flat on the top of the lids. Perhaps not as practical for searching, but would resolve the label peeling issue and make keeping the “bottles” themselves clean a bit easier.
these are perfect! alas they’ll only ship to the USA apparently :-(
I’ve been looking for good, decent sized glass jars I can get my fingers/spoons in for MONTHS (maybe even a year). Our spices are abysmal. Alas I’ll need to keep looking. Doubt I’ll find something similar for less than $50 in Australia.
Any ideas for where to find these north of the border? Target doesn’t ship to Canada, and I can’t find them on Amazon Canada either. I’m trying to avoid Crate and Barrel but I may have to check there as a last resort…
never mind. gotta love IKEA!! they aren’t quite the same but they’ll do!!
When I first saw these jars I said “I want I WANT IWANTIWANTIWANT!!!” like a little kid in a toy store. It was fate: I already have 7 of the larger Vibe jars, and I love them! The only problem is that I don’t have enough space to convert my entire collection. I worried about it for a month, then after repeated attempts to mentally rearrange my kitchen to make everything fit yielded no satisfactory results, I decided to compromise: I bought 14 jars for the “essentials” like basil, parsley, thyme and oregano, and am leaving the more exotic and less frequently-used spices in their original jars (and consigning as many as possible to the pantry where they won’t be seen in their mismatched glory). Now I just have to get the round labels, and I’m all set! SO excited – a Christmas present to me!
After reading about these here, I bought a set. I LOVE them. We just moved into a new apartment, and found that these store perfectly in our kitchen drawers. The set I ordered actually came with sheets of pre-printed, round, clear labels that attach to the tops. There is also a sheet of non printed labels, so I could make my own for those herbs and spices that were not listed on the pre-printed labels. This works well with my drawer situation, but I’d probably go with an Avery or similar label if I were storing them on a shelf. I adore these, and need to order more!!
If you don’t mind handwriting, you can write on glass with a Sharpie and clean it off with rubbing alcohol or one of the erasers from LabelOnce (no affiliation, I’m just obsessed). It’s not quite as neat, but it works.
I did not read through all the posts so I don’t know if this was mentioned but I too have circular spice jars. The labels never stick completely and I’m not good with a paint brush so I just write on it with a sharpie. It works great. Cleans off with a little scrubbing action. The only downside is that it does come off over time. So you have to rewrite the labels every once in a while. But that only takes two seconds if you keep your marker handy so its not a big deal. I love your jars!
On his show, “Good Eats,” Alton Brown uses those little tin jars you started out with to store all of this spices, but his method is a little different. He puts velcro on the bottom of all the tins and has a strip of velcro running down the indside of his cabinet doors. With labels on the top they’ll stick better and not have bubbles, plus all your spices are staring you in the face when you open up your cabinets. This method has the added bonus of not taking up any counter space.
Wow, your spices look so… so pretty and elegant (couldn’t find the right adjectives) in those jars! Maybe it’s time to start stocking up on both.^^
I use half pint/pint ball canning jars for my spices – but I use the same jars for my pantry storage all the way up to half gallon jars. It’s cheap, they stack fabulously and look really good from the side!
Several people have suggested half pint (8 oz.) canning jars (aka Ball jars, Mason jars) and I want to chime in. There are even 4 oz. ones available, the lids are interchangeable among all sizes, they seal well, but are easy to open, and they are available everywhere (well, here in the Midwest, where people can — that is, do canning, put up food, make preserves — they are available everywhere!). I think you can get fancy lids to fit them too, but I stick to the basics, which is probably why I like using canning jars for storage — utilitarian, classic, and usually around 50 cents each if you buy at the store — more if you buy online.
For a rack that fits in cabinet, I love this one:
It is a 3 tier rack, so you can see the spices easily, but the best thing about it is that it hinges down and out of the cabinet, putting the spices right in front of your nose. I have 2 in a narrow cabinet, and it is easy to see and reach the spices that are way up on the second shelf. I got mine at Lowes, but you can search Amazon for Rubbermaid pull down spice rack and find them too. I’m thinking most of us short people would be especially appreciative.
I just got these jars and I LOVE them. They really add a certain something to my kitchen…it makes me happy :)
I too am now on the hunt for a nice spice rack that will display the jars nicely. They are much rounder and wider than other jars (such as the Anchor jars which are more octagon-ish). i dont have much counter space to work with so i need a slimmer design…any suggestions or ideas???
I have also converted to these jars they’re great! I’m planning on using these ledges to hold them once I have the space – I saw them in IKEA and they are deep enough to fit the jars: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/30152596
I am unbelievably obsessed with the uniformity!!!! I must transform my kitchen into this.
I cannot believe the comment of the woman who wrote this article! She says after 4 1/2 yrs. they were cruddy & basically covered in grime…..all I have to say is that I am appalled that anyone would let the containers get that filthy!
She did make the statement that the ones she washed & did not dry rusted.
Why would anyone wash & not dry them? Especially on anything metal or glass. Any decent cook basically cleans & wipes everything down each & every day especially if you fry a lot. I have metal containers in the kitchen that I’ve had for 40 yrs. Just wash & dry the outside of containers &, depending on the size of the containers, you put anywhere from 1/4 to 1 paper towels in & let it stay overnight. This will absorb any excess moisture & prevent rust. It works on plastics as well.
Hi Jacqueline — It’s the “woman who wrote this article”. I can assure you that the containers were wiped down regularly and never collected dust. But after a couple years, the tins wouldn’t open and close easily. It might be moisture or cooking films or even shoddy tin design, but there were problems. If yours have worked for you for 20 years, that’s a wonderful thing. This article was to serve as an update for anyone had followed my previous advice to buy those tins, to warn them that they had not worked out as hoped, and to prevent others from buying them on my word.
I had just read this article right before a shopping trip the the Christmas Tree Shop. I found these jars for 59 cents… and you can ask them to order you bulk amounts. Hope this is helpful.
Note to Jacqueline. Ye,s cleanliness is next to godliness but kindness is more important. You should consider not being so being judgemental. If Deb did all of that cleaning she may not have had time to write this wonderful blog and interact with friends and family.
They are adorable and so colorful. I love that you can see the colors and textures of each spice.
I was literally looking for a spice solution today and stumbled onto your blog (which I love) and happen to find this posting about the spice jars. This is EXACTLY what I was looking for! Thank you so very much for sharing. :-)
Perhaps one could use colored glass spice jars? Like cobalt blue or brown? They use those for essential oils, etc. to protect the contents from light. Cobalt blue is so pretty!
I’ll be using these
5oz jars for $1.49! I think I’ll prefer the twist-off lids on these.
These are one of the prettiest jars I have ever seen! Love it that they are air tight!
Ordered these, got them yesterday, and filled/labeled them all during a dinner party (yes, I’m classy. No one minded; they watched in fascination). I relocated my plastic wrap and tin foil out of the drawer they’d been hogging and now have a dedicated spice drawer. I love it! Thanks for the tip!
I love love love the look of the spice jars. I just purchased a dozen of the 4.5oz and 6 of the 12oz – I’ll use the 12oz for spices I regularly use.
I prefer the look of these over the screw-top because they serve the same function but provide a more polished look.
Can’t wait to get them. :)
Ugh! I just can’t stop buying organizing things for my kitchen, it makes me feel so good to have everything neat and tidy and in glass jars. :)
Thank you, I think, for this tip. My 36 jars arrived today. Now, I just need to figure out a rack/shelving unit that will work for them.
BTW, Target’s the best price I could find currently. I hate paying shipping though! That being said, I ordered them Sunday night and got them today, Tuesday, early afternoon. Fast!
Amazon has the best price on the 4.5oz jars – it’s 20.99 and if you spend an additional $4 on something else, shipping is free.
On the larger jars, jarstore.com provides a much better price. After purchasing the 12oz jars twice, I realized that even though jarstore.com charges shipping, you get a better deal getting it from them.
Amazon sells a 6pack of the 12oz for $26.72 – shipping included. Jarstore sells these (in units of 12) for $36.22. When you start organizing your spices, you don’t realize how much you actually have.
I’m thinking of purchasing either the 27 or 42oz for storing things like cous cous, lentils, cocoa, coffee, etc. It’s just for aesthetic reasons because I think storing them in their current bags use a lot less room. These jars are so beautiful that if I had a larger pantry, I’d definitely go for it.
I have these great jars and wanted something nice-looking upon which to put them. I found this: http://www.cooking.com/products/shprodde.asp?SKU=695904
One rack will hold a dozen jars exactly.
For owners of FoodSaver (or other?) vacuum sealers, you can get half-pint size jars with standard wide mouth lids, and an adapter that allows you to vacuum-seal the jar (both items found on Amazon.com). Its the same concept with a vacuum seal to preserve freshness.
When I first saw this post early last year (I follow your blog, silently), I knew instantly that this is the way I wanted to organize my spices one day. It took a year but there here now. Adorable little jars, sitting in my cabinets. So beautiful. At times, I can’t help but peek inside just to admire their cuteness.
My (newly-wed) husband thinks I’m nuts, and that my enthusiasm is a bit over-the-top but I’m too happy to care.
Actually, I just wanted thank you for the inspiration, the idea, and everything. I love the way my spices are organized now, and I thank you for it.
Thank you for the directions to here. I love that you’ve included font detail as well.
YEARS later, I wanted to chime in with a few attractive and economical jar options for people (like me) who are still shopping around:
They aren’t quite as adorable as the Libbey jars, but the straight sides means you can squeeze more jars into a tight space and that labeling options will be broader. Plus they’re a bit cheaper ($1.35 per 4oz Penzey’s jar vs. $1.75 for Libbey’s via Target) which is always nice if you’re looking at buying oodles of them…
Hi Deb, I have been wanting to switch my spice collection over to glass jars, so I typed something about that into google and found your blog! LOVE your ideas! Can’t wait to get my spices organized!! :) Thanks for sharing!!
a swatch of chalkboard paint on to the fronts/ bellies of these very cute little spice jars would work!
might need a coat of primer and a couple of coats of chalkboard paint. did you know that you can also make coloured chalkboard paint?
I envision making a rectangle template from mylar or similar to paint uniform labels.
just my thoughts posted
really cute. I do love mine neat and organized too :) you can personalize them more with glass paints, they’re permanent and washable but translucent, not opaque.
My MIL has these little 1/2 cup mason jars. Those would be economical and would stack rather well.
I got these ones from IKEA – http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/20152870/ – and they are amazing! I label them with sharpies, and can rewrite on them as needed :) I may have went to IKEA for the sold purpose of buying these beauties. :)
Sad news – I don’t think Linbey makes the 82 oz jars anymore. I have two, and was looking to purchase more but haven’t been able to find them anywhere. The 62 oz seems to be the largest size now.
*Libbey. Not Linbey. Please excuse typo.
Love this! How do you store them? I have limited kitchen space and was hoping to either buy or get a crafty family member to make me a rack to affix to the back of a door. What’s their diameter (i.e., do they fit in a standard spice rack)? Thanks!
Your efforts in getting your spices organized helped me figure out what I wanted to do.
I wound up with mostly four-ounce Ball jelly jars and a few others in larger sizes to take up the slack.
I got 20 or so of their dry herb jars, that have shaker tops, but honestly I’m not sure I like them as well as the regular mason-type lids.
The rest of mine have the regular lids, which I think might seal tighter.
I like the fact that I can stack them fairly high in the back of the cabinet. Makes it handy to tuck the stuff I barely use way in the bottom of the stack.
I’ve also figured out that I prefer to sort mine by type. Herbs, blends, various peppers, sweet spices for baking, savory spices for cooking, etc. I always reach for things in certain groupings, so why not sort them that way to begin with?
I’m still puzzling over what to do with the gigantic amounts of ginger, cloves, nutmeg and coriander I have. No idea how so much of these wound up in the cabinet, but I wound up consolidating several bottles of each into larger jars.
Just wanted to chime in on the UV issue…
There is UV protectant spray paint (comes in clear and matte depending on the finish you want) that I’ve used to protect jars for tea storage! Just a thin coat on the outside does the trick.
Also your spice rack is inspirational.
Try a heat gun for the label on rounded surface issue.
Am going to order them (and the labels). I wanted to thank you for being so precise and thorough and giving the link to the labels and even the font! Your details make this site a pleasure.
LABEL INFO: Amazon sells round chalkboard labels (with chalkboard pen!) for both the small (4.5oz) jars as well as the next size up (12.5oz). They are called Ziggyboard Chalkboard labels that fit perfectly on the lids. They can be washed without the marker coming off (unless you want it to, then you use Ammonia/Windex). You can also buy them directly from the company Zig Posterman, along with many colors and sizes of markers. I love them! Thanks for sharing your spice obsession with us! http://zigposterman.com/ziggyboard/labeling-ziggyboards/
Hi, I am really interested in these jars as they are really cute and will serve to bring space and organization to my spice cabinet. Question: are you able to fit a measuring spoon into the mouth of the jar easily? If so, what size measuring spoon. Thanks for the idea.
Finally bit the bullet and ordered these today! I can’t WAIT for them to get here!
I’ve been looking online everywhere for suggestions on how to keep the best before date of herbs and spices handy when decanting into new tins? I dont want to write it permanently on the tin as the date will change over the years.
Any ideas anyone?
Just wondering what spices you keep around. I’ve been pondering getting these for a while but need to sit down and seriously write out what we use and therefore need to store so I can figure how many jars to get. Just thought it would be interesting to hear from you about what you consider your spice staples vs spice treats?
After a lot of reading, I went the canning jars and homemade labels route with mine. Overly obsessive is right. LOL! But I do love how they turned out:
I buy my spices in the bulk section (far far cheaper and usually much fresher than the typical jars/cans in the baking aisle; if you can get organic, that’s even better but not always possible). I buy only a little at a time – whatever I think I’ll use in the next few months. I write the date they were bought on the plastic bag, and the bag with the spice/herb goes into the jar. Usually I used them quite quickly, but if not, the date on the bag is there to let me know how fresh they are.
I just use jelly jars. They come in 4 oz or 8 oz sizes, or you can use canning jars for larger quantities – up to 1/2 gallon, which I use to store some flours, beans, and things like dried Ancho peppers that are bulky.
For some bizarre reason, the 4 oz jelly jars are not made to stack well, or at least not as well as the larger jars, but they do well enough. You can even buy plastic lids for them if you don’t like the (admittedly flimsy) canning rings and lids that they come with.
I just got these a few weeks ago and they are *fantastic*. I discovered, also, that Sharpies write on the glass just great, stick until I want them to go away, and rub off with just a bit of rubbing alcohol. Not as picture-perfect as the labels…but just great for me!
I like to know how much r the. Spices jar.
Where can you buy these spice jars?
Target used to have them but they’re sold out. You can find the jars at Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Libbey-4-1-2-Ounce-Spice-Jar/dp/B000HDMKJY and they sell for $23.75 for a dozen.
If you browse down their page you will also find the chromed rack that holds a dozen jars.
I recommend painting outside with black chalkboard paint and using the appropriate white pens to write right on the front. Black and white always looks sharp, but other colors could be used. You could use gold pens for a permanent look, or the chalk pens for erase-ability.
I’ve been using these jars for nearly ten years now and I love them! I buy my herbs and spices in bulk bags from Penzey’s, fill my jars then store the bags in the freezer so I only keep a month’s worth in the jars. I use a P-touch labeler on the top of the lid and store them lid-up in a drawer. I buy mine at Crate & Barrel. I’ve also been gifting them for years!
You should check out I Heart Organizing. She talks about a decal paper that holds up to washing/age on her redo of the spice cabinet. http://www.iheartorganizing.com/2015/07/diy-spice-jar-labels.html?m=1
Great post and really helpful information, everyone! We’ve been in our new house for a year, now, and I had narrow pull-out spice racks put in on each side of the stove. Thought this would be my Dream Come True, but I purchase almost all my spices from Penzey’s and the jar covers are black. Am going to have to look into options with Avery labels. And speaking of OCD, the spices are alphabetized… sort of. Penzey’s has a bunch of terrific spices blends that I use on the regular and those are stuck at the end. Honestly, getting your spices organized is SO satisfying…
What if you dip the jars in chalkboard paint to protect from sunlight?
Hey Deb, I am wondering where you tend to buy your spices from? Online? Markets? Grocery stores? All of the above? I’ve been wondering about using Penzeys, and I never have before.
I have these jars and I use round stickers on the top that I just wrote on with a fine point sharpie. I bought mine at Crate & Barrel which were a bit more expensive but they top opening is a bit larger than the ones on amazon. I originally ordered them from Amazon but returned them when I saw they were not the same type of opening.
I need to edit my previous comment about the pricing of the spice jars. Amazon is 12 for $25 and I paid $1.95 each at Crate & Barrel so same price I guess?
Hi, Deb. Like Katie in January, I am interested in where you get your spices. Also, since I am about to refresh my spice collection, is there a list of must haves you can suggest? Thanks, Lisa
Does a tablespoon fit in the jar? I found a lot of pretty jars but none of them seem to fit the larger baking tablespoon inside.
Re #104, Cuisipro measuring spoons, which are oval instead of round, fit into narrow spice jars more easily. The tablespoon still can be tricky, but I don’t remember any trouble with any others. Cook’s Illustrated recommended them I think largely for that reason. I got them at Sur La Table.
Re #124, I’m of course not Deb, but you can get spices in bulk at health food stores (Aqua Vita in Tucson has a great selection) and certain Whole Foods (SF, P St. in DC). It’s a great way to buy whatever quantity you need while it’s still fairly fresh, usually at reasonable prices (I often get less than $1 worth of a spice). I do buy some from other sources if I like them better or it’s less expensive, esp. Penzey’s Fancy Vietnamese cinnamon, peppercorns from either Kalustyan’s or Morton & Bassett, M&B chili powder, and cardamom from a Middle Eastern store. Mostly, though, I buy in bulk.
I find that I prefer square bottles better because they nestle on the shelf better than round ones. I’ve found them at Amazon, of course.
Hi Deb – I looked through the comments, but couldn’t find it – do you have a good source of bulk spices in NYC?
I’ve been a dedicated Penzeys shopper for years, but I’m trying to create less waste but buying locally from bins.
I’ve always gone to Kalustyan’s either because I lived or worked close. Their specialty is Indian/Middle Eastern but they carry everything in all sizes.
Cool, thank you!
I also use these jars for all my spices. I bought mine about 8 years ago from The Container Store, here in New Jersey. I LOVE them….I keep them in my “Baking
Cabinet”, where I keep everything needed for baking.
Love your cookbook and newsletters. Thanks.
I use two different size bottles for my herbs and spices. The larger ones are for those I use most often. Here’s a blog post I wrote some years ago on how I organized over 40 spices and herbs to fit on two shelves of a small cupboard.
I can’t figure out how to post a picture.
I use metal tins that I glue super magnets to the bottom off and hang on a metal board near my cabinets. The metal tins have a silicone rim so that when you twist them close they’re airtight. And then I use chalkboard round labels on the top with chalkboard marker so that if I run out of the spice and I change it, I just have to clean the label off and I write the new spice in.
I’ve had this idea for spice storage, but am having trouble finding the bottles. I want square bottle so they can lay on their side and not roll off the shelf. They all need to be the same diameter but different heights so when they are on their side they make like a train and it doesnt matter how tall the one next to it is because they are all the same height once they are layed down. so my spices can have larger and smaller amounts without having to adjust the whole rack, just slide them down. So where would i find 2 inch diameter square spice jars in varying heights?
The two best resources I’ve found online for glass jars are Container and Packaging Supply and Specialty Bottle. At the first link, especially, you might be able to find what you’re looking for.
I’ve been buying these same jars at Crate & Barrel and I love them. Nice to know where to find them cheaper. They really are the best spice jars! I have about half of my spices converted to them so far. Love your labels as well!
I thought I’d found the answers to my spice rack woes with your post. I too had the aluminum jars, many of which were stuck shut. However when I checked out the link you supplied at Amazon.com I found your recommended jars were only available in the USA. I was resigned to having them cost far more, due to the $Cdn and shipping fees. That is until I discovered a new brand of yogurt in glass jars perfect for so many uses including spices! The Riviera Petit Pot http://rivierapetitpot.com Fantastic yogurt too, the recipe originating from France. The Canadian company also sell the lids and labels on their site. So for your Canadian fans, this is a great solution similar to yours. I’d send a photo of my newly reorganized spices,but I don’t see a place to upload.
That’s awesome — thanks for the tip.
We have these spice bottles in a drawer…. we made the labels with a Brother label maker and put the labels on the top of each lid. Very tidy, lovely and handy! We keep loose tea in a larger size of the same jars.
In my regular pantry I keep dry foods in 1 1/2 litlre mason jars lying on the side. Doing it this way I can see what’ts there without having to paw through a shelf or move items. I am planning on doing the same thing but with the smaller jam jars for my spices. The 5″ deep shelves will live under my above counter cabinets. I love your jars but frankly any container works as long as they are all the same. Great idea.
Ground spices to bad in less than a year!! Unless you replace your entire spice collection at least annually, Occo Co. is your new bestie 👍 http://www.occospice.com
I also swear I’m not a robot or a paid promoter. Sustainable sourced, fresh spices in quantities real people actually use is the sport of Occo Co. and the dream of my sister, Lisa. I’m just trying to be a helpful big sister and do my part to get word out about an innovative FRESH spice option :)
I replace my spices and herbs at Bulk Barn, a Canadian chain. It’s hard to spend more than $5.
I love these jars and am desperate to get some for myself, but I can’t seem to order them. Do you know if they are perhaps not being made any more? It’s also possibly something to do with the fact that I’m in Australia…
Are these spice jars still working for you? I moved into a new home and need a new “spice system.” I like to keep my spices in a drawer with the spice name on the lid. I generally use a 3/4″ round Avery label for this. Any thoughts or suggestions will be appreciated.
Hey, Deb! I’m a huuuuge Smitten Kitchen fan and I’m hoping you can provide some tips on how to store flour, sugar, etc. I really want to bring the same sort of organization to my baking supplies and I’d appreciate your insight! I’ve been wracking my brain trying to figure out what to order. I checked through your registry ideas and other comment threads, but couldn’t’ find anything.
I use giant glass canisters I only occasionally find in stock online. Airtight is essential.
I re-use the Yoplait Oui yogurt jars. You can even order lids on their website: wood, clear or blue. I used my label maker with the transparent cartridge. ;)
The glass jars with labels are they fir sale?
I love this spice jar but it’s not available in UK.
I’ve always had trouble storage wise with spices–after retiring 1 1/2 years ago I happened on your article and wa-la!, my spice cabinet is not only STAYING organized (over a year:-) it is SO cool! I love these little jars, not only do they look great, I know immediately how much I have left of everything. My advice to others, bite the bullet and DO it!
I am so glad I saw this post and see that you too, alphabetize your spices. My family thought I was OCD when I told them I do this! How else are you to find spices and buy what’s missing in your spice repertoire!
You are a great inspiration to take my spice drawers to the next level of organization and beauty.
I write what’s in the jar on a label on the top, since the spices are in two drawers in a lower cabinet, I can get what I need in a flash.
I’ve had these jars for over 5 years now and they work great! I put them in a drawer with round chalkboard labels on the top of the lid. Very easy to alphabetize them in rows and find what you need quickly. I have a second drawer with larger jars that hold cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, and other items that come in larger quantities.
hey deb: i’ve had the same jars as yours for decades in my martha stewart spice rack that replaced those rusty tins it came with. but i had labels on the bottom and always had to fumble around figuring out which was which. never loved any of the labels i’d see. the white paint marker is just brilliant! thanks again, jude
Thank you for the spice jar update! I misread “paint marker” as “chalk marker” which works just as well but comes off very easily. I remedied it by covering the writing with clear nail polish.