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Howdy! I just completed a simple organization project that made a huge difference in my kitchen, so I thought I’d share it with you. I completely overhauled my spice organization and drawers! And it was easy and fun.
Here’s a little back story: we moved into a new house in January. We were blessed to build a new prefab home on acreage, and we are loving the country life again. (I will try to post more house pics as we get into the groove and settle in. We are on the verge of listing our old house, so as you can imagine, we haven’t completed many projects in the new place yet!) Our build was a budget build, so we spent money on all the important structural items and things that would be difficult to change later – roofing, insulation, 9′ ceiling heights, windows, walkout basement, etc. – and didn’t upgrade any finishes. So our house is a beautifully blank page waiting to be written on. The rooms are clean, open, and ready to be decorated and/or finished.
That includes the kitchen. We got the basic cabinets and countertops, bought our own appliances, and plan to customize over time. What we didn’t realize is that these cabinets came with extremely shallow drawers – out of 22 drawers, only ONE is more than 2.5″ deep! That’s 21 very shallow drawers to work with. Examples of items that no longer fit in drawers: ladles, cooking spatulas, most serving utensils, stacks of dish towels more than 2 high, and spice jars! It might seem trivial, but the drawers have become a waste of space and a big source of frustration. A lovely, huge kitchen with so much wasted space is a kitchen begging for some tweaking! I discovered that I could lie all the jars flat and they would fit, but since I accumulated them over time, they were many sizes and shapes. Putting them in any sort of order was impossible. And the round ones rolled! I had labeled all of my jars on the lids, so the jars were no longer labeled properly. (This isn’t a problem for me as much as for my children – my older children like to cook and bake, and they aren’t always able to identify herbs and spices by sight, as I am.)
So I did a little thinking, measuring, and planning. I discovered that 4 oz. mason jars fit perfectly in my drawers, and they were very affordable. (That link is to Amazon, but if you have an Ace Hardware nearby, I recommend buying them there via free store pickup. It’s the cheapest option for any size of mason jar. I’m not affiliated with Ace; just a happy customer.)
Once my jars arrived, I measured the lids and decided to buy a cheap roll of chalkboard contact paper and punch out perfect circles for the lids. (FYI: 2″ circles fit perfectly on regular size mason jar lids.) I wanted the look of chalkboard labels, but I didn’t want the labels to rub off easily, so I decided to buy oil-based Sharpie paint pens to make the label permanent. (This project only uses a very small amount of the chalkboard paper, so I have lots left to make new labels, if needed. If you want to make your labels erasable but semi-permanent, you could try wet erase chalk markers, like these. I didn’t want my messy little sous chefs to accidentally wipe things off with their greasy fingers, so I decided not to go that route. They may be more durable than I suspect, though! If you try them, do comment and let me know.)
And here’s the after!
Mason Jar Spice Jar DIY
- 4 oz. mason jars
- Con-Tact Brand Adhesive Chalk Board Covering
- Sharpie oil-based paint markers, fine point
- 2″ circle punch
- Wash all jars and lids. I ran the jars through the dishwasher but hand washed the lids. Allow to dry completely.
- Punch out as many chalkboard labels as you will need for your spice drawer/cabinet. I needed 36. TIP: flip the punch over to the clear side to help you line up the punch with as little waste possible.
- Prime & shake your marker, and do a few practice labels. Your handwriting will be very visible, so make sure it looks the way you like.
- Label your lids, transfer herbs/spices to new jars, and organize in your drawer or on your shelf! I had kid helpers, so we worked a few jars at a time so as not to lose track of what was actually in each jar. I was delighted that my kids chose to alphabetize the spices, as that’s what I would’ve done if they hadn’t.