Organize the Spice Shelf

You might be wondering why my spice jars have tiny pink chicks on the tops.

One day I was having a hard time, and when I arrived at home, Doug had glued pink chicks to everything in the pantry to cheer me up. Imagine them on the tops of cereal boxes, crackers, bottles of oil, spices, and tea. Everywhere. Pink chicks had completely taken over the pantry, so I let them stay. That was a couple of months ago, and they’ve been here ever since.

The last time I sorted through my spices, I had quite a few more than I do today. Twice as many, perhaps. I didn’t want to throw them away because spices are so expensive, you know? Some of them were ten years old, dried basil from 1998!

What we forget is that spices are food. They’re supposed to have a scent. We wouldn’t eat ten-year-old food in most cases, but yet we still hold on to those tiny old bottles of marjoram and anise and allspice as if they make our spice cabinet look more gourmet, even when we never use them.

Let’s clean out the spice cabinet and keep the spices that we really use, not the ones we think we’re supposed to keep. Old spices taste like paper and smell like dust, and they are not going to help our recipes.

The good news is that you don’t have to worry about spending money to buy more spices. You weren’t using the old ones anyway, so you don’t have to replace them!

How long do spices last? According to McCormick,

  • Seasoning blends: 1-2 years
  • Herbs: 1-3 years
  • Ground spices: 2-3 years
  • Whole spices (such as cinnamon sticks and peppercorns): 3-4 years
  • Extracts: 4 years (except for pure vanilla, which lasts indefinitely)

Some people have asked me about buying the big containers of spices to save money at wholesale clubs like Sam’s and Costco, but I don’t recommend that unless you own a restaurant.

I prefer to buy small amounts of spices from grocery stores that sell spices in the bulk bins. I bought a bag of bay leaves for only eleven cents! It’s a lot cheaper when you don’t have to buy the bottles. I either refill my own bottles or just keep a few of the little bags in a wooden bowl.

You can label a repurposed bottle or write the purchase date as a reminder with a Sharpie marker. You can write directly on glass jars, and the marker ink comes off with rubbing alcohol. (I learned this from a reader’s comment.)

To keep your spices fresh longer, store them away from heat, light, and moisture. You probably don’t want to keep them right next to the stove.

I keep my spices on a shelf in the pantry, so I have a tiered spice shelf to help me see and reach them all.

If you aren’t sure how old your spices are, just smell or taste it to see if it still has flavor.

Did you find any old bottles of spices? Are you letting go of some fancy ones that you never use? Share what you find in the comments.

clear the clutter

About Rachel

I write about practical tips that will help you simplify at home. Connect with me on Pinterest and Twitter.

Comments

  1. The chicks are adorable. That’s so sweet of your husband.

  2. Oh, man. I have *so* many spices! I wish I could get them all on a little shelf like that!
    My husband is a huge fan of spicy things (not just hot-spicy, but flavorful-spicy). Dinners are delicious, but I’m still figuring out how to store them all…

  3. I laughed out loud at the chicks glued on your spices. That’s something my husband would do as well. Thanks for the “shelf life” info on the spices, I didn’t know about that. I now want to go to the container store for that spice shelf, that is just perfect and I definitely have my favorites and think they would fit just fine. I do go through my spices regularly and got out of the “I’m throwing money away” when I’ve tossed a spice. I have my favorites of course, cumin, chili powder, basil and garlic pepper but I told myself it was okay to throw away the big bottle of Cajun spice. We discovered we just didn’t like it and that’s okay. Thanks as always for all the great info and inspiration!

    • I used to hang on to spices forever. I finally got rid of everything except the stuff we used on a regular basis. Now if I want to use a new spice, I try and wait until I go to our large international farmer’s market. I can get bulk spices for next to nothing! I have to refrain from re-buying lots of things we won’t use though, just because they are SO cheap, compared to the grocery store!

  4. Oh, my gosh, your husband is awesome!

    Honestly, my husband is the cook around here so he uses most of the spices. We don’t have many, and I don’t think we have any that we don’t use. I tend not to buy spices unless I know how to use them; I make sure I have a few different recipes I know I’ll try before I buy them.
    Jennie´s last post…The Tool You Can’t Clean Without

  5. I was just thinking the same thing. Some of my spices are really, really old. Time to purge!

  6. I’m doing that chick thing. That’s flippin’ brilliant.

  7. Suzanne S. says:

    Thanks for this post. I’ve been cleaning out, selling, sorting, giving, and storing in preparation for my move to my RV for fulltiming, and I’ve even gotten rid of lots of kitchen stuff. But for some reason I was having trouble letting go of the spices. They’re generally old, as you said, and since reading this I think I can do the deed and trash most of them. Your good deed for the day is done! =)

  8. We only have the spices on hand that we use. We use very few so ‘spice clutter’ is never an issue for us. Very cute chicks!

  9. I always feel SO virtuous when I buy bulk spices. I usually walk over to the insanely priced bottles of spices just to compare and give myself a pat on the back for being such a good shopper!

    Thanks for the list of how long things last. I have purged “dead spices,” but see I should eliminate more. I have LOTS of spices, and DO use them. (We love Indian, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern cooking.)

  10. Found two old bottles. Cha-ching!

  11. Two things:

    I keep all of mine in non descript glass bottles so I can buy them in bulk. Another suggestion (something I learned around Thanksgiving this year when making stuffing) is that often spices are cheaper in the ethnic section of your grocery.

    For instance I was able to buy marjoram, sage and rosemary each for $0.84 in the little bags in the Hispanic foods aisle as opposed to close to $4 per spice in the McCormick variety.

    Just a thought =)

    • Wow, that is a huge difference! Those name brands are ridiculous!
      On somewhat the same note, I have seen garbanzo beans (chick peas) cheaper in the hispanic food aisle than on the bean aisle. It pays to check around in the different departments!
      Bernice @ The Stressed Mom´s last post…10 ways to use shoe organizers

    • i agree. i always check in the latin section for Badia brand spices first. they are always way cheaper and just as good. plus they are from a local company here in florida and i like that.

  12. Good idea to pare down! I think I have some cardamom from, oh, the 90′s perhaps! I’ve got some very old saffron that I can’t bear to part with, though.
    I agree in general about the Costco-sized jars – unless it is an herb or spice you use a lot. I use up my huge containers of parsley, basil, chili powder, and peppercorns within a few months.

    • I use a HUGE jar of cumin about once a month; same with the chili powder. The garlic only lasts about two months because we have three huge jars of different formulations of garlic (minced, granulated, powdered).

      But cinnamon? I hate the flavor for most things, so it never gets used. Curry powder? No need usually, but when I want it I want it NOW and I need a LOT so we have a small jar that gets used and replaced about once a year.

      We just moved and I got rid of a lot of my spices, just left them with the other roommates. What I found is that I just don’t like spice MIXES, I like to make those flavors myself. So I left them a lot of spice mixes, and kept my individual spices. My partner’s parents had to go through their spice rack to make room for us to move in, and you will never believe this: We threw away peppercorns…

      FROM 1979!

      Yeah, we threw that away.

  13. I think it is cute that your Hungarian Hot Paprika has two cute chicks instead of one.

  14. I’ve been following your post for months now and am encouraged everytime you write. Am loving what your darling hubby did. Which of the Five Languages of Love does this reflect do you think?

    • I don’t know, I think he just knew I would like them.

      • My husband always writes little “I <3 U" notes or smily cat faces onto the windows so that i see them when the kitchen gets steamy. Husbands can be lovely sometimes!

      • I have my spices in the lift out tray of an old toolbox on one of my pantry shelves – i’m forever rummaging through them whenever i need anything so nothing gets left to linger for too long.

  15. Thank you for these Monday “clear the clutter” tasks. I’ve been sharing them on my FB status every week this year. Last week I got all the papers on my desk dealt with…this week my spice drawer is under control. It all seems manageable when its just one thing a week. PS – when I buy a new jar of spices, I write the month and date on the top with sharpie and when I see that its getting rather “old” I get rid of it. The duplicates have been transferred down to the garage for my Boy Scout’s camping kitchen. I also offer duplicates to friends when they stop by for tea.

  16. Hello from Mozambique where I have lots of spices, including TWO bottles of turmeric – oops! Will be giving that to a friend! Just wanted to mention that I have that same shelf, bought at WalMart, and it actually is wide enough that I use it to stack cans so I can see what I’ve got in my canned goods more clearly.

    Fun fact: Thanks to McCormick’s ad campaign from a couple years ago, I learned that, other than pepper, any McCormick spice in a tin is at least 20 years old!!

    (last year, I cleaned out my dad’s spices after my step mom died – he had spices from the 80s!)

  17. Those chickies are adorable! I need to do a spice purge…I’m jealous that you can buy yours by weight! Although I do love the little 99 cent packets at World Market :)
    Anne @ Modern Mrs Darcy´s last post…The Tyranny of the Library

  18. I think I have to add some of those chicks to my spice jars, they make me smile.
    I purged my spices a while back and it’s nice to be able to find what I need without sorting through a bunch of stuff I never use. I put my spices on a small lazy-susan that fits in the cupboard just perfectly.
    P.S. I think I might be a bit of a spice snob though – I love to get my spices from Penzey’s. But you can buy them in a semi-bulk fashion so that you don’t have to keep buying the jars – just refilling them as you need.

  19. I feel busted, because I looked at all my spices yesterday, thinking about the 4 containers that havn´t been opened…

  20. Go Doug!! and the Pink Chicks!! Love it!

  21. We are Indian and love our spices – which we get at the local Indian market, and they are really cheap :)

    Also, I wanted to say I love Ball canning jars for storing spices. They really seem to hold the lovely spicy aromas well, and it’s easy to see the contents.

  22. I think those pink chicks are so funny!!! I am so minimalist they would drive me nuts… my mom gave a whole bag of them to my kids one easter, months maybe even years later I was still tossing them out when no one was looking…

    But this is about spices!!! We keep ours dried herbs in a dish next to the oven and for years I have had to lift and look before I toss it in a dish… well my clever son labeled all the lids with a permanent marker the other day – life changing!!! T for thyme, B for Basil, and so on… It’s the little things!!!

  23. The chicks are really cute! :)

    I winnowed out my spices about a year ago, and ditched my spice rack full of things I never use. Now in the drawer by my oven I have the 6-8 that I use all the time (plus the basil plant out on the front porch!).
    Jessica @ Quirky Bookworm´s last post…Ambivalence: Did I Like That Book?

    • Oh, and using tips that I think I found here a while ago (did you do another post about spices a year or two ago?) — I wrote the names of all the spices on the tops of the lids, to save me that few seconds of turning the bottles over to see which was which!

  24. If you need to buy replacements, look in the “Hispanic” food section of the grocery store. They don’t have all the ones you might need, but the ones they do have are MUCH cheaper.

    Love the pink chicks.

  25. You give Doug a big sloppy kiss. What a sweetie pie! I’d smile just seeing them. Heck, I’d smile just thinking of them.

    Don’t throw those spices/herbs out. Put them in some organza bags and put them in your suitcases, the trunk of the car, storage boxes — where ever. I put spice packages in my Christmas wrapping paper boxes.

  26. I’ve just started switching to buying in bulk and reusing old containers–its so much more cost efficient! Even buying organic spices in bulk is cheaper than a normal McCormick’s spice.
    I do tend to use a lot of different spices, though, and keep mine in a double-tiered lazy Susan.
    Kait Palmer´s last post…Bananas and Birthdays

  27. those chicks are so cute! So creative. I love buying spices in bulk organic from Mountain Rose Herbs but then I end up with so much. Try and just have a few spices that I use all the time.
    Lorilee @ Loving Simple Living´s last post…Foundational Secret to Success

  28. Pam in Paris says:

    Wow! I found some dried basil… and the use-by (or sell-by) date was April 2007…
    Thank you!

  29. Seriously? that’s it for your spices?! LOL! :) Come to the kitchen of someone who cooks a lot of Indian food, in addition to Italian and Chinese and Thai. Our spice cabinets are like museums, and cannot be pared down too much or our hands will be tied!

  30. The pink chicks are PRECIOUS! I would have kept them, too! What a thoughtful husband you have!! Blessings!

  31. Our cupboards are a bit deeper than normal I think but we use plastic “shoe” boxes. If I need a spice, I just lift out the box and can see them all at once.

  32. oh that is such a clever way to cheer someone up!!

    I keep the less-used spices in the freezer where they stay fine indefinitely. They are things I use, just not every week (cardamom, caraway seeds, asafoetida, etc.). I keep them in a double layer of plastic.

    However, I can think of a Szechuan pepper blend in my spice cupboard that we NEVER use and last time my husband sprinkled it on something, it had very little kick left. I’m going to toss that.
    Margo´s last post…Dark Days 13: Meatless

  33. Thank you so much for this! With all of the pantry makeovers floating around the blogosphere I have been reluctant to tackle that monster, but this is so accessible, I just reorganized my spice drawer now. Thanks for the inspiration, as always.
    Jessica @ Stay at Home-ista´s last post…The Powder Room/Downstairs Changing Station

  34. I keep mine in the freezer. They seem to stay fresh longer, but I don’t tend to keep around spices that I don’t use often anyway. :)

  35. First time reader…today. Cleaned out the spice cupboard tonight. Thanks for the gentle push. 3 containers of dill weed….really?

  36. Yes! This takes so little time and it really helps free up space in your pantry. I did this in 2010 when I was going through the nesting phase of my 1st pregnancy. I threw out a ton of old stuff. It’s about time to do it again. I’ve found over the years that buying the little bags of spices (they run about $.99) is great, saves money and helps me keep fresher spices on hand. Also, if you’re trying a recipe with a spice you don’t use a lot or have on hand, try asking a neighbor!
    Mel@MySunshine´s last post…Sunday Scoop

  37. I like the pink chicks. My brother gave me some freezer labels he bought at Disneyland and everytime I opened the freezer I laugh when I see all the Minnies.

  38. First of all…the little chicks put a smile on my face as well! So cute. Love your advice. We preach these same things to our clients everyday. Such a great post!
    Loved it so much, we shared it with our fans! https://www.facebook.com/pages/Neat-Method/163477937068505

    All the best,
    Ashley
    NEAT Method

  39. This made me smile from ear to ear!
    I am now thinking of adding some chicks onto the less used ones on my spice shelf – even some yellow ones in the baking stuff area! Your husband is the sweetest!
    I loved this post so much that I even reblogged it with a link to this page!
    http://moline.typepad.com/crafty_mum/2012/02/getting-sidetracked-by-pink-chicks-in-the-spice-shelf.html
    You keep inspiring me daily! Thank you so much
    Yvonne

  40. I keep the spices I use on a shelf in the refrigerator instead of in the pantry. I buy the big bottles of some of the spices at Sams since I make up my own taco, chili, italian dressing mixes and have some left over to make for someone who wants to try what I have. It is too hot and humid in Texas to keep them anywhere else as the bugs and larve that are in them will mature and grow after a while—I found a box (remember the little boxes of spices?) in my mothers pantry that had bugs in it and threw that out. A fast and true way to rid yourself of any kind of bug is to freeze what you bought for 90 days. I put large things like flour or cornmeal in fodd grade freezer bag that zips (ziplock) and freeze, then thaw with a few bay leaves in the bag to keep anything at bay. I do this with rice and dry beans also. Thanks for the suggestions as they are wonderful and where did you get those chicks? Cute.

  41. I remember the last time you blogged about spices. I cleaned out my cabinets then of old, outdated spices. And guess what? I went out and did just what you said not to do. I replaced the ones I tossed and still haven’t used them!! So you are right, if you haven’t used them, toss the old ones, and don’t replace.

    Your hubby is the greatest!! He knows how to cheer you up.
    Donna´s last post…Cathedral Window Pincushion

  42. When we moved a few years ago, we went through our kitchen cupboards & ALL our spices were out of date by a huge amount!!!

    We were going to buy a new spice rack but in the end we didn’t and only bought what we used (we’ve now only got 3).

  43. I love the pink chicks! I have so many spices. I have a cupboard full, a drawer full and a basket in the pantry. I am sure most of which need to be thrown out. I need to move several as they are in a cupboard near the stove. I need to get one of those fancy shelving things, the tiered one — maybe a few.

  44. Now I know what will I do when I come home from work!! :)
    Marina´s last post……Week of letters…

  45. I need pink chicks!
    And I need one of those shelves, cause my only problem is that I cannot see what I have.

  46. I clean out my pantry and spice rack at least twice a year – and every time, without fail, I end up with at least two jars of something or other that are a couple of YEARS past their use by date. This is technically impossible. Unless there’s a gap in the space/time continuum in the back of my pantry that links to someone else’s spice rack!

    Due to lack of space, mine hangs on the back of the pantry door – this is a better use of my limited space AND also keeps me down to spices and herbs I actually use! Plus, I have thyme, oregano, parsley and chives growing outside the back door.

  47. From reading the comments, and admiring the cuteness of those chicks (they even seem to have individual expressions), I can just imagine the chick thing going viral, and appearing stuck to spice jars in homes around the world :)

    I replace my spices regularly. I like wandering into the kitchen and taking the lid off my chai spice blend, or a jar of cumin, just to enjoy the scent.
    Kim @ Extra Organized´s last post…Life purpose, simplified

  48. I got in trouble for clearing out my MIL’s spices and condiments while she was sick… they claimed the fridge was too full for the groceries and I should switch the unused fridge in the house’s 2nd apartment; then we cleaned out the fridge: afterwards, it was only half full!! I threw out stuff from the 90s, yuck. As soon as she could make it downstairs again, my MIL filled everything back up. Meanwhile, her husband has died, she is alone in the house and she has two fridges and three huge freezers stuffed with food (mostly out-of-date – my husband threw out ice-cream that expired in 1991…) and last time I was there I noticed she now has 3 bottles of dried rosemary on the front of her shelf. Sigh. Otherwise, nobody guesses how she hoards in her beautiful mansion full of cherished antiques and valuable things, but oh how she hoards…
    I woke up years ago and have decluttered my spices and packets regularly ever since, but then I was never quite such a hoarder – though there is a (true) joke that my 95 yr old grandma has a nutmeg in a jar in her tiny pantry that is pre-WWII!!!

  49. Interesting about not storing spices near stove to help preserve them… What could be stored near stove?? Have two skinny cabinets that I need to use…

  50. I’ve got the spices working…just wondering what the shelf life of pink chicks might be??? Hats off to Doug for cheering up the lot of us!

  51. Two thoughts from skimming the comments:
    1. It doesn’t matter whether a household used a few spices or a “ton” — just be sure to go through them periodically and throw away the ones that don’t do anything more than take up space, which brings me to…
    2. I think we have to embrace the idea that there is just going to be some waste in this old fallen world. We hold onto things of no value because we somehow think that means we haven’t wasted resources, but it isn’t true. Some waste is simply a part of the cost of running a household. Old, useless spices are a prime example of how difficult it is to match procurement quantity with actual use. We try, we fail, but holding onto the extra doesn’t change the failure.
    Lori´s last post…Unsolicited Advice: Put Your Servants to Work

  52. I just did a post last month about organizing my spice cabinet by category. I have a lot more spices than you do, and there are more I should get rid of for sure. I did get rid of a huge container of lemon pepper spice that was very very old, and also a spice blend that I had made in a baggie and had no idea what it was, and a few others I think. But I kept a lot. And I found a lot of duplicates because I was so disorganized.

    I love the idea of writing the dates on the bottles, I think that would help me know when it’s time to say goodbye to a spice. I need to find a place that sells spices in bulk, too. I think that would help me in a big way!

    Those chicks rock.
    Elizabeth@ReadySetSimplify´s last post…Menu Plan for the Week – 2/19 – 2/25

  53. i love to refill my spice jars in the bulk section… i was needing ground ginger and it was out of stock in bulk and i had to buy a jar and i was so sad! hahaha!

    i don’t need to get rid of spices as much as organize them. (we use a ton of spices and quite the variety because i love to make all kinds of ethnic foods.) my spice cupboard became a catch all for birthday candles, essential oils, home fragrance oils, and other random stuff. i think is is time to go through it and see what is actually all in there!
    Charis´s last post…never too old to learn something new!

  54. i had this cute rotating spice rack, where each bottle hung from the carousel… and never got used. after reading an article on msn lifestyle about repurposing household items, i turned it into a bead/thread holder for the kids. now the bottles are filled with colorful beads, plastic hearts, and pretty threads for the next time they want to make necklaces or bracelets. spice rack – who did i think i was fooling?

  55. You are so right.
    Fresh spices are key to fragrant and tasty food.

    I usually get mind at Penseys – or the Spice House (both are available online.) I was amazed to find that buying them from a spice purveyor is not more expensive than buying them from the grocery store.

    It’s recommended that you replace your spices every 1 year. I replace mine just before Thanksgiving, so the holidays get the freshest kick.

    The key is knowing what you use.
    Since I buy spices each year, I only get small half-sized bottles for most spices. And, since I use tons of oregano and parsley, I get giant sized zip locks and refill the bottles myself – many times before the year is up.

    Nice post – good reminder!
    ~ Dana
    Cooking At Cafe D
    Dana @ Cooking at Cafe D´s last post…Cinnamon Love – So NOT Perfect!

  56. We do buy a few large Costco spices like black peppercorns, kosher salt, chili powder & red pepper flakes- all of which we use a lot of.

    One thing I do is not buy any odd or individual spice that I can’t get in a spice blend. For example I stead of buying marjoram & oregano & dried basil – I just buy Italian blend. Instead of cinnamon & nutmeg – I just buy pumpkin pie spice. It’s never ruined a recipe doing that thus far. Now my cooking skills might have…but I can’t blame the spices.

    Long ago I bought saffron threads for some gourmet recipe that turned out to be go hum. . In hindsight, it certainly was not worth the hassle, the energy or expense. Anyways, I ended up with a jar of saffron lingering around for years which I finally tossed out not long ago. Did I regret throwing it out? No. If anything I regret having bought it to begin with – especially knowing that I’m simply a home cook – not a chef nor a gourmand, just a home cook.

  57. I am feeling so empowered right now! This is something that I have actually already done!! When I first started my Stripper Project (check out my blog for more details) my spices were one of the first things that inspired me. My cupboard was FULL and one day I just took it all out, got rid of everything that needed to go and put everything else in a small container on my shelf. I am telling you, that has made cooking SO MUCH EASIER! I don’t have to go digging for something or wonder if I have it. I can actually go in to that container blind and pull out what I need. It feel so good to have sorted spices.
    Diane @ The Stripper Project´s last post…Go on… get down there!

  58. I love the bulk idea! Which stores are you finding economical bulk spices for purchase? Would love to know if this is an option in my area that I’ve been missing!

    • Whole Foods, Sprouts, and HEB’s Central Market

      • You know I have never thought of the bulk spices bins at Whole Food or Sprouts. Maybe I did and forgot. I do know spices from those stores are generally more expensive normally, but getting the bulk from there (even possibly organic) would be less expensive. Two thumbs up for that idea!

        I have to give myself thumbs up, too, for throwing out those few spices that haven’t gotten used up around the 3 year mark. I don’t like to have too many different spices on hand, but I was buying some of the bigger containers sometimes from the warehouse type stores. Also, I took the cheap route and had them tiered on two different heights of 12 in. pieces of wood.

        Oh, and those little kindred peeps would definitely put a big smile on my face, too! That was so sweet of Doug. I’m sorry, Rachel, but you know I’m smitten with his handymanship and, apparently, his showing a bit of his sensitive side, also. (I hope you don’t mind my teasing you guys a wee bit, but, mostly, I do appreciate where you both are coming from:)

    • The best prices I’ve found on bulk spices are at Sam’s Club.

  59. The pink chicks are absolutely adorable and I think I would cry a million rivers if someone was ever kind enough to do something like that to cheer me up!

  60. Thank you for the spice expiration info! And the little chicks… too funny! I was sure you were going to explain that they were for some organizational use… haha!

    Also I gave you a shout out over on my blog today. I am new to small notebook, but have already been so inspired by you!

  61. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooOOOOOOOO!!!

    I’ve had “clean out the spice cabinet” on my to-do list for a month.

    And now I have to go do it because I’m actually inspired? Psh…thanks a lot.

    Actually, yeah…thanks! :D

  62. Just last night, while I was searching my spice rack for a certain spice, I began to wonder about their expiration dates. So while the dinner was cooking, I flipped over all my spice jars and cans to check. Most did not have “use by dates” printed anywhere on the jar but a few did. Many of these were still current and a few expired within the last two years so imagine my surprise when I found one that had expired in August of 1986!! I have only lived in this house for seven years and my last home for fifteen years, so where in the world did this old can of cloves come from!!

  63. Here’s a teacher trick for erasing permanent marker if you want to reuse the jar later on: just color over it with a dry erase marker and wipe it off. This also works if kids write on a whiteboard with permanent marker…

  64. I SO need this nudge to clean out my spice cabinet! But I still can bring myself to toss those expensive spices I use rarely. But I’ll keep thinking about it. Thanks!!!
    I LOVE the chicks. One that he did it and two that you left them on all this time. Sweet!
    Debra Bell´s last post…Hunting Pink Elephants

  65. If you go on the McCormick’s website, they have a way to tell how old your spices are either by the can/bottle or code numbers. It amazed me how old mine were when I moved a few years ago.

    http://www.mccormick.com/Spices101/HowOldSpices.aspx

  66. Were you looking at my spices when you wrote this? As I was reading this I realized that the spice rack that my cousin gave me over 4 years ago still has some of the original spices in it! I have some purging to do. Thanks!

  67. My spices are older than yours, lol! I still have some I got as a wedding gift in 1987! I realized recently that I don’t HAVE to keep moving them from one house to another, so when we move into the house we just bought, most won’t be going with is.
    Kelly´s last post…Another Surprise @ the New House

  68. Love the chicks; what a sweet gesture from your husband! The best organizational thing I’ve ever done (it isn’t my strong suit!) is to hang spice racks inside our cupboard door. We have very, very limited cupboard/pantry space so moving the spices from the “floor” of the cupboard helped a lot and I can see them all.

    Love the tips for buying small amounts from bulk. The other thing I do is dry the herbs (thyme, oregano, rosemary mostly) we get from our CSA in the spring/summer months and use them all year. When a new season starts I toss the old stuff and start using the new.

    Oh, and congrats on the new company!
    - Barbara

  69. You can also get the spice shelf at Walmart. I love mine!

  70. Today was the day to organize my spice cabinet. We moved in to our new home one year ago and I just tossed everything in there. I knew I had “expired” spices but didn’t have the time to think abour looking at the dates when unpacking.

    I just went thru and I have a medium sized bag filled with gently expired spices. As I did with my boxed foods and canned foods when I moved in, I put them on craigslist.com and was very explicit in the FREE Ad. I listed them as 99% expired spices for free if anyone would like to come and get them. They are gone now to a home that may not have as needy taste buds as my family seems to have. With today’s economy some folks just can’t afford the extras (spices really are an extra to some) so I figure that they will not harm anyone so off to a needy home they went.

    I thought I would post that idea in case any others find a lot of spices in the not-too-old to hurt anyone category.

    Thanks for the comments I read thru above. I searched “do spices really expire” and found this thread. I knew they did but was hoping that “they” changed their mind and spices last forever. Well, I did learn that Vanilla does which is good since I coule never find mine until I cleaned the cabinet out and now I have quite a bit. :)