Kitchen storage is important for the big things like pots, pans and cutlery but also for the smaller things like spices. Having adequate storage is not only about having enough space, but more about having a specific space for every little thing in the kitchen. It's best to have a space organized for everything so that it is easier to find when you need it in a hurry. For example, when you are cooking a meal for lots of guests, an unorganized kitchen where you can't find the garam masala in time can add to the stress.
For starters, there should be a dedicated space for all the spices. Indian homes usually have at least a dozen different types of spices in the kitchen and it can be difficult to find the one you are looking for right away, unless it's been labelled and sorted beforehand.
The spices used most frequently should be the easiest to access and you can further organize spices into different clusters. For example, spices to make sambar and herbs to cook pasta should be kept separately so that it's easier to find quickly and you don't end up burning what's cooking because you're busy looking for the spices or herbs.
Furthermore an organized kitchen is also easier to keep neat and tidy. It will also prevent messy accidents from happening in the kitchen.
An open shelf just below the cabinet is a common space to store spices in jars or containers. Open shelves provide easy access so that you don't have to have a free non-greasy hand to open cabinet doors to reach for spices. However, actually spices should not be exposed to excessive heat or light because they lose their flavours so it's better to have an open shelf that is not directly above the stove area. The containers which are used to store spices are also important—it's best not to store spices in tins as they heat up easily and also to store spices in containers that have a good seal or cover.
If your kitchen is very small and is generally hot, it's best to keep spices in a closed cabinet to protect them from over-exposure to heat and light. For storing spices it's best to have a cabinet that is not too deep so that the jars of spices don't get lost. Arrange the spices so that the ones you need the most frequently are easily accessible at arm's reach. However if the spices are stored in small containers and used very frequently, it might make more sense not to use up precious cabinet space which could be used for storing food items which need to be more importantly protected. A clever idea for storing spices without taking up much space is by placing magnetic strips to the insides of your cabinet doors and storing the spices in small metal containers. If there is unused space space under the cabinets, magnetic strips can be placed at the bottom of the cabinets so that you can stick the containers with spices there instead. Another method of making the most out of the space under your cabinets is to add hooks to the wall under it or at the side of the cabinets and use wire to hang the containers with spices. Please also read 12 kitchen cabinet storage ideas for modern Indian homes for more information.
Carving out a niche in the wall is another great space-saving technique of storing spices at arm's reach. For a more decorative touch, spices can be stored in little test tubes instead. Don't forget to label them! For more inspiration, here are 7 storage ideas for an organized kitchen.
Wall-mounted storage such as wall-mounted racks are practical and can fit almost anywhere with free wall space or even on cabinet doors if there is a lack of wall space. It comes in a myriad of shapes and sizes so we're quite sure you will find something that suits your kitchen perfectly. The main advantage of this type of system is that it gets things off the countertop so there is more free space to work in the kitchen and it doesn't feel overcrowded and stressful. Another example of wall-mounted storage is the wall rail system.
If you have more than a few dozen spices to store, it's best to dedicate a few shelves for storing spices. Pictured here we see several wooden shelves installed in a space which also acts as a sort of divider that separates the kitchen from the dining room and the rest of the home. For more inspiration, here are 11 clever kitchen storage ideas for small Indian homes.
Drawers are excellent for storing all the spices in one space and they also keep them hidden away while also easily accessible. In fact there are special drawer inserts made specifically for storing spices. The rounded drawer inserts are best for keeping the spice containers properly. Spice drawer inserts are available from most cabinet manufacturers and can be custom-made to fit any drawer. There are also adjustable plastic spice drawer inserts which can be bought in stores. Make sure to label the sides of the containers instead of the lids if the containers are lying flat or tilted in the drawer.
These days many modern built-in modular kitchens will have small pull-out cabinets for spices installed just above the stove area. This leaves spaces for more things to be placed in the cabinets and countertops. If there is only a narrow space available, a wall cabinet pull-out spice pantry next to the stove might be best. On the other, if there is more space available, install a larger pull-out pantry instead so that there is also enough space for oils and vinegars as well. A pull-out pantry set at eye level can make all the difference. A lot of storage space is wasted because storage is not placed at the correct heights.
The centralized location of the kitchen island makes it an excellent spot to store spices as it can be easily reached from all areas of the kitchen. It is also a convenient place to have the stove area. For more ideas, please also refer to our article titled creating a fabulous kitchen island.
A chrome rack with hanging containers can also be used to store spices which are frequently used or even for salt and pepper.
Tiered racks like the ones pictured here should be mounted onto the kitchen wall at eye level to store spices. This is an excellent idea if there is a lack of space on the kitchen countertop, cabinets or pantry. Tiered racks are also easy to organize and very affordable.
Long narrow shelves are better than wide shelves for storing spices as the limited space will force you to arrange all the spices in a neat row instead of placing some behind other. The upper cabinets, the side of the kitchen island, or the the end of the counter are also good spot for storing spices as they are more narrow.
We hope this article has been helpful and informative. For more related ideas, have a look at practical storage for the quintessential kitchen.