Timeless Spice Jar Makeover

Reset your pantry with a functional facelift for your spice jars

It's nearing the end of August, which means fall is right around the corner –– and with it, back-to-school. WELP! That means an end to balmy Tuesday nights with takeout and TV and the resurgence of meal prep and getting reorganized. 

The easiest way to start building good habits is to set your self up for success before you even begin. My biggest struggle is becoming more forward thinking about meal preparation. I'm a big advocate of cooking at home, but at the moment, my pantry organization leaves a lot to be desired. 

First things first, it was high thyme to bring some consistency to my spice collection, so here's what I did (and what you might want to try) because I'm kind of in love:  

five stacked spices with white labels on tea towel with wooden beads strewn across

1. Purge your pantry.

It's important to know exactly what you're working with, so you know exactly what problems you need to solve. We've got at least four different spice jar styles, all of which are too small or have impractical pouring tops. We also have triplicates of multiple bagged spices which is both expensive and wasteful. I mean, Indian food is great, but there's no way I'm getting through 6lbs of curry anytime soon. 

2. Decide on your aesthetic. 

There are so many label design aesthetics, but my favourites always lie somewhere between boho and modern minimalism. And because pantries are always notoriously overcrowded, less is always more (especially with labels). I also love high contrast, so you aren't standing there scanning small, dull print forever. 

For my pantry, I chose white labels with black text. Clean, simple, classic. However, I also overhauled my parents' pantry and decided to go with the same design, but in onyx. They're both older and have struggled with blurred vision over the years, so I wanted to invest in something not only aesthetically pleasing, but optimized for someone experiencing visual impairment. 

kosher salt white label next to a striped tea towel and a green plant
kosher salt black label next to a striped tea towel and a green plant

Left side: white labels (my pantry), right side: onyx labels (my parents' pantry)

3. Invest in some storage solutions. 

Since I was starting small and hadn't committed to an entire pantry makeover, I kept it simple.

Also, if you would prefer to use up wall space in your kitchen rather than valuable cupboard space, I would recommend looking into some simple wall-mounted shelves to house your spices. 

4. Be thoughtful about your budget.

Just like everybody's pantry needs are different, budgets are too! Some of you will be more inclined to shop small and some may be more heavily reliant on big box shops like Amazon; that's why we linked both. No judgement here. 

I'm a big fan of fresh spices and my spice selection is endless, so I knew I would be spending a chunk of my budget on both replenishing my spices and the spice jars themselves. Thankfully, I find decanting spices to be therapeutic (I could spend hours doing it), so the manual labour was minimal.

red pepper chilli flakes spilling out of glass jar with black label next to jars of bay leaves and kosher salt
stacked jars of kosher salt and red pepper chili flakes with onyx labels next to a striped tea towel and line of wooden beads

I found the glass jars in a few spots online (they were pretty standard across shops) and bought the most affordable ones. For me, it was the labels I was most concerned about. I've got very high standards and a very particular aesthetic, and kitchen labels were no exception. 

Here were my biggest considerations: 

  • Bright, high contrast spice labels in a crisp, modern sans serif font 
  • High quality label paper able to withstands oil, water, and other kitchen spills (you will eventually splatter something on them)
  • Adjustable for repositioning without warping or stretching the label (because nobody's perfect)
  • Easily removable without leaving a sticky residue behind (if I need to repurpose a jar) 

We've been tinkering with designing paper goods for a long time, so this was the perfect opportunity to try our hand at it. We went all in, invested heavily in materials and ran countless batches until we perfected them. As it turns out, we were so thrilled with them that we decided to launch our own line

This project was a BIG win for us and has propelled us into investing in designs for an entire pantry collection, including cooking oils, sauces and baking supplies. When we do, you can bet we'll be taking you along on that journey with us!