Jun 29, 2013

organizing baking supplies

how are your baking supplies stored?

our old method, since the time fish and i moved out on our own eight (!) years ago, was to keep them in mason jars. i loved the look and uniformity...but the problem was that a whole bag of anything never fully fit into a relatively small mason jar.

with the not-humongous number of cabinets we have in our current kitchen, i wanted to condense the amount of space all these sugars and powders were taking up.

we had the jars in a lower cabinet...

...and the overflow in a top cabinet:

by combining both the jar and bag stocks into one larger container, maybe we could store everything over the microwave and gain an entire free cabinet!

note: we already keep an open stool in the kitchen for K to "help" prepare meals and get his own juice boxes, etc...i end up using it quite often myself since i'm a shorty. the ever-present stool combined with the fact that we don't bake very often means it's not really much of an inconvenience to store our baking supplies over the microwave.

i started searching for containers that were tall and thin. the target cabinet is 28" wide and a generous 18" tall. if i could find containers that were tall and skinny enough, i could line them up straight across and see everything at a glance.

i found these (sold separately) at the container store.

they were perfect -- and i liked the stackability of them. but once i tallied up how many i'd need, the total made me a bit uncomfortable.


i looked for cheaper options, but most were shorter and/or wider than i wanted. or just as expensive as the "perfect" canisters at the container store. or only came in sets with extra pieces we didn't need.

i was about to give up on the whole thing and just deal.
wait, i bet ikea has something.

sizewise, these were nearly a dead-on match to the perfectly-proportioned canisters at the container store. but priced much lower.

a trip to ikea was in order. 
K and i set out on our organizing adventure.
i must admit it's nice living close enough to an ikea that i can just go on a whim.

i came home with an assortment of 1qt and 2qt canisters.

after cleaning them, it was time to break out my trusty label maker.

the empty canisters easily tip over --
but i found they're a lot more stable once filled.

i like the flip-top pour spouts.

for powders with mixing instructions (bisquick, dry milk, potato flakes, etc), i cut out the directions, sealed them in a plastic baggie, and dropped it into the canister as so:

i started lining them up in the cabinet...

...and quickly discovered they didn't all fit.

in fact, i had to store the bulk of the larger 2qt canisters sideways, just to get a decent amount of containers into the upper cabinet. ARGH. ARGH. ARGH.

i think it looks much-improved. i never could see everything in there all at once so that hasn't changed. it definitely looks more orderly.

however, i wish they were straight up and down rectangles (vs tapering towards the bottom) so they could sit right next to each other. also, they wouldn't be as prone to tipping.

i'm sad i can't stack the smaller canisters on top of the larger ones, like the ones from the container store.

instead, the 1qt containers ended up residing in the lower cabinet -- the one i was hoping to have free to do with as i wished.

i don't think it's a major improvement. the ikea canisters just don't nestle as perfectly into the drawer as the mason jars did.

soooo...i just spent hours measuring, planning, researching, buying, cleaning, labeling, and transferring powders...to arguably have a worse setup than before. 


i spent about one-third of the price on the ikea versions, but if i had to do it over -- spend more money so everything would fit in one cabinet -- i think i'd buy from the container store.

looking on the bright side...at least all of our sugars and powders are condensed into single containers -- vs a jar down here and a bag up there.

...and it looks nice...
even if it isn't that much more practical.
maybe even less practical??

we'll try living with it for a while and see how it goes. it's not like we're big bakers. well, i take that back. i'm not a baker at all. fish makes a mean angel food cake and scrumptious creme brulee...but he works about a million hours a week and i make him mow the lawn in his spare hour so...yeah, we'll try living with it for a while.

* mari

Eames Low Back Office Chair at Serenity Living 728


  1. Can you not get the container store ones, transfer everything, then wash and return the ikea ones? I bet they'd take them back if you have the receipt.

    1. i think i already tossed the receipt...i'm a little overzealous in not letting paper pile up in our house. this isn't the first receipt i've tossed too soon. :/

      thanks for the suggestion though!

  2. What if you kept the mason jar idea and just devoted 2 jars to each ingredient. Then you can store them 2 jars deep in the upper cabinet? Just a thought. I can totally relate to your failed attempt though and appreciate your honesty! DIY is often less than perfect.

    1. hi hilary, thanks for the suggestion! i was trying to get to one container per ingredient. the smaller containers in the lower cabinet don't have overflow larger containers in the upper cabinet any longer.

      bleaaah, the whole time-consuming result is just meh to me. i just keep the cabinet doors closed so i'm not reminded of all the wasted time! :)

  3. Oh I hate it too when everything ends up not fitting, but overall I think everything looks so much more cohesive and of course I love the labeling on the jars. That really looks great. Love the tip about putting the instruction on the side.

  4. I do like that top cupboard...it is very calming!! I like the bottom one, too, even though I see your point. I think we've all done that same thing and tossed the receipt!! Why is it I hold on to the one from the milk but toss the one from the shirt I don't like after all?? You probably could return it all for store credit. There's always something we need at Ikea!! :) Although, I've been around here long enough to think that at some point you will repurpose those and it will be fabulous!! :)

    1. I'm just leaving them -- basically, I'm too lazy to undo all of my work, lol. like i said, i don't cook much so the arrangement hasn't much bothered me. :)


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