We do a lot more cooking this time of year (doesn't everybody?) and I just realized that the week before Thanksgiving was a crucial time to stock up on spices.
Over the last few years, as I learned to cook different types of food, my spice selection has grown. Some of these I use only occasionally and since spices tend to loose their flavor over time, I buy small amounts of them. I find most of them in the bulk section at Vitamin Cottage.
Since they don't come in their own little jars, I eventually got tired of a bunch of little baggies in my cupboard. So, I searched around for smallish jars to do this with.
Partly I do this is for organization, partly because I love the way the spices look, especially the whole ones. Sometimes I'm actually inspired to cook something just from looking in here.
You may have noticed that the middle group of containers are different. I bought those about 5 years ago and glued magnets to the back of them myself. Since then, the market caught up with my wishes and made better ones, with magnets already attached. I found these at Cost Plus World Market. They are so great. And they're only 2 bucks a piece. The strips of metal came from a trip that Jenny took to IKEA. They were cheap too (if you don't count the cost of Jenny's plane ticket).
I like being able to store the majority of my spices as the whole seeds (or pods or whatever) and only grind enough for a couple months worth of use. They tend to keep their flavor longer that way. But, on the other hand, I hate it when I need something for a recipe and I have to get out the spice grinder. So it's a fine line between not having enough and having too much.
I would like to mention my favorite tip for the spice grinder. Martha once suggested cleaning your spice grinder by running it with stale bread. That worked fine, but I prefer to use white rice. It seems to clean better and also, you can leave it sitting in the grinder between uses, so it can absorb odors and sort of cut down on the mingling of smells.
One final note if you plan to do this. Make sure that if you attach your metal to the inside of the cabinet door like I've done, to allow enough room for the jars to fit between the shelves in the cabinet when the door is closed.