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August 13, 2010
Kitchen Tools: Magnetic Knife Rack Spice Rack
I live in a condo with a very compact kitchen and am always trying to find ways to save space. I had a double-tiered Lazy Susan in my pantry that was crammed full of spices. It was taking up precious pantry space, as well as getting so packed that it was always hard to find the spice I was looking for because sometimes what I needed was sitting behind another bottle; I started buying duplicate spices because I thought I didn't have an item. The more I played around with cooking, the more spices I bought, and the more spices I bought, the less room my pantry had. It was a mess.
After searching online for ideas, I kept seeing magnetic spice racks. Unfortunately, most of them were sheets of metal and only held up to around 16-20 spices, and most of them couldn't be used very flexibly. Related to that, another idea was to buy watchmaker tins and put magnets on them, then affix them to my fridge. But from what I read, the tins aren't very airtight, and the warmth of the fridge might affect the spices. So what now?
Well, I have small, long cabinets that hang above my sink. I thought it would be great if I could somehow have a long row of spices that stretched the same length. I considered building a small shelf that just extended beneath the cabinets, but going out to buy supplies and making it permanent with a professional look was a little daunting. I found out that there's such a thing as magnetic primer, and thought maybe I could coat the underside of the cabinet, but found out the primer can really only support light items (like pieces of paper).
All this time I wanted something cheap, but really, my ideas were too grand for cheap. Once I realized this, I finally gave in to my gut instinct: magnetic knife racks. I popped over to Ikea, got a few slim racks that cost about $8-9 a piece, and had the husb attach them to the cabinet. He had to trim one of the racks (I think he actually used--and possibly destroyed--a handsaw). But they were up there!
As for the jars, well, I had to hunt for jars with lids that I knew would be magnetic. Most jars with metal lids should work. For me, since I already had one spice rack with magnetic jars, I just caved in and bought the rack again (after a failed call to the manufacturer to inquire about buying replacement jars), and gave away the extra spices to some friends.
It took a while for me to transfer all of my spices from my variety of bottles to the jars, and then I labeled them all using clear labels in the handy-dandy label-maker (every home should have one).
Once I popped all those jars up there and saw the colors and how streamlined it looked, I was giddy. It makes me happy every time I look at it. I have room in my pantry again, the spice rack looks great, and man, it makes cooking so convenient too!
Additional thoughts, added post-post:
I have to say that my initial reason for doing this was to save space, but the function aspect has been a huge bonus. When I'm cooking or baking, it's awesome to have everything accessible at an arm's length. I even have baking soda and powder on the rack. Plus, there's the great satisfaction of popping the jar off and on the rack!
I think I may add one non-conformist jar to the mix, since it's used more often: vanilla. I do have to store a few excess spices/powders in a cabinet, but they take up very little space and only need to be accessed at refill time. My one regret with the whole project is that I wish the space above my sink were even longer, because I have a few more spices I'd like to add to the lineup! For now, I plan to put the least-used spices (who needs saffron on a regular basis?) in a cabinet. Right now, that's only about 4-5 bottles, which is something I can deal with. :)
Wow, the magnetic rack looks quite good
I’m considering acquiring one for my kitchen