While I was in NM I saw a really cool spice rack- the spices were all held in metal containers and magnetically attached to a metal sheet that hung on the wall. It's a perfect solution to limited counter/cabinet space, which is definitely the situation I'm in. Of course, I saw no need to buy a pre-made set, especially not one that would need to be shipped across the country. As I began considering how to do this myself, I thought of using the fridge as my magnetic surface, but was reasonably confident that opening the door enough times would eventually result in spices flying all over the kitchen. After doing a bit of online research I saw that someone had thought to use the side of the refrigerator, and I realized that this would work in my kitchen too. Step one - find a surface - was complete with no purchases or new materials. Step two - magnets - easily accomplished this afternoon at the craft store. I was a little disappointed with Home Depot for not having anything appropriate, since I'm used to them having everything I need and more, but Michaels pulled through with the super strong Neo Magnets. Step three - containers - we went to several different stores (all on the same street so no wild goose chase of driving, but still more time than I should have spent) looking for matching glass or similar containers to put the spices in. My original instinct was simply to use whatever containers I currently had, but I sort of wanted the sleek look of matching containers, plus I didn't want to glue my magnets onto the containers and then need to eventually detach them. After our fruitless search I decided to just start by using the glass spice jars I already had, and then I would replace with glass as I went along, refilling the magnetized ones and perhaps relabeling as necessary. But then, I opened my drawer and saw duct tape- the perfect solution for any problem. Amazingly, a small piece of duct tape can attach the magnet securely enough to all of my spice bottles and even through the tapes the magnet still adheres to the fridge solidly enough not to slip at all (except the basil, which required 2 magnets). So now I have my spices within easy reach, my pantry has more space and I have a flexible, decent looking display. See?
Yesterday I got a T-shirt from a friend that says "It's easy being green" and features Kermit (it's made of organic cotton and non-toxic dyes, Disney is doing some good stuff). Today I wore it and also felt like I lived out the statement. While it would have been really easy to buy a pre-made set to solve my spice issues (or better yet, buy all pre-made food so I wouldn't even need spices), but I decided to do it myself using nearly all materials that I had on hand, and it was still easy! The only thing I purchased was magnets. This is definitely a sustainable system, as I add spices to my stock, I just buy more magnets and fill in the space. This also makes me want to cook- thinking about spices all day made me hungry and anxious to try out the system!