Sunday, June 15, 2008

Spice Rack Project Complete!

It seems I have always had issues with spice storage and it has always frustrated me. Here in Atlanta we have several wonderful Farmers Markets and the one closest to me is the DeKalb Farmers Market. One of my favorite things about this Farmers Market is the assortment of spices, which are bought in bulk then packaged into plastic tubs and priced about 10 - 12 times less than a glass jar you get in the grocery store and have no idea how fresh it is. So I buy the tubs and then I stack them wherever I find room - on the counters, on top of the fridge, in the pantry. And then about once a year I go through and throw away spices that are old, were never used because I forgot I had them, and spices I bought more than once because I forgot I had them.

A couple of years ago I read about an idea involving watchmaker cases onto which you glue magnets and then put these on the fridge. Hmm. Great idea but a bit work intensive what with the gluing and all. Then in February 2007 I began the great kitchen makeover project and this is now my favorite room in the house, although the spice problem still existed.

In March, while I was in Chile, my sister Susannah the new age nun sent me a link to another post about a magnetic spice rack and this time I decided to do it.

Last Saturday I got online to work on my biggest challenge - finding a magnetic whiteboard that wouldn't break the bank. The basic office supply store price for the size I needed was going to run me upwards of $200 and I knew I could do better. I did! I found my board at for $79.00!

A word about this website because I always plug a good customer service experience when I find one. The first board arrived, amazingly, Tuesday morning after placing my order Saturday. Excitedly I opened the carton only to find the whiteboard had two very large "creases." I immediately called the customer service number and spoke with a very helpful woman. I told her I had a compliment (how fast I received my order) and a problem (the creases). She said she would take care of it and send me a return authorization via email and get a replacement out to me.

The very next day the UPS truck pulled up with the replacement and a return tag and the exchange was made. Once again I opened the box and the board had the same problem, although the creases were not as pronounced as with the first board. Once again I called customer service and I told them again there was no apparent damage to the packing and I suspected this was a manufacturing problem. She called the warehouse and had them check every one of these boards and Friday a perfect board was delivered. So while it was a little frustrating I have to say this is some of the best customer service experiences I have had.

In the meantime I got on and found my containers. They are 4 ounce, clear-topped white plastic see and store containers with a magnetic back. I ordered 30 of them figuring that was overkill but turns out I have only 4 empty containers left over so I will have to place another order at some point. I already had a Brother labeler and clear label tape so while I was waiting for my board to arrive I got everything labeled and filled.

Yesterday I mounted my board!
The jars are clearly labeled and with the clear tops I can see how much I have and what I need to put on the shopping list.
The board is large (48 x 31) which means I also have plenty of room to jot down shopping list items. It is magnetic which means I can post recipes as I work on them. I am loving this!!

With two small projects down it has been a good week. Total cost for the coat rack project was $15 (cost of the hooks). Total cost for the spice rack project was about $140 (board and jars).

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