Organizing Your Tea Stash…
and Why It Matters
This is a guest article from a fellow mom-preneur, Adriana Keefe who helped guide me on the best tips for organizing my tea stash. Critical stuff for anyone who has an overflowing cabinet or drawer with aging tea that gets hidden and forgotten about when it's all a big mess.
However, there’s more to this blog post than organizing your tea. There’s even more to organizing your tea than you’d think.
What do I mean? Let’s rewind a bit and think about when you walk into your home, before even opening the cabinet or pantry. How do you feel? I mean, how do you REALLY feel? When you enter your home, does it give you a sense of calming and peace? Or does it give you the feeling of overwhelm? Anger? The feeling of “why do I bother cleaning this place up”?
Then I want you to ask yourself how you WANT to feel when you walk into your home. Do you want to feel at ease? Motivated? Present?
If you haven’t already noticed, I’m pointing out the ways in which your physical space affects your mood, which in turn affects the rest of how your day is spent. Maybe you’ve seen the latest buzz around decluttering and how it improves your life.
For years I have been a big organizer. I looked into starting a professional organization business, but after a few trial runs that didn’t stick for the homeowners, I knew it wasn’t organization that was needed. Organization is literally moving things back and forth. All the same things. There’s still just as much stuff, but now you need to put it away in specific areas. That didn’t seem like it was solving anything.
Research has shown time and time again that the more physical items you own, the less happy you are. The rates of depression, anxiety, stress, and burnout are higher in people who own a lot of physical things. When you’re able to free yourself from the stresses caused by the disorganization and “stuff”, you’re paving a path to other things and feelings you want in life. Less stuff leads to less stress.
So, the first key to true organization is decluttering. At first, getting rid of the clutter can feel uncomfortable and overwhelming. That’s why a great first step is starting small, like with your tea cabinet, bathroom drawers, or simply clearing off your refrigerator. Once the excess is tossed or donated, the real organization and system management can begin.
Now you see why I want you to take 30 minutes of your day to stop and go through something as simple as your tea stash. It’s a small project that can lead to big change. Also, tea should be kept in a specific way to prevent from them absorbing heat and moisture (we’ll circle back to that later), so it’s a good place to cover.
First step: Toss all expired tea and give tea that you don’t drink (and have been saving for those guests who never actually come over) to someone who will drink it. This is the best part! It will make your life so much easier when it comes to organizing them. Get rid of the excess!
Next, decide whether you want to spend money on creating your new organization system. You could spend $1 at the Dollar Tree on a small bin or $20 on an organizer. Let’s go with the budget-friendly option first.
For storing tea bags that are not individually wrapped an easy budget-friendly option to be able do with items you likely already have at home is the Ziploc-baggie-in-a-bin method. For the small bin, you could use an old Tupperware container, a Dollar Store organization bin, etc.
Cut off the label from the tea box or bag and put it in what will be the front of the Ziploc bag. Place the tea bags in the baggie behind the label. You can then put them in the container or bin you chose for easy viewing and access. Be sure to consolidate as many boxes as you can. Voila!
The method is similar for tea that has individually wrapped bags. Cut off the top of the tea box and place the entire box in the bin – no baggie needed (see the Earl Grey on the right?).
When I have individually wrapped tea that is miscellaneous or not enough to make a baggie or box, I put them in my “tea bucket”. This was used for my coffee before we got the fancy Nespresso machine. The perfectionist in me really wants to spend the money on a cute bin that says “tea” instead of “coffee” and it secretly eats away at me. But I digress.
Let’s explore some options for actual tea organization systems you can buy.
There are quite a few options when it comes to organization caddies for tea. Vertical, horizontal, ones fixed to the wall (avoid these unless they are fixed to the inside of a cabinet. See why in the Tea Storage section).
What I like about the small horizontal one is that it can fit in some drawers, lazy Susan, or a cabinet. Although, I think this style is best for a drawer; it makes the teas easily accessible and visible. Downside is you can’t fit an entire box of tea in this organizer. #FirstWorldProblems
The vertical style organizer is great for cabinets, lazy Susans that can fit it, and countertop (if individually wrapped and not exposed to sunlight or heat). You can easily fit 6 boxes of tea and the drawers open smoothly. One downside of this organizer is if you have extra-large tea bags they won’t fit well.
You can use both styles of organizers with individually wrapped or unwrapped. Simply cut out the label of the box for unwrapped tea bags and put it in front like we did with the Ziploc bags.
Proper Tea Storage—How and Where
Always keep your tea sealed in an airtight container that blocks out all light. Keep the tea in a dark and cool place, like a cabinet shelf or drawer (this is why I recommended not using a wall-mounted tea organizer). The general recommendation for temperature is between 60° and 80°F. A lot of individually wrapped teas have air-proof and light blocking packaging, but I would store them all the same to be safe.
Most teas have an average shelf life of two years when properly stored. But some teas can last much longer (or shorter) than others. Matcha tea is one that is very unstable because it’s a powder and easily absorbs moisture.
There you have it, friend! I hope these tips and tricks for clearing up your cabinet space have given you some inspiration to knock out that decluttering off your task list.
Until next time,
For more awesome organizing info from Adriana, check out www.AdrianaKeefe.com. She has free downloads, tools, and more information on how to create a life that feels more exciting and fulfilling.
And if you’re a mom who’s exhausted (like us both) from the constant clean-up of all things life and home, check out her organization guide that will help you purge what’s unnecessary, so you can live a life with more simplicity and create a space that feels good.