Picture: Washington Post
To reach your spice-organising ideal, you will have to do some thinking along the way.   The ultimate goal is to find a method that works for you. 

These tips will a help you organise your spices so you can use them before it gets old.

Find out what you have - and what needs to go

Spread out all your spice and herb containers on a table or counter. 

The general guideline for how long to keep spices is about six to eight months for ground, a year or two for whole and several years for certain sturdy spices such as whole nutmeg and cinnamon sticks.

Open and smell the contents

Does the turmeric, for example, have a fruity, faintly gingery smell? 

Take a tiny taste. If you think a spice has discernible flavour, then keep it, even if it's faded but only if you'll commit to using it soon. 

If the taste and/or scent is dusty or strikes you as off in any way, toss it - that mustiness can seep into whatever you're cooking.

Know when it's time to say goodbye 

If your spices are old and spent to begin with, they won't do much good in your cooking. 

If you buy from a supermarket, then chances are the spices have taken a time-consuming journey from being harvested and processed to landing in your trolley. 

Spice shops or brands that openly advertise the harvest dates will almost certainly provide a fresher product. 

Ethan Frisch, co-founder of American-based spice company says: "You should pay attention to the flavour and how you like it. Spices don't improve with age, so you should use them as quickly as possible." 

Washington Post