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Aha! Hack: Repurposing Ikea’s Moppe Storage Chest as a Spice Cabinet

All of us at The Organized Home have a knack for repurposing—we want to be eco-friendly, we tend to be budget-conscious, and we often find ourselves with an old storage solution that will perfectly fill a new storage need.

Case in point: An Ikea desktop storage cabinet called Fira that I’ve had for the better part of a decade. It was sold as part of the brand’s line of office supplies, and when I first bought it, it held pens and tape and stamps, and later became a storehouse for sewing notions (buttons, thimbles, and the like). When I moved into my San Francisco rental apartment some years ago, my kitchen lacked a good spot for spices, so my Fira found yet a new identity.

Photography by Meredith Swinehart.

My San Francisco apartment is pretty compact, so nothing in my kitchen/living/dining room is spaced very far apart. My Fira spice chest sits on a sideboard next to the dining table, just two steps from the cooking zone.
Above: My San Francisco apartment is pretty compact, so nothing in my kitchen/living/dining room is spaced very far apart. My Fira spice chest sits on a sideboard next to the dining table, just two steps from the cooking zone.

Ikea stopped manufacturing the five-drawer plywood Fira a few years ago. It’s been replaced by the Moppe—which I think is a good thing (read on for why).
Above: Ikea stopped manufacturing the five-drawer plywood Fira a few years ago. It’s been replaced by the Moppe—which I think is a good thing (read on for why).
I store my spices in either the bottles they came in (labels removed and replaced with white washi tape marked with a ballpoint pen) or decanted into the tiny glass jars I find in the bathroom section of my local hardware store. (Try this set of 12 Spice Jars for $14.97 at Amazon.)
Above: I store my spices in either the bottles they came in (labels removed and replaced with white washi tape marked with a ballpoint pen) or decanted into the tiny glass jars I find in the bathroom section of my local hardware store. (Try this set of 12 Spice Jars for $14.97 at Amazon.)
Read How to Repurpose Old Food Jars for the Pantry (Plus, How to Get the Sticky Labels Off) for a nontoxic Goo Gone swap I swear by.

The view of my spice cabinet from my kitchen. The cabinet is ideal for spices because standard spice jars fit perfectly in two lateral rows, with enough wiggle room to easily remove a jar from the rest.
Above: The view of my spice cabinet from my kitchen. The cabinet is ideal for spices because standard spice jars fit perfectly in two lateral rows, with enough wiggle room to easily remove a jar from the rest.

Though I’ll use my trusty Fira until it finally gives out on me, I actually prefer the newer Ikea model—the Moppe. The Fira had to be hammered together using tiny nails that bent easily—meaning that to this day, my Fira has a few wayward nail heads that can catch on each other when I open and close the drawers. The Moppe is glued together and comes fully assembled, so it doesn’t have this problem.

In the top three drawers, I use steel tins to store my most bountiful spices (like the glut of oregano and red pepper flakes I get from ordering from Pizzeria Delfina in SF). For a similar solution, try 2-oz Aluminum Tin Jars; $9.99 for a pack of 12 from Amazon.
Above: In the top three drawers, I use steel tins to store my most bountiful spices (like the glut of oregano and red pepper flakes I get from ordering from Pizzeria Delfina in SF). For a similar solution, try 2-oz Aluminum Tin Jars; $9.99 for a pack of 12 from Amazon.
Before I converted the storage drawers into a spice cabinet, I painted them in Benjamin Moore’s Iron Mountain to provide some protection and to match my freshly painted kitchen walls (newly gray from teal): see Rental Rehab: Small Kitchen Makeover for the before and after.
Above: Before I converted the storage drawers into a spice cabinet, I painted them in Benjamin Moore’s Iron Mountain to provide some protection and to match my freshly painted kitchen walls (newly gray from teal): see Rental Rehab: Small Kitchen Makeover for the before and after.

Steal This Look

Ikea’s http://Moppe mini storage chest is made of birch plywood with fiberboard backing, and is just over 16 inches wide by one foot tall and seven inches deep. It comes untreated, so can be finished with a wax, stain, paint, or oil of your choice; $19.99.
Above: Ikea’s http://Moppe mini storage chest is made of birch plywood with fiberboard backing, and is just over 16 inches wide by one foot tall and seven inches deep. It comes untreated, so can be finished with a wax, stain, paint, or oil of your choice; $19.99.
Benjamin Moore’s Iron Mountain is one of our 10 Paint Colors with Cult Followings: Architects’ All-Time Favorite Paint Picks. Los Angeles architect Oonagh Ryan says, “I use this paint color on almost every project. It’s a warm gray with brown undertones and matches natural steel and sheet metal perfectly.”
Above: Benjamin Moore’s Iron Mountain is one of our 10 Paint Colors with Cult Followings: Architects’ All-Time Favorite Paint Picks. Los Angeles architect Oonagh Ryan says, “I use this paint color on almost every project. It’s a warm gray with brown undertones and matches natural steel and sheet metal perfectly.”
For more favorite Aha! Hacks and DIY storage solutions from across our sites, see:

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