by Emeric Harney May 14, 2020 4 min read 11 Comments
Harney & Sons makes over 300 types of tea, and we know our customers like trying new flavors and drinking more than one type of tea. But when the tins and boxes start to take over your pantry like a kudzu vine, it’s time for a little organization. Or a lot.
The internationally famed Marie Kondo, known for her KonMari Method™, refers to getting organized as a “tidying festival.” She doesn’t specifically advocate minimalism, unless that’s your thing. She’s about getting rid of clutter and keeping what “sparks joy.” We like to think that tea is one of those things that sparks joy… so let’s talk about having a tea tidying festival, some simple ways you can accomplish that, and some reminders of what not to do.
Start with a Clutter Intervention
There’s a reason “cut through the clutter” is a saying. Before you can begin organizing your tea, you need to get rid of those things that are no longer necessary. This is true if your tea is living alongside other pantry roommates; if you’re planning to give your tea its own dedicated space, what you do with the contents of your pantry is your business!
Expired items. We’ve all got them. Check those cans for expiration dates and throw out what’s exceeded their shelf life. Consolidate open boxes of spaghetti, or make spaghetti for dinner tonight. If you have pantry items that are unopened and still good, but you don’t need them, consider filling a bag or box and taking them to a food pantry. Food is certainly something people need right now. Look at getting rid of non-food items as well that are just taking up space. Goodwill would be happy to take your collection of unicorn mugs.
Wide Open Spaces
Now that you’ve made space, it’s time to decide how to get organized. There’s no wrong way. Do what makes sense to you. You can organize by:
You get the idea. How many types of tea you have and how much space you have will also play a role in how you choose to organize your teas. But with less clutter, you should have more space to work with.
Tins v. Teabags
Storing tea in tins is obviously a different animal than individually wrapped tea bags. Our tins are the perfect way to store loose leaf tea and sachets, so while you may be tempted to put them all in plastic bags to save space, hold onto your ziploc. There are best, just ok and definitely not ok practices for storing tea, which you can read about in ourDoes Tea Go Stale? blog post. It’s a great companion read to go along with this article.
If you have individually wrapped tea bags, there are many options to purchase online at places like Amazon and The Container Store, from smaller units made to fit teabags to larger containers. Harney also carries small tea bag sized boxes and larger tea chests, a lovely way to store and display your teas. You can find them along with other items on ourTea Chests and Sampler Sets page.
Please note we are talking about storing individually wrapped tea bags. If you purchase tea bags that are loose in a container, keep them in the container. It’s the best way to make sure your tea stays at the highest quality possible. Individually wrapped tea bags are protected from harmful elements.
About those tins…
They’re So Pretty!
If you have the space, consider bringing those Harney tins out and making them part of your decor. You can line them up on a shelf. Place them on a small bookcase. Arrange them on atea cart. Create a tea corner on your counter. Stack them in a pyramid. Put them in a basket. Get creative.
To cut down on the number of tins, consider purchasing our bulk bags and refilling your existing tins with your favorite blends. We recommend keeping the same type of tea in the original tins and not mixing and matching. Unless you want your Earl Grey to taste like Hot Cinnamon Spice. And if you do, then you can buy both kinds of tea in loose leaf and make your own concoction. But that’s a topic for another day.
Steep Back and Enjoy
However you choose to organize your tea collection, when you’re finished step back and take it in. There’s something extremely satisfying about turning chaos into calm. Fix a cuppa and pat yourself on the back. Today, the tea cabinet. Tomorrow, the garage!
Do you have tips on how you’ve organized your teas? Share them with us in the comments below.
August 22, 2020
I have a cabinet over my hot water kettle devoted to tea:mugs, cups, pots, strainers, tea balls, as well as all manner of tea. I save my pretty Harney tins and fill them with potting soil and a narcissus bulb to give as small gifts at christmas. i simply attach a note that explains to add water and place in indirect light. i usually add a chopstick as a stake and tie it with a pretty ribbon. the tins can also be used to put homemade candy in for gifts or for buttons, safety pins, elastic bands, etc. whatever collects in your house.
July 13, 2020
This is a challenge I’m dealing with right now. My pantry (and kitchen for that matter) is way too small for someone who loves to cook, even in the best of circumstances. In our current situation, all the pasta and rice now live in a huge storage tub outside the pantry. My Harney Tea collection has a small section of the countertop carved out, but it is rapidly outgrowing it. So I’ve begun a search for some way of storing and displaying these beautiful tins. Found a few that are beautiful but way too expensive, and a few that may work. I suspect I will soon have a tea bar in my living room, which will store about 30 Harney tins.
To Sandra, who posted previously, I just bought a 3 lb Harney Tin for all the individually wrapped bags and the bags of ice tea. It looks like it would be perfect to hold those bags of 50 sachets. I was a big fan of those before I moved to buying the loose teas.
May 27, 2020
I have many Harney tins as well as other containers for tea. I either wrap the tins in self-stick shelf paper remnants or print out tea-oriented clip art and attach it to the tins with double-stack tape. The tall canisters and stacked containers are at the back with the shorter tins in front so all are displayed when the cabinet is opened. I enjoy looking at my pretty collection every morning when I open the cabinet to retrieve a tea from one of them.
May 27, 2020
I recently purchased a 50 sachet bag of tea. What’s the best way to store them? I like the glass jar idea, but would natural light affect the quality of the tea? Would a tin be better?
May 27, 2020
I love my tea tins! They contain all my loose teas and are on a shelf above my tea pot. No organization but just so I can see them all.
For my tea bags (which I rarely use but company and husband seems to prefer) I have a whole tea drawer with all the boxes facing up so we can read and decide. I prefer to prepare loose tea every time, if time permits. I wish you would sell your tea in bulk 8 oz which would allow me to try more types. A full pound is a big commitment and I would like to refill my tins and buy 8 oz. in bulk. Please consider!!!!!
May 27, 2020
Great article! It includes my two favorite things, Harney & Sons tea and organizing. :) This winter I reorganized all our tea into a pull out drawer. It is located in our butler’s pantry, which we use as a tea station. It’s my happy place. I also organize my tea by type (black, flavored black, green, herbal, etc.), but I always have 3 tins on display in my glass cabinet because they are so pretty. I change these out for the season. The tins are perfect for re-purposing too. I use them as desk organizers to hold pens and pencils, as trinket collectors for my kiddos and have a stash to use to package small gifts. I can’t say enough good things about Harney tea…it is a necessity at our house!
May 19, 2020
I have square glass jars that I store my favorite teas in on my kitchen counter, next to my water kettle. Obviously buying either loose leaf or 50 sachet bags. Others that I like or my kids like when they visit are kept in tins in the upper corner cabinet on the lazy Susan. All “over stock” of my counter items are in their bags in a rubbermaid container for stacking in the under the counter corner cabinet. Some tins are on top of the lesser used glass jars…guess you could say I love my tea!!!
May 19, 2020
I definitely organize my tea by type – black with caffeine, and non-caffeine/decaf teas form the bulk of my purchases, so it’s pretty much just keeping those two categories separated.
May 19, 2020
Thanks! I loved the ideas. My tins are lining the top of my microwave – not very pretty or practical.
I need to think about this and work on it. Better than listening to the news!
I give empty tins to a friend who does flower arrangements. They are much too pretty to discard.
Hope all is well in Millerton – my home town from 1944 – 1960.
My 60th reunion at Cornell this year – virtual – sad!
Harney Tea makes my day! kbl
May 19, 2020
Ii am a long time customer of the Upton Tea Imoporters. One of the reasons I enjoyed dealing with them is that they send out a quarterly print catalog.when one would arrive I would pass it around the family and along with our regular order we would order a selection of samples.when the order arrived my sister, daughter, daughter-in-law would get together and try the samples. Some we liked enough to become favorites and some that we had ordered only because they had sounded dreadful. There was one that was so awful that we saved some to share with other family members. It was Chocolate Earl Grey and even worse than we anticipated, well worth the money in the fun we had with it.
While I am enjoying the Harney & Sons tea I have been using lately I do wish you sent print catalogs.
I also think your Fruits D’ Alsace tea would be better without the vanilla flavoring.
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September 28, 2020
I have a few special places, actually, to store my tea. I have a tea station in my office, and at home, there is a place in the kitchen and one in the master bedroom upstairs, complete with Harney and Sons Teas, cookies, accoutrements and even a jar of instant coffee packets for my husband! My blog article from two years ago describes how to create your own special space to store all of your beloved teas to make your tea time a dedicated part of any day! Find it athttps://seeingsong.blogspot.com/2018/01/make-your-own-tea-station.html