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Storing and Organizing Essential Oils

Once you start getting into essential oils, you can quickly find yourself with an extensive collection. Keeping a few on the kitchen counter, a few in the bathroom and a few by your bed can soon turn into a disorganized mess. We’ve given you a few great oily organizing hacks in the past, but today we’re doing a deep-dive into how to properly store and organize your essential oil!

Before you know it, you have half-empty bottles, bottles with no labels, carrier oils and other supplies all over the house and never where you need them to be. A total mess! You know that there are many types of storage and carrying cases for essential oils but choosing one and figuring out how to use it can be daunting. If you are feeling overwhelmed because of the disorganized state of your essential oils collection, it’s time to relax. We’ve got a simple plan for you to get your oils organized and get them stored in a way that works for you.

4 Steps to Getting Organized:

So where do you start? We’re telling you!

1. Bring them out into One Place

The Ultimate Guide to Properly Organizing and Storing Essential Oils

The first step to getting a handle on your essential oils organization is to get them all together out in one place. Go through the house and check every room. You never know where you may have set down a bottle and forgot about it. Go through your bathroom drawers, your kitchen, laundry room, your purse, the car. You’ll be surprised where you find them and happy when you spot that bottle of vetiver you haven’t seen all month. Get your carrier oils, empty bottles, rollers and any supplies you use to make your essential oil creations. Put everything out on a table where you can see it all.

2. Inventory and Purge

The Ultimate Guide to Properly Organizing and Storing Essential Oils

It’s easy to hang on to things we love, even when it’s time to give them up. Chances are you have “hoarded” a few essential oils that are past their prime. Even the most seasoned essential oils professionals are guilty of holding on to old oils for too long. While it’s nice to have many oils “just in case,” using an expired oil will be less effective and can be harmful. If you haven’t been storing your oils the right way, they could be damaged by light and heat. Thankfully, most essential oils will last a long time, but it can be hard to tell when they expire. An essential oil inventory is a great time to get rid of the old and make way for the new. If you are not sure how to tell if it’s time to throw out an oil, here is a simple guide.

Open questionable bottles of oil and give them a smell test. If you use your oils regularly, you should be familiar with the aroma and hopefully can tell if the smell has changed. An oil that has gone bad can have a different smell than fresh oil.

Have you noticed a difference in the way your skin reacts to any oils? If you begin to experience irritation or redness with an oil, it is possible that the chemical composition has changed and it’s time to throw it out. 

Do you have any “mystery oil blends” without labels? If any of your oils seem questionable, it’s probably time to toss them. Just like medication, you are using essential oils for your health. You should know what you are using and make sure your oils aren’t expired. Using an expired essential oil can be harmful and it won’t be as effective.

3. Decide How You Want Them Organized

The Ultimate Guide to Properly Organizing and Storing Essential Oils

Now that you separated the good from the bad, it’s time to decide how you want your oils organized. This is a personal decision, and there is no right or wrong way to go about it. Some people choose to order their oils alphabetically, which is a simple way to make it easy to grab the oil you are looking for very quickly.

Another favorite way to organize is by properties. If you find yourself reaching for a “calming oil” or an “uplifting oil,” rather than a specific botanical, this might be the method for you. You also might want to organize them by specific use like cleaning, bug control, wellness, seasonal support, etc. If you do a lot of traveling, you might want to have a travel set and a home set. Put any duplicates or smaller bottles in your travel set, so it’s ready to grab when you hit the road.

If you find yourself using certain oils almost exclusively in specific areas of the house, why not organize them by room? Make a category for the bathroom, kitchen, laundry room, etc. This is an excellent way to utilize duplicates if there are a few you use in many places and organizing by category is a fun way to utilize color-coded stickers.

Choose a method of organization that brings you joy. Essential oils are personal and even looking at the bottles can bring up positive emotions. Organize them in a way that highlights how you value them and how they work to better your life.

4. Inventory List and Labels

The Ultimate Guide to Properly Organizing and Storing Essential Oils

You can make it easier on yourself in the future by creating an inventory list. Writing down what oils you have and when you bought them can simplify the inventory process for next time and prevent the waste from having to toss out mystery oils. Make sure to include carrier oils or any ingredients you use to mix with your essential oils. When you make blends, homemade body care products or cleaners, always label them and add them to your list. It might seem like a chore, but once you have a list, you’ll know what’s on hand and save yourself a lot of time in the long run.

Storing your Essential Oils

Now that you’ve organized your oils, how do you store them? We’ve got some great ideas for you!

1. Display Racks and Shelves

The Ultimate Guide to Properly Organizing and Storing Essential Oils

Decorative racks are a neat way to display the oils you love. Racks can keep your oils organized and easy to grab when you need them. Nail polish racks work perfect for holding all sizes of essential oil bottles, and they usually have a top shelf that can fit larger oil bottles and other containers.

Shelves are another great way to keep your oils all together in one place. You can place them all in one room or have smaller sets of shelves to organize your oils in the different rooms you use them. Shelves are the perfect way to keep your oils in the same place as your accessories, so you have everything you need right in a convenient location.

If you are a crafty person, wooden essential oil racks or shelves can be fun DIY projects. There are many different types you can buy. Some mount on the wall, while others can be placed on a shelf or surface. You can even get racks that rotate!

2. Drawers

The Ultimate Guide to Properly Organizing and Storing Essential Oils

If you have an extra drawer in the bedroom or kitchen, you can turn it into an essential oils drawer. Rather than just tossing oil bottles into a drawer haphazardly, utilize inserts to keep them organized. There are many types of drawer dividers you can make or buy. Some provide an individual slot for each oil, while others separate the drawer into sections to organize oils into groups.

3. Boxes

The Ultimate Guide to Properly Organizing and Storing Essential Oils

Essential oil storage boxes come in many varieties and sizes. Sixteen- to 32-hole wood storage boxes are common, and a great way to keep them together and portable so you can move them throughout the house. Colored sticker labels are a neat way to keep oils organized in a wooden storage box. You can write the name of the botanical on the label, so you don’t have to lift up each bottle and read the label while looking for a specific oil.

4. Storage Bins

The Ultimate Guide to Properly Organizing and Storing Essential Oils

While there are fancier options, there is nothing wrong with storing your essential oils in simple storage bins. Choose a size that works for your lifestyle and the number of oils you want to store. Some plastic bins even come with organizational dividers you can use for putting your oils in categories. You can always make simple dividers with thin cardboard (think a cereal box) and some decorative duct tape. Use this opportunity to get crafty and decorate your bin in a way that sparks joy!

5. Travel cases

The Ultimate Guide to Properly Organizing and Storing Essential Oils

While wooden boxes are an attractive and functional way to store your oils in your home, you might want to invest in a travel case if you take them with you on the road. Travel cases are similar to other storage boxes, but they are made of a padded material to prevent the bottles from jiggling around and breaking. You might even want to use one in your home if you move your oils around a lot. Essential oils can be expensive, so think of it as a way to protect your investment.

6. Refrigerator Storage

The Ultimate Guide to Properly Organizing and Storing Essential Oils

When essential oils get hot, there is an increased risk that that oils will oxidize, especially citrus oils. When essential oils oxidize, they start to lose their potency, so you need to keep them in a cool, dark place to protect your investment. You may have heard of people storing their oils in the refrigerator, but is it really necessary? No. But if you are having a hard time finding a place that is cool and dark, the fridge can be a simple solution. If you decide to keep them in the fridge, seal them up in a bag or airtight box so your food won’t absorb their aroma. Finding extra room in your refrigerator can be a challenge, so dedicating a small fridge for oil storage is even better!

Additional Tips

The Ultimate Guide to Properly Organizing and Storing Essential Oils
  • Always keep your essential oils in their dark glass bottles in a cool, dry location. Don’t transfer your oils into another container unless you are making blends or products.
  • When you do use recipes to mix your oils, store your homemade products in dark glass containers or safe plastic containers made from PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate). Essential oils will break down in heat and light. Proper storage is critical to keep them fresh and to work effectively.
  • If you must store your oils in the kitchen (we don’t recommend it), make sure to keep them away from the stove or the oven. Definitely, don’t put them on the kitchen window sill.
  • Always secure your bottle by placing the lids on correctly. When caps are kept loose, they can allow the oil to evaporate, which can reduce their aroma and effectiveness. If the lids are on too tight, the bottles can crack.
  • Keep a separate box for empty oil bottles. You can reuse your larger bottles for blends and save money by buying bigger quantities of carrier oils and transferring them to smaller reusable containers. If you have a bottle you can’t repurpose, always recycle!
  • When you properly store your oils, they can keep their aroma and benefits for years to come.
  • Always keep your essential oils out of children’s reach. Treat them like any other substance or medication that is potentially dangerous. Essential oils are very concentrated and can be extremely dangerous if used the wrong way

To get the most out of your essential oils, you need to make sure they are in excellent condition. Organizing and adequately storing your oils can help them last longer and help you access them more easily. When they are spread around all over the house, you are less likely to use them on a regular basis, more likely to lose money on your investment and less likely to find the oil you are looking for when you need it. Once you get into essential oils, it’s easy to grow a collection pretty quickly, so having a system of keeping them organized is crucial. Take a weekend afternoon and get them ordered. It will be well worth it in the long run.