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 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
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
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
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
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!
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.
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
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
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
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!
- 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.
61 thoughts on “The Ultimate Guide to Properly Organizing and Storing Essential Oils”
Can you tell me what brand that blue binder is that is in the first picture? Also the Black Bag for storing Oil Bottles.
Hello! So the blue book was actually one we used to sell, but it has been discontinued for a while. Same with the black bag for storing oils we do have a new carrying case here, https://www.planttherapy.com/xl-hard-top-carrying-case?v=3289. We hope this helps!
These are really great tips! Especially about not leaving them on you window sill!
Thank you for the tips. This definitely will be helpful.
Hi! Could you guys pleeeeeease make a spiral bound (so it could be added to) binder with all the info oil sheets?! I would love this, it would be so much easier than printing these out and I’d probably find so many more oils that I could use just by flipping through 🙂
I enter my essential oils alphabetically into an excel document. I enter in the name, whether kid safe, whether pup approved, purchase date, the brand (I have oils from before I discovered PT), and if it’s organic.
When I buy a new oil, I just insert a new row where the oil belongs alphabetically, and enter the information. You can customize the columns, and record what you want to record.
I use one tab on the sheet for essential oils, another tab for liquid carrier oils, and another tab for butters.
I email the list to myself, so I can access (but not update) it from my phone. When I purchase a new oil, carrier, or butter I add it to the list, and re-email the list to myself and delete the prior email.
What a great article! I recently got my Plant Therapy Journal and I am looking forward to getting my inventory list in order! Thanks for all the great information!
I just bought this Journal/organizer! I love it! It is going to help soooo much with keeping track of my oils and my personal blends/recipes. The only thing I would add would be a separate section for carrier oils! For now I will include them in my single oils section. Extremely happy with my journal!
This is all great information! Thanks so much for taking the time to write this! Hadn’t even considered placing my oils in the refrigerator.
Thanks for all the great information on storage. I had no idea that heat effected the oils. I’m going to re-evaluate the way I store my precious oils. Thanks Plant Therapy.
Is there a temperature that is too cold for oils and carriers? Does it hurt them if they accidentally freeze?
Brandy, it’s okay if your carriers freeze; they are quick to warm up and should have no adverse reactions to the cold 🙂
I keep mine in an oily fridge but it is small. My collection has grown quite large, and I just stocked up on carrier oils with the sale. Should all carrier oils be kept in the fridge as well, or are there some that are ok outside of the fridge in say a closed wooden cabinet? Thank you!
Brandy, carrier oils do not have to be kept in the fridge; a closed wooden cabinet would be just fine!
Carrier oils have a shorter life span than the essential oils. If you need to frig the essential oils consider refrigerating the carriers too. I refrigerate the excess/back up carriers. I do not brother with my regular, most often used carriers just because I use them up before they can go bad. However, as I say this a just discovered a carrier under the bathroom sink that I used for a project and forgot about – definitely bad now….
Great tips! Since I am new at using oils, I only have the little box that I ordered from here. As I order more oils, I think that keeping them in the rooms I use them in most will be the best idea for me.
I use some of my old oils to add to my cleansers around the house as they still smell good and still have some basic properties. This helps me to use them up without waste.
Oops, I guess I need to move my oils off the kitchen island…I’m glad I read this and can extend the life of my oils now!
When oils have expired, what is the proper way to dispose of them…or could they be used for DIY cleaning supplies? I have a few that are questionable…
Kathi, questionable essential oils are great for cleaning sprays! This would be great to address in a blog later on, but for now, I’d like to point you to a great reference on aging oils from aromaweb: https://www.aromaweb.com/articles/oldessentialoils.asp
I hope this helps!
I remember when I first started buying from Plant Therapy, I bought a hard shell case that held 72 bottles and thought “Great have some storage for awhile” WRONG ! lol Now with all the single oils,Synergies, Master Blends and back ups I’m up to 5 cases, everything on spreadsheets and an App and a printer for all types of labels. I think half the fun of collection EO’ is cataloging and organizing them, and oh – using them ! lol – great article!
I purchased three of the soft storage cases from your bargain bin. They are all different colors so I know that if I grab the blue one, the oils from A-G will be in there, the lavender one H- R and the pink one S-Z and various blends. I keep them in a closet . These cases are the BEST!!!!! They have handles on top and you can just zip them and grab to take them to your favorite blending location. At the rate I keep buying oils, I will soon need a fourth case!
Love this blog and all the info shared here. My fella is handy, so he made me a 4 tiered shelf (think bleachers or grandstands) for my oily collection. I have a wooden tray that it sets in. I have my oils separated by woods, herbal, blends, citrus. And with the stickers on top, it makes it easy to see which one I’m selecting.
Great info. I will be making a list of mine this weekend and I have some nail polish holders I was using for something else that I can hang inside my closet to store them
My collection is literally getting bigger by the day. I put them all in an air tight container and store them in the refrigerator. A tip I learned from PT blogs.
Thanks for the great tips!
This is great info because I am one of those that has oils all over the house! Now I’m excited to gather them
up and see what all I’ve got!
i laughed at step 1. SOOOOO true!
It is so true for us all just gathering them all up takes time.
Thank you for these super useful tips!
Thank you for these awesome tips! We love Plant Therapy!
Thank you for the tips, they are very helpful
These were great ideas.I think I need to label the tops of my oils now that I have storage cases and can’t always see the side labels. And probably keep a list in my planner so I don’t double up 🙂
I think I’m going to need one of those organizers…. And to figure out when I bought what. Lol. Luckily I’m still fresh into this so nothing is bad yet!
This article is so helpful and informative and it is so helpful to figure out where to begin. I have use one note to inventory and etc
I love this article. I also use nail polish rack to organize and display my oils.
This was so very helpful to read! I really need to get a fun shelf to organize!
Great ideas. I bought the blue binder 😉
Is it safe to store oils in the bathroom in cases on the counter?
Cindy, that should be just fine. Unless your bathroom gets INCREDIBLY hot and steamy and you also leave the bottles wide open without their caps on (which I hope doesn’t happen!). I know plenty of people who keep some of their oils on the bathroom counter in cases — myself included!
I never knew/ thought to save the oils in the fridge! Is there a general amount of time that is too long to hang onto oils?
Emily, it depends on the essential oil. We have a great document under our “downloads” section on our website that goes over the shelf life of our single essential oils: https://www.planttherapy.com/pdfs/shelf_life_charts.pdf
I have a journal that I record every oil that I purchase and the date I purchased it. I store my oils in a craft case that I picked up at Walmart and I store them alphabetically so it’s easier to find when I need a certain oil. This was an excellent blog post and I’ve learned ways to keep my most used oils in one spot.
I just recently started keeping an oil journal. It definitely helps with ordering. I love the cookie tin idea for storing in the fridge, and with it being Christmas and cookie season I should be good with getting a few!
Great article. Will definitely help me get my oils organized. Luv the idea for organizing oils by colour chart.
The best thing I did was make a list of oils I own in my phone’s Notes app. It goes everywhere with me and is synced to my other devices. When I’m out and see oils I can quickly look up what I have/need.
such a simple yet great reminder. I have my oils organised a lot better now. Rather than running around trying to get to my main oil storage, I have them stored in the rooms I’d use them most.
This was a very informative article. I didn’t realize that storing the bottles near heat can affect the oil. I love combining different scents.
I’m confused, everything I read about EO, good quality oils stored in dark bottles away from light have no expiration date. I have read they are good for a hundred plus years. This is telling me I should throw out expired oils. Why would Plant Therapy oils expire?
Connie, I’m interested in where you have found information on oils never expiring. When an essential oil, any one, is exposed to heat, light, and/or oxygen, their chemical composition will change. Over time, depending on the oil, the oil will oxidize, and is just not the same as an oil within its shelf life, store properly. Now, if the seal on the dark bottle of essential oil is NEVER broken, and therefore cannot possibly be exposed to heat, light, and oxygen, then yes, it may last forever. But most of us will open our bottles up to use our amazing oils, and once that seal is cracked, the shelf-life timer begins! Check out this article for more information: https://blog.planttherapy.com/blog/2018/04/12/do-essential-oils-expire-heres-the-scoop/ Also, please feel free to contact our Certified Aromatherapists directly for more information, at [email protected] … Great question and I hope this helps!
I use old cookie tins in my fridge to store my oils. It great because they contain the odors and fits quite a few. Love your travel cases! They are very handy and I know nothing will tip, spill or get broken.
Reusing an old cookie tin is a fantastic idea! Thank you for sharing, perhaps some of our customers can benefit from that idea 🙂
Good tips, thank you!
Love this! I just recently got a diffuser and essential oils, so I’m so glad I found information on how to make my oils last longer. I’ve only been using them for about a week now, but I’m already obsessed!
Excellent tips! I try to keep all my oils in one place but am starting to run out of room. I guess it’s time to look for new storage solutions.
Thanks for all the great info and ideas. Very helpful!
Some great tips! Since my collection is growing, I definitely need to get a Plant Therapy journal and make an inventory list!
That sounds like a GREAT idea, Kathi! 🙂
The Plant Therapy Journal is on my wish list, too! I just started with oils earlier this year and have already amassed a rather large collection.
Awesome post. I got some great new tips!
That’s great to hear, Mollie! Thank you for sharing!