Ever since we started our journey with essential oils several years back, I’ve been slowly growing our stockpile while trying to fine-tune an organizational system to best suit our family’s needs. To be honest, it has taken me quite awhile but I think I’m onto something. Those of you who have oils know how daunting it can be to nail this thing down. The bottles are small, you use them for everything, the bottles are small, did I say that already? How does one manage this? Anyhow, after trying many ways I have settled into a new system that I quite like. But first, you should know the things I kept in mind while searching:
- I don’t care for clutter.
- I wanted the oils to live in one major location, with the exception to a small few in the kitchen pantry for cooking, diffusing, cleaning, and various seasonal remedies.
- If visible, wanted the individual bottles to be pretty and functional. The YL labels are not my favorite.
- I wanted said system to allow me to find oils rather quickly.
- And last but not least, I wanted them to be out of reach for the kids.
Given my specific wish list, I think I have come up with something that will actually work and help make using our oils easier throughout the day. Let me walk you through each of my criteria above and detail a way to help you get organized should you need a little help:
- Simplicity: One of the ways we keep our home looking like it does, well…for the most part anyhow, is the lack of clutter. And you’d be surprised much this truly helps our home stay clean. We try not to keep things on the countertops if we don’t have to, and we tend to make sure to get rid of things that stack up quickly. You can read more about this here so I won’t get into the topic of maintaining simplicity at home in great depth right now, but can bet this rule applies to our oils as well. Because we have acquired so many oil bottles over the years, it was important to me to store them properly without having them lay all around the house. Not only was this important regarding efficiency when needing an oil, but also making it the bottles don’t clutter up our home. So, a simple system is what I came up with. This leads to the next point, location.
- Location: I tried quite a few different locations before settling on the upstairs bathroom at the main hub for our oils. I first had them stored in our kitchen pantry, but found myself going down to get them all the time when needing to mix something up or when diffusing in our bedrooms at nighttime. With that in mind, I decided to turn our medicine cabinet into the home for our oils and I really love it. My grandpa made that darling cabinet out of old barn wood from his farm and I love that it now houses bits of nature we use to keep our family healthy and whole. The white wash on the wood is beautiful and the glass gives extra charm, allowing us to peek inside. Storing them in the bathroom makes most sense to us and keeps the visual clutter out of the way. By having them in a cabinet, they are all in one place. This is so important because there is nothing worse than needing an oil and not being able to track it down. By use of a cabinet, each oil has a spot on a shelf and is properly labeled to make things even easier for both Andrew and I. No matter where you house your oils, try to keep them all in one main place.
- Beauty & Functionality: I have received many messages and emails about why I have chosen to store our oils in these 1/2 oz amber bottles and not the ones they originally came in. I started doing this awhile ago and haven’t looked back since. For one, it is much more beautiful than the original packaging. Beauty is very important to me and spills over into all aspects of my homemaking, oils and wellness being a major component of this. Sure, it takes time to type out the labels and pour each oil into it’s new vessel, but I think the end result is worth it. I also love that I can make my own oil blends this way and have found that it is much easier to be precise with drops using the dropper than the YL bottle itself. You can find the .5 oz amber bottles here and here and the label maker here. You can of course skip this step. How you choose to organize your oils is completely your call and the goal should be to make your life easier.
- Safety: For fairly obvious reasons, don’t keep your oils where your babes can’t get their little hands on them. Make sure to store your oils in a cabinet high up or on a shelf out of reach. We all know kids are very good at opening anything and figuring out a way to get what they want, so take the extra step and lock them up. Since taking these photos I have secured a little safety latch on this door so even Stella can’t get in. She is one crafty goose and I don’t even want to risk it.
- Efficiency: Now this was the kicker. How was I going to organize our oils in a way that made it relatively easy to find them, given that the bottles are small and are all practically identical? I have seen so many others do this is dozens of ways, so if this method seems odd to you, no hard feelings. But let’s back up. I have tried the following with little to no luck:
- ABC Order: Why didn’t it work for me? Twenty six groups of oils made things too specific and ultimately much too hard to adhere to in the end. Eventually, I starting putting “M” bottles next to “S” bottles and “L” bottles next to “O” bottles and then it all went to heck. I had good intentions but it just didn’t pan out. ABC order is only going to work if you have a gigantic wall dedicated to oils and that is not something I want to look at everyday. Moving on.
- Color Order: If you are users of YL oils, you know they each bottle comes in a certain color. This order created two problems for me: 1) I don’t use those original colored bottles and 2) who has times to memorize all the corresponding colors? Out went this system very fast. If you want to keep the original bottles and are a fan of rainbows, you may however, really like this method.
- Ailment Order: While this sounded like the best idea of the bunch I found it to actually be the worst. One of the wonderful things about essential oils is that one single oil can be used in dozens of different ways. Take lavender for example. We use it for minor burns, scrapes, to help us sleep, in our bath, in moisturizers, in laundry detergent…the list goes on and on because lavender is amazing. You can see why organizing oils with regard to their specific category of wellness doesn’t work, because that’s the glory of oils! Each one can be used in a wide variety of ways in the home to help balance and heal. There is no one oil for this or that unless it is a very specific blend or remedy, in which case, you probably made it yourself.
Botanical Family Order: Here she is! My new system. I decided that grouping my oils into eight (and not 26) simple categories was a very manageable way to store and locate them. Why hadn’t I thought of this before? Each oil belongs to a botanical family of sorts. You have oils made from trees, flowers, fruits, shrubs, grasses, roots, nuts and leaves etc. To organize each in a way that corresponds to where they originated makes sense, because not only does this make it easy to find each bottle, but also because it can help guide you when wanting to explore a certain oily theme.
Say you are in the mood for diffusing something woodsy? The trees section would be a nice place to start. Wanting something springing and uplifting to help you clean? The floral or citrus section is full of oils that have antiseptic qualities that not only smell lovely but help purify the air to boot. Furthermore, if you keep all the blends together, that makes those bottles easy to find, while if the ones you use all the time are set apart (say your everyday oils) well that’s just very efficient! Below are the eight categories I currently have implemented and think will work well in our home:
- Herbs – This group houses the oils that are also herbs one could find in the garden and can use while cooking, among various other remedies: think rosemary, oregano, basil, sage, fennel, thyme and dill.
- Citrus – This group houses the oils that are found on fruit trees: think grapefruit, lime, orange, lemon balm and bergamot.
- Flowers – This group houses the oils that are one could find in the flower garden: think rose, ylang ylang, chamomile, geranium, jasmine and blue tansy.
- Plants or Shrubs – This group houses the oils that are found in the plant family excluding things you can cook with (such as herbs) and flowers: think all the varieties of eucalyptus, patchouli, vetiver, angelica, citronella and wintergreen.
- Trees – This group houses the oils that are found in the forests, specifically conifers: think fir, cedarwood, spruce, frankincense, sandalwood, pine, palo santo and myrrh.
- Spices – This group houses the oils that are also can be found in the spice pantry of your kitchen: think ginger, black pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, clove and lemongrass.
- Blends – This group houses the oils that are blends: think citrus fresh, di-gize, stress away, joy, melrose, peace and calming, R.C. and sacred mountain.
- Everyday Botanicals – This group houses the oils that are used most often by our family. Right now they include the following seven: thieves, purification, lemon, gentle baby, lavender, peppermint and tea tree.
There you have it oil users, a simple way to group, organize and store your essential oils. Now you just need a sweet old grandpa to make you a barn wood shelf, or you can find a nice handmade one on Etsy. I think the IKEA spice racks would work well too. If you have any questions, I’d be happy to help. Below are a few more resources for those intrigued by oils or are simply wanting to learn more:
- To learn about essential oils and their link to wellness click here.
- To discover homemade remedies using essential oils click here.
- To get your hands on oils and become a part of our YL family, click here.
- To learn more about Young Living’s pure and organic process, click here.
And as always, thank you for stopping by and supporting this space. Your continued encouragement and kindness is uplifting in so many ways. x Amanda
eda - oh, now i just want to stop doing everything else and start organizing my oils 🙂 thanks for this inspirational post and for your soothing way to describe the simple things! hugs, eda
sarah - this is amazing! such a good system! we’ve been using essential oils for years but my collection is still relatively small, just the basics like lavender, lemon, etc. but it has started to expand in the last few months and our bathroom drawer is getting crowded… i might need to try this system out. i especially love the idea of putting them in prettier bottles, do you just pop the plastic part off of the yl bottle and pour it in the amber one? xoxo
Traci - Thank you for your practical beautiful ways of keeping home and family. I’m gathering so many ideas for shifting from complicated and chemical to simple and natural!
Katelin Joy - Bless you Amanda! Now that my little one is mobile I need to reevaluate my oil storage! This is glorious for my organizing soul!
Question! How do you clean your diffusers? And how often? I think my YL diffuser is dieing on me 🙁 I use it quite frequently for my little bubs!
Thank you so much for your mama wisdom 🙂 this new mama greatly appreciates you<3
erica - so love all of your posts (i made your laundry detergent last week and bought some epsom salts to make some fabric softener today). my oils are scattered all throughout the house, so some sort of system is definitely needed.
this is unrelated but something i’m trying to figure out…do you have a good system for long-term storage of too-small, hand-me-down baby clothes? i just can’t figure out how to make it work best. i thought you might have a tried and true method 🙂
susan - by changing out the bottles, dont you lose precious liquid from them?
Claire - Wondering if you ever have issues with the labels falling off? I use the same label maker and sometimes if the oil gets on the bottle the label starts to come off on the sides. It drives me crazy and I would love to know any tips you have to make this not happen!!! Thanks 😀😀
Jackie - Hi, Amanda- I love the way you’ve organized your EOs. I have a few oils and am getting ready to purchase a bunch more. Would you care to elaborate how exactly you transfer the oils to the dropper bottles? I just tried to pry off the plastic dropper cap on mine and it wasn’t budging. I think you mentioned a small funnel before – just a tiny metal funnel works? Do you somehow pry off that original top with the hole in order to pour the oil into the other bottle? Thanks for any tips!! 🙂
Shayla - Wow Amanda, I’ve been perusing your blog all morning! It’s so motivating and inspiring.. I need to start taking notes! Essential Oils is something that’s always seemed a bit daunting to me to tackle, but your guides are very helpful- and my desire to start making our own cleaning solutions really makes me want to get into the oil family. Thanks for all of your wisdom in this area!
admin - Shayla, EO’s are my JAM! 🙂 Seriously though, they have changed our lives and the way we do things in our home. Forever grateful for them! x Amanda
Crissy - Hi Amanda, I was hoping you could help me out with some diffuser cleaning advice. I feel like it’s just me, but for the life of me I cannot get the essential oil smell out of my diffuser. I rinse it out when I’m finished diffusing oils, but the whole thing just smells so much like the previous used oil, that when I try to diffuse a new blend later on, it just smells like a whole mix of things. I was wondering if you had any tricks up your sleeve to really cleanse and remove previous oil smells from the diffuser. I don’t want to buy another one 🙁
admin - Crissy, have you ever cleaned with with white vinegar? That’s what I like to do every month or so and it helps! x Amanda
Pretty & Practical | Essential Oil Shadow Box Storage in the Kitchen » Homesong - […] a drawer. They are out and visible but pretty. To check out another way to store and organize them, head here and read this post. I’m curious, what are your favorite oils to have within reach in the […]
TangerineandMe.com - Really loved this post and everything on your blog.
Such calming photos and calming words.
admin - Thank you for your kind words! Blessings to you x Amanda
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