Organizing Your Essential Oils {Or Any Other Collection of Small Items}!

organizing drawers

Someone asked me last week how I organized my essential oils and essential oils supplies. It was then I realized that I really DON’T organize them….until NOW! :-)  I wish I could remember who posed the question…because I owe that person a big THANK YOU for the motivation I needed to get my growing “Fragrant Pharmacy” in order.

I began looking for ideas online, and I will share those further down in this post, but it wasn’t until a trip to Costco last week that I found what I didn’t even know I was looking for!

Expandable wooden drawer storage boxes with adjustable dividers.

 

organizing drawers

 

Up until that point I hadn’t even CONSIDERED a DRAWER as a possible place to store my collection, but when you think about it, it makes perfect sense…especially for lots of small bottles of essential oils. They don’t need much “headroom”, so parking them on a shelf in a cupboard or closet is just a lot of wasted space (which is exactly where mine were parked.)

 

organizing drawers

 

Like I said, I found these as drawer organizers at Costco for $15.99 (regularly priced $19.99) and decided to get TWO because while I knew I wouldn’t need both BOXES for my oils…I was most likely going to need both sets of dividers! Besides, I had no doubt I could find a use for the second box. :-)

Probably THE hardest part of this whole project was giving up one of the large drawers in my kitchen! I only have 8 drawers TOTAL in my kitchen, so sparing one was brutal. But the more I examined the contents of those drawers, the more I realized I could EASILY get rid of the equivalent of one large drawerful of stuff and hardly even miss it! So that’s what I did first: Purged the drawers!

I decided to make one of the drawers to the left side of my refrigerator the designated essential oils drawer. I wanted it sort of out of the way AND I didn’t want to give up any of the drawers next to the sink and the dishwasher.

 

organizing drawers

 

After taking a long, hard look at these two drawers it didn’t take me long to consolidate two drawers into one. A lot of the stuff in the left-hand drawer was stuff I never even used! And a lot of it the hubster uses only when he fires up the smoker. THAT stuff goes in the garage…with all the other BBQ paraphernalia. :-)

Now that I had created one empty drawer space, time to ORGANIZE IT! :-)

It took a few tries and several different configurations of the adjustable dividers…but I couldn’t be happier with the results!

 

organizing drawers

 

organizing drawers

 

organizing drawers

 

organizing drawers

 

organizing drawers

 

 

Now since I know not everyone is going to have access to these particular adjustable wooden boxes…I wanted to make sure I gave you a few more options as well. (However, if you DO have access to these….RUN, don’t WALK, to your nearest Costco and buy some!)

 

organizing drawers

 

First off…I have had THIS idea on my “To Do List” for a LONG time!  Making drawer dividers out of cereal boxes! I just LOVE this idea (found at IHeartOrganizing.com) and it would be a VERY inexpensive alternative…not to mention ECO-FRIENDLY!  Reduce, Reuse, Recycle! :-)

 

The following were some other ideas I came across before I located the Costco boxes.

 

organizing drawers

 

Using spice jar organizers in drawers.
BHG.com

 

organizing drawers

 

Paint an old spice rack a bright new color and give it a new lease on life as your essential oils organizer!
Too Much Time

 

organizing drawers 10

 

3-Tiered DIY Cake Stand turned into a craft supplies holder.
Life’s Journey

Don’t forget to search for coupons when shopping for organizers.

 

And what did I do with that extra set of boxes I bought??? Organized two MORE drawers in my kitchen, of course! :-)

 

organizing drawers

All in all I’d say it was a good day’s work! :-)

 

How do you organize YOUR “collections”?

 


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Comments

  1. Lucy Smith says

    Hi Jill

    Are you a qualified Aromatherapist? I’m an advanced Holistic Therapist. I store. My oils in a
    6 drawer. Container.First I label the drawers with a blue, yelllow or. Green sticker. They. Reprexsent

  2. muskaan says

    I recently came across another practical idea — using ice cube Trays to keep the little trinkets, etc. So now I’m using one to place the small food essence & extract bottles in each space. Best part, I can pull the tray from my overhead shelf without fear of tumblings !
    These are great for tiny nails, nuts, bolts too, especially if the tray has a lid.

  3. says

    I love these!! I too have had been wanting to make the cereal box dividers, finding time to organize my drawers is the stumbling block! My daughter uses a pretty cake stand in her bedroom for (some of!) her make up, it looks great.

  4. Lynn M. says

    I have become a huge fan of recycling toilet paper and paper towel tubes for storage. For my essential oils, since drawer space is at a premium in my house, I took a plastic shoe box size container and cut t.p.tubes in half and filled the container with them, wedging them in so they fit snuggly and then put the little bottles in each hole. Some of my tinier bottles or vials fit in the spaces between tubes.
    I used the same idea to store all of my small paint bottles in one of those plastic containers with drawers.

    • CTY says

      I use those too! They seem to be getting flimsier though so sometimes I double them up. I also made a kitchen sink sponge holder with them. I placed several juice bottle caps (open side down) in the bottom of basket #1 (so that basket #2 would be raised up some), placed #2 basket on top and used little zip ties to keep the baskets together. Trimmed the ends of the ties and now I have a sponge basket that allows lots of air around the sponge I keep it in the sink so it drips w/out making a mess. I tried suction cups to hold it but they just slide off my sink.

  5. says

    Such great tips! My essential oils are scattered in odd places throughout the house (peppermint, lavender and tea tree are my go-to oils, and they’re within easy reach on a kitchen shelf), and it would be great to organize them. Plus we have a ton of drawers in our island that DESPERATELY need organizing! Drawer dividers are such an obvious but under-used solution :)

  6. Sherylin says

    Great idea. I love it.

    And a lot let works then the cereal box method too. :)

    I am sure you know about it. Where you get cereal boxes [tops and bottoms] cut them to the height you want [depth of the drawer] and cover them in pretty paper. Then align them inside the drawer and fill as needed.

    I like your idea better though. :)

    Sherylin :)

    • Ahnica T says

      Aroma Tools is a great place to get all your essential oil supplies. If you live near Orem Utah you can go to the store and get them, otherwise you can order online. http://www.aromatools.com. Doterra is a great company for essential oils. I have found that they have the best quality, especially if you’re using them as your medicine.

  7. pete says

    I LOVE the idea of the drawer organizer! I have just barely expanded beyond the basics (lavendar, lemon, peppermint, melaleuca) and was trying to figure out how to keep things better organized! But, since I have young kids, I won’t be able to store them in a drawer where they can easily reach them. So mine will still be up on a high shelf wasting head room, but I think I want to try the organizer idea for easier access when I can’t see what I’m reaching for!

  8. Irene Burks says

    Those plastic embroidery floss boxes are great for sorting and storing all kinds of thins in drawers-kits barrettes, bows and hair ties also the fishing (yep fishing) section at wal-mart has great tackle boxes with drawers and dividers that are VERY useful for all those scrapbooking supplies-grab oe nd your ready to go without all the expense of some of the ones they sell specifically for scrapbooking!

  9. Iris says

    I do not use that many oils because of allergies but I do machine embroidery and have hundreds of cones of threads. I saw a “utube” about making a wall hanger out of the foam poster boards by hot gluing shelves onto the back board and framing it for a nail polish collection. Well I made mine for cones of thread. I have them hung on the wall of my sewing room and made light weight sheer Roman Shades to hang over them (to keep the sewing dust off the thread), They are very durable and attractive. The poster boards can also be spray painted with craft paint of choice or decorated with stickers.

    Iris

  10. CTY says

    Love the Velveeta idea–had no idea they still make it.
    Over the years I have really struggled to organize both big & little things. I also wasted lot of money on organizers that didn’t work out. So I started cannibalizing store packaging items. Such as:

    FREE: strawberry baskets, empty check book boxes, empty case boxes from canned goods (to use up the space on top of a plastic drawer I put in a cabinet –holds foil wraps etc fabulously), bulk size clear plastic nut jars (Jillee’s powdered laundry detergent- & one to hold the S,O.S. from a Jillee post), travel size Q Tip containers, tuna cans, Yankee candle jars of all sizes, empty spice jars, frozen dinner trays, baby food containers, M & M mini containers, Altoid tins, Ferrero Rocher trays& other chocolate inserts, shoe boxes & lids (together or separately) jewelry boxes, medicine bottles, Lunchable trays, Chips Ahoy cookies inserts (stacked for strength), old VCR movie cases, Tic Tac boxes (holds DH eye glass screws–you can close the lids on a thin string & hang it too). I also use random packaging like the plastic oval that covered the bath brush I bought– I hold it (& others like it) with a magnet to a dollar store cookie sheet and use it as an organizer for what ever my current craft project is.

    STORE BOUGHT: fishing lure boxes, photo boxes, makeup organizers, plastic stacked drawers, valet organizers, dollar store plastic boxes w/ lids & baskets.

  11. says

    I love your wide drawers. I hate my kitchen. Of course it was designed by a man. And my husband is a contractor. I noticed you said you have stuff you never use in your kitchen. All property in my kitchen is prime real estate. Nothing stays in there that isn’t used weekly at least. Vases, serving items, larger and less used cook and oven ware are kept in a closet in my game room, which has the 2 bottom shelves for games. The rest is for kitchen over stock. This last year it has been my goal to get all equipment, tools, items, etc. for every project together in the same cupboard, drawer, box, closet or where ever. I have a kitchen, a craft/sewing room upstairs and a work area in the garage for mosaics, painting and refinishing. I keep all bar-b-queing and back yard supplies in a closet in the garage. I keep all canning and dehydrating items in a garage closet. I’m always open to changes and making it better. And I’m always willing to part with things not used, but not with what I just plain LOVE!! Works for me!!

  12. Jody says

    I just moved some of my essential oils today, trying to find just the right spot. I have no where near the collection you do and my problem is that I have some larger bottles and some smaller ones. I can’t make the tall ones stand up in my kitchen drawers. I love your idea. It looks beautiful and so very organized.

  13. Brianne says

    Thank you for posting the Costco drawer organizers! I really hope I can find them at my Costco. I really want (more like NEED :-)) them to organize my Project Life cards!

  14. Patt Butti says

    I am fortunate enough to live near the Plano Molding Outlet facility. They make all sizes of boxes for sports, tools in men and woman’s colors. I have all my earrings in 4 boxes that are about an inch high and stack inside my jewelry cabinet. Many of my craft supplies are in different size containers that I wouldn’t have tried unless I brought them with me to try out (a clue here). Hardware supply stores – like Home Depot/Lowes etc. have these space savers in many departments. Bring your stuff with you so you can see if they are high enough or another size is needed. Also, my recipes after many different systems, I have put them in plastic zip lock envelopes that are super heavy and colored from the Office Supply store. I divided them into categories and put them in my plate rack and wrote the category on the side. Now all those different sized recipes are no problem. I pull out the vegie envelope and there are a bunch of them I can choose from…. Also adding a new one isn’t a big deal.

    • Susan says

      She gets the supplies from Aroma Tools and the oils are doTerra (from her sister Rebecca at Camp Wander) and Spark Naturals.

      I spend way too much time on these ladies’ blogs and FB pages…..

  15. Dee M. From KS says

    I saw your post today on essential oil storage. I have been studying aromatherapy for 20 + years and I thought I should bring up a point when I saw that you were storing them in a drawer. Is it in the kitchen? Essential oils will lose their potency much faster in a warmer atmosphere. I store mine in a small luggage type trunk with labels on top and around the middle since oils and labels tend to become less sticky when used. I also color code mine. Pink for florals, green for herbal, etc… I store them in dark bottles in a cool, dark, dry place ….thus the trunk helps keep them dark and dry and portable. I loved the storage idea you came up with and was reluctant to post this, but decided to err on the side of saving you possibly lots of $. I hope you have fun discovering all the great uses of essential oils. They are truly an untapped treasure from nature.

  16. Lori says

    I used to work in retail and once had an operations manager tell me that if I could see “air” in my stockroom, I could add more stock. What he meant was that I could utilize the “air” space between shelves for more stock by adding more shelves.
    So, when I remarried and moved into my husband’s house, he added more shelves in all my kitchen cabinets so I could organize our dishes, pantry items better.

    Just a comment on your initial shelf storage of the little oil bottles….great idea to use a drawer.

    In my craftroom, I use pretty photo boxes to store my little stuff….. adhesives, punches, ribbons, sequins and beads etc….they are labeled and stack nicely and I can always find what I need (and everything is dust-free).

    ps…love your blog!! thanks for all the great ideas.

  17. Ahnica T says

    I use a wooden box from doTerra to store my oils and have it on my kitchen countertop. The box is overflowing and I need more storage room. I don’t like them on the countertop though since every inch is precious (not a big enough kitchen) But i just want them accessible and in sight. I have found that if they aren’t, I forget to use them. They should be in sight but out of reach of little hands. I love this drawer idea but I only have 3 small drawers and each one is packed to the max already. (I love the organizing tips on these too. I have been needing to do that forever.) If you use a drawer to store your essential oils and have little children, use a child safety gadget on it. I’m not worried about my children overdosing on them but I have had two of my children have too much dumping out an entire bottle of Serenity (doTerra’s calming blend). They smelled great and slept well but it was a big waste of money.
    Jill, I love your blogs. Thanks for doing this one on organizing oils and kitchen drawers. /This gives me motivation to finally start organizing. I desperately need it.

  18. says

    These are all fantastic ideas! I’m not sure I can donate a kitchen drawer, but I might be able to de-junk a bathroom drawer or one in a cabinet somewhere. I love the idea to use a wooden divider, and adding a little custom touch with covered boxes might work in places where the larger dividers might not fit. It’s great to hear all of these ideas!

  19. Comet says

    @AHNICA T

    I am not sure where Jillee (or the orig poster if this is not a Jillee project!) got the pretty paper on the cereal box organizers but I get mine at craft stores (I like Michaels) in the scrap book or just paper dept—they often have sales of 10 sheets for $1—and you generally get double sided designs on them! And hundreds of pieces to pick from!

    I have covered many sturdy boxes with this using Mod Podge or Tacky Glue –you can also use pretty wrapping paper—I have two sewing boxes (metal cookie box base) that I used map pattern wrapping paper on 20 years ago and they STILL look great–and I pull these in and out of the closet all the time!

    You can also use scrap fabric for these and any other project calling for a cover. I just mod-podge covered a faux leg and a non-motorized wheelie scooter and a cane with this technique! Just make sure when you cover the edge that you leave enough to turn under–a deep flap or use a different pattern or ribbon to cover.

    I just “Installed” two book cases–one tall and one not so tall–to hold various supplies for jewelry making; some bulk medical supplies–insulin pump supplies are BULKY!–and some household stuff and did the storage containers for them this way.

    A different idea I saw recently—for those “cube” shelves where you insert the fabric “basket”–by the time you buy the fabric basket inserts you have spent MORE than the shelf unit. I saw where some one used the re-useable FABRIC bags you get at Trader Joes or almost any store these days for $1 or so–sometimes free–and just slide THOSE into the cube! The handles make it easy to carry with you and if you need more rigid sides–altho many of these are fairly stiff sided–stick a lightweight but sturdy cardboard box inside the bag. Done! I thought this was brilliant for things like recycling and library books or craft bags. Pricing the cubes now!

  20. CJ says

    Jillee – I know this sounds like a really stupid question – but does Lavender eo smell like lavender? The reason I ask is I bought some from a reputable company and it smells medicinal not sweet like lavender. Thanks

  21. says

    Only recently found your site, love it, thanks.
    Comment on cereal box containers, noticed your pic used paper, how about using wallpaper. You can sometimes get free books of wallpaper when decorators throw them away. You can also make envelopes from left over wallpaper, you might have to add a blank label to write on addresses.
    Recently I’ve been saving those nice galloon sized ice cream containers (that have the store brand cheap ice cream in them). They great to recycle -some even have handles! great to make those into Easter baskets, or for picking free fruits in the garden (strawberries, etc). You can also put cardboard dividers that you make to make sections, which then makes it great to store small items (essential oils would be good to store here too).
    I’m a cake decorator, and an acrylic/digital artist, and crafter (among other things) – so I have dozens of cake dyes, I finally put them in a plastic Rubbermaid food container, and some into the ice cream container with handles. I store paint brushes in cleaned out Pringles cans, upside down, so they dry well and the bristles don’t get messed up, then you can paint or paper the can to make it pretty, great for transporting brushes too (I taught painting lessons). well, that’s a start!
    thanks for this site.
    dee

  22. Julie says

    I admire your ingenuity. Wanted to throw in this little tip and it kind of ties in. I don’t have a spice rack, so I keep all of my bottles, jars, tins, etc…in a shallow plastic basket (It’s pretty big). I have a deeper basket that sits on top with all of my measuring cups, spoons, mixer blades, etc… (A good side tip here – if I want to bake OR cook, I can just pull out the basket, use what I need, then put it back).

    Alas, how was I supposed to tell what all of those tightly packed-in spices were? Argh! Frustration! All it took was 15 minutes and a Sharpie. I wrote the name of the spice on the lid of each jar and stuck it back in the basket. Spices contained AND easily identifiable – I felt victorious!!

  23. Carmen says

    Any way you could post the sku, exact product name? I’m not a member of Costco, but I’m trying to find those drawer organizers….we are moving next month & I want to begin fully organized…oils & all!!

  24. Donna says

    Does anybody know the name of the drawer divider recommended by Jillee? This question has been asked a few times and I’d love to know what it is. Of course, there are so many other good suggestions here, I may opt for going with one of them, but still, it would be nice to know the brand name she used. Thank You

  25. AR says

    Where do you buy your bottles? I’ve found several sites and thought the cost is reasonable – they cargo over double for shipping! Unbelievable. If anyone can share with me where they get their bottles, vials, droppers etc I would be greatly appreciative. Thanks!

    PS LOVE the drawer organizer idea!

    ~AR

  26. June says

    Love this idea. Understated genius – thank you for sharing. I store my aromatherapy stuff in my bedroom – obviously I live alone. EOs are in kept in a lovely Wooden EO storage box (holds 60x17ml). The aroma that permeates my bedroom when I open the lid is … Divine. Knick knacks however, need organising. I do have spare draw space in my bedroom … Hmmmm. Thanks heaps!!!!

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