7 Costly Storage Mistakes (And Their Easy Fixes)

Costly Storage Mistakes

Like many people, the majority of my storage decisions come down to convenience — if I primarily use an item in the bathroom, that’s usually where I store it. But there’s another factor worth considering when when it comes to storage (and it has nothing to do with how attractive your storage bins are!)

When deciding where to store things, it’s important to take the conditions of various storage areas into consideration, and we often fail to do so! Problematic storage locations are sometimes obvious and thus easy to avoid — like storing your precious family heirlooms away from your kids’ art supplies — but other issues may be difficult to spot.

So today I thought I would shed some light on the topic by sharing 7 of the most common storage mistakes people make. In addition to an explanation for why each mistake should be avoided, I also have a quick and easy fix for each one that will help you protect your stuff!

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7 Costly Storage Mistakes And How To Fix Them

Storage Mistakes

1. Storing Towels In The Bathroom

Of all the rooms in your house, the bathroom is one of the more problematic places to store things, mainly because it’s just so humid in there!

If you store your spare towels in your bathroom, they are constantly exposed to those humid conditions. That moisture can keep your towels semi-damp around the clock, which is sure to result in mildew issues eventually!

Instead, store your stock of clean towels somewhere outside of the bathroom, like in a linen closet. And after drying off, make sure to hang your bath towel over a towel bar or your shower curtain rod so it can dry properly between uses.

Storage Mistakes

2. Storing Beauty Products On The Counter

Most skincare products and cosmetics last longer when they’re stored in a cool, dark, and dry location, so it’s no mystery why storing beauty products on a warm, brightly lit, and humid bathroom counter can create problems.

Here’s a quick rundown of how improper storage conditions can affect your beauty products:

  • Sunscreens & Products With SPF – Heat can cause separation
  • Pigmented Powders (Eyeshadow, Blush, Etc.) – Heat can cause pigments to fade
  • Liquid Foundation – Heat can shorten its shelf-life
  • Nail Polish – Heat can cause separation
  • Fragrances – Exposure to sunlight can alter delicate scents
  • Makeup Brushes – Exposed to moisture and bacteria when stored out in the open

Instead, keep your beauty products tucked away in a drawer or cabinet when you’re not actively using them.

Storage Mistakes

3. Storing Pantry Items In The Box They Came In

The boxes and bags that pantry items come in aren’t doing much to keep your food fresh. They also allow easy entry and/or exit points for insects and pests that may be looking to feast on your food!

Instead, transfer pantry items to airtight food storage containers when you get home from the store. You’ll notice the difference in freshness right away, and you’ll be able to reuse the containers for years to come.

Storage Mistakes

4. Storing Nonstick Pans In A Stack

The finish on your nonstick pans is pretty fragile, so if you stack your nonstick pans together, it won’t take long for that finish to get scratched up.

Luckily, there’s an easy fix for this one. Just insert a paper plate, paper towel, or sheet of tissue paper between each of your nonstick pans. Even a thin barrier will help protect the finish from scratches!

Storage Mistakes

5. Storing Important Documents In A Filing Cabinet

If your important documents are filed away in a corner somewhere, they probably won’t be easily accessible in the event of an emergency. And a filing cabinet won’t do much to protect those documents from a fire, flood, or other disaster.

Instead, store your family’s most important documents, including birth certificates, passports, social security cards, and other crucial information, in a fireproof storage bag. Keep the bag somewhere where you could quickly grab it in an emergency situation.

Storage Mistakes

6. Storing Photos In A Shoe Box

It can be hard to know what to do with old photos, so many people store them in an old shoe box. But cardboard isn’t actually great for photos, and it can even cause yellowing and fading over time.

Instead, arrange your photos in an acid-free photo album or store them in an acid-free storage box.

Storage Mistakes

7. Storing Medicines In The Medicine Cabinet

While it might sound strange, your medicine cabinet isn’t a great place to keep your medications. Like I mentioned earlier, the humid environment of your bathroom can cause things to deteriorate faster than they normally would.

Instead, store your medications in a storage box and keep the box somewhere cool and dry.

Have you ever learned about a storage mistake the hard way?

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Bright Ideas

  • One year, as we were storing our Christmas ornaments, my husband wrapped some of them in red tissue paper. WRONG!!! Things came out stained. Now we know to only use white tissue paper. The same can happen with newspaper as the print can rub off.

  • My purses get special storage. They are stuffed to keep their shape with either paper/foam that came in them or old (clean) T-shirts/soft fabric. I also keep them in dust bags and stand them on shelves in my closet. They never hang by handles. In case I forget which purse is in each bag, I tie identification tags on the drawstrings.

  • Good ideas!
    To add to one, the pan storage, my wife cuts circles out of the padded shelf liner to put in between the pans. I complain about it but, don’t tell her, it’s a good idea! ;-)

  • I like the idea of a fireproof bag. Even though I have a safe I want to keep my sacred documents close by where I can grab them. Is there any way to make your link to Amazon go straight to smile.Amazon.com so my charity is also getting the benefit for my order in this product. Sometimes I don’t catch that it didn’t go straight to smile.Amazon and then I lose out on the ability to donate unless I cancel the order and start over.

    Thanks for all you do.

  • As always, great thoughts!

    I store my nonstick pans upside down in the drawer of my stove. That way the frying/cooking surfaces don’t touch. Plus, I found I could fit more in than when I stacked them.

    We keep our important papers in a heavy fire proof metal box. But it wouldn’t be quick and easy to grab! I have never heard of fire proof bags. Great idea!!

  • How very true on the medications. When I was keeping my mother at end of life. I went to a seminar at the local hospital on where to keep medicines and how to keep children out of them and the elderly who forget if they have taken their meds.

    They also had some seminars for caregivers on how to have some “alone” time – use a baby monitor and other helpful safety tips.

    Very helpful.

  • I use a couple of those Rubbermaid lazy Susan’s in my hall closet outside the bathroom: one for my OTC meds, one for Rx meds. They’re quick-grab and it’s dry and dark. Love your ideas Jillee!

  • Another one is jewelry. I’ve found the air tarnishes them. Even gold. I buy those little silver squares and put them with all my jewelry away in a box. I have several pieces of my Grandma’s. I wouldn’t want to ruin them.

    • I also keep pieces of white chalk with my jewelry. I’ve had to get rid of few pairs of earrings. Because even after treating them, they were still tarnished. Also the the little silica packets are good for this too.

    • Gold doesn’t tarnish. Gold items have even been recovered from ship wrecks and can be polished back to their original shine. What probably happened is that the gold plating wore thin making it look tarnished.

  • Great ideas. I usually try to store my regular meds in the kitchen. I’ve always stored my makeup and lotions in my bedroom . I have it set up so I can do makeup in my room. Besides that, I’ve always had to share a bathroom with family. It just isn’t practical. I grew up with a bunch of siblings and it would have been crazy with my sisters and I all trying to put makeup on.

      • Believe me I know about the humidity. I actually live in a state where it’s very humid in warmer weather. So it makes certain things more of a challenge.

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