Monday Question – How Do You Store Your Collection?

Do you have a closet? Dark and cool as recommended?

Do you display your bottles on a table for all to see?

Do you keep the boxes?

How do you store samples?

Do you have a filing system to keep track of your collection?

My Answer:

I have a cupboard in my bedroom dedicated to my perfumes where I keep them in their boxes, because the closet has glass doors, so I feel they are better protected in their original boxes.

I regularly rotate four or five bottles that are placed on my dresser in the hall for easy access. This assortment changes according to my mood and the season.

In addition to that there are three places for samples. Firstly, the “big box” that is in the fragrance closet, it houses most of my samples and decants. Then there is a small box on the dresser in the hall, where about to be tested samples await their turn. The third box is on my desk in the office, where I write my blog posts. It holds samples that are up for reviewing after their test drive of at least three wearings. On my desk there is also the incredible stone Dee made for me. It is the most ingenious item and I love to have it. Here is the stone filled:

And what about a filing system? I would love to have one. I would also love to make one. What I would like most is to find the time to do it. 🙂 So for now, it is all in my head (or not, I should use the time that I spend hunting for a particular sample to make the filing system!)

I am looking forward to hear about your storage ideas!

Image source:, my own.

About Olfactoria

I'm on a journey through the world of fragrance - come with me!
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39 Responses to Monday Question – How Do You Store Your Collection?

  1. James Dennard says:

    I store most of my bottles inside a cabinet that is built into my computer desk. So they are in a dark, but not necessarily cool, place. I keep them inside their boxes and don’t have any displayed right now.

    I am not a very organized person and my sample stash shows this. My samples are mostly kept in a ziploc bag in a closet that is easily accessible. I need to store them using a better system. Maybe one day.

  2. vanessa says:

    I store most of my collection in a beer fridge kept at 10 degrees C. See my avatar on Facebook or Twitter! (vanessa musson / @flittersniffer). Some lesser quality bottles, minis and samples are kept in drawers, then I have a glass dish (washed out face cream pot) on my desk plus a brown paper bag from Gorilla Perfumes with samples in them that are awaiting review – including some Gorilla ones, it must be said…

  3. deeHowe says:

    Thank you for showing my little stone! I love them in theory, but the reality is that I need to come up with something better… something with levels, and that can hold something closer to 100 samples than 25!

    I’ll get working on a prototype this week, since I’m on vacation…

    My storage system is a small cabinet that I bought at IKEA. It works fairly well for bottles, since it keeps out light, and my home is temp. controlled, but I’ve got about 30 (or so) full bottles, and it’s pretty much at capacity. I like that it’s not very deep, so I never have to dig for anything, but I’d like it a lot better if it was twice as tall!

    • Olfactoria says:

      I love your stone, but I have way more spray samples than 1ml dabbers, since I need to spray a perfume, to really know what it is about and how it wears, so if you lack inspiration when working with your Dremel this week, a stone with larger holes would be a great invention, I would certainly invest in! 🙂

      Thirty bottles is a very nice size for a collection and shows the ability to make good choices and stay restrained, I won’t say how many I have. *hangs head in shame*
      But at least I am aware of that and consequently have been very good in London…;)

  4. lady jane grey says:

    I have a big wooden box, a sort of a chest, where I keep my full bottles and big decants – it’s locked and dark and I keep the box in the bedroom, which is the coolest place in the house. But I dream about a fridge for my cosmetics and parfums.
    The samples are filed and kept in pouches, separated per producer.
    The samples to be tested are in a box with 3 departments: waiting for test – found good – found meh.

  5. annemariec says:

    My storage system has elements in common with most other people’s, so nothing original. What I wanted to say is that here and there I’ve bought a few empty bottles of perfumes I love. I display them in the living room. I’m not a perfume bottle collector really, but find that having a few makes up for the disappointment of not being able to display the bottles that have perfume in them. They, of course, are mostly in their boxes on shelves and in drawers and cupboards.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Great idea, I have a few empty bottles, from a time long ago, when I actually used up an entire bottle, this is not going to happen anytime soon now.
      It must be a beautiful display in your living-room.

    • FearlessBG says:

      Great idea indeed, displaying the empty bottles! In fact this is why I keep my bottles once they run empty (which doesn’t that happen often, but well ;)). I’m thinking it can look quite tasteful in a living room corner or perhaps a hallway/bathroom…

      • Alice C says:

        I love the idea of displaying your empty bottles! I’ve always thought it was a shame to hide away the bottles…some are so lovely.

  6. Rose says:

    There is no filing system but all the bottles of the same type of scent go together.

    I have a cupboard too, which is lined with black tissue paper. all the perfumes are in their boxes in there if they have them or sometimes black tissue paper but often not.

    All samples are mixed and in cardboard boxes in a drawer

    • Olfactoria says:

      I usually arrange the bottles according to brand, but I’ll think about your idea of arranging them in fragrance families, it seems very practical. Thank you, Rose!

  7. FearlessBG says:

    That all sounds quite familiar, Birgit…

    My perfume collection is a bit all over the place. A bunch of them are in two cupboards, and then there’s even some in my nightstand… anyway, all of these places are dark and the bottles are in their original boxes. Sometimes it’s hard to find a perfume because it’s hidden behind others, but for the majority I know where to look.

    When it comes to samples and decants though, that is a whole different story 🙂 There are tons of boxes and ziplock bags and not much of a ‘system’ to be found. I do try to keep niche with niche and designer with designer, but I think it’s hard to really find a great way to organize them. I guess the main problem is that they’re all so small and look so much alike that we can barely distinguish A from B. Maybe someday I’ll set up an alphabetic cupboard or order them by fragrance family, but for now I can still work my way around it!

  8. Alice C says:

    I keep my bottles in an enclosed end table next to ‘my’ chair in the den. I keep my samples in mtm case-gard plastic ammo boxes inside the end table as well. The boxes each hold 100 sample vials in a 10 by 10 grid and are stackable. I label them ‘1-100’, ‘101-200’, etc on the outside. I have a spreadsheet where I input the samples and number them as I obtain new ones. The spreadsheet is sortable and I sort by perfume house / manufacturer. If I’m looking for a certain sample, I check my spreadsheet and then go to the proper box. I like the ammo boxes, because they hold the vials upright. If I leave one of the ammo boxes out, the perfume is still not exposed to light.

  9. Alice C says:

    They are empty when you buy them. I think my hubby bought them at

  10. Tara says:

    Very late here B but loved reading everyone’s storage solutions. Mine are not so different. I’m thinking of getting an IKEA cabinet for the purpose but we’ll see. For now they are lined up on a shelf in my wardrobe and in a vanity case by my bed where my samples are also kept. The perfumes in the cupboard are all in their boxes but there’s no filing system. I like your idea of having 4 or 5 out in rotation. Samples are roughly divided into bags along the lines of – untested/needs more testing/unloved.

    I’m afraid you may have a couple more samples arriving to add to your collection in the not so distant future 🙂

    • Olfactoria says:

      Glad you are chiming in, Tara!
      Your sample categories are great, does anything ever get out again from the unloved bag?

      Thank you, you are so kind! I will watch my mailbox closely! 🙂

      • Tara says:

        B, nothing usually escapes the unloved bag once it’s in there unfortunately. I admire the way you give your samples a thorough test and often grow to love scents you didn’t care for at first. I’ll only perservere if I am not sure or it’s a scent that has a great reputation (like Nuit de Tubereuse). I am quick to dismiss those I don’t like on first sniff but at least it is one way of limiting my collection!

        • Olfactoria says:

          That is a good way to keep a collection in check, that is true. But on the other hand, there are so many perfumes I adore now that were total rejects after first sniff.

  11. Marie says:

    I’m totally unorganized with my fragrances, I have to admit. Not uncharacteristically so, in all fairness.
    Since I have virtually no closet space – including no wardrobe closet – I keep my bottles lying down in a drawer in my clothes cabinet. At some point I decided to throw away the boxes which I have now regretted. Mostly the lying down thing works OK, although the possibility of an overview is close to zero. It did go wrong on one occasion with a refill bottle where the cap wasn’t screwed completely tight – a fragranced experience that was! And is. I think the scent will never get out of the bottom of that particular drawer.

    When I pull myself together and get myself a real closet for clothes, shoes etc. I will keep my fragrances there. The thing is that I HATE shopping for furniture. We’re talking smelling salts and brown paper bags to breathe into to get me through it 😉

    In the future I will keep the boxes so that I can store some of my fragrances more freely.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Oh, I hope it was a fragrance you still like that spilled all over your drawer…
      Maybe online furniture shopping at IKEA is the solution for you! 😉

      • Marie says:

        It is certainly a fragrance that I have learned to like 😉

        Online furniture shopping is only marginally better – it’s having opinions on furniture that scares the living daylights out of me – weird, I know…. 🙂

        • Olfactoria says:

          I hope you are writing this sitting on a chair in front of a table, not on the floor with your laptop the only hardware around. 😉

          • Marie says:

            Oh, I do have furniture 😉 I usually sit on a sofa my mother bought on my behalf sight unseen (by me, not her, she saw it), my coffee table is from my parents’ home, my dining table from my grandma’ sister, the chairs from my grandma’s, two other chairs from my parents’ and my uncle and aunt’s house. I will go to great lengths to avoid facing furniture purchases. Bed’s new, though 🙂

  12. Warum says:

    I do keep in dark and cool as recommended, and keep all boxes. All perfumes live in their boxes, except those that came with no boxes via swap. BTW, my Jo Malone Tea Collection fragrances came in the same box, no individual boxes.

    I have a dressing table and one drawer is dedicated to full bottles, another one to the samples. The minis live under the lid and I open and close the lid every time.

    I expanded a little recently, purchased a CD storage box and I use it for some less than oft used bottles as well as sample boxes (Winter samples, Spring samples, samples to give to my Mama to test, etc.). I do not catalog. At my about 200 samples I put them in these broadly defined categories (wardrobe samples — good enough to wear regularly, purgatory (I think I got the term from Robin at NST and it’s self explanatory I guess, those-that-are-going-out-the door, the ones I haven’t tried yet…) and I remember more or less what’s there.

  13. Undina says:

    I store my perfumes in three drawers in the walk-in closet. It’s cool and doesn’t have direct sunlight access. Since those drawers are below the chest level it’s relatively easy to see where each bottle/decant is. Since I placed them mostly based on the boxes configurations (I keep all original boxes if I had them) I do not rotate bottles – almost all are equally accessible and it’s easier to remember where I have each. I’m still working on the solution for samples – do not like the way I have them now (but at least they are stored properly).
    I’ve created a small database in Access where I track everything I can think to track about the perfumes that I own or test – perfume house, perfumer, when created, notes, etc. I’m still improving it but it’s helpful already.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Oh, can I please have that walk-in closet?
      That is my dream! Won’t happen…
      Also your Access data file is a great idea, must get around to that soon.

      • Undina says:

        It’s not the biggest closet so do not picture those from movies in which you could live for a while if you had to 😉 but it’s nice to have it. And my perfumes are much happier now!
        As to the database, it helps me to feel in control. For example, I have a query that tells me which one of my favorites I didn’t wear for more than two months.

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