Following on from my recent Blog Post about Caring for your Essential Oils, I have been asked about this common problem that arises with storing essential oils.
Some of the best ways to store essential oils, including storage boxes, storage bags or even a drawer, can make it hard to identify each oil as when you look down at them, as all you see is the top of the lid – not the label. So you can end up picking up and putting back several oils before finding the one you want. It can be quite a time wasting exercise, not to mention a bit annoying!
So what to do?
I have seen essential oil boxes with a card in the lid where you can write the name of each oil to correspond with the slot in which the oil is kept. Of course that presupposes that you are organised enough to always put each oil back in exactly the same place. I don’t know about you, but I am not that perfect!
My solution has long been to put a small round label on the lid of the bottle on which I write the name of the oil. These types of labels are widely available from office and stationery supply stores, and are available in rolls or sheets (depending on how many bottles you need to label.) You may find different sizes on offer – I prefer around a 12mm diameter size
Now the labels have, of necessity, to be small in order to fit on the caps of the essential oil bottles. This can make writing the name on them a little difficult. Not so much with a short name like, say, Lime, but certainly with longer names such as Cedarwood, Sweet Orange, Black pepper, etc it can be hard to fit them on neatly.
If you have very neat writing and a very fine pen, you may manage to write the names in full but personally I have found it easier to develop my own abbreviations for the different essential oil names. These abbreviations have evolved over the years (and continue to evolve) to take account of new and varied varieties of essential oils. Mostly I look for initials, or use the first 3-4 letters of the essential oil name, but I do vary these rules when required. eg Lem = Lemon; but Lemg = Lemongrass.
The following examples are just a few of my more long standing shorthand names -
TT = Tea Tree
YY = Ylang Ylang
Lav = Lavender
SwO = Sweet Orange
Marj = Marjoram
Mand = Mandarin
I am aware that there are one or 2 brands who make specific labels for the tops of their essential oils with the names already printed on them. But to be honest, I prefer to make my own. It gives me the opportunity to organise my essential oils in a way that suits me. It doesn’t matter how many different brands I have. I can use different coloured labels or different coloured pens to classify my essential oils. And I can use these tools to organise by type such as differentiating between single oils and blends; different notes (top, middle, base); plant families; extractions methods etc. You are really only limited by your imagination and creativity.
The abbreviations I have developed for myself have been so useful that if I am writing notes, whether for a formula, a blog post or article, or in other instances, I often find myself using exactly the same shorthand! It’s a really useful resource.
Do you do anything to organise your essential oils? Share your tips in the comments!