perfume shelf organization: 2 posts

Perfume Samples : Where to Get and How to Store

Perfume samples are essential for the pursuit of your fragrance hobby, and Elisa tells you everything you wanted to know about these all important tiny vials: where to find them, how to store them and when to use them. This article is part of our Perfume Storage series.

One of my favorite perfume smells is not a single perfume, but the ur-perfume that rises up when I open this box of samples and minis I keep in my closet. It reminds me of the sound of an orchestra tuning up – there is no plan or pattern, just noise and chaos, and yet it sounds like music to me, a beautiful mess heightened by anticipation of what’s to come. Likewise, no matter what samples go into or come out of the box, the composite perfume always smells delicious – like fuchsia-colored roses and hazy amber, with aldehydes casting their candlelight glow over it all.


Once you fall down the rabbit hole, perfume samples start to accrue and multiply; it’s just part of the culture. In this post I’ll share my own sample habits, and I’d love to hear about yours.

Where I Get Samples

When I first got seriously interested in perfume, I would frequently order samples from places like Luckyscent. But I quickly saw the shortcomings of this method – the costs add up fast, and the samples (1 ml vials with no atomizer) were too small to get a true sense of the fragrance.

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How to Organize Your Perfume Collection

Corralling those pesky perfumes, or my attempts at organization is how Patricia described to me her idea for this article. As you will see, she was being modest, and her organization method is impressive. 

First, let’s get this out of the way. I have a lot of perfume. But, if you are reading this, chances are you have a fair amount yourself and struggle, as I do, with containing it all. The first stages of perfume collection don’t pose a problem. A few bottles here, a few samples there are easy to keep track of. However, once the collection swells (I swear, those dab samples in their neat little plastic bags multiply like rabbits!), some form of organization is necessary if you want to find anything in under an hour. The following is my method, which has evolved over the years by trial and error and is not meant in any way to be a guide or “how-to.”

chanel tray

Housing. My collection, large as it is, lives in three different locations: a tall, narrow cabinet in the bathroom, a shelf below my bedside table, and my dresser tabletop. (Newly obtained samples, of course, can be found floating here and there throughout the house.) None of these locations is ideal for perfume, which likes dark, cool places, but I don’t want to keep my perfume locked away in a special refrigerator, and for the most part I either never had or didn’t keep the original boxes. I make some effort at limiting direct light, but that‘s about it.

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