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How to Organize Your Water Bottles, Tumblers, and Travel Mugs

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It's a problem that no one talks about. Water bottles have a way of multiplying.

I don't know what happens at night behind the closed cabinet doors but I tell you, each morning there are more!

If you need to find a way to organize your water bottles – read on.

crowded cabinet full of reusable water bottles, tumblers, and travel mugs

In our house, each person has a favorite water bottle or two.

And then there are those water bottles that are too good to toss out.

Not to mention that you may need different sized water bottles for different occasions.

And every once in a while you get a promotional one that is kind of nice.

How do you make space for all of these?

It's harder than you would think.

The process is straightforward but there is a certain emotional attachment that is hard to quell.

  • First, create a home for your water bottles.
  • Collect EVERY SINGLE ONE of them in a central place.
  • Decide which ones to keep in your kitchen.
  • Keep lesser used water bottles in a remote storage location.
  • Donate the rest.

Let's do this together.

Create a Home for Your Water Bottles

This is a crucial step.

You need to have a cabinet or drawer in your kitchen that is THE PLACE where you plan to keep all of your water bottles.

Make sure that you pick a location that has a reasonable amount of space for storing what you want to keep on hand.

Anything that does not fit in this space has to go.

Got that?

You may need to adjust the shelving height in your upper cabinets to accommodate the taller bottles – but you get the idea.

I have designated the bottom shelf of an upper cabinet in my kitchen as my water bottle storage area.

For a long time, this space worked for us. But recently some of my older kids have come to live at home and they brought their water bottles with them.

Sigh.

So, it's time for a purge.

Collect ALL Water Bottles in a Central Location

Take all the water bottles you own and collect them all on a counter top or on your kitchen table.

reusable water bottles on counter with empty cabinet above

Grab a storage box for the ones that you can't bear to part with but that you don't use often.

Use another box or bag for your discard or donate pile.

Decide Which Water Bottles to Keep in Your Kitchen

The water bottles that you use the most should stay in your kitchen.

I have my Mira narrow neck bottle that I always use when I go to the gym.

Then there is my Yeti Rambler travel coffee tumbler that I use on the go and the Yeti mug that I use at home, when I just want to keep my coffee hot for longer.

And then my Yeti wine tumbler that I actually use for my afternoon tea. Seriously.

Can you tell that I am a Yeti fan?

These are basically the four bottles that I use the most.

Now go over the same process with each family member that has water bottles in your cabinet.

Try to get each person to commit to two or three water bottles or tumblers max.

Put these most used bottles back into your cabinet.

Select Bottles for Deep Storage

Now go through the remaining water bottles on your table.

We have some Thermos style insulated drink bottles that we mainly use on long road trips. These can go into a storage box destined for the basement.

I also have some Contigo spill proof travel mugs that I mainly use when I fly. I take them through security empty and then fill them with coffee when I reach the gate.

These can also go into the basement storage box.

We have a few sentimental college logo bottles that can go into storage too.

Discard the Rest

This is the hard part.

Some of the bottles and tumblers that remain on your table will be perfectly good.

Maybe you received them as a gift or a promo or from an office party or even from a client.

They will be nice bottles – but the question you need to ask yourself is how many do you really need?

Maybe you can find new homes for some of the nicer ones – but the rest you should try to part with.

Put them in your discard bag or box and take them out to the garage to donate.

Leave them out there for awhile if you want.

This way, if you find yourself digging through that bag looking for a particular bottle – you still have the option of bringing it back in.

When you are ready, take your discard pile to a donation center or have a garage sale.

Now decide what to do with your new found kitchen space!

Organizing is Hard To Do

Organizing is hard because of the emotional attachments that we have to our belongings.

an organized cabinet filled with water bottles

In her book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo instructs you to hold each item that you have and ask yourself if it brings you joy.

It may sound really weird – but there is truth in this.

As you sort through your water bottles – pick each one up and ask yourself if you really like, need, and plan to use it.

Remember, to designate a finite amount of space for storage, keep the ones you use the most in your kitchen, move the ones you use less often to a well labeled storage box in an out of the way location, and discard the ones that you really don't need or use.

Happy Organizing!

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9 Comments

  1. Guilty as charged. Granted, they’re incredibly organized because I have more kitchen cabinet space than a person needs (because I don’t really cook), but there’s only one of me, and I have ten (yes, 10!) water bottles. I have them neatly arranged in one cabinet, high up and out of the way. Two giant ones for sick days, a range of nice, insulated ones for using on a walk/hike or traveling, a NAPO one, and one just because it’s got a Doctor Who/TARDIS theme. And two Tevis travel mugs with lids are among the 10, and the ones I actually use 99.9% of the time. 😉 I guess I should get rid of all but the two Tevis and the Doctor Who. Ah, well.

  2. I just organized a kitchen for a client. We designated an entire cabinet to their water bottles and travel mugs. We also placed all the lids in a container. While I would prefer all my lids matched right away, it works for them.

    Thanks for providing this breakdown.

    1. Hi Phaedra,
      Those water bottles do take up a lot of space. It’s funny – I just replied to Linda’s comment before reading yours – that I often store the lids separately as well. Sometimes, especially with the narrow neck bottles, they are not completely dry inside when I put them back in the cabinet. So, I like to leave the lids off so they can air out and dry completely.
      Thanks so much for stopping by!

  3. It’s always an interesting surprise how our beverage containers seem to multiply overnight, as you said. Being ruthless in the decision-making process is key. There’s another tip that can be helpful to organize the containers. If they are being stored on a shelf, it can be easier to contain them in a bin that sits on that shelf. This way, they won’t topple over if you try to grab one that’s in the back of the shelf.

    1. Hi Linda,
      Using a bin is a great idea! Right now it is a bit like a 15 puzzle to get to the ones in the back. Sometimes I will use a bin or bowl to hold the lids because I like to store them open so they can air out.

  4. I often see huge collections of travel mugs and water bottles in clients homes. The first thing we do is decide how many they really need. They take up so much space. If clients are not using them, they are wasting storage space.

    1. Hi Janet,
      Glad to hear that I am not the only one with a water bottle overcrowding situation. 😉 I find that mugs and water bottles are hard to part with because they are often in great condition. Getting rid of something that is still usable is definitely tough.

  5. I don’t have a Yeti, but I am starting to feel left out. I see them everywhere! I think decluttering really ends up making the most difference with this one. These bottles are very large, and we end up with so many more than we can accommodate. Very satisfying result!

    1. Hi Seana,
      If you have space in your water bottle cabinet for one more a Yeti is a great choice – it’s my go to “on the go” cup. But the cabinet itself is something else. I swear mine multiply overnight. And my kids are always adding a new one here and there. Each one is “special” somehow, so hard to pare down.

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