How to Organize Water Bottles, Tumblers, and Travel Mugs

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It’s a problem that no one talks about. Water bottles and travel mugs have a way of multiplying.

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

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

In our house, each family member 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 sizes of water bottles for different occasions or for specific needs (one that fits in your car cup holder, one that is spill proof, or one that is large enough for a day at the beach, for example).

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 for organizing lots of water bottles 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!

collection of water bottles in cabinet

Create a Home for Your Water Bottle Collection

The first step to create an organized space for your reusable bottle and mug collection is create a designated area to store water bottles.

You need to have a cabinet shelf, pantry shelf, or kitchen drawer 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 storage space with enough room for all the bottles you want to keep and is also within easy reach.

The rule to keep in mind when choosing your ideal location is that anything that does not fit in this space has to go.

Upper Cabinets

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

Since reusable coffee cups and the like come in various sizes, you may need to adjust the height of your cabinet shelves to accommodate the taller bottles or add shelf risers for smaller items so you can take full advantage of the vertical space.

Lower Cabinets

Personally, I don’t think that lower cabinets are the best way to store water bottles. You will really need to bend down to access them, and it will be hard to reach the ones that get pushed to the back.

Kitchen Drawers

A more efficient way to store water bottles down low is to use a deep drawer in your kitchen. This is a good option if you have young children that need to be able to reach their own water bottles.

You can also use drawer dividers to split up your collection by person or type of bottle.


If your kitchen space is limited, you can take advantage of any available space in your pantry.

You may need to find some creative storage solutions for this space but there are so many ideas.

A simple solution is to use an over the door shoe organizer as a water bottle holder. Just hang it on the back of your pantry door and use the upper slots for the adults bottles and the lower slots for the kids.

You can also put a lazy susan on one of the shelves. Personally, I don’t love this idea because the bottles can tip over when you spin the lazy susan, and the round shape of the turntable doesn’t have space for that many bottles.

But a better solution for splitting up large pantry shelves would be to use clear plastic bins, a magazine holder set, or some wicker baskets. Just make sure to measure both your space and the diameter of the bottles you plan to store to make sure they will fit.

Collect ALL Water Bottles in a Central Location

Once you choose your space, the next step is to take all the water bottles, travel mugs, and tumblers that you own and collect them on your kitchen countertops or on your table like I did in the photo below.

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 too often. You will store this bin in a more remote location like the basement, garage, or storage closet. I like to use clear containers so I can easily see the contents.

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.

You might be surprised at how few you actually use on a regular basis.

Personally, I only use the following four – which means that everything else is just taking up valuable space.

Of course, if you don’t live alone then you also have everyone else’s water bottles in your kitchen. So, it is important to go over the same process with each family member and pick out their favorites.

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. Pick out the ones that you use only occasionally or that you can’t bear to part with.

These can go into the basement storage box.

Discard the Rest

This is the hard part.

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

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

There will be some nice bottles but there will also be a selection of those that you picked up at dollar stores.

The questions you need to ask yourself are:

  • how many do you really need and
  • is it worth the extra cost of buying storage bins or losing extra space in your kitchen or home to keep these?

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!

You can use this same method to organize your coffee cups as well.

Related: Simple Pantry Organization Ideas

Organize Your Water Bottles the Marie Kondo Way

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

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.

If you are still having a hard time – check out these water bottle storage ideas for creative ways to find space to store your collection.

The Best Way to Organize Water Bottles in Your Cabinet

I hate to say it – but the best way to organize water bottles is to get rid of some them.

Empty your cabinet, go through your collection Marie Kondo style, and decide which ones you really like.

Store the ones that you use the most in your kitchen and find space in a closet or the basement for the ones you use less often.

Donate the rest.

Happy Organizing!

an organized cabinet filled with water bottles

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  1. I love everyone’s suggestions! I already like having my spices lined up in a bin on the cabinet shelf that I can pull out and put on the counter – I think I’ll try it for water bottles! And then the lids can be in the bin instead of on the bottles. Some of them are SO tall once the lid is attached. I can probably do this today with a bin I already have instead of buying a special rack just for water bottles. Of course, I’ll have to downsize first…

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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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