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10 Items You’ll Regret Not Storing in a Cool Place

Food and wine aren't the only items that require a cool place to hang out. Here are 10 other items that prefer to "keep their cool" in your home.

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Perfume and cologne

Scents, especially pricey ones, are often in a bottle that is a veritable a piece of art. It’s tempting to display the pretty bottles in on your dresser or in your bathroom, but that’s not such a great idea. “Heat and light can alter the scent of fragrances. It is best to keep cologne in a cool, dark environment,” says Nancy Haworth, a professional organizer and owner of On Task Organizing, LLC. Keep the cologne is a dresser drawer, closet shelf, or anywhere it won’t be exposed to direct sunlight. These are the other organization ideas you’ll wish you knew all along. 

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Despite it’s name, the bathroom medicine cabinet is not an ideal place to store meds, says Henrieta Tim, the manager of the outpatient pharmacy at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore. “The steam from a hot shower can cause the chemicals in medicine to decompose, which could make the medicine less effective,” Tim says. Additionally, Tim says, storing medicine in temperatures that are also extremely cold could cause problems as well.

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Leather goods

Tattered and worn bomber jackets may give you the vintage fashion statement you’re looking for, but if you want your leather coats, boots, or even handbags to stay soft and subtle, store them in a cool and dry place. Light and moisture are sworn enemies of leather. When storing in a closet or other location, make sure it’s not close to a bathroom or kitchen where moisture could change the climate. If you’re hanging leather coats or pants, use a sturdy wood or plastic hanger and don’t store in a plastic bag that could trap moisture (try a cloth garment bag or cotton sheet instead). These are the biggest closet organizing mistakes and how to fix them.

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If you want to plant some herbs, veggies, or flowers this spring, don’t start with soggy seeds. While some seeds require a little soak before planting, store bought seeds need to be stored in a cool, dry space before the sowing and planting process begins. Moisture can cause mildew or mold to grow on seeds. If you collected seeds from your own plants, keep them in a paper envelope and store in a cool, dry place.

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Cleaning supplies

Bleach and ammonia are tough on stains—and your noses. “Cleaning supplies should be stored in a cool place so as not to explode or emit noxious and potentially harmful gasses into your household,” says Jim Ireland, owner of White Glove Elite, Inc. Equally important, never store ammonia and bleach together. If accidental spillage or leakage occurs, the two become a toxic gas, which can be fatal. Here are the secrets personal organizers would never tell you for free. 

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It’s a no-brainer to store makeup in your bathroom; it’s got the best light and the biggest mirror, after all. But that’s a mistake, because warm and humid conditions can cause the preservatives in cosmetics to breakdown and microorganisms grow faster. And, according to the FDA “all natural” cosmetics have a shorter shelf life, because they contain plant-derived ingredients and non-traditional preservatives (or none at all) that make microbial growth even easier.

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Shelled nuts

The unsaturated oils found in nuts can be healthy additions to your diet, but they can spoil if not stored correctly. “Most shelled nuts should be stored in an airtight container and placed in a dry, dark, cool place,” says Molly Morgan, RD, CDN of “Light and heat speed up the time it takes for nuts to spoil, and keeping them in a dark cool place can increase their lifespan,” Morgan says. When kept in cool, dry conditions, nuts can be stored for about six month to a year. Here are other foods you’ve probably been storing wrong.

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Vinyl is hip again and if you want to play The Smiths the old-school way, Haworth recommends keeping your records in a cool dry place away from humidity, heat, and direct light. “These items can easily melt or otherwise get damaged from extreme temperature changes,” says Haworth. Other media such as film strips and camera film should be stored the same way.

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A few pearls of wisdom are needed when storing these organic, cherished gems. “Pearls should be protected from heat, sunlight, and dry conditions,” says Lynel Brown, vice president of Brown Safe, a line of safes. “Extremes in temperature can cause the pearls to dry out, and if they get dry enough, they’ll crack.” The other pearl of wisdom your grandma knew about wearing pearls: They should be “the last thing you put on when dressing and the first thing you take off when you get home.” Why? Pearls are an organic gem with calcium carbonate and are susceptible to deteriorate from exposure to perfumes, makeup, and hair care products.

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Old photographs and film strips

Nowadays, we’re more likely to store our pictures in the Cloud rather than photo albums, but if you have old black- and- white photos or negatives and want cherish them for days to come, don’t store thme in the typical places like your attic or basement. If you want to show your kids how high your hair was in the 80s, The Library of Congress recommends a cool place, avoiding areas with varying temperatures like radiators and vents or places with higher risk of leaks. Next, check out these storage hacks that will banish clutter. 

Lisa Marie Conklin
Lisa Marie Conklin is a Baltimore-based writer who writes regularly about pets and home improvement for Reader's Digest. Her work has also been published in The Healthy, HealthiNation, The Family Handyman, Taste of Home, and, among other outlets. She's also a certified personal trainer and walking coach for a local senior center. Follow her on Instagram @lisamariewrites4food and Twitter @cornish_conklin.