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35 Comments

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Profile photo of Nancy T

Everything you just said, Christine! ^^^
My stash has begun to get more unwieldy, and it is definitely time to organize a bit better. If I ever get my computer set up again, I’m doing spreadsheets to keep inventory of what already exists, and any later additions. For me , since my stash isn’t amongst many brands, that makes it easier in some ways, but also can make it more difficult sometimes to find a specific shade quickly as most of my lipsticks are MAC. I may use a coordinating nail polish shade to indicate whether the inside shade is a red, a pink, etc.,by putting a dot on the cap.

I love your ideas about making spread sheets for your inventory. Also putting nail polish dots on the lipstick . When I am leaving for work or in a rush, I am popping open all my lipsticks,searching for the right color. Shout out to you Nancy. Thank you!!!!!!

Profile photo of Nancy T

Your welcome, Denise! It’s just been making me crazy, a motherload of MAC lipsticks all except a few in those black bullets with TOO tiny writing on the bottoms!!! I store them bottom up atm, but then I remembered something I heard about color coding with nail polish, so my new “project”.

I love it. I bought cheap nail polish colors today and going to work on it this week. It drove me nuts everyday, even though I would put colors together, somehow they got mixed up by the end of the week. You know,rushing to leave the house for work and openings almost every lipstick for the right one. UGH!!!!!

Profile photo of Lulle

I’d suggest getting a large dresser and using each drawer to store one category of items (sorted by type or brand depending on preferences), and finding dividers to separate items by smaller sub-category inside each drawer (by color or by brand for example).
Here’s the way my not-so-large dresser is organized: first drawer for lip products, with 4 sub-categories, high-end lipsticks, drugstore lipsticks and glosses, high-end glosses, lip crayons and pencils (I use the small shopping bags you get at Victoria’s Secret as dividers); second drawer is a mess but I’m working on it, lol! It contains all my eyeshadows and face products, and it’s loosely divided in singles, duos and quads, foundations, concealers and powders, cream blushes, powder blushes, highlighters. My third drawer contains all my larger palettes (bigger than quads/quints). I keep my eyeliners in a large clear pouch and cream shadows in an Irregular Choice shoe box because the dresser is full 😀
I’d also advise to keep all the products that are likely to be used often (more than once a week) in a specific, easy-to-reach spot, such as a basket on top of the dresser. I have this hanging jewelry organizer with many little clear pockets behind the door (I got it at a Secret Santa a couple years ago), and although it’s ugly-ish it’s useful to keep the products that are on regular rotation on hand.
Also, consider keeping the brushes you don’t use often in a closed compartment or bag to avoid dust gathering in the hair (or cat hair in my house!).
Lulle Recently Posted: The Girl Who Wore Glasses: Firmoo Low-Cost Glasses Review

Profile photo of Joy

Victoria’s Secret is out! Helpful. I need to make sure they can breathe and stay cool for longevity. Looking into materials that will protect and hold. I like you kept your singles rather than depot. Assuming. Good stuff!

Profile photo of Pearl

Base products: tub/tray that fits in drawer
Eyeshadows – de-potting into palettes would be a space and time saver, organize by color or by finish or looks/most used; I’ve done it by all 3 and for me, having a few with my most used and the rest by color has worked. After de-potting, organize in an acrylic palette holder.
Blushes – I haven’t de-potted mine because I have an acrylic organizer for them and I won’t buy over the amount it can hold (it keeps me from over-buying) and I carry blush with me in my makeup purse so I want to keep them in their container.
Highlighters/Bronzers/Contour/face powders- tub/tray that fits in drawer or acrylic organizer
Mascaras/eyeliners/liquid w/wand eyeshadows – vases or glass/acrylic holders (usually colors are easily seen so no need to have it ordered)
Lip liners – vases or glass/acrylic organizer, organized alphabetically
Lipstick – acrylic organizer, organized alphabetically or by color

I also have a ‘glam tray’ I set up weekly (or it can be done nightly) that is set up, ready for me to go in the morning so I don’t have to think about my makeup.

Also, fyi, Zahrabeauty.com and byAlegory on Amazon have great acrylic storage for just about everything.

Profile photo of Valerie

I’m facing this very challenge right now. I’m considering making at special trip to an IKEA bearing city (I live in Iowa) to get my hands on some Alex drawers. I have a large acrylic drawer system I created with pieces bought through the container store, but a. it doesn’t hold everything and b. products are crammed in there. I’m a very visual person, I need to see the different products and colors I have or I’m likely purchase something very similar. I’m hoping the Alex drawers will let me everything out a bit so I can more easily see colors.

Oh and z palettes have saved my life. Especially when it comes to individual shadows.
Valerie Recently Posted: January Favorites!

Clear containers and/or baskets are essential. You might not be able to cram as many products into a drawer this way, but you’ll be able to see everything at once. Products should not overlap, otherwise you probably won’t reach for things hidden on the bottom.

I have three 3 drawer plastic containers which each have a lidded area on top which I purchased at Walmart. And a large Tupperware container for all my eye palettes. Not every glamourous but everything fits under my tiny vanity. Each drawer set has a purpose. The first is all base products like brows, primers, foundations and eyeliners. Another is all eyeshadow singles to quads. The final one is blushes and highlighters. And I have a long thin drawer organizer that holds my 50 or so lipsticks upright. I strive to keep them organized by colour, but mostly rely on memory for what colours I have in what brands.

I like to organize by color because I’m visual. I also suggest inventorying your stash once in a while to stop impulse buying. I inventoried my stash and found enough red lipstick to last me a lifetime, so I’ve put a no-buy on it unless it’s a unique color. I was hitting the pan on my favorite vanilla beige shadow, and was thinking about buying another one, but when I inventoried my stash, I found at least 20 similar colors. It seems like every kit has a vanilla shade or a few light shades that all look “vanilla” on my lids.

Profile photo of Rachel R.

I agree with everything you said.

I keep my foundations, primers, and daily makeup in an acrylic organizer on my rolltop desk/vanity for easy access.

For me, sorting is the key, and keeping a lot on shelves or however you can see what you have easily. For me, it makes sense to sort by my palettes by type and size for ease of stacking. My husband used his 3D printer to make me some dividers for stacking. Stacks are divided into colorways: Neutrals, brights, etc.

I depotted all my single blushes, highlighters, eyeshadows, etc. that I could. I keep the shadows in color coded Zpalettes: Blue shadows in the blue, purples in the lavender, browns in the leopard, etc. I have separate Zpalettes for my MAC shadows, and another for my Urban Decay. It’s just so much easier for me than having a bunch of little singles floating around.

Drawers are sorted into types — blush and highlighters, eyeshadows, etc. Lipliners and eyeliners are sorted by color in cups. Lipsticks either depotted and sorted by color, or in acrylic organizers by brand. Brushes by type and in cups. My husband has been 3D printing me clones of my e.l.f. three part brush containers to match my decor, so I’m sorting lipglosses and stuff into those as he makes them. He going to make me some drawer dividers/organizers as well to help keep things corralled better.

I think I need to borrow your husband for a little organization project around my house LOL You could probably start a little side business there to pay for your makeup 😉

Profile photo of Rachel R.

I’ll suggest that to my hubby, Katherine. We know what women will pay for makeup organization! They’re easy to customize, but each one takes several hours to print.

My makeup room’s theme is Alice in Wonderland, so we’ve been putting quotes from the two Alice books on my brush containers.

Profile photo of Nancy T

That is so incredibly ingenious of your husband to do that for you, Rachel! So very cool that perhaps what Katherine suggested may be a nice little side enterprise.

My stash is organized in drawers by general classification: skincare/prep, face, eyes, and lips. I also have a drawer for nails. The brushes and tools that go with each category are in their corresponding drawers. That’s also the order in which I apply my makeup. I have another drawer for specialty items and a drawer for off season items. I like to keep those separate as I don’t reach for them all that often.

I think you made an excellent point, Christine, about knowing how you think about products be it names, numbers, color families, consistency, etc. Some people might naturally think of their blushers in terms of powders, creams, and gels. Another person might think of them in terms of color family or finish. knowing yourself and your habits is key to getting organized and then keeping it up. Oh! And a label maker! I have a so many cases that look identical, but thanks to P-Touch, I can easily pick the one I want without a moment’s hesitation 🙂

For lips I organize by color / color family (reds, dark colors, pinks, neutrals, etc.). Everything else is sorted in airtight containers that fit under my sink by areas of the face. Then I have a dedicated drawer in my bathroom vanity to hold items that get used daily. As for brushes, I found a divided vanity organizer at Bed Bath and Beyond that works great; it allows me to also sort my brushes by use / areas of the face.

Profile photo of Genevieve

I would echo Christine’s comments. But first of all, I would throw out anything too old and past its use by date.
1. Separate products by type
2. Either organise by brand or by colour
3. Have most used products handy.

I have a toolbox. I “borrowed the idea from Tarababyz on youtube, granted hers are way cuter (pink and blue). It’s the standard type you’d see in any garage. They have plenty of drawers to organize by product type, i.e. primers, foundation, blushes, highlighter and bronzers, and so on. I organize by order of application and then by brand and color. I store skin care and brushes, q-tips, cotton pads etc. In the flip top. I even had a mirror cut to fit the part that flips up. Greatest investment ever!!! Now I just have to argue with the hubby about why I can have mine inside and he can’t! Lol!!!

Mine is organised by product type then brand. It’s weird but I when its by brand I know exactly what I’m looking for, when I’ve tried it by colour I hated it and didn’t know where anything was.
What I have done is used the 5 draw Alex units and separated everything with foam board. So all my products are upright and individually separated. It’s so nice to look at and I can see everything.

I have a huge fishing tackle box that I bought when i started beauty school back in 2000. It was all I could afford at the time-$30. It hold quite abit. I also have a tall dresser/vanity that has my daily use items(skin care products, flat irons, hair products, vitamins) I keep my brushes in 4 cool glasses(actually re purposed bar glasses). My hair stuff is in one drawer and nail polish/ lotions are in the other. the bottom drawer has my sewing kit, travel bags and beauty samples( if I know I am not going to use them I add them to gifts for friends)

Lonnnng entry because I am an organization addict! Well, for some things…. And I don’t mean for this post to sound at all preachy — I’m just writing it the way I would a how-to article.

Tackle boxes are awesome since you can easily see most everything at once. I have a Caboodles case from the ’80s (I bought it as a teenager!) that’s about 15″ long, 9-10″ deep, and 9-10″ wide (back to front). You can get them for $30-$40 on eBay. There are 2- and 3-tier versions, though I really like the 2630 model (3-tier), which is the one I have. There’s also a lift-out shallow tray that fits on the right side of the upper tier, but most of the eBay models seem to be lacking that one (guess they were lost). The 2630 also has a decent-sized mirror if you need it. Its shallower top trays keep items largely to one layer.

Tackle-style organizers are also great if you’re low on counter space and/or don’t have the best ventilation in your bathroom (ergo, it doesn’t take long for dust to accumulate). I keep my caboodle in my towel cabinet and place it on my toilet top to use. I’m thinking about getting a folding table (like the old-style ones for TV dinners) to stow in the bathroom as well, so I have an easy spot to place open palettes (I seriously have NO counter room, despite living in flatland, ergo, Texas).

The left top tier of my model caboodle is good for blushes and/or small palettes; the right top-tier liftout is perfect for eyeliners (up to 15 or so), and the undertier for single eyeshadows (maybe 9-18, depending on depth). The second tier holds two rows of lipsticks perfectly (I keep my most commonly used ones, six total, in the smaller compartment on the right), something like 35 total. The bottom tier, I use for palettes and to store items I rarely use, like holo eyeshadows and unusual lipsticks. My caboodle is big enough that a full Vice palette will fit in the bottom easily, with room to spare on the side. I have seven good-sized palettes down there, plus a handful of rarely used shadows and lippies.

I second the comments here about adding color dots to lipsticks and palette tops. Lipstick color dots you can always do on basic white round stickers and then seal with satin tape. (If you want a more easily removable sticker, stick the sticker to your jeans a couple of times to remove some of the stick. You can also get art dots at a craft store; these are designed to remove from paper corners without tearing.)

For palettes, snap a photo and print in color (at Kinko’s, if you don’t want to use up your own color cartridges), and tape the image on top of the palette. You’ll probably have to try printing a few times to get fairly accurate color, if you’re picky. I haven’t found a paper that works really well to brush shadow samples onto, though a toothed paper (which has an obvious weave and feels nubby, as is used for watercolors or pencil drawing) isn’t bad, sealed with satin tape (or even saran) like the dots.

Cleaning a caboodle is also super-easy since it’s all hard plastic, and if you want to take the whole thing with you for some reason, everything’s already packed and organized, and won’t scramble together in transit. However, I don’t know that I’d trust the carry handle when the thing’s totally loaded like mine is.

I also have a small basket on my countertop that has my everyday items in it: primers, mineral powder & base, concealers, two standard blushes, colorless lipliner, clear and black mascaras, brow pencils, and a couple of standard eyeliners. (Moisturizers I keep in the medicine cabinet, since I have an AM, PM, serious sunblock, etc.) Brushes go in pretty ceramic cups: one for eyeshadow brushes, one for blush and powder brushes, and a third for less commonly used ones (typically the smallest brushes). You can also get dollar-store tumblers and spray-paint them metallic for a cheap and easy but attractive alternative.

The best general way I can suggest to organize individual items is by usage first. The items you reach for all the time should get the best real estate, and thus be easiest to hand; that’s why my everyday items are in the basket on the countertop. Lipsticks and glosses I use all the time are in a small drawer. So my most commonly used items are entirely separate from the caboodle, and if I don’t want to mess with even getting it down (or don’t have time), I don’t have to. As for inside the caboodle, I organize by type, then by shade, working through a color spectrum (pinks to peaches to corals to reds, i.e., for lipsticks).

Nail polishes, which are my downfall — I must have sixty or more — work really well organized by color spectrum (red all the way through violet), with metallics, nudes and varying topcoats each separated out. I keep them on a shallow shelf and use stacked tiers, like you see used for spices (the tiers look like stair steps) to keep everything visible.

I never bother with acrylic organizers with smaller sections, as invariably things are too large and don’t fit, or are too small and clatter around, fall over, etc. Plus they scratch, crack, and can prove a total pain to fully clean, because of all the crevices. And I’d rather most of my products store out of sight. But that’s little OCD me. 😉

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