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Thank to Valerie for today's question!

How do you organize your makeup stash?

I have three large dressers that hold the majority of it. One dresser is strictly MAC products, which are then organized by type (blush, lipstick, gloss) and alphabetized by letter (but not within letter, it’s just all As, Bs together, etc.). One dresser is for very high-end/luxury brands. One dresser is for mid-to-high-end brands. I use Helmers in a closet to store brands that I only have a few products of (regardless of price point) as well as drugstore products. I typically organize within drawers by brand, product type. I use plastic pins to hold palettes (Urban Decay palettes are separated out), MAC palettes are stacked on shelves in a closet along with other freestyle palettes (Anastasia, Makeup Geek, MUFE, and so forth). Nail polish I keep in Helmers.

— Christine

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47 Comments

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Great question! For 2016, I’ve been inventorying and re-organizing my makeup stash. Most of it is still sorted by color, but I’ve done more. I spent half a day swatching all my purple shadows, grouping them by color (violet purples, lavender purples, pink purples, etc.), then wrote down which shadows went together for eye looks. So when I’m rushing in the morning, I just look at my notes for the look I want, and grab the right shadows. This saves me a ton of time and helps me rotate my stash too, so I’m not grabbing the same shadows every time. Also, if I see I have 7 violet purples, no need to buy another one unless it’s really unique. I’ve also swatched my blue shadows too, and this weekend, I’m going to work on the neutrals. I’ve also swatched my humongous lipstick/lipgloss stash, and wrote down which lipliners went with them, so when I’m in a hurry, I just look at my notes. That’s also how I found out what lip colors I had too much of (red, which is on a no-buy ) and what colors I was missing (true pinks, which is on a buy list). This has really helped me stick to a low buy so far, with exceptions for LE items or unique colors not found in my stash. And I’m starting a project pan where I try to use some cream shadow and a gloss everyday, so they don’t go bad. The cream shadow and gloss collection is pretty big, have many colors to choose from, so I won’t be bored.

All my makeup is in one large drawer in my bedroom and a wheeled Sterlite 3 drawer storage container. Just moved that into my bedroom today after getting that major cost-saving, infection-sparing wake up call this morning from another reader’s post! Rearranged my entire scheme of things. Nail polish is kept separate from my other makeup in a drawer of my antique desk (family heirloom) and a sneaker box (stayed in bathroom). Inside my Sterlite, I do have all my brushes in a plastic tumbler, and have a slew of $1 store plastic containers to use one for blush, another for lipsticks in current rotation, etc. I know I need to buy either a new Sterlite container or get something from Ikea, except those are a PITA to put together!

I had previously been keeping roughly half my stash in the same bathroom where I shower, but when I was reading through others comments, one stood out to me. It was basically that the writer would not keep her makeup in the same bathroom she showered in because that moist, warm atmosphere was a breeding ground for bacteria. This definitely makes perfect sense to me, so due to my having a compromised immune system, I decided to take no chances! Also, in AZ, we have a serious problem with black mold infestation, so there’s that factor, toi.

I keep my makeup in my bathroom. I tried to move it to my desk and set up a vanity, but I couldn’t get used to putting on makeup sitting down. (I only tried it for a few minutes and got exasperated and went to the sink 🙂 )

Partitions for each Brand, then in it: Product, any specific iteration of it if different enough, then by Color. I have a section each for my newest items, things I want reminded I have, and storage. A parfum area. A lip area. An eye area. Random and extensive sample area. Skincare in bathroom well set up.

That sounds heavenly Christine. I’m so stressed just thinking about the room. Black Friday prices are far away and I’m not sure of the alternatives. Oh well. Not the end of the world! 🙂

I dump it all in a plastic box and then push everything around until the lid fits on. I don’t think this is the best solution…

I keep some of my cream and liquid products (like lipsticks, glosses and foundation) in a plastic box in the fridge. Anyone else does that, or is it super weird and completely unnecessary?

I have a nomess copenhagen personal box with mirror for my makeup but lately because of my general home setup it has proved impractical :/ So now I have most of my makeup stuffed in my toilet cupboard (we have another bathroom where the shower is) all jumbled together until I get around to organizing them more sensibly.

Oh my – well… I have 5 36 count acrylic holders for lip products. 1 for lip pencils, 1 for sheer lipsticks, 1 for glosses, 1 for lipsticks shades nude through pink, 1 for lipsticks shades pink through burgundy/darkest. they are each organized by color going light to dark. They reside in a custom red cabinet with glass doors. Also in the cabinet is a basket which contains my primers, foundation, powders, brow items, body glows, and brush cups. The makeup is organized by brand. In my vanity I have a train case and one layer is blush, one is highlighter and contour, one is mascaras and lash primer, one is eye pencils shades purple through black, one is eye pencils blue to lightest, and the bottom is eye palettes – all again arranged by shades. I have 2 palettes next to the train case (a MUFE and an UD) which do not fit in the train case. Backups for products are in clear containers in my closet by product type. Nail products are in a 76 polish rack in a closet organized by shade.

Organize?
Well, keep in mind that dressers, closets, vanities & the like have not really been invented here in India yet.
I store my makeup, skincare, haircare, and perfume in 4 huge antique hatboxes on top of the armoire, 1 huge suitcase under the bed, and all the vegetable drawers in the fridge.
The lippies, creams, lotions, perfumes, pencils- anything that will perish in the monsoon heat & humidity goes in the fridge or under the bed in the suitcase.
After that I have everything organized by eyes, lips, face, season, and warm or cool in Eagle Creek ‘no leak’ stackable cube ditty bag thingies.
Every season & tone has it’s own color.
For example-
Spring/summer/warm – yellow bag
Spring/summer/cool – purple bag
Fall/winter/warm- orange bag
Fall/winter/cool- blue bag
Then for whatever makeup I’m using daily (which gets swapped out by season) I have an ‘art box’ which is one of those big artist’s toolboxes with the drawers that pop up (sort of like a giant heavy duty Caboodles tote.) The daily makeup box has a slot in the armoire. I do my daily makeup sitting at the dining room table because it has the best south easterly light.
A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do!
(My husband wants to know when we’re going to start selling makeup wholesale.)

Since I keep my makeup in my bedroom and apply it in the bathroom, I have it organized for portability. My most frequently used items are divided between a train case that rests on top of the toilet and a hanging makeup bag that goes on the back of the door. Brushes sit in big pencil cups on shelves over the toilet (covered with plastic bags for sanitation), and pencils and cotton pads and buds are in little plastic drawers on the same shelves. Large palettes and a makeup bag of off-season lipsticks sit in a drawer near my bedroom door, and back-ups of critical products are in a plastic bin on my closet shelf. I like to apply my makeup at the sink because I apply foundation and concealer mostly with my fingers. Plus my bathroom actually has good lighting.

I have everything in an Ikea Malm 6 drawer chest and on/in my vanity. The Malm’s first drawer is base products, foundations, bb creams, including concealer. The second drawer is eye shadow singles organized by brand & alphabetically. The third drawer is all powder blush, cream blush, bronzer, and highlighter Organized by brand. The fourth drawer is eye shadow and makeup palettes – just all thrown in however they’ll fit. The fifth drawer has a lot of skincare like masks, but also some back-ups (like a MAC Ripe for Love LE blush). The sixth drawer is full of mostly non-makeup/ beauty stuff, some cards, buttons, mini pliers, and a few LE packaging boxes (like a MAC lipstick or something). My vanity drawer is full of lip products! I have a few lipstick holders full of mostly MAC lipsticks (arranged alphabetically), a little box full of Bite Beauty lippies, a little box of lipglosses organized by brand, and then a lot kind of stacked together, some order but just however they’ll fit!

At home I have the Alex 9 Drawers from IKEA (which I miss dearly). At school, I use the top drawer of the provided dorm dresser. There are two small desktop drawer units in there which I store lipsticks and eyeliners, etc, in. I have a rectangular box I keep blushes in, and my palettes all stand up between bookends. It’s not nearly as nice as my setup was at home, but I like being able to see everything in a drawer and I also didn’t want stuff out in the open. In a dorm room, you never know who’s coming in and out so I like to keep it put away. I can’t wait until I get to have a setup that makes me happy again.

My makeup stash is pretty organized but I’m looking to do an overhaul of it. I have the top drawer of my dresser empty for my everyday makeup rotation (or seasonal rotation) in the drawer I have a drawer organizer that is probably meant to be used for office supplies, then I have my everyday makeup bag that sit on my dresser. I own the Joy Mangano makeup organizer but I’ve never used it. I don’t find the organizer practical for my items but I just have and its sitting on my vanity empty lol. If someone has some tips I’m open. All of my lipsticks are organized in a kaboodle. Then the rest of my makeup is organized in different zip lock bags sorted my item, some by brand and housed in storage boxes in a shelf (beige and white storage boxes). The top draw of my vanity (I have the IKEA Malm vanity) is empty. I haven’t found a good system for that draw either. Its a never ending work in progress. Am also looking to declutter in 2016.

I used to use my top dresser drawer, bathroom counter top and the 3 drawers in my bathroom, and everything was organized in byAlegory acrylic storage. We just recently bought a wooden wardrobe mirror on a turnstile from World Market that has storage in the back and it’s absolutely perfect! It’s like a painting hiding a vault :-D.

Top shelf:
Brushes: held in antique style vases and mason jars, sorted by shape and purpose (blending, shading, powder, etc.), this is in the back of the top shelf
Eyeliners: organized by color in acrylic organizer
Eye shadows (unable to de-pot): alphabetized in an acrylic organizer

Second shelf:
Palettes/quads: acrylic organizers

Third shelf:
Blushes/bronzers/highlighters/MAC MSF: each alphabetized in their own acrylic organizer
Lipsticks: alphabetized in acrylic organizer, lesser used
Lip glosses: alphabetized in acrylic organizer

Fourth shelf:
Nail polish: organized by color (red down to beige) in graduated-shelf acrylic organizer
Sample tub: all samples from my beauty box subscriptions that I have yet to try

Bottom shelf: Snowshoe Sam (my cat!)

Top drawer of dresser:
Backups of Guerlain Perles and pressed pan refills, backups of setting powders, tub of all ready-to-be-used/unopened mascara samples, lesser used palettes, empty palettes, tub of in-use samples of mascara, foundation, primers, etc.

Bathroom
Bathroom counter: Vanity tray from Zahra Beauty – it’s the getglamtray by trendmood and it’s perfect for organizing my weekly looks. I pick out my weekly look on Sunday night and put all the products and brushes in there and I’m ready to go in the morning.

Middle drawer of bathroom cupboard:
Acrylic organizer of eye cream colors, paint pots, fluidlines

Bottom drawer of bathroom cupboard:
Lipstick: 2 acrylic organizers of most used, alphabetized

Up until I got the mirrored storage, I thought about getting a vanity but I have found I actually like this better. After I’m done rummaging through my stash, I can turn it back around and it just looks like a wooden wall mirror, angled in the corner. We’ve talked about turning one of the extra bedrooms into my makeup room but I don’t think I want to dedicate any more (obvious) space to makeup. I could easily fall down a rabbit hole with that – it’d be a vicious cycle of overbuying and collecting just to fill space. I like that it’s organized out of sight and it’s not taking over the bathroom (anymore, ha!) so that my poor fiance would just have his sink and 2 inches of counter space to use. Also, after organizing everything, I realize how much I have and what I actually make use of and it’s helped quite a bit in keeping me from over-buying.

Speaking of over-buying – I’m looking at the Tom Ford quads (newly released and previous) right now and they are so dang pretty, but between the ratings and having dupes for just about all of them, they’ll probably be a pass. I say probably because I still have my cart loaded up at Saks, dangit. 😐

My system leaves a lot to be desired. I use acrylic drawer organizers and a one of those train-cases that have multi-level drawers on hinges. Nail polish is in plastic tubs and brushes are in a big plastic cup. I don’t like any of these scenarios. Definitely grabbing a Helmer when I move.

A photo of your makeup stash would be amazing Christine, I’m sure I’d be left drooling! I have mine stashed in the Micke desk and drawers from IKEA although not the Alex drawers.

Eyeshadows in three cases, singles, duos or more and palettes. Lipsticks, and lip glosses in two more cases. Blush in one, face stuff in one, and tools in another. I have my lip pencils and eye pencils together in a separate case, and nail stuff in an empty cookie tin. There is also a case which is my current top draw which travels with me wherever I go and has items switched out as the seasons progress. I am getting ready to start organizing things by color this year.

I have two plastic containers with drawer’s. Each drawer has its own lable on the outside. Like I keep blush in a blush drawer labled, eye shadows have another drawer and is labeled ect. Clean applicators and clean brushes are in a dry sealed container and the dirty brushes go inside a basket and are cleaned then dried regularly, and then put back into the sealed container where no sunlight or bacteria can get to them. 🙂

Great Question! This year I have organized my extensive collection. I have 2 Alex storage units side by side in my walk in closet adjacent to my vanity area. Behind the unit hangs Ikea Bygel contaniners (4) on a rail where I have easy access to my lip glosses. On top of my Alex units I have a variety of beautiful empty colorful candles holders that I display my By Terry cream eye shadow sticks, Cle de Peau lip luminizers, liquid eye liners, and such for easy access. Near my makeup mirror I mounted an Ikea Grundtal rail and 4 Ikeal Grundtal pails. I used these to display my extensive assortment of makeup brushes for easy access. My results have been amazing and have made my life so much easier when planning out my look for the day!

I should have included I invested in purchasing sereval lucite containers from Allegory to keep the items within my Alex organized. They are heavy and durable and allow me to slide out a tray of goodies and sift through things easily. I also took a tip from an old post from Cafe Makeup, bought a label maker and labeled all eyeshadows so that I can identify them easily on their side. I have some deep drawers in my vanity which is perfect large palette storage ( I can stand them upright, and flip through them). I treated myself to a Hollywood Vanity Mirror and next to sits the large Simple Human 5X standing mirror.

I don’t have a large amount of makeup at any one time because I have been giving away products I know I will never use and I want someone else to enjoy them before they get too old and should be thrown out. I am definitely not a hoarder of makeup but I do love it and buy way too much!!

Wow – what an organised collection, but I guess it needs to be given the work you do. Mine is much more modest.
I have 5 different makeup bags: one for green eyeshadows, one for blue, one for mixed palettes, one for lipsticks and a general bag that contains my essentials like blush, mascara, and eye brow pencils. I only use one blush, foundation and mascara at a time. My skincare items are stored in my cupboard in the ensuite.

I have an Alex-5 drawer that the vast majority of my makeup is in. For separate compartments I use mainly Glossyboxes with some narrow, acrylic bins from The Container Store on the sides (which I can’t find on their site right now), with the lip-product drawer being mostly lipstick risers (the 24-piece ones) http://www.containerstore.com/s/bath/cosmetics-organizers/acrylic-lipstick-risers/12d?productId=10030982. with some of the long narrow bins for things like liquid lipsticks or any Marc Jacobs lipsticks which don’t fit in normal lipstick risers (gah!).

The top drawer is my “base” drawer, with foundations, concealers, primers, setting/finishing powders, and stuff like Fix+. The second one is my “face” drawer, with blush, highlight, bronzer, contour, etc. The third is my “eye” drawer and has all my palettes, single & cream shadows, liners, mascaras, and brow products. The fourth is my “lip” drawer with WAY too many lipsticks, liquid lipsticks, and a few lipglosses. I keep my lipliners in a jar on top of the vanity as they’re too tall to stand up in a drawer and take up much less space that way, plus that way it’s easier to match my liner to whatever lipstick I’ve chosen. The last drawer is kind of a clusterf&*k. It has some excess nail polishes and nail products, makeup bags, etc.

On the top of my desk-turned vanity, I keep an acrylic nail polish riser (that holds 40 polishes!) off to the side: http://www.containerstore.com/category/acrylic?productId=11000164. I also keep my perfume up on the tabletop and a small dish with new products I’ve been meaning to try, samples, etc.

The one negative of the Alex-5 is that they are just shy of 12″ making a lot of storage methods like 1/4-1/2″ too wide. I have some OCD issues that this makes REALLY agitated, so for those of you that like specific measurements, try the wider one if you have room, or another storage system.

I am lucky enough to, for the first time, have an en suite bathroom in this tiny apartment, so I keep things like brush cleaner and such in there, along with things I may run and grab while doing my makeup like cotton buds. For things like cotton rounds and cotton buds, I use these acrylic canisters that work fabulously and I highly recommend: http://www.containerstore.com/category/acrylic?productId=10028385

Thank you for your detailed post Anne, including links. Super helpful. I would also love to see some pictures.

I could do that! Do you (or anyone else reading this) know of a good non-Instagram photo hosting site I could use for that? I don’t want to post them on my Instagram because to the rest of the world it would seem like showing off…

I have everything organized by type of product (blushes, eye shadows, eye liners, lip sticks, etc), then I organize each type by color. Palettes are organized by size.

I mostly store everything in a wheeled ten drawer organizer, but there are two smaller sets of acrylic drawers on my vanity along with a few mugs and lipstick organizers. The two smaller acrylic organizers have my everyday things, favorites I reach for often, and bits and bobs like my tweezers and hair ties. I keep my eyeliners, lip liners and mascaras I’m currently using in cutesy decorative mugs. The big set of drawers holds products by type: base products including powders and concealers, blushs and highlights, lip things, single eyeshadows, palettes, odds and ends like samples, travel things, miscellaneous makeup bags, and the last two are nail polishes. I also have another sterilite three drawer organizer with nail polishes on the bottom of my bookcase and an acrylic shelf on my bedroom wall for my favorite polishes.

I don’t think I have quite as much make-up as others (though still more than I ever would have expected) and it’s overwhelmingly lip products, so for me, I have two of those five-drawer acrylic drawer sets from Muji. Each drawer I try to devote to a particular type of product from a specific brand (ie. one drawer for Revlon lip butters, another for the few MAC products I have, etc.), and the great thing is that it’s easy to remove the drawers entirely from the set, so I can re-arrange with ease.

I wish I could say my massive nail polish collection is organised, but it isn’t, and I unfortunately don’t have rooms for helmers!

I ordered some wall 102 nail polish acrylic rack. It displays all my palettes and hourglass highlighter palettes very comfortably and then on lower shelving…mascara, lipsticks, setting powder. I hung this one next to bath vanity, easy access to mirror.
You can also order individual acrylic shelving to space further apart for bigger palettes and whatever.

I have Two IKEA Alex, one tall and one under my desk. I keep my makeup organized by type in four drawers which are from being full (one is high end makeup, another eye products, one for face and lip products and the last one for tools and palettes). Another 5 draws are full of nail polish!

I have my most used stuff/ favorites in a makeup bag. My makeup bag has a flat bottom so my compacts and powders stack horizontally for easy access. There’s 2 side pockets that I keep my most used lip products in one and concealors in another. My least used stuff that I don’t have in rotation at the moment is crammed in another makeup bag. I don’t have that much makeup where this “system” doesn’t work, but I wish I knew a better way of organizing my makeup. I don’t have a large stash by any means but I do have more than the average girl. I try once in a while to rotate stuff so everything gets a bit of love.

I actually use an honest to goodness toolbox. Just like you’d see in any garage, I borrowed the idea from Tarababyz on youtube. Her toolboxes are pink and cute, mine are the standard red. It might not be the most attractive set up, but they work GREAT for organizing makeup! Now I just have to battle my hubby about keeping his toolbox OUTDOORS!

I took a desk from Staples which I was using for a sewing machine. I repurposed it as my vanity table. The pull out desk, used for a keyboard, is where I keep my hair goodies. Drawers on the side are for nail and extra cotton balls, Q-tips, and sponges. The top has a great mirror surrounded by white sparkle lights, found for $3 at an outgrown shop. Glass jars hold Q-tips, sponges and pads. Shelves on the wall for nail polish and from TJMax, acrylic holders and drawers for brushes, eyeshadows, blushes and foundation. Youtube has great ideas to help you organize all your things. I do seem to have a brush fetish as I love collecting them. This way I always have a clean brush and then once a week, I wash them all.

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