How I Organized My Nail Polish, Part 2

Organized chaos!

How I Organized My Nail Polish, Part 2

Over the weekend, I decided it was time to re-organize my nail polish stash and put it back to rights! (The last time I did this was almost exactly six months ago!) I’m still using the exact same method: Clear Storage Boxes from The Container Store–shoe box size. (I also use all of the various sizes of the clear storage boxes for *everything*!)  I thought I’d share an update, since I know some of us enjoy a peek into each other’s stashes. 🙂

The way I started was by pulling bottles from one brand at a time, lined them all up, and then sorted them by color on the floor. After I’ve sorted by brand and color, I put each one (standing up) in the container. Depending on how full the container is, if there is any room for the polishes to slide around, I fold up a piece of bubble wrap and place it along the side.  I also turn some bottles upside down to fit the last few remaining of the brand in the same box, too.  I stack all of the filled containers on top of each other, about eight high (around four feet in height).

For brands that I don’t have too many shades of, then I try to combine them with similar-shaped bottles or brands. Barielle, Dashing Diva, and Duri have very, very similar bottle shapes, so I keep those together. I keep my higher-end polishes like Chanel and Dior together as well. I also keep base, fast drying, and top coats separate (along with other treatment products) in a separate container so I can easily access them as I need to.

I know that a lot of people have found Ikea Helmers to work well for storing nail polish, but I don’t have a good place for them in my apartment, and I don’t really dig the look and feel myself. Maybe one day when I have more room, I’ll be able to find a classier organization system! My dream is to have California Closets re-do a room and give it a freestanding beauty and makeup organization makeover…

See more photos…

Sorted by color… (Essie)

Essie (so pretty!)





Designer (Chanel, Dior, etc.)

Barielle, Dashing Diva, Duri

Zoya (excludes a case already sorted by color)



China Glaze

China Glaze



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Hend Avatar

ah thats helpful ,
I usually sort mine by brand by i tottally ignore the colours :S ,
but they look so cute sorted by colour lol 😀

Sweeda88 Avatar

Um, it’s not a good idea to store polish upside down. It can seep into the handle, dry, and make it extremely difficult to open.

Tiffypixy Avatar

A-mazing. How do you choose a color to wear? I just started getting into nail polishes. But i don’t wear them cause i suck at giving myself a manicure. Maybe u can do a “How to” video, “Manicure for Idiots”.

Daph Avatar

Your stash is awesome! I love the organisation too, although I wouldn’t put everything in boxes.. It takes up too much space lol. Thanks for sharing!

Dini Avatar

Oooooh. That collection is impressive and so amazingly well organized. I love looking at the rainbow of colors all lined up. Even better than the store displays! I feel inspired to go home and organize my wee little stash of polish. 🙂

Marjan Avatar

Lovely collection! I really it like when you put up organiser idea. I’ll get round to organise my make-up this summer, because it’s outgrown the make-up bag I’ve been using for quite a bit ^^

Do you have a recommendation when it comes to opaque nude/pinky polishes from China Glaze? I’m pretty fair toned & I *think* I’m cool toned (not sure though, can’t seem to figure it out!)

baby in a corner Avatar

i would love to be able to buy more makeup unfortunately its not in my budget right now. (my friends think i’ve a crazy amount of everything) however on seeing this i dunno if i cope with this amount of different products and sorting them out.

Stephanie Avatar

I love using those shoe box-sized storage bins for this kind of stuff! I put all my makeup that I want to keep but don’t currently use in one, too (My everyday stuff is in a cabinet drawer).

16units2go Avatar

Loving your nail polish pictures! (Watching them on Twitter.) Having that many gorgeous colors is like a goal to work toward. LOL! How long can we keep nail polish before it goes bad? And do you have a brand of thinner you like?

Anna Avatar

What a fabulous collection! The great thing about Essie is how classic but simple the bottles are, and the square shape must make them good for storage. Love the rainbow spectrum!!

Rhia Avatar

wow this is an amazing collection, but don’t some ceventually dry out though if you dont use them?
and man the time it takes to organize this. i salute you!

Scientific Housewife Avatar

Wow, I am very impressed! That must have taken a lot of time. You don’t want to hand some of those out, do you?? 🙂

kaoyee Avatar

ooouuu..soo many colors!! i put my collection in those shoe box size tupperware containers too. do you use the lids at all? i’m so anal, i want everything organized and straightened neatly so i want to find boxes with lids that’ll close when i stack up my polishes but so far, i haven’t found any. i have mostly CGs and the polish bottles are usually too tall.

Christine Avatar

I use the lids for these, so they can stack. I believe the shoe box-sized containers I get at The Container Store are $1.99 — SO worth it! I usually stock up on them when they have a 20% off sale, which they seem to do from time to time (maybe 2-3 times a year). I haven’t had any polish that’s too tall — the tallest ones I have are Dolce & Gabbana’s, but they fit no problem.

ezzie Avatar

amazing collection! the essie polishes look so adorable standing in the container ^_^
all my polishes are grouped together on a little shelf right now, but i’m hoping to get one of those mini-racks or nail polish stands so that they’ll look more neat.

Kelsey Avatar

I used to store my polishes exactly like you do (in clear show boxes, sorted by brand & then color). Then I noticed that I really only buy three colors – blue, purple/pink, and green – so I recently bought a rolling cart with 3 drawers and sorted all of my polishes by color (regardless of brand). Now when it comes time to redo my nails I can just say to myself “Hmm, I feel like a pale blue this time…” and go to the blue drawer. 🙂

allison Avatar

I love how you have all of your polishes stored! I have all of mine in shoebox sized containers that I got from the Dollar Tree and I sort them by color…I dont worry about the brands. I do like how you have all of the same brand sorted by color though…I might try that the next time I reshuffle everything. 😛

I thought I had a lot of nail polish, but it looks like you got me beat…I dont feel so bad about my collection now! LOL

Ale Avatar

Christine, a question for you – with such an immense collection of nail polishes, obviously it’s nearly impossible to keep all the colors in rotation, i.e use them frequently. There’s a ton of colors I want but I’m afraid to buy all the ones I want for the fear of them simply drying up or “going bad” before I use even a small fraction of them. Is there something you do to prevent this?

Christine Avatar

I don’t really worry about it, TBH! I keep a lot of them “for reference,” even if I know that there’s no way that I can wear all of them! Otherwise, keep thinner on hand 🙂 Also, store them in a cooler place, and they will last longer, too.

kristina Avatar

I just bought the Ikea Alex and I love it, I attached some antique casters on the bottom though. Until I find another antique library card catalogue this will have to do.

Lisa Avatar

OMG!AMAZING! But really, I dont think you will really use them all, I would sale some of them, otherwise they will be just crap one day

Maja Avatar

I keep them in a drawer. I always put a drop of polish on a piece of tape, let it dry and stick it on top of the bottle. This way I always know which colour I’m reaching for.

sillylilacs Avatar

O_O Amazing collection!

I store mine in one of those snap and stack containers, but that’s only because I have ~35 bottles. If I had more I’d move it to the clear shoe boxes too since it’d be too heavy for a layer of the snap stacks to carry 🙂

Awesome collection though…I bet you’re glad everything is organized and neat 🙂

Tavia Avatar

Hi Christine! OMG how many nail polishes you have. Have you thought about making some Giveaways or blog sales? I had tones of nail polishes myself since my mother is also working in a beauty salon and I thought since I don’t have the time to use them all more than 1 time it’s better that other girls should enjoy them. 🙂

Tavia Avatar

I mean is there something wrong in Giving away nail polishes that you used only 1 time (of course readers should be announced)? I wouldn’t mind honestly knowing it, I mean there are a lot of people that buy from Blog Sale products that have been used only 1 time for testing. I don’t think it’s such a wrong thing, please don’t take this the wrong way. I was just thinking about this, because I know I don’t have the time to use all my makeup products. 🙂

Christine Avatar

No, there is always liability attached when you give away something that has been used. I am not willing to take that personal risk. Additionally, since I do receive press samples, it would be completely unethical to sell those items, tested or new.

I think it’s inappropriate to do either, so I only giveaway new items as giveaway items, and anything else gets donated to local battered women’s shelters, veteran associations, etc. I’m quite happy to be able to give products to those in need instead 🙂

aradhana Avatar

not the most obvious shade to have doubles of (unless there is a special use i don’t know of?)…i was so anxious to buy it the time it came out with antiquitease, but i think i only wore it once. 🙁 it looks like liquid paper on me! LOL…

aradhana Avatar

I know what you mean…I’m usually good at resisting special packaging for its own sake, but with the To The Beach shadows, I finally caved and bought Humid and Shimmermoss even though I had been telling myself to just buy the refill pans instead…Now I feel a need to keep them all together in my traincase or makeup bag…as though they’re a little family! (And I can’t even say it’s because I’m photographing it…It’s just ME who sees them…!)

Anita Avatar

JEEZ! I have like 20 bottles at most! Do you buy all of those? Or are they sent for post consideration? I’ve stopped buying so much polish, because what usually happens is I wear it once, then get bored of it. I’ve resorted to frankenpolish to recycle my old colors ^_^

Moe Avatar

Amazing collection!! I bought several china glaze nail polishes, but there aren’t enough days for me to wear all of them.. I always end up painting my nails with for audrey or re-fresh mint

Artzee Avatar

Oh I see how you sort it out. My nail polish collection looks nothing like yours. Mines is so messy and the bottles are all different shapes and sizes… so it’s kind of hard for me to organize it. I guess I should of thought about before I purchase them! Great Nail Polish Collection by the way!!

Dianna Avatar

Sooo pretty!!!! I expected a lot more OPIs for some reason. Where do you store your Milani polish?

669 is incredible. How many of them have you tried on more than once? Are there any that you hate and would probably never wear again?

Christine Avatar

Milani is in there somewhere 🙂 I don’t have many Milanis, actually.

I don’t keep track of what I wear or not, lol! It’s a little hard to do so 😛 I really just wear what’s recent more than anything else! I can’t think of any that I hated really, but again, it’s hard to remember!

chrissy Avatar

This totally made all my OCD nerves tingle (happily). And my inner child squealed with glee at the pix of all the pretty colors. Double score!

Ilja Avatar

Ohhhhhhhhhhh my god, thats the most beautyfull thing i have ever seen hihihi!! I love nailpolish, i wish i had all those colours…
Sorry if my English is not totally right (i’m from Holland)

What is your ultimate favorite nailpolish ever??

xxx Ilja

007hb Avatar

I love nail polish and im going into cosmotogy i love beauty, im colecting nail polish, i have 562, so im working on getting more, i just love it!

Danielle Avatar

Wow, and I thought I had a lot of nail polish. I always just piled them in bins, now Ive decided its time to get organized. Might try your way, or just get a nail polish rack. Not sure!

beachgal Avatar

Mine is this plus more – I just don’t know what to do with them all – esp the old ones that are collector items since I am older than most who are on blogs – I have bottles of OPI back to the very start of the company in the late 80’s and some CND’s which we never called CND back then – it was always Creative then – that are pre OPI days. I have purged a # of times getting rid of a ton and all ‘off or drug store brands.’ Now I find with the blog world, and looking at the secondary market of never used polish, how valuable some of this stuff is, I cannot bear to take mine to the local toxic recycling or give trash bags full to teens down the street to go through. I am in a huge qualm as to what to do. I have to thin down so that if I need to move, I really could do it in a period of 1 month – right now, I could never make it.

Sarah Avatar

Thank you so much for this article! I am revamping my storage and organization for my polishes and on the lookout for something that would work with my taller polishes. These Container Store boxes look like the trick and lucky me there is a sale on! 🙂

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