How I Organized My Nail Polishes

Attack of the nail polish!

How I Organized My Nail Polishes

Earlier this week, I asked readers how they organize their nail polish to get some input on how to organize mine! Surprisingly, the majority of these polishes are from awhile ago – I go in phases with nail polish; I buy bottle after bottle for a few weeks, but then nothing for months.

Anyway, I’ve always just stored them upright in plastic “shoe box” containers from The Container Store, but there’s never been any organization within that method beyond keeping them in one place!Β  (Sometimes, I hate The Container Store, and sometimes, I love it…)

The stash was kind of growing out of control, so I figured it was time to think about actually organizing it with some method to the madness — I ended up going for by brand, and then by color. I don’t have enough polishes to start micro-organizing (e.g. further organizing by finish) quite yet. Even with what seemed like a healthy amount of polishes, I ended up mixing brands within the same container!

I love, love The Container Store’s Clear Storage Boxes – I use them for EVERYTHING. I have like 20 shoe-box sized containers, lots of the sweater boxes… They’re just really affordable, easy-to-use, and they all stack together, which is something I like. I like the shoe-box size for polishes because they’re just high enough to fit even the taller polishes (I think Dolce & Gabbana is the tallest brand I have), but not so tall that you feel like you’re wasting space.

One thing I noticed is that usually there is a little gap of space on the side, since the polishes don’t fit perfectly snug in them. I’m going to have to pick up a few rolls of non-skid material to lay underneath the polishes so they stay in place better.Β  In the meanwhile, I put some bubblewrap in the gaps to keep everything in place ’til I get the non-skid stuff in.Β  Otherwise, I’m satisfied with the solution!

P.S. – I know others enjoy Ikea’s Helmers, but I just found it so cheap-feeling, way too wobbly, and doesn’t really go with anything in my house, so that just wasn’t a viable option for me. (But trust, I love me some Ikea — a TON of my furniture is from there–huge fan of the Expedit series!Β Β  This particular piece just wasn’t for me.)

See how it all turned out…

YAY, organization!

All Zoya

All China Glaze

All China Glaze

All China Glaze

Various high-end: Dior, Chanel, MAC, Lippmann, Estee Lauder, Dolce & Gabbana; then Borghese

A few more China Glazes, mostly OPI

Barielle, Dashing Diva, Duri, Essie

Orly, SpaRitual

We hope you'll consider supporting Temptalia by shopping through our links below. Thanks!

Compare Any Two Swatches

Curious how two shades compare to each other? Type in the shades below to get instant side-by-side swatches!

We hope you'll consider supporting Temptalia by shopping through our links below. Thanks!


Comments that do not adhere to our comment policy may be removed. Discussion and debate are highly encouraged but we expect community members to participate respectfully. Please keep discussion on-topic, and if you have general feedback, a product review request, an off-topic question, or need technical support, please contact us!

Please help us streamline the comments' section and be more efficient: double-check the post above for more basic information like pricing, availability, and so on to make sure your question wasn't answered already. Comments alerting us to typos or small errors in the post are appreciated (!) but will typically be removed after errors are fixed (unless a response is needed).

We appreciate enthusiasm for new releases but ask readers to please hold questions regarding if/when a review will be posted as we can't commit to or guarantee product reviews. We don't want to set expectations and then disappoint readers as even products that are swatched don't always end up being reviewed due to time constraints and changes in priorities! Thank you for understanding!

Comments on this post are closed.
We hope you'll consider supporting Temptalia by shopping through our links below. Thanks!

But I have to find a portuguese alternative :p I bought a box with drawers on IKEA, but when I got home… The drawers weren’t tall enough for the polish botttles! XD

Hey Krystal!

I think with my “style” (and also, lack of space), I have no desire to display them, which is why I’ve never been tempted by nail polish racks. I like what you linked to, I’d love to see yours!

This is really good and very neat. I am one of those anal people that have to see what I owe to keep from rebuying it or similar products.

I have a room that is my woman cave where I store all my stuff and have these shelves from floor to ceiling where I stack stuff and can clearly see it. Being a professional MUA it helps if ever I have to have an assistant pack stuff for me.

That’s awesome πŸ˜‰ In my dream home, I’d have a whole room that would be filled with my stuff (OK, the office is pretty much like 80% my stuff…) where I could me super SUPER organized and keep everything tidy and pretty, haha. Lucky you!

I’d love to see photos of your woman cave πŸ˜‰

Wow, what a collection! I wouldn’t expect anything less from you though πŸ˜‰

I have similar clear shoe boxes that I got from the dollar store here. Only 3 boxes full of polish for me though. I want to get a nail polish rack though to display nail polish and MAC pigments. I just don’t have a lot of wall space to put one up, so maybe one day when I move again. I put an old t-shirt or towel in the top of my boxes to prevent the polishes from moving around too much. It’s not pretty, but helps.

Hey Christy! πŸ™‚

I think I have eight boxes – almost exactly, lol!

I don’t have a lot of wall space, and I don’t know if those racks would do it for me. I can do the cheap plastic boxes as something to hold me over, but my dream is beautiful, dark wood shelving in my own lil’ makeup/Christine room, haha. The bubble wrap ain’t pretty either, but it’s holding up for now. I’m hoping the non-skid stuff will work like a dream!

PS. Am not a fan of the Helmer either. It didn’t match my room and I didn’t feel like it would be functional for me. I’d be worried about the bottles banging against each other. (That is if I didn’t have another organizer within it.)

I have the cheap IKEA containers and LOVE them for almost everything…. my closet looks so neat since I have been using the containers and it’s easy to track stuff too πŸ˜‰
I looooove your nailstash!! Completly blowes me away! I only have one container full (but hey, I’m working on it).

I love your pics – gorgeous polishes! I go back and forth on how I want to separate my collection, but I have them separated by color right now. I also use the plastic shoebox method! When the pinks started to overflow, I created a “light pinks” shoe box. I am ashamed to say how many polishes I own (or not…I’m a polish fanatic! It’s in my nature!), and how many untrieds there are in their own collection of shoe boxes! Thanks for sharing this!!

I can’t believe how many freakin’ China Glaze red and pinks I have… seriously didn’t even realize they had grown to be so many!!

Weeellll…I used to be a DM for Sally’s and my very close friend/ nail tech owns a prof. nail supply, I actually have a couple of retail nail racks, I am shameless when it comes to polish, we are talking high 3 digit possibly 4 and counting…*sigh*. The hubby says I’m a polish hoarder, I say conniseur.

I don’t like the Helmer! It feels so cheap, and it doesn’t match anything I have (furniture-wise). It’s just… not my thing πŸ™

I haven’t bought them all, as some were definitely sent over for consideration for review. I’ve bought the majority of the China Glaze polishes (like 80%), MAC (like 90%), and OPI (100%). I think I paid for maybe half of the Chanel shades, and the rest were likely sent over as samples.

I haven’t bought them all, as some were definitely sent over for consideration for review. I’ve bought the majority of the China Glaze polishes (like 80%), MAC (like 90%), and OPI (100%). I think I paid for maybe half of the Chanel shades, and the rest were likely sent over as samples. HTH!

Don’t remind me, LOL! At year-end, I see how much I spend on makeup/beauty, and a little part of me dies inside!

I store them all on top of each other, next to a 2×2 Expedit furniture piece from Ikea.l Right now, 8 of them goes to just below it, so it works. I have a separate holdover container (same size) for polishes I get in after this point, ’cause I’m way too lazy to re-organize *every* time I get something new, so I tend to wait ’til there are several that need to be put into their places!

Serious nail polish envy going on over here! Lol. My nail polishes start of in a drawer and work their way all over the place. Currently there are some in drawers, some in the wardrobe, some on the bedside table, some in the glove compartment, some in the bathroom cabinet, some on the bedroom floor,… I could go on! πŸ™‚

Oh My Christine, I thought I was bad… you collection is out of control, lol!
WOW, My collection is my VS bag with nail accessories etc. When I move into my new house, I’ll have more space to organize πŸ™‚
Amazing collection!

On a side note, did you remove the makeup look sections in your forum, can’t find it πŸ™

WOAH. i need to show this to my partner who is always complaining about my nailpolish, even though i only have less than 20!! do you ever use all of these?!?!

Hey Yvette,

Go on, use me to show ‘IT GETS WORSE.’ lol! Show him my makeup collection! No worries, I know a few ladies who’ve got even larger collections than me – I show my boyfriend and tell him, “See!! I’m not alone!!”

And nah, I don’t use the majority. Here’s the thing – as a beauty blogger, most of the time, it’s about the latest and greatest. I tend to wear skittle nails half the time ’cause I’m testing out new shades and the like, lol. But hey, maybe one day I’ll have enough where I can remember and hunt around for dupes…. My goal!

OMG, tell me about it! My fave box is the Zoya box, ’cause they fit PERFECT! Plus, the bottle shows a lot of the color itself, so it’s so purty.

That’s an excellent way of organizing your nail polish! I’ve been using those office supply floppy plastic cases, and not only do they not fit, they’re unstable. I’m so glad you did this blog, but I just have one question. How many shoe boxes did you end up filling, and how do you store them? On top of each other? I can’t think of where I would put them all!


I ended up filling 8, and one thing I really, really like about this method is as I need to get more, it’s not a big deal ($1.49 per container) – and I don’t have to reinvent my storage solution to expand!

I do just store them on top of each other, in a corner, next to a piece of furniture that I use to store makeup stuff πŸ™‚ 8 of them stack about hip high, I think.

ohmigod, that collection is awesome, and the packaging is amazing. I have similar love/hate feelings about the container store. Right now my biggest storage nightmare is my closet though – I can never find anything!


One day, when I’m actually living in my own *house* (aka not an apt!), I want to hire a super closet organizer to build me the most amazing storage system EVER.

Exactly, with the amount of makeup you and I have we need a pro making a costom made organizer like on stackable thing with all pink lipglosses in one thing, reds in the other and so on. I am seriously thinking of getting one soon like an interior designer. Whoa I dream too mcuh hah.

Looks great – I did something similar with mine but with bigger containers (which was a mistake as they are almost too heavy to carry lol). I had mine organized by brand, but recently I changed it to by color instead – it’s easier for me if I want to wear blue – pull out the blue bin and look through it to pick a shade, rather than have to go through each brand bin. πŸ™‚

Nice πŸ™‚ I think for me, I’m usually going back to look for dupes within a brand, and then go looking for other brands, so I guess this works better for my purposes, lol!

That is WAY too much polish 😐

I have like, less than 10 lol. But then again I don’t wear nail polish that often anymore. Too drying on my nails.

Christine – tell me these aren’t ALL your personal polishes! If they are I am going to assume you’re running a salon:) Love the organisation and will be doing the same myself.

WOW! that is a lot. I only have a few, around 20, and it fits perfectly in a drawer standing up. Anyway, I think you should organize it in color scheme instead of brand. It would make it easier to search for specific colors. When I do my nails, I don’t think what brand I feel like wearing today, I just think what color I feel like today.

I like it by brand, because everything looks more uniform, since the bottles match. I also like to compare within a brand, and *then* compare against other brands myself πŸ˜€ Thanks for the suggestion, though!

OMG I could go and buy some nail polish at your place, probably you have a widest selection than many stores LOL I envy that LOL
You did a great job, really neat and easy to use now!!! I think I would only need 1 box LOL

Giiirrrrlll… you and me, like I’ve been saying for years, we could open our own salon! The make-up was one thing, but now the polish between us, damn.

how long do you find the polishes last for before they start getting goopy?? I only have one box full because I got rid of a lot that went too thick or sticky. I barely ever wear them, so I stopped buying them.

Holy cow, that’s a lot of nail polishes! I’m like you; I buy loads of polishes for a while, then none for quite some time. I used to go and have my nails done, but I’ve recently discovered the joy of doing my own!

wow thats a wonderful collection. I always loved owning many, but dint as they may get old. Could u tel me how long can we store nail polishes without getting dry, and do u change ur nail paint every week

You don’t understand how happy this makes me. I LOVE nail polish. Currently I’m at 80… Nothing compared to your collection! But I just ordered a wall rack, and I plan on organizing them that way! For those interested to see photos, check out my blog ( sometime early next week. πŸ˜€Β 

We try to approve comments within 24 hours (and reply to them within 72 hours) but can sometimes get behind and appreciate your patience! πŸ™‚ If you have general feedback, product review requests, off-topic questions, or need technical support, please contact us directly. Thank you for your patience!