How to Keep Track of Your Stash - Tips and Tricks

Makeup & Beauty Tips on How to Keep Track of Your Stash

Share your best tips and tricks for keeping track of what you own!  Share how you track what you’ve tried, bought, kept, love and hate, and how you prevent buying duplicates!

My Tips

  1. I do have an inventory sheet that captures a specific moment in time, but it’s hard to keep it updated (for me).  If I was starting over, I would definitely get spreadsheet-happy, though!
  2. Obviously, I’m going to take a second to promote the vanity feature on MyTemptalia that allows you to add products and shades you own to your vanity so you can keep track.  We are definitely working on creating a “bulk add” feature to make this easier and faster for those who already have quite the stash–our to-do list is 40+ deep! (In the meanwhile, the best way for quickly adding a lot of products is to go through the Swatch Gallery and say filter by “MAC” and “Eyeshadows,” then adding a bunch of shades that way.)
  3. It’s unlikely that you’ll duplicate a new product, so I’m more likely to check my stash for something that I want to buy that’s permanent, so just having an organized stash makes this easier to locate.


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Ceres Avatar

I keep spreadsheets on Google Drive, with separate sheets for each product type (eyeshadow, nail polish, blush, etc.). That way if I think I love something in the store I can check the spreadsheet, even from my phone, to see if I have duplicates or “close enoughs”. The spreadsheets also have tabs for wishlists. You’ll never know ;D

The hardest part is starting it. After that you just update the spreadsheet one item at a time. That reminds me, I should separate my foundation and powders by fall/winter and spring/summer shades. Time for that OCD to go to overdrive!

virginie Avatar

Hi Ceres,

I would be really interested in creating a spreadsheet on Google drive, but I have no clue how it works, do you mind to give me a hand??;-) Thanks anyway….

Ryou Avatar

I do have a comprehensive spreadsheet that I use to keep track of my stash that’s currently being kept in a warehouse unit overseas. It’s unfortunately incomplete, as I made the mistake of not including things I sent over when I started (which is thankfully pretty small), so it only contains things I have procured since then.

As for my personal stash, well, most of it fits in a smallish train case, so I think I’d be able to keep track of it by memory. Hopefully.

Christina Avatar

Wow! This is a relief — I thought I was the only crazy person who kept an Excel spreadsheet, with tabs for each type of product, for make-up. Although I don’t list everything (items that are a quick turnaround like mascara, or things I would definitely not repurchase), it has been very helpful in keeping me from buying multiples I don’t need or want.

Malinda Jane Avatar

I keep my stash a manageable size by trying to get rid of one thing I don’t use regularly for each new product I buy. I keep a little basket by my makeup table and toss those things in there, when it’s filled up a bit I let my mom see if there’s anything she’d like to take and the rest I send to my best friend. That also makes me be aware of the kinds of products I’m drawn to but don’t get a lot of use out of so I don’t buy those kinds of things anymore and makes you survey what you do have so that you know absolutely what you’ve got and you don’t buy things that are too similar. It also keeps you aware of how much you’re buying and barely using, so it’s kind of a built-in deterrent for overspending.

Jarvis Avatar

Spreadsheets are great. I also like to do swatches of colors in little books, arranged by shade (so for lipsticks, I have nudes, pale nudes, corals, reds, pinks, berries, ect). When doing a spreadsheet, it helps to have defined categories — brand, name of product, type, shade, summer/winter/ect, size, ect.

Jyoan Avatar

Hmmm, all of a sudden, I think it would help if I simply cut off the packaging and paste it in separate little books, for face, for cheeks, for eyes, etc!

Drugstore wise, for products with no label/box that you can tear off, I think it is easier to use a polaroid camera to take a quick photo and paste it in the book.

Kiss & Make-up Avatar

My stash isn’t as big that I need serious organizing and inventorying like this. I think I can name 90% of the products I have from the top of my head, and everything is pretty well organized (eyeshadows together, lipsticks together, blushes together, and so on).

Tigerlily Avatar

I have an Excel spreadsheet which is split into different worksheets (e.g. makeup, skin care, brushes etc). Each worksheet is then split into sub-categories (e.g. lipsticks/glosses/pencils for the makeup one) where each product is reviewed per color, pros & cons, price, whether or not I would repurchase it etc.

It helps me to 1) keep in mind what I already own and avoid buying dupes, 2) not to repeat mistakes (e.g. if too many ‘wouldn’t repurchase’ are due to impulse buying) and 3) get to know what products really suit me and those I just don’t get much use out of.

T Avatar

I have a notebook app that can be updated on a desktop, iphone, or ipad. It’s great ‘cause I can have pics. Also, I can cut & paste my dupe spreadsheet for quick reference. Plus, I’m starting to use your Vanity feature but to be honest… I would LOVE if you had an app!!!

Chris25 Avatar

Honestly, I find my blog to be the most useful in keeping track of what I own. I just look up the item in the search box and see if it shows up. In most cases, I swatch and photograph an item after bringing it home from the store. So it gets blogged about quickly. Also, I have a pretty good memory I keep my stash organized by color and product. Even if I’m not sure of what I own, my set up makes it easy to check.

furandlace Avatar

LOL no inventory needed here. I have one drawer full of makeup and I’m pretty aware of all that’s in it. There’s no fear of me buying duplicates or anything like that. I have a lot (in my opinion) but not so much that I’ve lost my handle on it.

Rad Avatar

I have quite a lot but I know what I have. Sometimes I do find a product a go “what, when did I buy this”. I’m currently trying to do a project10pan with some products that I bought but don’t use. By forcing myself to use them, I’ve actually started to like them a lot more! Your tips are very useful though. Maybe when I get to the point of owning a ridiculous amount of make-up, i’ll make that list!

Mietta Avatar

Oh wow at least I’m not alone in the whole ‘keeping track of your stash’ on the computer. Though I can seriously out-nerd most people here ^_^; as a part of my University course I’m studying some programming and I thought I could make a program where I type in details and it just automatically adds itself to a spreadsheet. That’s basically it in a very tight nutshell anyway!!

Lisa Avatar

I too used a spreadsheet. Sometimes I got all fancy by linking the sheets together with my personal ratings, average brand reviews and how I felt on a ‘pretty scale’–I started this back in college. I’ve kind of settled on one brand with a few exceptions so i don’t use it much anymore.

That spreadsheet was actually kind of ‘normal’ and ‘non geeky’ compared to my book collection spreadsheet. Graphs on genre, authors, category…according to that bar graph, I’m in love with historical romance.

Jerrilyn Avatar

Wow – you have all reaffirmed my sanity. I don’t need a spreadsheet of what I own as my collection is never that large and I purge frequently. My downfall is that I research like crazy before I make a new purchase. But it all sort of blows up in my face when I see the pretty colors at the counter. I need a spreadsheet to prioritize my future purchases.

xamyx Avatar

While I do keep lists, they’re of things I want/need, which keeps it much easier to shop. I keep the lists updated at least once a month, and I rarely stray. This method also curbs impulse buys, and I choose which items to buy based on how much I want it, and what fits in the budget.

Quinctia Avatar

Back in the day, I started using a spreadsheet to keep track of my BPAL. Some amazing people kept an up to date spreadsheet that listed every scent of BPAL ever, so all I had to do was input what I owned, and there were already built in pages for things I wanted to swap, buy, and sell–including places to put names and addresses for people I’d deal with.

I haven’t gotten that quite that crazy with my makeup yet, though I did start up a spreadsheet for my nail polish this winter, because I participated in a secret santa type event, and it served two purposes: kept my santa from accidentally duplicating anything I already had, and it also gave her a bit of an idea past the questionairre as to my tastes in polish. (Crib notes: I hate creams and mattes, and buy all the OTHER purples).

Fabienne Avatar

I do have an awesome database app on my android phone.
It’s called MEMENTO. you can build your individual database that fits your Needs.
i love it, but i didnt hat the time so far to add all the stuff i have. but i will soon.

i wrote a blogpost on it in german, but maybe you get the Point, by looking at the Pictures.

Lisa J Avatar

Wow…now I don’t feel so crazy! I keep a record of my stash, too! Glad to see I’m not the only one. 😛

I use Evernote and update it every time I buy a makeup product. I created a beauty notebook that contains several notes divided by category (eyes, lips, cheeks, etc). Each note is divided into categories as well (eyeshadows, cream eyeshadows, shadesticks, eyeliners, etc.) About a year ago, I did a really big purge to try and get a handle on my out of control stash. In doing so, I found many duplicate products and this method now prevents that from happening. My collection is nearly half the size it once was!

I also added notes for swatches, such as red lipsticks, taupe eyeshadows, etc. This has helped me pare down my collection considerably, finding similar colors and ridding myself of multiples by passing them on to my mom, sister and friends. It was really time consuming to set up , but so worth it. Just this week I saw a Nars lipstick at Sephora I really liked. I checked Evernote on my phone to see if I already had it and I did. Money saved!

My own personal “swatch gallery” also helps me make a decision on whether or not I need that hot pink lipstick (is it similar to something I already have?) or that brown eyeshadow (seriously, another one??). I love the fact that it syncs across all my devices, too, so I’m never without it. Perfect for those spur of the moment visits to Target or Walgreens and the inevitable “quick browse” through the makeup department. 😉

Ru Avatar

I can’t believe how many people use spreadsheets, that’s dedication! I feel like I need pictures and swatches, so (not extensively) I try to use pinterest to track my stash. I use a lot of Temptalia’s images because it links back to her blog and review as well as other relevant information. It’s really so I don’t visually forget what I have but also so I can look at the different eyeshadows I have and coordinate looks.

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