Nail Polish Storage Solution: Ikea Alex

Temptalia Nail Polish Stash

Ikea’s Alex ($119.00) is my new storage solution for my nail polish. I stopped by Ikea earlier this week to investigate some potential storage solutions. I originally decided to finally grab some Helmers to control my nail polishes, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.

See, every time I go to Ikea to buy the Helmer, I am completely put off by how flimsy it feels. Maybe the floor models are absolutely brutalized and feel less sturdy than newly assembled Helmers, but I just can’t convince myself to buy them. (I’m also not keen on the color selection–all of our furniture is black, with the exception of our office desks, which are beech). Enter in Alex, which was this six drawer unit on display next to the Helmer!

The Alex is actually a product series, and there are quite a few variations. I considered the taller versions for makeup storage, but I couldn’t commit because they only come in white–and for $119 a pop, I won’t compromise on color. I reckon that you could probably DIY some kind of paint job, though, if you’re creative enough 🙂 Anyway, the six-drawer Alex that comes with casters does come in black.

There are three shorter drawers and three taller drawers. Since I expected to get Helmers, I didn’t bring any polishes with me for height tests. I crossed my fingers and hoped that some of the shorter bottles would fit.

AND THEY DID! AND ALL THAT WAS POLISH WAS ORGANIZED!

I think this unit would work for the majority of beauty buffs, both as makeup storage and/or nail polish storage. I will caution you that if your collection only consists of taller bottles (think China Glaze and OPI), you will only be able to use the bottom three drawers for storage. The top three drawers are too short (but they fit Chanel, Dior, Illamasqua, RBL, etc.). I was sad to learn that Essie is just a touch too tall to fit in the smaller drawers… like 2 millimeters too tall! Zoyas are also too tall.  (Edited:  It seems like Essies will fit with a little maneuvering – seems like you can’t have them right against the sides.)

It does seem to hold quite a bit of polish. I only have four drawers with polish, and none of them are completely filled. I didn’t count this time around (I will do more micro-organizing by color when I have more time), but last time I posted, I had 669. I would guesstimate that there are around 700-750 polishes in this at the moment.

For those with modest nail polish collections, this could easily work — the bottom drawers definitely hold enough (the bottom drawer looks like it’ll hold 17 [China Glaze] bottles across x 10 bottles deep for 170 bottles in total). The shorter drawers will work for shorter brands, if you have ’em, but they can also hold makeup, hand creams, nail files, etc.

Ultimately, for me, I really love how sturdy the Alex is.  It’s heavy without polish, and the drawers slide in and out with ease.  I also love the look of the drawer unit:  it’s sleek with clean lines and matches the rest of my furniture.  It holds a good amount of nail polish, and there is some room for me to grow!

See more photos!

Temptalia Nail Polish Stash
Shorter drawer: Chanel, NARS, Dior, Lippmann, Butter London, Illamasqua, RBL, Lancome, MAC

Temptalia Nail Polish Stash
Taller drawer: Zoya & Essie

Temptalia Nail Polish Stash
Taller drawer: Orly, SpaRitual, Barielle, Milani, Nubar

Temptalia Nail Polish Stash
China Glaze

Temptalia Nail Polish Stash

232 Comments

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Svetlana Avatar

I wish I had that many nail polishes to actually need a special storage for them.But I don’t. I only have 40-50 nailpolishes so I can put them just anywhere.

Nice review though, I can see it being very helpfull for girls with a lot of polishes.

Gillian Avatar

I’m waiting everyday for the blog sale! hahaha you’ve got to get tired of it all sooner or later! and my china glaze drawer is nowhere near as big 😛 x

Sharron Avatar

Christine, you just made my day! 🙂

If anyone is interested in donating products to their local homeless and/or battered women’s shelters, there’s always a need for toiletries and towels.

Janine G. Avatar

You organized it so pretty so far 8] 700-750 bottles of polish?! Wow! I have significantly less amount 😀 but I store mine using a nail polish rack (like the salon ones) that holds 90. The storage unit looks nice as well.

Anusia Avatar

I completely dislike it. I organize polish by colour and mix brands, so the drawer must be ok for any polish. Besides most of my polishes are tall…

Steph Avatar

I have to admit, my jaw dropped at “I would guesstimate that there are around 700-750 polishes”.
My boyfriend has NO right to complain about my measly 65 now! XD
All the NARS and Deborah Lippman and Butter London… -swoons-

London Avatar

OMG! That is fabulous! If my stash ever overflows my measly little plastic storage box on top of my dresser (I’m new to the whole nail polish obsession), I will consider this.

Lauren Avatar

I have on single traditional shoe box style clear pastic storage container that holds ALL of my nailpolishes. Last night, I actually told my mom I can’t believe how many I have. Today, I can’t believe how many YOU have! wowzer! nice! sleep over party at christine’s!

Deb Avatar

Christine, thank you SO much for posting and writing about this! I have these cute little “toolboxes” that I use for my MAC polishes that are the perfect fit but I’ve struggled finding something for the OPIs and China Glazes so this is perfect! And it’s in BLACK, yaaaaay. It looks so yummy, lol.

Luna Avatar

It looks so good with all the pretty colors! I have the tall white one in my closet for nail polish, hair accessories, etc. I love it! I was thinking of buying the one you bought so I can use it for makeup storage. I’m glad they made in black because this one would be outside the close and all our furniture is black too!

Christine Avatar

It’s weird how OCD I am about having furniture match! I think if it was brown.. I could deal, but white is such a contrast. But I do really like the look and feel of the Alex series – very sturdy to me. I actually LOVE that they’re heavy units, because I find they hold up better over time.

Julia Avatar

This is gorgeous! I would put inserts in the top drawers and use them to organize jewelry, and then put all of my nail polish in the lower ones. I like having my makeup in my bathroom, whereas my nail polish and jewelry live in my bedroom.

Christine Avatar

Good idea! 🙂 I think this is SUPER practical for those with small to moderate polish stashes. If you’re going on 1,000 bottles – maybe not so much, because of those shorter drawers – but the shorter drawers are absolutely great for other beauty storage or jewelry storage as you suggested!

rasilla Avatar

I felt the same way that you did. the helmer does seem a tad flimsy on the bottom, but i figured if ppl were storing that much polish in them, and not experiencing sagging, then it must be alright…but i just couldn’t do it. so i had been thinking of the taller alex…but this might be better in terms of price.

But wow XD love the action shots!

Claudia Avatar

I have an alex too but the tall one in white. I keep all my nail polishes and make-up in the top “short” drawers and my LUSH items in the deeper ones.

No OPI for you?

Oh also, if you get fed up of the polishes sliding around when you open/close the drawers, kitchen lining is great for that!

Christine Avatar

No OPI for me due to the drama from a few months ago!

Surprisingly, the bottles don’t slide a lot. I have lining in my makeup storage solution to keep everything in place, and I figured I’d have to do it here… but so far, so good! I do admit I don’t heave the drawer out, though ;P

Claudia Avatar

hahah maybe I should open them more carefully too 🙂 I do have to say that my unit was defective. I had 2 screws missing and the metal rod parts are not aligning correctly in some drawers. But it was such a pain to assemble it that there’s no way I am going back lol.

and gotcha about the drama

Nicole Avatar

Love it! I hate the idea of flimsy storage. This looks very clean, simple but sturdy as well! And as a self-confessed nail polish junkie, looking at all your polishes is like a being in a candy store! Hahah.

Rae Avatar

I’ve been thinking about getting an Alex, too! :o) I’m stuck on which to get, though — I’d be going with white, so I could go with this one or with the slightly taller, skinnier version. I prefer this one, but at the same time… the price difference is pretty large ($70) in Canada :/

Christine Avatar

I like the taller version, too – if I had all white furniture, it’d totally work, but most of my furniture is from Ikea and is “black-brown” and I am matchy matchy, y’know! LOL!

If the taller one would fit more taller bottles, I’d probably opt for that.

SiaM Avatar

This is beautiful (*sniff*) It definitely looks prettier than a Helmer. I love how all the polishes are arrange in rows and the colors, the china glaze and the zoya & essie drawers are my favorite just because of how the colors look. I wish we had an IKEA here, all my polish are currently in plastic bins.

Amber Avatar

I’m so jealous…I have about 300 nail polishes and I store them in nail racks mounted on my wall but I think I want The ALex from Ikea now that I see how lovely yours looks…

Annika Avatar

I like the tall Alex from IKEA. Am considering puting three of them i a raw in my hallway (where I also have my vanity). That would give A LOT of organization potential, both for makeup and for other stuff like gloves and scarfs and hats. Great tip!

Quinctia Avatar

I wouldn’t ever use my experience as an absolute guideline, but I recently found one of my favorite polishes from when I was in high school–I graduated ten years ago–and after rolling it a bit to mix everything back up, it applied perfectly. It didn’t even seem overly thick. I was very surprised.

My house is kept very cool, which is the only thing that might be out of the ordinary about how I stored it. 😛

Dini Avatar

Sooooo very organized. And the Alex looks so sleek!!! I’ve been considering buying it for my workspace for over a year now, but maybe it can double duty as polish storage too. Absolute genius. 🙂

Laura Avatar

How sturdy are the bottoms of the drawers once they’re filled with polishes? I looked on the product page on Ikea to see what the unit is made of and I thought there might be a sagging issue with the drawers once they were full. (Which is why I dont like shoe boxes for polishes — since they sag under the weight) Thanks Christine! Great idea!

Christine Avatar

Hey Laura,

Everything has been fine so far. The China Glaze drawer (bottom) is the only one that’s 100% full, but I haven’t seen any sagging yet!

I did think about that, but there should be enough room underneath each drawer to slip in a piece of plywood for reinforcement, if necessary.

Stephanie Avatar

I love it! Thanks for the idea! If I get that many nail polishes I will look into this haha.
Have you ever thought of doing a storage/room tour video on Youtube Christine?

Dana Avatar

Hi Christine! I actually own this for my makeup storage and it works out great. I just have to say I love what you do I think it is great. Whatever new products come out I always check to see if you have reviewed it because I trust what you have to say. Keep it up the good work? Thanks

Shannon Avatar

now i just need this to go on sale lol. i already spend way too much on polishes and makeup, i would feel way too guilty if I spend like $120 on the HOLDER for them…

Christine Avatar

The one thing I will say is that over the years, I have gone through many different storage systems. I wish I would have just gone for the best solution, rather than routinely going cheaper… hating it or outgrowing it, and then buying something totally different.

I DO totally understand, because storage is so expensive!! It’s so painful every time I change!

K7P* Avatar

I don’t know what i’m loving more… the amount of nail polishes you have, or the Alex storage!!! =) The amount of nail polishes you have is insane!!! I love it!!!

Kerri Avatar

Love this! All your NP look so organized. I own the taller version, which houses my stash. The very bottom drawer houses all my nail polishes. Although I was sad about the fact that it only comes in white, it still coordinates well enough with the rest of my house, so it doesn’t look too out of place 🙂

Kaoyee Avatar

Ack! I was just at Ikea over the weekend for some kitchen and bedroom items. I really like your organization tips. I have about 50 bottles at the moment so a few clear shoeboxes stacked on top of each other is working well for me. But wow I am so drooling over your collection.

BethM Avatar

That looks very nice!
I have to keep my polishes in closed plastic containers, then in the cabinet in the bathroom- If they’re not in a closed container, I can smell them and it gives me a headache.

Vio Avatar

I had been looking at the larger Alex for makeup storage and as my bedroom is actually white I wouldn’t have the color-problem you have. Black would be much more problematic.

A trip to Ikea is already planned so I will definitely take a look at them. Your comment about sturdiness convinced me to put the larger version on my ‘definitely-look-at’-list. Thank you 🙂

t_zwiggy Avatar

I’m totally getting one! I’ve tried to figure out a good storage solution for my nail polish for months now (currently they’re all just jammed together in my closet). This will also match the rest of my furniture (all black and most of it from ikea).

Desiree Avatar

Whoa lol, that’s more nail polishes than any nail shop I’ve ever gone to has had! Seeing how many China Glaze polishes u have shows me that they must be pretty good quality so I’m definately gonna look into buying some for myself =D

Christine Avatar

I have polishes that are 3-4 years and apply the same now as they did then. If a polish thickens, you can use a bit of thinner to help make the formula easier to work with. I routinely go through and roll all the bottles so that the colors don’t separate.

Nadia Avatar

My husband and I were at IKEA one day and I happened to see the Alex 9 drawer unit. We returned a few days later so that I could buy the unit. I absolutely love the Alex 9 drawer unit!!! It is perfect for storing all of my makeup. I highly recommend it.

Emily Avatar

Did the Orly fit okay? I’ve been leaning towards the Helmer just to get those taller polishes in there. And Misa has very tall bottles, so I’d be afraid those wouldn’t fit either.

Tammy Avatar

Hey Christine, I don’t know if you’ve done this or if someone has suggested it already, but I would suggest that you get the kitchen liners? They’re rubbery in texture and they do come in black and if you line the bottom, it’ll keep your polishes from sliding in the drawers every time you open/close the drawer. Hope this helps! 🙂

lio Avatar

What a gorgeous collection! Especially the China Glazes look so nice all lined up like that. 😀 And I’m actually happy you don’t have any OPIs either, sometimes I feel so alone for not oohing and aahing over them anymore. I got so bitter from the drama. 😛

Sally Avatar

I love how you said “AND THEY DID! AND ALL THAT POLISH WAS ORGANIZED!” It made me laugh so much, like the end of a fairytale or something! Hahaha.
But it looks amazing! I love that successful feeling of being (mostly) organized :]

Rachel Avatar

Hello! this year my makeup and polish collections increased, and I decided to buy helmer to accommodate all in it because I read about it in many blogs that was so great, but I was really disappointed, the drawers are long and when you open all to the end, they fall if you don’t hold them… so my next investment will be vika alexa! thanks for your great blog!! kisses

Jean Avatar

Oh, my, God!!! I need one for my makeup! It’s driving me insane either not knowing where things are or knowing where they are but having to sort through piles of the things!

yaniskidz Avatar

Christine, Love your collection!
I have the helmer (in ivory) for my makeup organization and actually works quite good, I have inserts from IKEA antonius that fits ok, not perfect but better than anything else I tried. I have another helmer (in red) in the desk and that cabinet is really convinient. It’s a pain to ensamble but once you do one the second one is easier (and I bought them 1 year apart from each other).
For my polishes I have just a Antonius basket with a handle and works perfect for me, I just have only like 50 polishes, not that I will ever 700 polishes. but beautiful collection!

Lovely's Instinct Avatar

Great post!! I have been looking for something similar for my nail polish storage that also matches my dark furniture. I bought a train case for easy transportation but its already full:-) Can you tell me how tall this one is? I’m really interested in getting it!

Cat Avatar

I like the looks of this one, but I really wish it came in dark brown! I ended up getting a red Helmer even though it’s not my favorite shade of red. It fits perfectly under my desk though. It does seems flimsy, but it’s not too bad, and it holds nearly all my polish quite well.

Besides ChG For Audrey, what are some other colors you like to wear?

jerilyn Avatar

wow… thats a beautiful rainbow of nail polishes! what do you do with the colors you don’t use? wow!!! im so amazed…lol… i want i think i’ll be picking up that drawere at ikea too!

Kat Avatar

Wow, so impressive!

Maybe you could get dividers as well so the bottles in the drawers don’t shift around when you pull it out, or use a rubber mat on the bottom…if you have this problem. If not, fab! It looks really nice!

I am drooling over the colours =)’

Maria Avatar

I bought the same “Alex” + the tall one both in white and I adore them there perfect to house my crazy collection of makeup, and make it look neat =)

zb Avatar

That is a seriously amazing collection of polish. My little plastic drawers from Staples look so tiny by comparison. Thanks for the great photos and review!

cheryl Avatar

i hope my little army of nail polishes grows to be as big as yours!!!

though it looks like you can’t acquire any more china glaze polishes, cos then they’ll have to invade the other brands’ drawers :p

Ruthless Avatar

I was also let down by the Helmer, although I did purchase it because it was inexpensive. It is flimsy, but on the plus side it has wheels and is easily moveable

Paige Avatar

Where is the video if your 2010 makeup collection? With the chrome drawers? I can’t find it. And, I am sooo showing my cousin this, she has so much nail polish!

Lauren Alice Avatar

Ohmygoodness! I just had to shop my sister this post. She thinks my collection in massive (pushing 80 bottles) but this is amazing. Seriously envious right now. I was trying to decide wether or not to get a Helmer myself, but I have all black furniture too. This would definitely do the job.

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