I'm Back with More Organization Porn: Here's My Makeup Desk

I'm not the tidiest person, day-to-day, but having a storage system with a specific home for everything makes it easier to tidy up when I do want to.
Publish date:
March 22, 2016
vanity, organization, storage

You guys were all over my beauty-sample organization, so I thought I'd follow up with a look at my overall makeup storage situation.

Finding a way to store and manage all the makeup I do and don't use has been a long process, and to be honest, I don't think I'll ever be 100% content with it. The current setup, however, offers a few handy things: I know where everything is, everything has a place (so it's easy to tidy up), and it's all on hand so I don't forget about products and then never use them.

Beauty storage for someone who works in the industry is a little different, as Marci has touched on, but I'm working to reduce my collection, and I don't think it's too excessive or different than the average beauty fanatic's stash. I just have a separate set of basket drawers (that I won't touch on here) with labels like "to try" and "to write about."

I have a desk solely dedicated to making up my face. I've never liked doing my makeup in the bathroom — probably something to do with living in apartments with inadequate steam-extractor fans and no bathroom counter space. I also don't like standing up to do my makeup, and luckily, our spare room has the space for a desk I can dedicate specifically to the cause. I bought it for $10 from the Salvation Army and painted it white; perhaps not the most practical choice, in retrospect, but it looks nice.

I'm not the tidiest person, day-to-day, but having a storage system with a specific home for everything makes it easier to tidy up when I do want to. This usually happens at 11 p.m. on a Sunday when I'm feeling fragile and the mess stresses me out so much that I need to sort it out immediately. (I do not claim to be a functional adult.)

Let's start with brushes. I have quite a few. They live in cups on my windowsill, sorted by type. The far right cup is for dirty brushes, and as usual, it is very full. I don't want to sound condescending when I suggest keeping a cup for dirty brushes, but for years I just put my dirty brushes back into the cup from whence they came, and then I never knew what was dirty and what was clean, or how dirty something was. This system also stops me from washing brushes that don't need washing.

On the left-hand side of my desk I keep my tray of samples waiting to be used. Next to the tray is the first of many sets of Muji drawers. I dream of a day when I can experience the glory of a Muji store, but in the meantime, I buy them online. It's a bit risky shipping them internationally because they can get cracked, but it's a risk I'm willing to take because of how damn functional they are.

I can't overstate how effective it is to keep my makeup in transparent drawers. If I can't see it, I'll forget about it, and I won't use it. It has the added advantage of reminding me how much I have, so I don't get as tempted to buy more.

The top layer of the Muji drawers on this side contains my everyday basics. I try to rotate these out fairly regularly, but for the moment it's the 14 products in my beauty capsule wardrobe experiment (more on that soon). Underneath those are all my powders. There's no particular reason for them to be in this drawer, but they fit.

On the other side, I've got a few open trays for quick access and then another set of Muji drawers, topped with a plastic divider I turned on its side. This thing contains foundations, tinted moisturizers and face-base things, as well as palettes. I generally prefer palettes to single eyeshadows or blushes, so these are on hand and the singles are kept in the drawers below.

For pencil products like eyeliner and lip liners, open trays work best for me. Again, if I can't see them, I won't use them. I'm a bit of a lip-liner fiend, so I keep those accessible in one of three trays; the other two hold mascaras, and eye pencils (thick and thin). I find it's easier to keep these things separated rather than muddled in all one long-thin-product tray.

At this point, I've run out of room on my desk, but a bookshelf directly to the right of the desk holds the last and biggest set of drawers: my lipstick drawers.

Who needs so many lipsticks, you ask? Well, not me, that's for sure. I have a pretty bad habit of buying the exact same lip colors and not realizing until I get home. The only color my collection lacks is bright pinks, because I don't like how they look on me (no matter how hard I try).

Lipsticks are sorted by color, because when I'm getting ready in the morning I'm much more likely to think "I want to wear a brown lipstick today" than "I want to wear a MAC lipstick today", despite the fact that they would look much better if they were arranged by brand.

I kinda can't believe I just wrote 900 words about how I organize my makeup, so now I want to turn it over to you. What's your makeup storage setup?