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How To Store Makeup Like An Absolute Pro (Your Life Will Improve!)

How To Store Makeup Like An Absolute Pro (Your Life Will Improve!)

When you’re a makeup lover, it’s more than easy for your collection to become an unorganized mix of too-old, unopened, and frequently-used products, often scattered all together in a bathroom drawer. 

We get it.

Collections grow, your free time shrinks, and giving your products the Marie Kondo treatment can be difficult. 

But, organization has its benefits. And if you’re not sure where to start, then we’ve got you covered with these tips on how to store makeup.

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Why Organize?

Organization has benefits beyond the aesthetic. It can actually help you destress and think clearer. 

On a neurological level, clutter can inhibit your ability to focus on tasks, which in turn limits the brain’s ability to process information, according to a 2011 study published in The Journal of Neuroscience. But when your things are organized, this frees up space in the mind. While this study isn’t specifically about makeup, it still applies. Seeing a messy makeup drawer day after day can lead to feelings of guilt and stress over the lack of organization. 

Organization can save you time, too, because each product has a home. Instead of digging around your makeup drawer for a specific lip product, you know exactly where it is. Organizing can also make you realize which products should be thrown away—because you don’t want expired makeup hanging around

Last, but not least: organizing can feel rewarding. Multiple studies have shown our brain releases dopamine, the pleasure neurochemical, whenever we complete a task. And organization is certainly a task! 

How to Organize Your Makeup Collection

1. Declutter Your Collection

The first step to organizing your makeup collection is to take out every single product you own, then place them into categories like mascara, eye shadow, primer, contour, and so on.

“Once you see how much you have of each category, you can better plan how to organize them,” explains professional organizer Samantha Davis, founder of Think Outside the Closet in Houston, TX. 

As you take stock of what you already have, start paring down your collection. While it can feel nice to have a rainbow of foundation hues to choose from, more isn’t necessarily better. Multiple studies have shown that too many choices can spark what’s known as “choice paralysis,” or it can even decrease your satisfaction, leading to the urge to redo your makeup.

Start by tossing items that have expired—not only is that seven-month-old mascara too dry to work as intended, but it could also be harboring harmful bacteria. 

Be honest with yourself about what your living space can accommodate and which products you really need in your collection—or, as professional organizer, television host, and author Marie Kondo would say, rid yourself of whatever doesn’t “spark joy.” 

Make peace with letting go, knowing that you’ll be better off this way. If you’ve barely used an eyeshadow palette, toss it. Products that you purchased, but never opened, can be given away to friends, family, or your local Buy Nothing group, so long as it’s less than three years old and you’ve kept them stored in a cool, dry location.

2. Keep It All in One Place

After you’ve reduced your beauty collection, the next step is to get it all in one place, preferably where you do your makeup. This can be in your room, your bathroom, or even your kitchen. Think about where you usually apply makeup, then do whatever works best for your space and your habits. 

Lauren Williams, a certified professional organizer and owner of Casual Uncluttering in Washington state, suggests clear bins where you can line up lipsticks if you like an organized look. But if you prefer to keep things hidden away, maybe you need an opaque box or a dedicated makeup drawer. 

“If you travel a lot, you need something portable, or maybe you need a core of product you always carry with you, and the rest stays home. It can involve some trial and error to finally get everything just so,” explains Williams. And if you have a small living space, try installing floating shelves that can be easily mounted on the wall.

3. Organize By Type

For ease of finding things, keep like products together, but don’t worry about getting too granular. Categorize your makeup according to your personal preferences. 

“Some people have day/night styles. Some people have casual/formal/very formal styles. Some people organize everything strictly by kind of makeup, like eye shadow with eye shadow, blush with blush, etc. And some people arrange everything by color,” says Williams.

If you have a big enough collection where you can really get into the nitty-gritty, such as concealers, contouring products, mattes, shimmers, and day and nighttime makeup, then go for it. Ideally, every category should have its own designated container so it has a “home” to return to once you’re done using it. 

4. Sort By Order of Use

Keeping products organized by the order that you use them eliminates the need to spend more time than is necessary deliberating on where you should place them. Let the rules of applying and layering makeup guide you. This can apply to your entire personal care routine, too, like skincare, dental care, hair care, and fragrance. Anything that’s usually a one-off product might be best left in your medicine cabinet or under the sink.

5. Keep Your Most-Used Products Together

If the foundations of your beauty routine don’t change much from day to day, then it can be helpful to keep the products that you always reach for together in one place. You can even keep them all in a designated cosmetics bag in case you run out of time to apply your makeup at home. 

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Keep the products that you rarely use, like things for special occasions and holidays, in a separate space. If you have the space, a spinning organizer can be an attractive way to show off your prettiest products.

6. Choose an Organization System That Works for You

Remember that when it comes down to it, there’s no “right” way to organize your makeup. How you keep your things is entirely up to your personal preferences and what your space allows for. 

If you only have space for a drawer, consider picking up wooden or fabric dividers that you can use to separate the space according to makeup type. An over-the-door organizer or a shoe caddy will help free up precious floor or counter space.

If you keep your makeup on a rolling cart or a vanity, consider keeping everything you own in clear modular organizers, so every product is always visible. But if you’d rather use something more opaque, label each drawer according to what type of product you keep in it. 

To Sum It Up ...

Organization is a rewarding undertaking that can make your life a little less stressful and free up space in your home. Remember, the way you organize your makeup doesn’t have to look picture-perfect. First and foremost, it should serve you. 

Kat Smith is a New York City-based writer and editor who loves digging deep into sustainable fashion, beauty, food, and other lifestyle-related topics.

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