I’ll be the first to admit that when it comes to my makeup and skincare, I’m not exactly the most organized person. As someone who writes about beauty for a living, I receive an excessive amount of products—and, for the life of me, I’ve never been able to figure out how to keep everything neat and tidy.
Up until a few weeks ago, my apartment looked like the back stock room of a Sephora…and not in a good way.
So I decided to hire California Closets to help design a space that would best suit the needs of all of my products—and then, I enlisted the help of a professional organizer. (If you haven’t yet read it, I did a full review of California Closets and details about how much it cost here. )
Lisa Jacobs, the founder of Imagine it Done, sent her team over to my apartment for a complete organizational overhaul—and while they were here, I picked up a ton of incredible makeup organization ideas and tricks that I’m excited to share with you.
Below you’ll find links to all of the products that I bought to keep my mess in check as well as tips from the IID team.
9 Makeup Organization Ideas
1. Be prepared to purge.
Before you even begin re-organizing your stuff, use it as an opportunity to go through everything and assess what you actually use, what you’ve been hanging on to for too long, and what needs to be tossed because it’s expired.
You’d probably be shocked to find out how many things you own that are well past their prime. (FYI: I have a blog post that explains everything you need to know about makeup expiration dates.)
2. Keep your most used products visible.
The items that you reach for every morning while you’re getting ready for work should be front and center, and easily accessible. For example, I really only wear eyeshadow when I’m doing a glam makeup look (which isn’t often) so my eyeshadow palettes are tucked away in a drawer. But my everyday makeup products—like my favorite foundation, bronzer, and eyelash curler—are right on top of my vanity within arm’s reach.
3. Acrylic organizers are the best way to see everything you have.
If you’ve storing your products in makeup bags or random drawers, it can be super challenging to find things—and keep track of what you actually have. Acrylic storage will be a GAMECHANGER. Trust me. Not only does it look visually appealing, but there are also dozens upon dozens of different sizes, shapes, and combinations to fit your exact space and needs.
This stackable system is amazing and inexpensive. (It’s what I have.) I also like the fact that the top part is open, which helps to accommodate products of varying heights.
Out of all the options, I prefer drawers that are a bit wider and deeper, because I find the narrower drawers to be a bit limiting.
4. Use acrylic risers to save space and maximize visibility.
The Imagine it Done team uses acrylic risers for everything and I can see why. They give you twice the amount of space because you can store products on top of the riser, as well as underneath. Plus, the added height means that you’re able to see things that might have otherwise been hiding in the back.
5. Get one of these cheap dividers to store palettes in drawers.
Before I used this divider, my palettes were all over the place and stacked on top of one another, so inevitably, I would just end up using the one that was on top. Now I’m able to see everything—and they’re actually taking up less space.
I also like using these super basic drawer inserts to keep everything organized in my drawers, rather than rolling around.
6. Try this DIY makeup brush organizer idea.
One of my favorite hacks is to use turn my old candles into holders for makeup brushes, wands, rollers, etc.
There are a number of ways to do it, but what I do is put the candle glass in the freezer overnight when you’re finished burning the candle. The remaining wax in the bottom of the vessel will shrink, and you’ll be able to pry it out using a fork or knife.
If there’s still a little wax on the bottom or on the sides of the glass, run it under hot water and then wipe it clean with a paper towel. Throw it in the dishwasher (unless it has a delicate label that you want to keep in tact) and then you’re good to go.
7. Store hair products, lotions, and skincare in a Lazy Suzan.
This is probably the most useful organization idea that I learned from the IID team. Not only do they keep your products organized, but they also make it easier to find things. This is the one I have—I love that it has removable bins, which can be lifted out, swapped, or moved around.
What’s also nice is that it makes use of vertical space that might have previously been overlooked.
8. Organize skincare and makeup by type.
Before I had a team of professionals come in, my makeup vanity was a bit of a mess. There was no rhyme or reason behind where things were located, which made getting ready in the morning a bit hectic, especially when I was in a rush.
I had eyeliners mixed in with brow pencils, brushes, and lipglosses—so if I had to grab something quickly, I never knew what I would be getting. The same goes for moisturizers, serums, and hair products. Now, everything is neatly categorized, so I know exactly where to find something if I need it in a hurry.
9. Get a spice rack organizer.
Another genius hack that I learned was to use a spice rack organizer for things like foundations and skincare. The levels make it easy to see everything—even the things all the way in the back. Bonus points if you organize by category. For ex: daytime skincare items on the first level, nighttime skincare on the second level, backup products on the third.
Here are some of the products that we used in my beauty closet and vanity. Would love to hear about your favorite products, tips, tricks, and hacks too—leave them in the comments below!