Six Steps to Organize Your Make-Up!


Liz Jenkins

organized cosmetics

Organize your makeup to save you time (and money).

Want a quick organizing project with an immediate payoff? Try organizing your cosmetics!

Organizing cosmetics often ends up on the back burner. Makeup usually doesn’t take up a ton of space so it’s not a high priority to contain it, or it brings up some guilt when you can’t believe you spent that much on a product that you never used. Even though it doesn’t seem like a high impact project, when working with clients, makeup organization often becomes the favorite part of our whole time together. It feels great to have all of your makeup accessible and tidy.

Taking the time to organize your makeup will help:

  • Save time by streamlining your daily routines
  • Save money by preventing purchases of products you already have
  • Spark makeup creativity by letting you see what you have
  • Free up a bunch of bathroom storage space to use for other stuff

Even as a professional organizer, I’m guilty of not keeping my makeup in order. Recently I purchased what I thought would be the perfect dark grey eye pencil, but like many times before, it wasn’t the exact thing I had wanted. It was too sparkly. Why I didn’t notice this in the store, well, I have no idea. But then, I also didn’t notice in the store the one that flaked, the one that made me look like a disco queen or the one that yanked at my eyelids. So, those were all purchased less-than-mindfully, and guess where they all are now? At the bottom of my makeup drawer!

Shame on me. It was time to purge my makeup collection. I don’t act ually wear a lot of makeup, but when I do, I like to have just the right things. I’ve realized that when my makeup drawer and bags are full of the wrong things, it makes it hard to find what I want.

Cosmetics are one of those fun impulse buys that seem like a great idea at the time, especially when there’s free stuff involved if you buy in bulk of some other product. Who doesn’t need a new lipstick for FREE?!? Me, apparently. But if you’re not careful, you end up like I did– with tons of products you never touch clogging up your makeup stash and making it a chaotic experience to find what you’re looking for.

So, let’s do some organizing! Follow this step-by-step guide and not only will you end up with a functional and easily accessible collection of makeup, but you’ll end up saving time in your getting-ready routine as well.

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Step One: Gather All Your Cosmetics

I mean ALL of them. Dig way back into drawers, empty every cosmetic bag, and check the medicine cabinet as well as all of your purses and totes. I always find stray lipsticks in mine.

Tip: This is a great time to clean the drawers or toss the makeup bags in the wash. It’s great to start fresh and clean!

Step Two: Group Like Items Together

All the lipsticks together, all the eye shadows together, you get the point. Once you’ve sorted everything, go further and sub-sort. As in, brown eye liners sorted from black, waterproof mascara sorted separate from regular mascara, etc.

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 Step Three: Discard the Easy Stuff

The eye liner that’s gone a bit chalky from age? The lipstick that went through the wash and never fully recovered? The eye shadow that got broken when you dropped it on the floor? Goodbye and good riddance.

Tip: If you can’t remember when you bought it, it’s most likely time to let it go. Cosmetics can become contaminated over time due to the type of usage, and it may not be healthy to your body to continue using them. Here’s a good guide to how long to keep cosmetics from Pop Sugar.

Then, go for some harder choices. Really think about how much you like the products laid out in front of you. Personally, I’ve realized that my favorite lipsticks are all from MAC or Laura Mercer. I just like the way they feel, hold up and smell. I’ve got a few drugstore purchases that I like as well. Besides that small selection, everything else has gone away because I never reach for them.

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Step Four: Pull Out the Really Good Stuff

What are your go-to products? The ones you:

  • Like how they make you look
  • Like the way they feel
  • Like the way they smell
  • Like the way they hold up throughout the day

Use your answers as a guide and pull out the products you use all of the time or absolutely love.

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Step Five: See What’s Left

Evaluate. Do you need anything that’s stuck in that middle group? There may be a few gems in there, or a few pieces that fill a gap for a once in a while need. Grab those, and ditch the rest.

Tip: Those cosmetics you are discarding may be a great start (or addition) to a child’s dress up or teens cos-play collection!

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Step Six: Create a Grouping of Your Daily Cosmetics

These should be only the ones you use every day and can’t start your day without. The daily cosmetics should be stored in an easily accessible place such as a drawer with drawer organizers, countertop storage (like this one from Container Store) or a cosmetic bag.

Then create another grouping of specialty cosmetics. These are the ones you use for a special night out or events. Specialty cosmetics can be stored in a separate place, like a bag, at the back of the cosmetics drawer, an upper cabinet shelf. You don’t need to dig around this stuff to find what you really need.

After I did this myself, I ended up with one cosmetic bag filled with my daily items, and a slightly smaller one of specialty products.

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Now the Final Step: Admire Your Work

Just look at your beautiful, tidy makeup collection, and when you get ready the next morning, relish in how much less time it takes you to find your favorite lip gloss or eye pencil!

Organizing your makeup will pay off in more ways than one and will help you streamline your time and space. If you organize your makeup and then want to keep going, this step-by-step process works really well for other bathroom products as well!

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Photo Credit: The Container Store and MAC Cosmetics

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