Share a Tip Tuesdays: Unconventional Makeup Storage Ideas

Published in: Beauty Tips, Makeup Tips/How To

Organized chaos. 🙂 That’s how I describe my current approach to organizing my makeup, and I’m always looking for new ways to store products and make them easier to find.


To that end, I’ve made some of my best makeup storage discoveries in some pretty unlikely places, like fabric stores and discount retailers with home sections like Marshall’s and T.J.Maxx.

Fabric, arts and crafts stores are veritable cornucopias of great storage ideas (with excellent prices compared to The Container Store!), and JoAnn is one of my faves.

That’s where I found that clear ArtBin box up at there at the top with 18 compartments for $7!

Shoot, that same thing would probably cost three times as much at The Container Store.

I’m guessing it was designed for beads and buttons, but I use it to store my MAC Paint Pots and Benefit Creaseless Creams.

Something tells me it doesn’t mind…

It’s also great for storing the MAC single eyeshadows I keep meaning to depot, and the compartments are just big enough to fit most products that come in tiny tubes.

And ArtBin makes a similar container for pencils called the Prism 6-Compartment Box (about $7 in stores, or $9 online). I use mine for eyeliners and to organize lip pencils by color, but it’d make a pretty good storage bin for glosses, too.


Oh, and you know those clear shoeboxes that you can get at The Container Store? Nice thing about them? They’re the perfect size for nail polishes.

It’s good to see you back here for another Share a Tip Tuesday! Here are some of the smokey eye tips you left on last week’s post in the comments…

“To line the lower waterline, swipe it with a dry q-tip first and then apply waterproof pencil – better chance of it “sticking” to line. Just don’t poke eye – that hurts like a mutha!”

“I put on a gel liner on the waterline and then put a deep pencil liner in the same shade. Stays put ALL day.”

“My favourite smokey eye tip is to map out the shape with your bronzer before you go in with a dark colour. That way if you can’t get it right/run out of time, it just looks like crease definition.”

“One trick I learned from a friend is to prime your lips with eye contour cream! It really moisturizes without being greasy, and it reduce the appearance of fine lines on your lips.”

“Here’s a lip tip I learned from a MAC artist: instead of using Mac prep n prime lips on your lips use it to trace along the outside of your lips. This creates a barrier. This trick always helps to keep bright or dark colors from bleeding.”

“The quickest way to a smokey eye is to use a dark base underneath your powder eyeshadow. It doesnt have to be black, since the smokey eye is more a technique than a color. My fave colors to use would be gray and navy blue – theyre softer than black and a tad easier to work with.”

“The biggest key with working with eye makeup that is anything other than neutral is to not be afraid and know that some color combinations will not always work, but at least you tried something new. When I first ventured into wearing green eyeshadow, it seriously looked like I had mold or algae on my eyes. I learned a) to blend brights well and b) a good primer does wonders for keeping eyeshadow bright and cheery all day long.”
–Katherine G

Thanks for the awesome ideas! 🙂

In this week’s edition, I’m hungry for makeup storage secrets. Got any innovative/re-purposed/unusual makeup storage containers or techniques? I bet you do!

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 38 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Fieran says:

    I’ve been using my foundation brush to buff primer into my skin before using the same brush to apply foundation afterwards. It works wonders and makes my foundation last so much longer, compared to when I applied primer with my fingers. I guess there’s less oil from my fingertips being transferred to my face.

  2. Janet says:

    I actually get those silverware sorting/storage trays at Bed Bath & Beyond and use them to separate out eyeliners/lipliners/mascaras/eye shadow brushes. I don’t have a ton of room for a large makeup collection, so I have to keep mine fairly streamlined and organized.

  3. Marina says:

    I don’t really have any top secret storage tips, I store my personal makeup in a plastic drawer similar to Muji. And other makeup (I do freelance makeup jobs on the weekends) has to be organized.
    I really love the cream eye shadows on the photo…
    Marina recently posted … Matte Lips for AW 2012 with Armani and Burberry

  4. Laura says:

    I have super long brow hairs so for trimming eyebrows I always use a white eyeliner pencil and a ruler. I trace a line with the pencil and ruler along the top of my brows that follows the natural line of my brows (usually a slight downward slope). Then I use a spoolie brush to brush my brows up and trim with small brow scissors following the line. You’ll look a bit silly, but its a pretty fool proof way to trim your brows nice and straight, so that they look natural and on point! Trust that I take my brow game seriously 🙂

  5. xiao says:

    I keep boxes and store my palettes/eyeshadows vertically with a tiny sticker on the upward facing side so I can easily see what they are.
    xiao recently posted … Guerlain Holiday 2012 Collection

  6. Beth says:

    My friend gave me a kitchen utensil set with a tray organizer for my new apartment, but the organizer didn’t fit in any of my kitchen drawers. The tray was actually perfect for storing blushes, bronzers, and powder compacts.

    A second tip – when the bookstore Borders went out of business, they sold off all their furniture and cafe items too. I accumulated lots of to go coffee cups/lids and a pitcher which were useful for intended purposes, but also grabbed a few of those clear acrylic squareish containers…the kinds used to hold candy or small toys in the checkout area. They were $2 each and perfect for storing lipsticks, lipglosses, eyeliners, and mascaras. Grabbed a larger, rectangular one to store palettes and eyeshadows.

    Yet another tip – I got a cardboard jewelry box as a gift with purchase, similar to plastic ones sold for jewelry findings or fishing supplies, but already had a jewelry storage solution. I instead used it to house eyeshadow and pigment samples and could sort by brand and color using all the compartments.

  7. Anna says:

    For small items I like to keep in easy reach on my vanity (instead of in my cutlery-tray-organized drawer) like fave lipgloss, mascara, or tweezers, I use small, silver candle holders from Bath and Body Works. They usually sell different designs in different seasons so I’ve got a few now, and it doubles as pretty, decorative pieces in my room.

  8. Nina says:

    Dyou remember those vintage Coke glasses? I have a bunch of those and use those as brush holders. They looks so pretty all in a row standing in my vanity!

  9. Sylvie says:

    Hi Karen

    I was wondering if you depot your MAC blushes as well? If so, do you find any cons to having them in the same palette, such as kicking up blush “dust” that might settle on the adjacent ones when you go in with your brush? I am thinking of depotting my blushes like I have done for my eyeshadows but I am worried about it becoming dirty since the edges of my individual blush pots are always dirty from excess blush powder.

  10. Erin says:

    I bought some acrylic storage cases off eBay and some stackables from Ikea but for my eye and lip liners I bought this off amazon:

    It’s pretty and holds all the ones I currently use upright and so I can see them easily.

    • BooBooNinja says:

      That’s a great, colorful holder, Erin. Thanks for sharing. It looks like it’d be useful for drying makeup brushes upside down too.

    • Rach says:

      Awesome idea and thanks for the link, Erin! I just ordered one and I can’t wait to get it to hold some of my most-used eyeliners and some double-ended brushes (so they don’t get one end smooshed in a cup).

  11. Heidi says:

    I drink a lot of tea — A LOT OF TEA — and I always save those tall round tins that the round tea bags come in. They’re perfect for storing pencils, brushes, glosses, and roll-on perfumes.

  12. Kate says:

    Maybe it’s because I’m a lipstick fiend or that I tend to shop when there is a gift-with-purchase promotion, but I started using all those makeup bags that come with GWP (esp. Clinique) to group my lipsticks by color type. All my reds are together in one bag, pinks in another, corals/tawnies in another, nudes in another and plum colors in the last. Since most of the bags are different sizes, I save the larger ones for my larger collections (i.e. pinks and nudes).

  13. Nivedita says:

    This is cool! Just the other day, I saw set a pill boxes and wondered if I could turn it into a pigment palette 😛
    The pencilcase is really an ingenious one Karen!
    Nivedita recently posted … My cousin’s Ashirvaad Look

  14. Iris says:

    I’ve heard bullet cases are great for storing perfume sample vials.

  15. Kim says:

    I’m sorry, I have nothing for you but I almost had to do some deep breathing exercises when I scrolled down to your pencil storage. I think it’s a fantastic idea but just imagining having all those liners put me on the verge of a panic attack. You know I have trouble choosing between dark brown and medium brown. Can you imagine if I had to look through all your colors? HAHA!

    Btw, I’ve just started watching Wallander. The 3rd season started on PBS last Sunday and I’ve netflixed the first 2 seasons. I like it (but I’m a Kenneth Branagh fan). Now that TB is done for the season, I need a new show. 🙂

  16. Nadege says:

    I saw someone use nail polish displays (the ones that hold 20-30) to store their paint pots, color tattoos, etc… It looked so pretty!.
    Nadege recently posted … Mac Styleseeker Haul

  17. Lulle says:

    I wish I had storage tips to share, but my makeup stash is a big mess! I have this small chest o’ drawers, with 3 drawers, and the products are basically piled up inside each drawer…

    Not so long ago, however, I decided to organize the lippies drawer, and I just used small shopping bags (like Sephora, Victoria’s secret…) to separate products into different categories. They fit in the drawers and at least I can find a lipstick without having to dig into the whole stash! Plus re-using the bags means I don’t throw them, and mother nature is happy 😀
    Lulle recently posted … Balm Jovi Rockstar Face Palette by theBalm – Pictures

  18. snoopysteph says:

    I use a 3 tier rectangular spice rack to hold nail polish. Got it for $10 at Home Goods!

  19. NeenaJ says:

    Scouring flea markets can yield some amazing bargains. Fifteen years ago, I bought an old-fashioned library card catalog (like, dewey decimal system) at a flea market for the express purpose of storing my makeup. It’s got 36 pull-out drawers which is plenty big for my ridiculous amount of makeup/nail polishes and tools. I keep eye shadows and lip colors sorted by color family. On top of the unit, I use recycled jam jars or cool glass containers for brushes and most-used items (like my top 5 eyeliners).

    It’s my most beloved piece of furniture and sits proudly in the living room. I’ve always wanted an apothecary cabinet, too – same kind of idea. The old Chinese ones are amazing!

    • Awesome organization and work flow (re: most used items in the top drawers)! I can imagine how beautiful the wooden drawer looks in your living room. It’s even more beautiful knowing there’s tons of great and exciting make up hiding inside.

  20. Stèphanie says:

    My storage tip? I “collect” cardboard rolls from toiletpaperrolls, cut them in half and staple them together. This diy makes storage cheap, fun to make, easy to customize the storage and is suitable for any size drawer. I use it to store my lipglosses, lipsticks, eyeliners or mascaras.
    Stèphanie recently posted … Nicole by OPI ‘Follow Me On Glitter’

  21. Linnea says:

    I like Ikea for their storage solutions — got a bunch of bathroom storage containers that you’re supposed to use by screwing into the back of the cabinet on your vanity. Well they fit in my drawers, so I usually store all my eyeshadows in there (placed in vertically so I can see all of the palettes I have). Then I use the small ones to stack my lipsticks and blushes and perfume..

    I also use a small glass candle holder to hold all my sample perfumes. I use a small glass yogurt container to put the brushes I use regularly. I also have a deep drawer in my bathroom where I’ve placed a shoebox to set all of my hair products in (makes for easy grabbing).

    Recently I bought for all my nail polish (it definitely did NOT fill this thing, so I use it to store magazines and stuff).

  22. I love seeing how other people store their makeup! It seems like everyone is investing in these kind of clear bins and trays to store their makeup these days. I have not graduated to that level yet, however. I recently cleared out an Ikea wardrobe to serve as a “beauty closet”, but it’s nowhere NEAR organized how I’d like it to be yet. At the moment, everything is either free-standing on the shelf and bunched into categories (skincare, blush, currently-testing, etc.) or they’re stuffed into various shoeboxes and placed in the drawers. One day though–one day…
    Becca @ The Beauty Sample recently posted … Liebster Award!

  23. Rachel B. says:

    I use the pencil holders, the ones with separate compartments to hold my brushes. That way, all my face brushes, eye brushes et al are grouped together. Got it at Target for $1 !

  24. I love picking up new storage tips, and it’s fun to see how people organize their gigantic makeup collections. 🙂

    YES, I used to use those clear plastic shoeboxes to hold my nail polishes, but then my polish addiction got out of control…hehe, so I had to buy a Helmer from IKEA to store them properly. 😉
    Swatch And Learn recently posted … Nail Art Tutorial: Pink & Blue Leopard Nails

  25. Katherine G says:

    Thanks for sharing my comment from last week! I love hearing storage tips as I don’t have too many ways to store my makeup currently. The Container Store is outrageous on prices for makeup storage – they wanted $60 bucks for a makeup organizer that was made out of the same plastic as those boxes/bins you listed!

    I currently use a drawer in my bathroom, and I have a travel case that contains some makeup, too. The makeup in the drawer is organized into piles of sorts – eyeshadow, liner, and lip stuff, while the makeup in the case is organized with base/foundation/powder type makeup on one side, and eye/lip stuff on the other side. My nail polishes have their own drawer in my night stand. Eventually I am going to buy some nice organizing bins (though not from the Container Store) to organize everything and make it easier to get to.

  26. Phyrra says:

    LOL! Organized Chaos is exactly how I describe my makeup horde 🙂 I have some of those 3 section plastic containers for pencils and lipsticks 🙂
    Phyrra recently posted … BftE and Sugarpill Sweet Sassafras Tutorial

  27. I keep empty food containers (ice cream is my favorite) to store my make-up in. Super handy!
    Kiss & Make-up recently posted … The war against wrinkles: eye contour care

  28. Nina says:

    I added an extra drawer in my Ikea wardrobe and put some of their clear bathroom organizers in it. They hold all my make up and skincare and it became easier for me to get ready because everything is within my reach. I had an extra organizer left, so I used it for my nail polishes. They’re all nicely standing up now, properly stored in my nightstand drawer. I’m actually quite happy with my system right now ^^

  29. YadiQ says:


    reminds me of my art school major days in both high school and college !

    too bad all my OG art bins still have tube of oils acrylics and other art supplies 🙂

    love the new blog outfit K!

  30. Allie says:

    I love using mason jars to store my brushes. Tie a ribbon around it and it looks so cute! I also like using desk/drawer organizers to store my lipsticks, eyeliners, single eyeshadows, etc. in.

  31. Sadie says:

    I use my Glossybox (beauty subscription) boxes for make up storage – at the moment I have two for eyeshadows, one for lip products and one for base/blushes/bronzers… although they’re all getting a bit full! For pencils, brushes etc I wash up my old glass candle holders once I’ve burnt the candles down and use them. Also getting full on that front too…whoops! 🙂

  32. I’m currently using a drawer organizer that I found at Garden Ridge. It has horizontal built in dividers and several removable vertical dividers that you can place however you’d like. I place all my makeup jars on their side so I can see all the colors easily. Works like a charm!

  33. Azhara says:

    Hi I was just going through some posts about makeup organization and I came across your post. Just wondering, is the artbin 18 compartment box in the picture above the large one or the small one ? I want to
    Order the same size as the one above

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