My Makeup Organization Secret: Less Than $15 and You Already Own It!


makeup organization
The full spread

As my makeup collection grew, keeping it organized became almost impossible. Where was that lime green loose shadow I need right now? Probably buried beneath a hundred powder-covered samples in the depths of my dopp kit. When I moved to a new apartment last year, I vowed to change my ways. My room was small, but it was just the right size for a $20 Craigslist desk with a pull out drawer. Add a mirror and boom, I had my own vanity table.

I like the limiting factor of the drawer’s desk – I need to keep my collection limited to its volume. But leaving makeup scattered and loose in the drawer would be chaos and no better than my powdery dopp kit. Then I realized that by moving into 4 bedroom house with an already stocked kitchen, there was one critical item I could keep to myself – the silverware organizer!

Ok, maybe I should call it the flatware organizer, because let’s be real, I’m not eating with real silver. And just my luck – the chrome grid fit perfectly into my drawer. Now came the hard part – dividing my makeup between the metaphorical forks, knives, and spoons.

silverware makeup organizer
Forks, spoons, knives, just the basics

But it turned out to be a very easy way to keep track of every item. Along the left side I keep all my cheek items: liquid, cream, and powder blush, bronzer, and highlighters. The top section is filled with eyeshadows, and the next section is dedicated to mascara, eyeshadow primer, pencil sharpeners, and brow pencils and gel. Next we have lipsticks, glosses, and balms – you can see my growing stash of red-cased lipsticks from Maybelline on the right. The final section includes my base makeup – primers, foundation samples I’m testing, concealer, and finishing powder. The intuitive organization helps me put everything in its right place with ease and speed. But the story’s not quite over.

eyeshadow palette organization
Palettes on palettes on palettes

To the right of my organizer I keep my eyeshadow palettes and eyeliner pencil case. You can see my BareMinerals Star Treatment palette (best for traveling) on top of the famous Urban Decay Naked palette. Above that is the Urban Decay 15th Anniversary Palette (my favorite single palette) stacked on top of the Tokidoki Love from London (the pigmentation doesn’t match Urban Decay or BareMinerals, but I got this for free at a Sephora/Harvard Business School event!).

Between the 15th Anniversary Palette and the silverware organizer is my Sephora Pencil Case. I never wore eyeliner in high school and didn’t own much in college, but then I “invested” in the Urban Decay 15th Anniversary Eyeliner Set, which featured 15 liners for “only” $92. My biggest beauty purchase up to that point, but also my favorite. The UD eyeliners are some of the best in the business, and retail for $19 each! Instead, I paid $6 each, which is less than what you’ll pay at the drugstore. At least, that was my rationalization.

makeup organization ideas
Packed in tight

To the left of my silverware organizer, I keep my beloved Tarina Tarantino blush palette that I got half off (I’m surprised that Sephora stopped carrying TT, as I’ve always been impressed with that line’s quality), as well as some of my smaller brushes. The rest of the my brushes I keep in a coffee mug on top of the desk (see the top photo). Next to that is a gorgeous lipstick organizer I inherited from my grandmother. It’s in the shape of an artist’s paint palette, and I love it for showing off my growing collection of super-bright lipsticks.

Amazon has some great options for silverware organizers – hope this helps you get a handle on your makeup collection!



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