I think it was around May when I realized that COVID-19 was here to stay. With the government more focused on reopening states for the sake of the economy instead of actually trying to save lives and prevent sickness, I knew that we were in this thing for the long haul. Yes, it sounds kinda bleak, but I was also kind of right (which the Sagittarius in me definitely enjoyed for five seconds).
Once I knew that I’d be quarantining in my apartment for the long haul, I started to think about how it was functioning for me. I work from home, but in the Before Times I frequently worked out of coffee shops, cafes, and my favorite spot, the library. My desk was a hodgepodge of pens, notebooks, and beauty products for review. My bathroom vanity was somewhat organized, but underneath the sinks and in the shower was a different story. Oh, and I don’t even want to get started on all my makeup and skin care. COVID-19 plus my fibroid surgery meant that I needed to get my apartment in order ASAP. And thus began my major quarantine project: Operation Beauty Organization. Want to know how I did it? Well, read on!
Before I even started organizing my things, I was reminded of a TikTok (that I can’t find now, of course) on how to organize your space in a way that works for you. Organization doesn’t mean anything if it isn’t functional to you, in your life. An example that the woman brought up was how she got a new shoe rack to put by her door, but her family still put their shoes all over the entryway floor. Even though she bought an item that was supposed to fix this problem, it didn’t. This isn’t a failure of the product itself, but how it’s functioning in your space. It was too small for all the shoes her family needed space for, so she returned it and bought a larger one—problem solved.
Organize your space in a way that works for you. Organization doesn’t mean anything if it isn’t functional to you, in your life.
With this ethos in mind, I went to one of my favorite places in the world, The Container Store, to find some solutions to my beauty organization woes and got to work.
My first step for tackling my bathroom was underneath the sink. Before organization, it was a mashup of cleaning products, abandoned hair products, and all sorts of Bath and Body Works products. I could never find what I needed, and it was always a mess. I decided that I needed three separate bins, one for cleaning, one for hair, one for body. I wanted to be able to slide them out so I could reach them easily. I ended up getting these clear plastic storage bins with handles so not only could I see what I needed easily, I could just pull them out if I needed to reach something towards the back of the bin. I cannot tell you how much this simple change has improved my bathroom experience.
Next up, my shower, which was a hodgepodge of body washes, shampoos, and soaps. First, I decided what I actually needed in the shower—one body wash, one bar of soap (yes, I’m a bar soap girl), one razor and shaving cream, plus shampoo, conditioner, and deep conditioner. Then I got one of those over-the-showerhead organizers and put everything in there. Clutter, gone!
My Bedroom Vanity
Organizing my makeup proved to be a bigger challenge, but I have some tips to help you tackle the task.
1. Go through ALL of your makeup and throw away anything old, expired, or products you definitely don’t plan on using anytime soon. If you’re unsure about how old something is or whether or not it’s still good, check out this handy guide.
2. Organize makeup by type. Eye products go in one area and are further broken down into eye shadows (singles and palettes), eye liners, mascaras. Continue this until you have everything in neat piles.
3. Invest in some acrylic makeup organizers. They make it really easy to see everything in your stash, and stack up nice and neat so you still have space to do your makeup. I have two of these for my eyeshadow palettes, this one for my makeup brushes, and flat ones for most of everything else.
As a beauty writer and editor, you can only imagine what my skin care collection looks like. (I’ll give you a hint—a mess.) I could never find anything I needed and had no idea exactly what was in my stash. I decided the best course of action was to organize my products by step, so it went something like this.
1. Makeup removers/cleansers/cleaning wipes: anything I used to cleanse my face or remove makeup went on one shelf.
2. Toners, essences, and serums: I have more hydrating toners than anything else in my stash, so I put those on a separate shelf, then organized it further by size of bottle so I could see everything. Underneath that, I put my essences and serums.
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3. Sheet masks: My sheet mask collection is out of control. Before I organized it, I went through and threw away anything expired, and then organized it in a cloth bin based on expiration date, so all the ones that were expiring soon went in the front. It’s an easy way to make sure you’re not wasting money!
4. Moisturizers/sunscreens/oils: I didn’t have as many of these as I thought, so they all went on the same shelf. I further separated the moisturizer by type from lightest weight to heaviest: gels, gel creams, lotions, creams, balms, overnight masks.
It took a while to get it all done, but organizing my beauty stash has made my life so much easier. It’s aesthetically pleasing to look at, I spend less time digging through stuff, and it gives me a sense of accomplishment when, honestly, there aren’t many things being accomplished around here lately. Next, I’m tackling my kitchen and pantry! *cue doom music*
So, how do you feel about taking up a quarantine beauty organization project? Any new tips? Let me know in the comments!