Organising Makeup and Toiletries – Top 10 Tips


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Open most bathroom cabinets and you will be forgiven for thinking you have entered your local pharmacy or supermarket – there are just so many products available to us now that it isn’t surprising to have more than you can use at any one time!

Whether it be a 3 for 2 offer, or a birthday/Christmas present – the ways we receive and bring makeup and toiletries into our home is never ending! So how do you go about organising everything, and indeed, using it all as well!

Here are my top 10 tips to get you started:-

Tip 1: Only keep what you will use – and whats right for your skin/hair type

I have lost count of the number of toiletry based gifts I have received over the years. It is a favourite gift for a woman definitely!

However, a lot of these products are either things I can’t use due to being for the wrong skin type, or things I won’t use as I just don’t have it as part of my skincare regime (anyone have time for foot scrub!?)

Break up the box sets and keep only the items that you will truly use. Anything else that you really think someone else would love, then pass it on to them – better that someone gets the benefit than it just to sit in your cupboard for months longer….

[highlight]TIP – why not create your own set for a friend by wrapping up suitable products in thick see through cellophane, and tying with a beautiful ribbon – can make a great gift! (if you don’t want to see inside the package, then add a layer of coloured tissue on the inside – get creative![/highlight]

Arrange your storage so you can easily see how many of each product you have, and therefore you will know when you are running low. I try and group like with like, so that I can see exactly how much shower gel (for example) I have. Its quite amazing how much you have of some things when you go through it like this!

Anything else – just get rid of it – its just clutter otherwise.

Tip 2: Be Travel and Gym Ready!

If you go to the gym or travel regularly, why not consider having a set of toiletries and makeup ready in your bags. This will save loads of time not having to transfer them over each time you need them, and also saves worrying about forgetting them (its bound to happen!)

Most chemists and places such as Boots sell travel sized bottles, and you can get quite a few samples of makeup if you shop around (or just buy 2 – makeup isn’t that large or heavy and you will no doubt use then up anyway!). Alternatively you would buy small bottles and pots and dispense small amounts of the products into them for a truly personalised set.

[highlight]TIP – for the gym you may want to consider a chlorine specific shampoo for when you swim – as it will protect your hair. Having different products with you often comes in useful![/highlight]

Tip 3: Use separate makeup bags for different looks

Why not have a makeup bag that has your daily makeup in, and your evening makeup in another bag – then you won’t have to keep rifling through EVERYTHING every morning to find what you need.

Of course – if you have loads of makeup, you may have to change the bag idea to drawers…….!

Tip 4: Change your makeup with the seasons / your hair / your age

Your skin changes over the year – it can be quite dry over winter when heating is on, and a lot paler than in the summer. Therefore colours and possibly the products you use will change over the course of the seasons.

You may well also change your hair colour over the year too – a lot of women add more highlights in the summer months and tend to go a little darker in the winter. As such look at your makeup colours AND your hair products. Always make sure you are using the right products.

Also – as you grow older your natural colouring will also change – so colours that were right for you in your late teens / twenties may not work in your thirties for example.

Tip 5: Is your makeup out of date?

Now, I’m not talking about whether you are still sporting a look from the 1980’s (although lets hope not!), but instead, whether your makeup needs throwing away due to being out of date (just like food products)

You can usually find a little symbol on makeup that shows how many months a product should be OK for – with something like 12M or 18M inside it. I find that a permanent pen is a great asset to a makeup bag as you can write on the packaging for each product the date you opened the product and then it will be easy to keep track of when it needs changing.

For now – heres a quick checklist that shows the average times to keep items:-

  • Cream of compact foundation or blusher: 18 months
  • Concealer and cream eyeshadows: 12-18 months
  • Powder – Blusher, Eyeshadow and Bronzer: 2 years
  • Eyeliner: 2 years (liquid eye liner 3-6 months)
  • Mascara: 3 months
  • Lipstick, Lip Liner and Lip Gloss: 2 years
  • Nail Varnish: 1 year

 Tip 6: Keep toiletries to a minimum and use them up!

Try not to have loads of toiletries out in the bathroom – as you will end up using little bits of everything, it will look messy, and you will more often than not not use all that you have before you find you have to throw it away.

Have one bottle of each item you use daily on show (or in the cupboard!) – and make a pact with yourself not to start a new one until that ones all gone. This works really well for shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, bath gel etc….)

Organising Makeup and Toiletries - Top 10 Tips - cshow

The only multiples that should be out are if you or your family members have different product needs.

 Tip 7: Family Baskets Rule!

Get your family into the habit of having a basket each for their toiletries – that they keep in their bedrooms.

The basket can be brought into the bathroom when required. This makes tidying up easy, and all family members can have their own sets which stops a lot of arguments!

Tip 8: Downsize your toiletries

For children a great idea is to use multi use products – such as shampoo and conditioner in one. It saves time, hassle and space!

Tip 9: General Hygiene Rules for makeup

Wipe your makeup containers with antibacterial wipes regularly to avoid any transfer of germs. you are likely to have brought out your makup bag and put it down in many different areas, and therefore it won’t hurt to keep it clean!

Keep makeup away from heat sources, and direct sunlight (perfume as well)

Don’t share makeup. Ever!

Tip 10: Make the most of offers… but only if you use the products!

This really goes without saying for an organising post, but you are only saving money with product offers if you were going to buy it anyway.

If you use certain products regularly and then when you go shopping you find that they are on offer – then BUY! Buying in bulk in this way saves lots of time and money (see my stockpiling post for more details on this concept).

BUT – don’t buy just because an item is on sale. If you are not going to use it, or your family don’t like the product, then its a complete waste of time and money.

Products such as perfumes, branded items etc… are all really worth buying in the sale. I always try and save vouchers for bigger purchases so that they aren’t so much of a hit when they need to be bought! (OR I ask for perfume as a birthday/Christmas gift as its a lovely gift to buy for someone, and can be seen by the giver to be very personal, while it is still a very easy thing to buy when you are told what you like!)

Its a fine line, but worth it!

In summary…..

When organising your makeup and toiletries, think about what products you use and what suits you – and stick to buying those!. Store items together so you can see at a glance what you are running low of, and make everyone in the family responsible for their own items.

This way you will be able to enjoy the products you own, and get the most out of each one! Hopefully getting this part of your life organised will save you money AND time!


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This article was written by Chrissy

Hi - I'm Chrissy... Having run my own business for 12 years as a Professional Organiser and Interior Designer, I know what works (and what doesn't!) when it comes to setting up a home that works both functionally and aesthetically. Now you can mostly find me in a coffee shop or at home, working full time on (which I setup back in 2011) sharing all my tips and ideas. My mission is to help you create a home that you love to live in every day...


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