Organizing a Makeup Table

By Kristeen Cherney

Whether you have a large vanity or a small counter area in your bathroom, the spot is where you enhance your look with makeup to greet the day, or evening -- so keep your beauty items accessible by keeping your makeup table organized. Given the numerous makeup options available, the makeup table can become one of the most cluttered areas of your house. The key to a successful makeup table is organization, which includes making sure this space is not shared with any other bathroom items. You don't necessarily need a large vanity, but you do need drawers or a countertop to store all of your makeup essentials.

Makeup table
credit: animorphic/iStock/Getty Images
An unorganized makeup drawer can quickly lead to a mess.

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Learn to Let Go

The first step toward any type of organization is throwing out items you no longer use. While you can follow the "one-year" rule in your closet, makeup is an entirely different story. A small container of eyeshadow doesn't seem to take up much room, but if you have multiple containers of occasionally used makeup, they add up quickly to form one cluttered mess. As a rule of thumb, go through your makeup table every one to two months and get rid of the items you barely use. This will ultimately leave more space so you can easily find the makeup you do use on a regular basis.

Toss Expired Makeup

Never use expired makeup. Not only does it lose color and effectiveness, old makeup products are laden with bacteria that can lead to health problems. Determining a product's age can be tricky, because few labels have expiration dates. "Vogue" magazine recommends tossing mascara every three months, and liquid eyeliners every six. Powdered makeup can last about 18 months, but creamy versions expire within a year. Label new products with the dates you bought them so you don't have to guess expiration dates later. When all else fails, you can tell a product is old if it looks or smells abnormal.

Place Like Items Together

You know your makeup is all mixed up if you're forever searching for that lost blush or mascara. The best way to organize your makeup is by putting like items together. Find small baskets or plastic containers that fit on or in your table. Then group similar makeup products, and store them together for easy access. Put everyday items up front for easier access, and store special occasion makeup toward the back. You may even consider grouping further by color. Application tools, such as sponges, brushes and eyeshadow applicators, are best kept at the front of your makeup table. Store brushes and applicators in an upright container for easy access, and to keep these tools in good shape.

Avoid Impulse Buys

You can prevent makeup table clutter and save money by avoiding impulse purchases. It's tempting to buy a trendy eyeshadow, mascara or lipstick, especially if it's on sale. However, if you only use that lime-green mascara once, you don't really get your money's worth, and the item just takes up more space. Before buying new makeup, consider its value -- determine this by how much you think you'll actually use it. A product you use every day might cost more, but you will gain more value and avoid clutter in the end.

Ideas for Reflection

Mirrors help you apply makeup correctly, and also provide a final check to make sure you look your best before heading out the door. At the same time, mirrors can pose a challenge when working with a small space. Ideally, you should hang a mirror on the wall to save space. If you want a magnifying mirror, consider buying a fold-up one for easy storage.