Lessons in Beauty

How to Organize Makeup Samples & Other #BeautyBloggerProblems

How to organize makeup samples when you have sample overload and other beauty blogger problems

There’s this really big #BeautyBloggerProblem… it’s called sample overload. Have you heard of it? It might be foils, hair care, cleansers, full size, travel, or deluxe… yeah, you’ve heard of it.

Is it worse to not know how to store them… or to have a ton of stuff you notice you aren’t even using? I figured out a system for me that helps me work through my makeup samples without letting anything go to waste or get forgotten, and without neglecting the rest of my makeup collection, and in honor of the MakeSpace Store Your Stash Challenge, I think it’s the perfect time to share it with you guys.

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Welcome to my battlestation. This is my entire makeup collection, with the exception of the cleanser next to the sink. This is where I lay things out, take pictures, test products, basically everything I need to do. Everything is organized. Everything has a purpose. Everything has a reason for exactly where it’s placed.

The main items: foundation, concealer, powder, & setting spray, are front and center, in front of my brushes and the old Birchboxes holding up my double sided mirror.

The reason for the fan is probably pretty obvious… wet liner and mascara sucks, and sometimes it’s godawfully hot in the summer and I’d prefer my makeup not melting.

I’ve also got a facial mist sitting out to beat the heat, and my makeup remover wipes are off to the left. That stuff is all pretty obvious, along with the hair ties and bands hanging from the hooks on the bottom of my shelf. So let’s address the not-so obvious.

And yes, that is an Adipose from Doctor Who, and the Tenth Doctor. They, along with the Scentsy warmer, keep the space feeling like it’s really mine. (my room smells like coffee)

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Liquid lipsticks store better standing up. Typically they dry out slower because there’s less air touching the lipstick itself, just based on surface area. I also include whatever lipstick I’m trying to use more into my lineup and change it out every week or so.

Another reason to keep things right in sight, is to see if the reason you’ve been neglecting them is really because “out of sight, out of mind” or if you don’t like them as much as you think you do. I’m testing that with all three of my ColourPop Ultra Mattes. I gave myself until October 1st to reach for them or sell them.

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The rest of my lippies are stored in an acrylic organizer. These are things I know aren’t my go-to, or just don’t stand up nice, or don’t quite fit into my daily needs. I go through these every month and pull out a few to make sure I’m using them or destashing. If I don’t use it for a time… I obviously don’t need it.

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I also keep an index card with lipstick swatches in the acrylic drawer. And a heavy-duty lip balm handy in front of my liquid lipsticks to apply at the start of my routine to keep my lips from drying out later. A lipstick “cheat-sheet” can help you assess and remove dupes.

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The next drawer up is all of my blushes, highlights, and bronzers. Sometimes I’ll go a week without opening this drawer, because this isn’t a daily thing for me. To help me make sure I’m using these, I pull something new out every week and keep it front and center to use.

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The top two drawers are a little something different. Because they’re smaller, I keep the majority of my makeup foils in the left drawer, and extra primer samples or other little tubes of cream in the right. Because I don’t have too may foils, I make sure to use one foil up between finishing a product and opening the next sample of that type.

(There’s also a lens cloth in the back of my foils drawer, because I take a lot of makeup photos at my battle-station for flat-lays, and I constantly get foundation from my fingers to the lens… whoops.)

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The top of my organizer has a few different purposes, but it all centers around things being in eyesight for easy access.

One of the #BeautyBloggerProblems a lot of us end up having, especially as you develop more connections and acquire more products… is how do you store things that you need to review? Whether it’s for a beauty box review, just an article on the blog, or a sponsored product, eventually this will become an issue. The left section is where I store everything I’m currently in the middle of testing so that it’s easy to see and grab those first.

The right side contains little tubes that are almost empty (XYY cream sample), things expiring soon (basically every mascara you see), things I’m trying to incorporate into my routine (treStique baby blush stick), and little things that are new or that I want to play with (NYX illuminizer, Cake Beauty delectable everything cream, etc), and things that are open that I need to use up before opening something I have a backup of (ie: IPKN and Smashbox primers.) I also have headphones there, because I tend to pop my laptop onto my battlestation and listen to some ProBlogger podcasts or some mood music.

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I keep my makeup brushes in 2 containers, but not for the reason you’d think. As brushes get dirty, I separate them to the white jar. Clean brushes remain in my TARDIS mug. There’s usually only a few hours where they both have clean brushes in them. This way dirty brushes don’t add bacteria to clean ones, and I can easily find what’s clean.

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I store all sponges in a container with lots of airflow. For me that’s a metal mesh pencil holder, since other materials would allow moisture to accumulate and mold to grow inside the sponge if they weren’t used regularly.

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All of my eye pencils, from brows to liners to tall mascaras, go into another white tin jar. I like the laziness of being able to shove them back in without really paying attention, since the things I use regularly are easy to spot.

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The rest of my #BeautyBloggerProblems were solved with the newest addition to my organizing plan. Products that have not been fully skin tested sit next to my organizer (in front of the basket I use for masks.) This way nothing is integrated into my collection until I know it doesn’t give me a bad reaction, but it’s still handy to be able to test it.

But the biggest trick for handling samples is this:

Store everything similar in one place. I group my samples by item type on the shelf above my battle-station. They aren’t all sample sized, but I usually have samples of each type.

From left to right:

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Cleansers & Scrubs are used at the same step in my routine, so they’re grouped together,

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Moisturizers (an my miccelar water for cleaning up makeup mistakes),

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Hair Styling samples,

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and Masks (except the sheet masks in the basket.)

The last part of organizing my collection that solves my #BeautyBloggerProblems resides in the pull out keyboard drawer of my makeup desk/battle-station:

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I use Birchboxes… and tops of Target Beauty Boxes, for that matter. The front one contains shampoo samples and non-makeup sample packets that I need to try. The back one contains bobby-pins and nail wraps.

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This one contains all of my “mini palettes” and eyeshadow singles, plus the NYX jumbo shadow pencil, and every perfume sample I’ve received. This way the rare occasions that I want to wear a perfume, it’s easy to peek through and grab the scent I want.

The last part of my collection? Palettes, of course!

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I keep my collection pretty minimal by doing regular destashes & declutters,  and I’m lucky enough to have essentially a room just to do my makeup in.

If you aren’t quite so lucky, and you live in these self-storage locations, there’s an amazing company called MakeSpace that you can store your excess with – whether it’s seasonal clothing, makeup, or anything else you just don’t have room for. They’ll even pick it up and deliver it, and provide you with bins for your items. They’ve got motion sensing cameras, alarms, and 24-hour security for your items, PLUS… you can keep a virtual inventory of your items with them so that you don’t ever forget what’s in storage!

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13 thoughts on “How to Organize Makeup Samples & Other #BeautyBloggerProblems

    1. Yay! I’m so glad you liked it :D. I kept having to rearrange my stuff every time I got a new beauty box or package from the UPS guy (who has come every day for the last 3 weeks… poor guy) so I figured it was about time for a system that worked, and to share it for anyone else dealing with the ‘perk’/problems of that makeup life!

      Liked by 1 person

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