inner banner

ASK AN EXPERT: How do I declutter my makeup drawer?

February 1, 2021

Are you always sorting through your make up drawers looking for items? Do you have duplicates of items because you couldn’t find the original? In today’s post of Ask An Expert Voula from Toronto writes to me because her makeup drawers seem impossible to organize and maintain. I show her how to turn things around in 4 simple steps.


“I recently renovated my bathroom, and it looks great and I really love it except for my makeup drawers. I thought I had created enough storage space when redesigning it for my makeup supplies, but the two drawers (which is more than I had before) I have are an absolute mess and, honestly, I don’t know how to make it work.  I have tried organizing it, but it usually lasts a week before it is back to how it was before. I look forward to hearing from you and the solutions you come up with to help with my messy drawers From Voula in Toronto, Canada

Isolde: “Hi Voula, Thanks for reaching out to me. A few more questions before I get going, if that is alright with you.  1. Do you have any vertical storage in your bathroom?  2. Do you have a vanity mirror with storage?”

Voula: “I have a built-in closet for bathroom supplies and towels. My mirror has no storage behind it. I don’t like to have anything around the sink – I don’t like the look of toothbrush and paste around the sink.”


First of all – organizing your makeup is challenging – for anyone;

  • There are a lot of objects.
  • They are all different shapes and sizes.
  • They can be messy and leak.
  • They are used first thing in the morning and last thing at night, so a maintenance system is hard as you are either in a rush or too tired.

The frustrating thing about trying to organize makeup is that it comes in all kinds of different sizes and shapes: lip glosses, lipsticks, lip tints, lip balms. And depending on the size of your makeup collection as well as the size of the space you are working with, it can quite often feel like a pointless struggle. But it is worth it! You now have a beautiful new bathroom and having a beautifully organized bathroom is just as important and totally possible. Let me show you how.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission at no cost to you if you make a purchase through a link. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Please note that any compensation received will never influence my honest opinion of any content in this blog.

Step 1: Size Matters

I notice you have already purchased clear organizing boxes for your makeup. The reason they are not working for you with this unit is that the drawers are not deep enough for them to be used front to back, and thus everything gets stored sideways. In your particular case, storing sideways prohibits you from maximizing the storage capacity of the drawers. Secondly, the top drawer is shallow, so things can only lie flat, and even then, they have to be under 4 inches thick. Because of this, you can only fit certain items in the top drawer, which, in your case, means that organizing things by category is difficult. For example, your Water Pik is in the bottom drawer, and your other dental items are in the top drawer. You have some makeup in the top (liquid blush) and some in the bottom (lipsticks) – all depending on where they fit.

I am going to ask you to remove all the organizing boxes you have in both drawers. Later, you might reintroduce some of them but for now, take them out.

Step 2: Sort And Separate

This step is not about organizing your supplies; it is about taking a full inventory of what you have and need. Doing this first means that we can begin the process of then working out what size and style of storage solutions will work.

  1. Take the contents of both drawers out and lay them out on a towel on a flat surface (you don’t want anything to roll away out of sight or stain a surface).
  2. Next, sort your drawer contents by category. Let go of any items that are expired, or you no longer use.
    1. Foundations (foundations, bb creams, concealers etc.)
    2. Lips (lipsticks, lip gloss, lip salve etc.)
    3. Face creams (day/night/treatment creams, serums, sun protection, face masks)
    4. Dental (toothpaste, toothbrush, dental floss, night guard, teeth whiteners etc.)
    5. Hair (this includes brushes, combs, scrunchies, clips, serums etc.),
    6. Eyes (eye shadow, eye creams, eyeliners, mascara etc.),
    7. Blush (powder/liquids, bronzers)
    8. Hands and nails (hand creams, nail polish, nail clippers, nail files etc.)
    9. Medical (inhaler, pain killer, prescription salves etc.)

Step 3: Your Organizational Personality Type© is the Spreader.

I can tell by looking at your photo, based on my Organizational Personality Type© System; you are a Spreader.  The clutter that surrounds a Spreader is “work in progress”. The key challenge for you as a Spreader is “A place for everything, and everything in its place”. Why? Because when you put your makeup away, it doesn’t always get put back in exactly the same place it came from. Some days it fits in the same place, and some days it doesn’t, so it gets put elsewhere – but still in one of the two drawers.

As you get ready in the morning at your bathroom vanity, you will take your meds, apply makeup, do your hair, drink a cup of coffee, probably send a couple of texts, follow up with people, make notes, and plan your day. A Spreader always has a lot of projects on the go, and putting things away can become a general act of “putting it out of eyesight”.However, a Spreader is most productive, most creative when they start with a blank canvas – and that means a cleared surface. This is why you tend to throw everything that is on and around your bathroom sink into the drawers below as you are getting ready – out of sight. And that is also why you don’t have your toothbrush and paste out on the vanity either.

I mention this Voula because, in order to create an organizing solution for you that sticks and is easily maintainable, we need to work with your natural flow. We are creating a solution that speaks to you both instinctually and aesthetically.

Step 4: Let’s Get You Organized!


Now to the fun part! Because you are a Spreader, your main issue with keeping on top of your makeup organization will be with what you use daily. I can see from the photo you sent in that you are naturally organized. The main change is that we are introducing a daily system into the drawers.

Drawer Dividers

I am going to suggest that the Top Drawer is for regular daily beauty care. Everything you do before and after you deal with makeup. You are going to divide the drawer into 3 sections like the picture. Dental Care and Medical: Toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, inhaler, nasal gel, prescriptions. Daily Care: Day cream, night cream, eye cream, hand cream.  Hair: Hairbrush, comb, hair clips, hair bands, scissors, and tweezers. I have made the section for hair bigger because your brush is big and will need to go sideways.

I found some great drawer dividers on Amazon that will work perfectly for your drawers. All other drawer dividers need a deeper drawer, so won’t work for you.


The Bottom Drawer will be for makeup and Spa treatments for your skin. You will have one box in this drawer that is for your everyday makeup – everything else is storage for all your special lotions, potions, and makeup for either special occasions or when you are treating yourself to an at-home spa treatment.

You are going to create 2 sections in this drawer like the picture. We don’t need to over organize the bottom drawer (except for the rule with everyday makeup) as it is for storing less regularly used items, so should not be an issue with you.

Zippered Toiletry Bags

In the first section, I am going to ask you to purchase these zippered toiletry bags. These bags will keep your makeup collections of Lipsticks, Foundations, Nail care, Travel/Samples, and sponges. You have an acrylic lipstick holder already, but it is taking up valuable space, and you appear to have more lipstick than it can accommodate. You will place these bags vertically, one in front of the other (back to front of drawer) on the left side as shown. Use a drawer divider to separate and support these bags.

In the other section of this drawer, you will have 1 tray for your Everyday Makeup. This will have 1 lipstick, your regular foundation, your current mascara, mirror, etc. So, every morning you will take this tray out and put it on your vanity to put your makeup on. When you are finished, you return the tray to the bottom drawer.

You already have containers for your pencils, brushes and lip glosses; these will remain as is.

And that’s it, Voula! Let me know how you get on. If we need to make any tweaks to the system, just let me know. It would be lovely to see a photo of what your drawers look like after so that we can all see the result!


Wow, what a great Blog! I’m a  Super spreader, Bang on! what a Great solution to have transparent bags!! Thank you for the advice.

Don’t forget to check out my Pinterest page. It has all the products I have listed in this post and lots of other ideas on makeup organization for you.

If starting work on your makeup drawers has got you in the mood for decluttering other parts of your home, then check out these articles to help you get going


Warm regards,

From Clutter To Clarity!


Free Professional Organizing Advice for you!

We could all use something to look forward to right now.  I want to do something that will add value to your life to help you during these confusing and challenging times. When you are organized, there is less chaos, less overwhelm. An organized home can bring you a sense of calm, ground you, and help you feel more in control.


It is one of the things that we can influence and control despite what’s happening in other areas of our lives or communities.

I am offering a “mini organizing consult” for free, share it with your co-workers, family,  and friends on Linkedin, post it on Facebook, or Instagram, or Twitter. Let everyone know because I want to give back and help you. Now is when people really need it.

All you need to do is complete this FORM, attach a photo of 1 area in your home or office that you need organizing help with. Every week I am going to choose at least one person to work with. Here are a couple of readers I have helped already:

How do I declutter my makeup drawer?

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *