How To Organize Your Cosmetics Like A Minimalist

Just think of all the great "shelfies" you'll take.
Rebecca & Freya
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Just think of all the great "shelfies" you'll take.

Not everyone is a minimalist and that’s OK. I happen to be one, both in terms of aesthetic and principle. Not only do I like things to look sparse, I don’t actually like to own many things. My poor husband, who has occasionally caught me throwing things out that we are still using daily (an oven mitt? We NEED THAT), can verify. It’s something I’m working on.

Those of you with an abundance of products crowding your cupboards, shelves, and drawers: I don’t understand your ways, but here are some ideas to make your collection look orderly and, dare I say it, smaller.  

Start By Doing A Purge   

medicine cabinet

This is the “before” shot. My hands are itching to organize!

Well, duh. If you want your cosmetics collection to look smaller: have less stuff. For some people, this is seriously hard. For others, it operates like a function of the body. At any rate, if you haven’t used it in six months, consider giving it to a friend who might. Or, if it’s expired, useless, or empty, throw it away.

Organize By Brand 

makeup organization

Creating small groupings within the same brand looks great and makes things easy to find.

Some see brand loyalty as a moral issue, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t buy within a brand because the packaging is the same. When I find an affordable line or brand that I really like, I double down. My skin is wimpy and I try to use as much in the cruelty-free, natural game as I can, so at the moment I’m loving everything by Juice Beauty. For some reason, when I buy a bunch of things from the same brand I consider it one purchase (anyone else?), and aesthetically I consider it one grouping. Immediate visual harmony! 

Organize By Color 

bathroom cabinet

This may look obsessive. That’s because it is. But also: pretty!

This is all about keeping the eye moving. Even if you’re not going to keep your cosmetics like this forever, it looks pretty damn cool for a while. You can also do this on a smaller scale. The smell of rose is very comforting to me, so much of what I own is rose-scented. Most rose items are pink or red, and I keep them all in one place. This may make me look like a weirdo rose obsessive when you open my cabinet, but whatever! It’s a faux bouquet. A faux-quet. Nailed it.  

Style By Usage

beauty product organization

Lipsticks stick together! I don’t normally keep the tops off, but they looked so nice.

This one will probably resonate most with people because it’s the most logical. You want things grouped by how and when you use them! That means all cosmetics together, all nail polish together, all skin care together, and so on. This has the added benefit of making it easy to see when you’re missing something or have double (or triple) products.

Create Vignettes

makeup organization tips

Imagine these vignettes on your bedroom windowsill or a living room shelf.

It’s not for everyone, but subtly styling your home with beauty products can be absolutely beautiful. I particularly like doing this with perfumes, which often come in lovely bottles. My grandmother has a collection of vintage perfumes and occasionally passes one on to me--every time I look at them out on a windowsill or a side table, I think of her. 

  • Do you care how your cosmetics and skin care collections look?
  • Do you already use any of these tricks?