First, let me start this post by saying that I am a crazy person. Not because I have a ridiculous amount of nail polish (I do) but because of the insane way I organize the nail polish I own. I could also reorganize everything all day every day if you let me. There are so many possibilities! Brand? Color? Finish? Collection? So many choices! With that said, this is a very long, very picture-heavy post. You've been warned. I hope you enjoy it! I like knowing how others organize their stashes so maybe you do too? Here's hoping!
When I buy a new bottle of polish, I swatch it on a nail stick (more on that below), log it into my spreadsheet, label it in two different ways and then finally, I add it to the appropriate drawer in one of the pieces of furniture that I own for the sole purpose of storing nail polish.
Also, this post isn't 100% accurate and up-to-date. Putting this all together made me decide to pull a lot of polishes out of my stash and put in a separate box to be added to a blog sale later on. I swap polishes regularly with other bloggers and I'm always adding new stuff. So if you see something you'd like to see a post about, let me know and I still might have it. But I also might not.
Ok. Let's start with the first step. Swatching! I have swatched every polish I own on one of these nail sticks. Some people like using nail wheels to keep track of their stashes. I didn't think the wheels would work well as my collection grows. I use wheels mainly for nail art practice and layering experiments.
The sticks are available on eBay, mostly from China, for various prices. Don't forget that when you order something from one of these places in China, it can take over a month to arrive at your door! Some places ship from the US but the prices are much higher.
When you visit eBay, type "nail art display stick" into the search and you'll see what I mean. There are a few different styles and they come in "natural" and clear. I have read on a few blogs that the clear ones can sometimes cause polishes to dry matte. To prevent this, I start with a base coat on the stick. I got a bunch of bottles of the Finger Paints base coat for free through a promotion at Sally's awhile back so I've got plenty on hand! I like using both the white and the clear ones. I've found that some of the white sticks end up with jagged edges that need filing. I've never had that problem with the clear ones.
I prefer to use the clear sticks for jellies, pale and sheer colors. I prefer to use the white sticks for glitters and cremes. If I'm swaching a layering polish or a flake glitter, I'll paint half of a white nail stick black and leave the other half natural. That way, I can see how the polish looks with and without a base color (or, as I prefer to say, "underwear").
I told you I was crazy.
|That's Mo. He helps me organize.|
|I need to SWATCH ALL THE POLISHES|
Here's one of the binder rings. You'll notice that each swatch is labeled. All of my polishes are numbered within their brand on my spreadsheet. I put a number label on each bottle too. So let's say I buy a new Finger Paints color. I open the spreadsheet on my computer and see that I already own 12 Finger Paints polishes. The new one gets added to the spreadsheet, I put a label that says 13 on the top and add a neon dot sticker to it. The neon dot sticker lets me know that I have yet to wear/blog about this polish. Now when I swatch the new color on a nail stick, I write "13 Finger Paints" across the stick.
Make sense? Of course not. I'm completely nuts.
The whole reason I do all of this is because I honestly own too many bottles of polish. I can't keep them straight! This system helps me see them and find them when I want to. If I want to wear a blue polish I can just grab one of the binder rings that have blue swatches and pick from there. The stick is labeled with the brand and number so it's easy for me to find it in a drawer. It's over-complicated and it works for me. Do not try this at home. Or do. And drive yourself crazy trying to keep up with it!
On to the swatches! First by finish or type, then in rainbow order. 'Natch.
|Colored glitters in clear base|
|Black, white, silver and gold glitters in clear base|
|Flakies with no underwear|
|Flakies with black underwear|
|Layering polishes with no underwear|
|Layering polishes with black underwear (and a few crackles)|
|I LOVE my linear holos|
|Yellows and golds|
|Dusty and vampy blues|
|Browns and nudes|
|Whites and white-based glitters|
|Grays and silvers|
|Blacks and black-based glitters|
Ok, so there are all of my swatches. Now where do I put everything? Read on!
I have two pieces of furniture to house my stash. A Helmer and a Melmer. A Helmer is a 6-drawer organizer from IKEA. It cost me $40. A Melmer is not a real thing. Well, it is but you can't walk into a store and ask them if they carry a Melmer. They do not carry anything called a Melmer. They will think you are crazy. A Melmer is a 3-drawer cube organizer that you can find at pretty much any craft store and probably stores like Target too. I bought the one I have from Michael's on sale (half off to be exact) for around $17. Nail bloggers call them Melmers and no one else does!
I decided that I prefer my Helmer. Since I took these pictures and started putting this post together, I went out and bought another one. Here's a run-down of what I like and don't like about each one.
Helmer- It's only 11 inches wide and it fits right between my chair and heater. It's made of aluminum and kind of reminds me of a school locker. It has wheels so it's easier to move around. It's off-white so it goes well with the look of my apartment. The drawers open and close easily but sometimes I'll find a little dust on top of the polishes in the corners from the paint rubbing off in spots. It holds 500 polishes!
Melmer- It's WHITE and 14 inches wide. Of course it has only three drawers but it's easy to buy a few of them to stack. The top two drawers open and close very easily but the bottom one has the most awful squeak I've ever heard in my life. I've tried everything. The whole thing is made of coated particle board and Michael's sells different drawer pulls so you can change up the look of them pretty easily. I've also seen a lot of bloggers who cover them with fun patterned paper to make them match a room. Michael's usually has 40% off coupons floating around so you shouldn't have to pay full price for one!
Whichever one you prefer, don't forget to buy some shelf liner to put in each drawer! Shelf liner is rubbery and tacky enough so when you place your polishes inside, they won't slide around or fall over every time you open a drawer!
Let's start with the Melmer. I keep boring stuff in there :P
Ok so I have a Melmer with one of those Rubbermaid organizers sitting on top of it. My parents gave me the Rubbermaid one. And by "gave me" I mean I saw it at my parent's house and asked my mom, "Can I have that?" and she said yes. Thanks mom!
I keep wood cuticle sticks and markers on top of this stack.
First drawer- Nail wheels, blank swatch sticks, random pigments and a franken. I obviously have no idea what to do with this drawer.
Second drawer- Nail art supplies. Stripers, dotting tools, brushes, makeup sponges and some other things
Third drawer- Stamping supplies. That flower photo album has all of my stamping plates in it. Plus my Konad stamper and scraper (I prefer using an expired credit card as a scraper) and my favorite black stamping polish, Sinful Colors Black on Black. At the bottom of the drawer is a mat I use every time I stamp. It makes clean-up much easier!
Now, the Melmer.
First drawer- Swatch sticks!
Second drawer- Top coats, base coats, treatments, files, cuticle oils, polish thinner, etc.
Bottom drawer- Random boxes I didn't want to get rid of, tape, extra cuticle sticks, q-tips, labels, binder rings. Pretty much my polish junk drawer.
And now the fun stuff! I keep polish remover, cuticle remover, 100% acetone, glycerin and any polishes I need to blog about/review ASAP on top of the Helmer.
Labeled drawers! <3
Top drawer- OPI
Notice the number labels on every bottle and the neon dot stickers on top of my untrieds? Totally normal.
Second drawer- Sinful Colors, Finger Paints, indies
Third drawer- Urban Outfitters, Essie, butter LONDON, Zoya, Color Club, Rescue Beauty Lounge, Deborah Lippmann, Glitter Gal, Chanel. What do all of these polishes have in common? Square bottles.
Fourth drawer- China Glaze
Fifth drawer- This drawer has turned into a "whatever fits" drawer. Almost all of my international polishes are in here (except Glitter Gal) but that's the only theme going on here. Brands include- Barielle, Gap, Essence, Revlon, piCture pOlish, Julep, Pure Ice, $OPI, Funky Fingers, Hits, Rimmel, Orly, Nails Inc., Urba Decay, Claire's and I might have missed some.
Bottom drawer- This started as my "drugstore brand" drawer but that ended up spilling into the drawer above it so now it's just whatever fits. Brands include- Wet n Wild, Sally Hansen, Milani, NYC Collection, NYX, L'Oreal, Pixel, Sally Girl, Savvy, Icing, Kleancolors, H&M and a few brands I only have one of.