Beauty on a Budget — Ways to Organize Your Makeup

In the era of Instagram models, Beauty Vloggers, and Bloggers, everyone is a makeup artist — including me (no, seriously). And it is vital for all of us to have some sort of system to store all of our extremely expensive skin paint lovingly bought, tried, and tested cosmetics. If you’re new to the community of contourers (welcome! Nice cheekbones!) and you’re looking for a way to step up your makeup setup game, I have a few ideas for you. Here are ways to organize your makeup, from least to most expensive:

1. Found-Items Fox – Budget: $

Use small boxes that you’ve gotten from gifts or purchases in the past to organize your makeup, or even shoe boxes for palette storage. If you have a box that doesn’t come with a lid, cut off one side of the box. Then you can cover the boxes with colourful or patterned paper and stack them for space-saving.

Here’s a great tutorial on how to cover boxes. She uses fabric, but a similar (and cheaper) method applies for covering boxes with paper.


PRO TIP: Use the lids of any boxes you have as trays too! They work as shallow areas to organize makeup in; try placing a smaller lid inside of a bigger box to use it as a divider.

Use found glasses — places like Salvation Army, thrift stores, your grandma’s house, and even dollar stores are great for this — to store things like makeup brushes and liners/pencils. Choose pieces with a lot of style or a cohesive colour palette and it’s easy to get a ‘Gram-able setup.

2. DIY Diva – Budget: $$

Mr. Kate (also known as my spiritual adviser) has a great tutorial on how to turn copper pipes into a really classy, Pinerest-approved brush holder. The same tutorial can be applied to create cup-like holders for other products, too (just use larger pipes). Be forewarned: this is not for the lazy.



Find that tutorial here.

3. Amazonian – Budget: $$$

Find Acrylic Organizers on Amazon for a fairly moderate price — skip a meal at McDonald’s three times, and you’ve got yourself a ready made, Vlogger approved cosmetic organizer.


Make sure you take stock of the makeup you own before purchasing! There’s nothing worse than buying an organizer only to find out that you’re either crazy or you’ve bought lipstick for giants because it just ain’t fitting in that hole. (No wait — things not fitting into holes, there’s nothing worse than that.)

Here are a few of my favourite acrylic pieces from Amazon:

SONGMICS Acrylic Makeup/Cosmetic Organizer, $39.99 CAD

Large Capacity Acrylic Makeup Organizer, $41.99 CAD

Ohuhu Acrylic Makeup Cosmetics Organizer, $29.99 CAD

Royal Care Cosmetics Lipstick or Lip-Gloss Organizer, $11.25 CAD

Acrylic Compact Organizer & Beauty Care Holder, $18.15 CAD

The best way to use these can be to buy smaller pieces to create your own system as it’s a more customized way of putting together your setup. Remember you’re buying for you, not Jaclyn Hill, but leave a little room for expansion if you plan to expand your collection.

4. Råskog Rascal – Budget: $$$$

If you’ve read my Best of Ikea post, you know I love the Råskog Utility Cart. If you’re into open concept organization, you’ll love it too. You can grab the cart from Ikea for $39.99 CAD.


The Råskog cart is part of my current set-up, here’s my take on it:


– has wheels, so it can move around if need be

– high tiers, so tall items can fit no problem

– all that expensive gunk for your face is on display like the art that it is


– the bottom tier may as well be Narnia, it’s visibility is so blocked

– the bottom tier is hard to reach, causes many lazy groans and exclamations

– the bottom tier is the worst and really the only con

A couple more awesome things to note about this cart is that it’s super customizable, magnetic, and can have added features like cups that hang off the side to organize your eyeliners and lipliners and/or brushes. What’ll rack up the dollars with this option is the fact that you’ll need some internal organizers (i.e., a combination of the previous options) to store each type of product in. I use plastic organizers from the dollar store and Wal-mart, and specific cosmetic organizers from Amazon to complete my setup.

5. ALEX Adherent – Budget: $$$$$

To know it is to love it. The ALEX drawer unit. If you have never watched makeup tutorials/hauls/organization videos on YouTube then you may not know what this is, in which case, I will tell you:

ALEX is a unit of 5 drawers from Ikea that every beauty guru has purchased and gone to great lengths to build for the sake of organizing their makeup in the same way that everyone else organizes their makeup. So. Fetch.

(I have two of them.)

You can grab the 5-drawer unit from IKEA for $80.00 CAD, or it’s taller, hotter sister for $149.00 CAD if you really want to make those Insta artists salivate.

After you build the drawers to halfway completion, shout in frustration, have a two glasses of wine, then finish building it, it’s just a matter of filling the drawers with little containers to organize each type of product. (Just like with the previous option, this is what makes this option more pricey.) These can be easily found at a dollarstore, Wal-mart, or with any of the smaller acrylic containers found on Amazon.


I have personally graduated through each of these options. As my makeup collection grew, I made little changes here and there until I was comfortable with my setup. I actually switched from the ALEX unit back to the Råskog cart because I like the way it looks better.

Starting out with the most budget-friendly option is the most economical option as well — chances are you’re going to use all those smaller pieces down the line inside or on top of a drawer unit once you can afford/want one.

Lastly, here are a couple of honourable mentions that I think any setup could use:

Wire Organizer Rack, $21.74 CAD:

These are perfect for organizing palettes and you can find them for way cheaper than what the acrylic versions are going for! You can find these at the dollar store, Wal-mart, or anywhere that sells office supplies. There are a couple cheaper versions online as well, like here and here. But seriously be sure to check your local dollar store, I have one from there as well! (So thrifty. I love the dollar store. So cheap.)

Turntable/Lazy Susan, $7.50 (But find it elsewhere for cheaper too. Do I need to spell it out? D-O-L-L-A-R S-T-O-R-E. They should probably sponsor me. I am their queen.)

Put your fancy brush cups on a turntable and achieve Insta-Glam status. Also, super fun to spin those babies around.

What’s your favourite organization method? Have any hacks of your own? Let me know in the comments below!





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