Retail_Therapy's recent photos of her beauty stash got me thinking about how to store makeup. It's easy to let your collection grow out of hand, and even if you're a beauty minimalist, staying organized can be tricky. So here are a few tips for keeping your stash neat and under control.

1. Purge the crud
You know that wacky lipstick you wore only once? Or that half-used bottle of foundation just sitting neglected in your closet? Get rid of anything you haven't used in six months. Give it to a friend if you can, pitch it if you must. If the product is new, donate it to a nonprofit such as Dress For Success, which helps low-income women prepare for job interviews.

2. Divide and conquer
Clear off a table and separate all of your products into the categories you use most. For instance, my categories include nail polish, blush, lip gloss, lipstick, eyeliner, eye shadow, and mascara. If you have more products, you might want to narrow things down more; if you have less, you can probably get away with fewer categories (eyes, for example, instead of eye shadow/mascara/eyeliner).

For the rest of the steps,


3. Group by color
This one is optional, but I recommend doing it anyway. Group your products by color, which will help you see what's on hand. (You might want to repeat step one at this point if you find out you have, say, five identical blushes.)

4. Contain yourself.
It's easiest if you keep your everyday staples in an easy-to-reach place, while storing the less-used items separately. I use a small Rubbermaid cutlery tray, which has dividers for all of the products I use each morning. Aside from these everyday products, everything is organized into plastic bins by product type and color. You could also use shoeboxes, empty paint cans (hey, worked for Stila), or an inexpensive tackle box. The choice is really up to you.