No Bathroom Storage? Consider A Cosmetics Case

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A month ago, I moved into my dream place. It’s a 1939 Spanish-style Art Deco building with original hardwood floors and glass doorknobs—a total find. The one problem? There’s absolutely zero bathroom storage.

At first, I didn’t think this would be an issue. There’s plenty of storage in general (not one, but two walk-in closets!), even though the bathroom is tiny, lacking a medicine cabinet, and with the world’s smallest under-the-sink cabinet. And since I’m renting, there’s not a whole lot I can do about it.

There’s barely enough room on the counter to hold a hand soap and a tube of toothpaste, so I initially piled all my cosmetics and skincare in a heap under the (tiny!) cabinet. There were serums stacked on face masks stacked on extra toilet paper stacked on my hair dryer; taking anything out to use was like a game of Jenga.

It was not working, so I decided to put everything in cosmetic cases—sort of an obvious answer in hindsight, but it still feels revolutionary to me for how good of a solution it is.

I remember the first cosmetic case I ever had: a satin Christian Dior case in scarlet red. My mother had given it to me sometime in middle school, and I remember feeling so sophisticated, despite the fact that I used it to store things like DuWop Lip Venom.

Since then, I’ve remained partial to the idea of having a dedicated space to store cosmetics. I’ve always loved the precision involved in packing a travel kit for toiletries—I put in everything I need, nothing extra—and reorganizing my disorderly bathroom sink into several ordained cases gave me the same kind of cathartic pleasure. I threw out anything I didn’t need and created specific spaces for all the things I did; nothing more, nothing less.

I have three cases under my sink: one for everyday makeup, one for skincare, one for “specialty” extras like faux-eyelashes or Troi Ollivierre Matte Luxe Lipstick in George, which I only wear on special occasions. I also have a pre-packed travel case (it’s like an incentive for a spontaneous trip!) with a miniature shampoo, conditioner, face wash, an extra razor, and so on. I keep a fifth case in my car with stuff like breath mints and duplicate cosmetics in case I need to touch up my makeup on the go.

A good cosmetic case should be made of durable material with few frills, save for a pocket to secure really small things (like tweezers). They don’t need to be expensive or fancy; two of my under-the-sink cases were cheap finds at Target. Simplicity here is key. For my travel case, I use this Longchamp Le Pliage Pouchette since the material is water-resistant, and I trust that neither the case nor the products inside will get damaged during travel.

I know exactly where everything belongs, and it makes it easy to purge products that I otherwise would have stockpiled in my medicine cabinet. The best part? Everything is where it should be, which means I can focus on enjoying my new house without fuss.

—Arielle Pardes

Photo by ITG. For more organization tips, check out how we keep ITG's beauty closet orderly (and how you can apply that to your makeup collection).

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