Large Vanity Organization: Summer 2014 Update

OJ_OLJ_07-25-2014_01For the last installment of this year’s Clothing & Accessories Organization series I am sharing a look at how I organize my large-size vanity.  If you’ve been asking to see how I store my makeup and jewelry, then this is the post you’ve been waiting for!

I spent a long time hunting for the perfect vanity for our master bedroom a few years ago.  After an exhaustive search, I decided to buy the Hampton Vanity Tower & Super Set from PBTeen even though it only comes in white which doesn’t go with the decor of the room.  I had the piece professionally painted a deep brown color to match our mahogany bedroom furniture.  The end result matches the room so well you wouldn’t guess that it used to be white!

The piece itself nestles perfectly along one of the side walls in the room so that it is tucked a bit out of sight until you walk all the way in and turn around.  It comes with two large towers complete with full length mirrors that flank a vanity desk with another mirror.  One of the features that drew me to the piece was it’s size.  At 66″ wide x 18.5″ deep x 76″ high, the set does not take up too much floor space, but fills the wall space nicely.  I also purchased a cushioned wood chair from Pottery Barn (sadly no longer available) that matches perfectly.

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The piece comes with many great built-in organization features, including adjustable shelves, cork board (although this feature could be better designed in my opinion), a built in shelf, hooks, and six drawers in each of the two towers.  All of these features combined offer a ton of space to store and organize a variety of items.  I keep my rather extensive makeup and jewelry collections in this piece.  Even considering how much I have stored in it, there is still more room!

Whenever I sit at my vanity I keep both doors open so I can easily access everything within arm’s reach.  I generally get dressed first, then apply my makeup and pick out my jewelry.  One of the best parts about keeping both my makeup and jewelry in one place is that it streamlines my getting ready process.  I go through each section of my vanity and show how I use the space to organize my makeup and small accessories:

Left Tower

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I have quite a bit of room to work with in the towers shelves.  I store a couple of jewelry boxes on the top shelf of the left tower.  One holds my Pandora bracelet and charms and the other (not pictured) is where I keep my fine jewelry.  I have this locked away safely since we’ve been traveling a lot lately.

I have a Small Tapered Fabric Bin from Target on the middle shelf in which I keep extra brush cleanser, my favorite Makeup Finishing Spray by Skindinavia, a candle lighter, and clean washcloths.  I keep my body spray collection tucked alongside this bin arranged by season.  Right now I have my warmer weather scents in the front, and come fall I will swap them around with my colder weather favorites.  I like that I can see the labels and names of my body sprays on this shelf which makes me much more likely to remember to use them!

OJ_OLJ_07-25-2014_04I keep baby wipes, which I use for makeup application and cleanup, as well as my brushes on the lowest shelf, since I access these items more frequently and can do so easily from my chair. I now keep my brushes organized by type in four Brocade Pencil Cups that fit perfectly on a Clear Lazy Susan. I dedicate one cup to dirty brushes so I know which ones needs washing.

I don’t use the cork board, which is not very thick and is difficult to stick push pins into. I do like the small shelf installed just below it, where I keep frequently accessed items such as the current washcloth I am using (which I spread out on my vanity to keep the desktop clean while I am applying makeup), hand creams, and new mascaras. I use the hooks below for jewelry storage, which I will return to later.

The six drawers of this tower are dedicated completely to makeup. Each tower has three shallow and three deep drawers. I use my favorite Linus Drawer Organizers in both the shallow and deep sizes to organize my makeup by type.  Here you can see the contents of the drawers of the left tower in order from top to bottom:

✻ Eyebrow & Eyelash Products – fake lashes and accessories, brow products, tools for brows & lashes, and open mascaras.

✻ Eyeliners – gel liners, liquid liners, pencil liners, and pencils I use mainly for my lower lash line.

✻ Neutral Cream Eye Shadows – my most frequently used and all other neutral bases.

✻ Other Small Eye Products – non-neutral cream eye shadows, pencil & powder highlighters for under brow and inner corner, loose pigments and glitters, single eye shadows.

✻ Small Eye Shadow Palettes – organized by brand.

✻ Medium & Large Eye Shadow Palettes – organized by size and brand.

Right Tower

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The top shelf of the right tower is empty except for a few decorative boxes to fill the space.  On the middle shelf I have two Linus Handled Bins, one of which is empty and the other I keep body glitter in (I know, why do I keep this stuff?  It’s still perfectly good even though I never use it).   I can fit two Small Acrylic Canisters between the clear bins.  My kabuki brushes are safely tucked into one to keep them dust free since I am not using them currently.  I’ve removed the lid from the other so I can store my perfume rollerballs, sample sizes, and Travalos inside for popping in my purse or to take on trips.

The next shelf down is one of my favorite spots in my vanity, because it houses my massive lip product collection. Yes, it’s true, I am a #LipProductJunkie.  I have two 5-Drawer Acrylic Cases by Muji stacked on top of each other, which I’ve had for a few years now and are absolutely perfect for storing lip products. I keep lipsticks and lip crayons in the bottom set, separated by type and brand. The top set holds all of my lip glosses and lip balms. I’ve placed a Cosmetic Stax Makeup Brushes & Pencil Tray on top for my lip liners, lip brushes, and a couple of potted lip products that are too tall for the Muji drawers.

OJ_OLJ_07-25-2014_06I have a box of tissues tucked next to my “Lip Tower” (as I like to call it) and a small bowl that I picked up at the Christkindl Holiday Market (held in downtown Chicago every December) where I stash any sample sizes products I’m testing out. I like having them all in one place so I can remember to use them and they don’t get lost in the shuffle due to their smaller size.

Again, I don’t have anything on the cork board on this side either, but I am using the built-in shelf for makeup application necessities, such as makeup remover, my makeup finishing spray, brush cleaner, MAC Fix+, Caudalie Beauty Elixir, and three different kinds of cotton swabs, which I’ve corralled and stored upright using small Amac boxes minus the lids. The 1-5/8″ square x 2-7/8″ high size fits perfectly!

I use the top three more shallow drawers of the right tower for jewelry and the bottom three deeper ones for the rest of my makeup collection.  I keep all of my jewelery stored in individual anti-tarnish zip-top bags, which keeps things tangle free and in better condition. I use mainly the 3×3 and 3×2 sizes. Here is a look at the contents of the drawers in the right tower:

✻ Long Necklaces & Pins – bulkier beads and larger charms.

✻ Rings & Bracelets – pull cord, beaded, and leather bracelets.

✻ Bangles & Cuffs – organized by metal and style.

✻ Face Makeup Products – concealers, primers, face powders, and liquid face products.

✻ Blushes – organized by brand.

✻ Bronzers & Highlighters – organized by type, brand, and size.

Jewelry Storage

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I store the bulk of my jewelry between two Whitmor Hanging Jewelry Files I have hanging on 3M Command Adhesive Hooks centered just below the built-in hooks on the door of each tower.  I keep stretchy beaded bracelets organized by style and color on the built-in hooks.  These double-sided hanging files are the perfect size to fit on the inside of the door while still being able to close it.  I have the rest of my necklaces in the file on the left tower door, all kept safe in individual anti-tarnish zip-top bags, organized by metal and style.  I have my more dainty long necklaces as well as shorter ones I don’t wear as often but want to keep for sentimental reasons on the back.  I keep my earring collection in the front side of the file in the right tower, organized by metal, type, and style.  I have my chain and link style bracelets and less frequently worn earrings on the other side.  I try not to store more than 3 items in each cubby so it’s easy to see my entire collection.

Vanity Desktop

OJ_OLJ+07-25-2014_08I try to keep the center section of the vanity set where the actual desk portion is as clear as possible, since it is a bit of a narrow space and can look cluttered easily due to the large mirror behind it.  I have a clock, a mini candle holder, and a crystal flower pushed to the corners so as not to interfere with the desk space.  The only other item I keep out at all times is my lighted makeup mirror.

The desk has a wide, shallow drawer that came with built-in drawer organizers.  While I wish it did not have this feature as I much prefer to arrange my own drawer organization, I’ve found a way to use it well to store my watch collection.  I also keep my favorite clear lip balms and a small box for rubber earring backs in the front section for easy access.

As you can see, I store quite a bit in this piece even though I’ve done a major purging of my beauty collection over the past couple of years.  I think the amount I have stored now is the maximum I want to keep on hand at any given time.  I realize that this is an extraordinary amount of makeup.  I certainly don’t think anyone needs this much makeup for a well-rounded collection.  While I am certainly not a beauty guru in any sense, I’ve found myself trying out more and more products than I did before I started my YouTube channels and blog so that I can share an interesting variety of my favorite picks with my viewers and blog readers.  I’m lucky there are some lovely ladies in my life who don’t mind accepting my gently used products after I’ve had time to test them out and move on to trying something new!

I go through each part of the vanity in more detail in my coordinating video if you’re interested in a closer look:

As I mention in the video, I realized I had a few extra brand new palettes on hand from past giveaways where the winners never responded and I thought it’d be fun to give them away here.  The Vanity Palettes Giveaway will run until Friday, August 1, 2014 at 6 PM CT.  There will be THREE winners!  The giveaway is open internationally.  All entrants under the age of 18 must have parental permission to enter. One person will win the Too Faced 15 Anniversary palette, another will win the Sigma Defining Eyes palette, and a third person will win the Urban Decay The Great & Powerful Oz palette pictured below (you choose which you like best when you enter the giveaway):

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Please note – I have had these palettes on hand for some time now.  I believe all three have been discontinued.  They are each brand new in box.  If you win one of these palettes you accept that they are not “just bought” new and accept them as is.

You can enter by following the directions in the Rafflecopter widget posted below (check out this blog post for more information on entering Rafflecopter giveaways). I’ll announce the winner on THIS blog post and contact them directly through email, as always. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sometimes Rafflecopter experiences technical difficulties. If you can’t enter for some reason, try again later and it will probably work.

Thus concludes my 2014 Clothing & Accessories Organization Series!  I hope you enjoyed seeing how I keep my wardrobe, accessories, and beauty items stored and organized in both our main home in Illinois as well as our family vacation home in Utah.  Stay tuned for my Summer Travel Series starting next week!  Happy organizing!

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* Post contains affiliate links. This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are genuinely my own. *

47 comments

47 thoughts on “Large Vanity Organization: Summer 2014 Update”

  1. Wow, this is incredible! Your blog and videos have totally inspired me to start organizing my life and space and figuring out systems that work for me as I finish university and prepare to enter the “real adult” world next spring. You’ve also inspired me to start my own blog to kind of document the process 🙂

  2. Your vanity is quite beautiful and so nicely organized! You have given me lots of fresh ideas on storing my own jewelry and makeup collections. Using the anti-tarnish zip-top bags is genius! Out of curiosity, where do you get them?

  3. Love it! Thank you for sharing! Your videos leave me inspired and motivated to view my jewelry and make-up organization with a fresh perspective. Keep up the great videos, Jen!

  4. Hi Jen,
    Thanks a lot for sharing this tour.
    Such organized and clear.
    I really like the clear lazy susan and the jewelry organization with the organizers and the little bags.
    This kind of products are so difficult to find in France. No Container Store – or so – here.
    I appreciate a lot the explanations, like you always do in your videos.

    Thanks for sharing all you share, for being so kind, for inspiring me.
    Your videos always mean for me as moments of complicity with a friend.

    Big hi and a hug from France

  5. Jen, Love this vanity. I’m still watching but wanted to make an observation. In the drawer where you’ve double stacked the trays while not in use you may want to consider flipping the empty tray over to the upside down position and placing your Sigma eye cream tray on top of it, that would really give you some elevation. – Melani

  6. Aren’t those hanging jewelry organizers GREAT?! I just bought one, and it makes a huge difference to be able to have my jewelry organized, but also totally visible when I am trying to decide which pieces to wear.

    Great tip about the zip-top bags, I will definitely look into those to prevent tarnish.

  7. Thank you Jen! I am in the market for a new vanity (I’m currently using one that was my mom’s in high school – 1950’s!) and I never would have thought to look at Pottery Barn Teen. They have some great choices. Our bedroom ceilings are angled so one like yours is too tall (though I love it) but there are some other great choices. The organization of your jewelry and make up is also super inspiring. Thanks for taking the time to give us all a good look :o)

    1. Even tho it’s targeted for a younger crowd, the furniture at PBTeen is very nice quality IMO and can easily fit in an adult space.

  8. I really enjoyed this video. Whilst I don’t own a great ton of make up myself, I always enjoy seeing collection and storage type videos. Mostly, I enjoyed seeing the storage organisation as that I can relate to more. I have a thing for jewellery, you are quite right in saying you can never have too much! My ‘obsession’ with jewellery started after working within a jewellery company – understandably haha – and so I have gained a fair bit over the years. My jewellery box is very well organised, and I do take good care of things what with baggies and such, but I do think I would like to get some of the hanging jewellery holders as they seem to be a great way for things to not only be double protected but to see everything so well laid out!

    Thanks for sharing, as always!

    Side note: I think the dedication you put in to these coordinating blog posts is amazing! So detailed!
    🙂

  9. Hi, Jen. Thanks for your updated tour of your beautiful vanity. I’ve finally found my “perfect” antique vanity which has a trifold mirror with the middle mirror being full length and drawers on either side. My husband sanded and painted it white and I’ve been having such a good time organizing it. I put a piece of glass across the drawers to give me counter space across the center and a place for me to set things while putting on makeup. I’ve used some of your ideas for storage and they’re working really well. I also like to organize by type. You’re so creative and generous with sharing your ideas. Thanks for the giveaway. You’re such a sweet and generous person. I really enjoy your videos.

  10. Hi Jen,

    I just LOVE your vanity!! What a fabulous way to stay organized!! Just curious, would you consider doing a video on how you keep your nail polishes organized? Like you, I really love nail polishes and I need some sort of system to get them all organized. They are adding up quite quickly…lol. Would love to see any tips or suggestions you might have on keeping them organized.

    PS: LOVE YOUR VIDEOS!!

    Thanks,
    Diana

  11. Hi Jen
    So happy to see you doing an organization series. I have enjoyed this so much, you excel at these videos and always give such great ideas
    More please
    Sue

  12. Jen, thank you for sharing your organizational skills with us. I don’t have an organizational skill in my body, however your ideas have sent me on a new path in my home. You’re the best.. I’d love to win the Sigma defining eyes.

  13. I love how you organize your vanity Jen, you really inspire me to think how i must reorganize mine. Thanks for sharing this tips and this awesome giveaway. Xoxo

  14. Oh gosh! I have always loved that set.. I just didn’t know if it would work out for me.. I’m so glad you posted about it!

  15. I love that vanity! I may have missed this, but where do you keep your foundations? I would love to see what you have. I also love the Vitazing for a base, but I can’t find any good foundations. Suggestions?

    1. I keep them in the 4th drawer down on the right tower. I only have two in my collection and I very rarely wear them. I like my BB & CC creams most often. My favorite right now is to combine the It Cosmetics CC Cream with the Diorskin Nude BB cream.

  16. Hi Jen,

    Wow! Your makeup organization is a dream! You have so many products but I love how you can use them all because they are easily seen and accessible. I love the clear organizers! I also really liked your jewelery storage. You definitely have a theme of neat, easily seen, and accessible in your vanity (really all of your organizing) and I just think you can never go wrong with that! Thanks so much for sharing!

    For fun, what would you keep if you only had one drawer? It would be really fun to see what your absolute must haves are!

  17. Hey Jen. Enjoyed the video. With having so many beauty products, do you have a system for knowing when to get rid of certain products. It seems that with so many products that you might tend to use more of your staple/everyday products more often than others…which would lead to some becoming expired. Just curious if this is something that you’ve thought of or talked about. 🙂

    I know for me that I tend to get overwhelmed if I have too many products because I’m afraid that I won’t be able to use them all by the time its recommended to only use a certain product for.

    1. I don’t worry too much about powder products since I am the only one using them & I store them out of direct sunlight in a climate controlled house. Liquid face & eye products I generally give about 6 months. Mascara 2-4 months. Lip products 3 years on average (although some people suggest one year). Of course if anything looks or smells off, then I know it’s time to go no matter how long I’ve had it. I think the most important consideration is what you’re comfortable with.

  18. Your vanity organization is genius! I like the jewelry bags. Its cool that they are easy to travel with too. Are they from Fire Mountain Gems?

  19. I think it might be time for me to organize my makeup. Right now it’s “organized” in “free gift with purchase” bags sitting on my dresser. Clearly not the best method. 🙂

  20. I use the white brocade pencil cups to hold my makeup brushes. I also have a brocade desktop organizer in black. I like that the design is different than the typical office accessories. I like your new Mulberry pocket planner. I have been looking at the same one in the agenda size but it is a bit wide. The color is attractive. I have a few Filofax binders but I think I will try a different brand for my next planner. Will you film a video on your pocket planner?

    1. I will most likely share a planner update in the new year after I’ve had a chance to really use it for awhile 🙂

  21. Hi Jen, I’m a huge fan of your videos, Thanks for showing this wonderful piece. I made a cute little vanity for myself a few months back , not sure why I never thought of it earlier. I recently saw your posts on some new planners you have purchased and the switch you have made. and i also read some of the comments and your post explaining your purchases. I was wondering if you will still do a video regarding these purchases. This past June I left my Job of 15 yrs to pursue a home business and right now I am undecided on what planner to buy that will help organize the business I plan to have. I LOVE to get different ideas and i would LOVE to see what you are using and the reasons to why you chose what you did. Thank you for reading my comments and i hope to see a future video on the planner. 🙂 Thanx Jen. xoxo

    1. I will do planner updates in the new year. I’m still using the same basic two planner system I shared here if you’re interested.

  22. I really love your vanity…. My fiance and I will be getting married next month in August and purchasing and moving into our new home! We have not yet picked out our furniture but I definitely want to add a Vanity! I have soooo much make up it is hard to see what I have… this would make things easier and more enjoyable!! Thanks for sharing the video and giveaway!! I hope I win something! 🙂

  23. I am in love with your makeup and jewelry station! I want one for myself! I am interested as well in the Sigma Defining Eyes palette!!!

  24. I love your vanity. You would be appalled by my makeup…a total of five products…not all of which I use every day. I love your jewelry organization. I need to do something with mine so I can see it better. If I see it, I wear it; otherwise I get in a rut and wear the same earrings for days on end.

    I have one suggestion for you regarding your makeup mirror. I keep mine on the vanity between the sink my hipusband uses andpd the one I use. Our cord dangles over the front just like yours. I’ve got a note on my to do list to have a handyman drill a round hole toward the back (maybe 1/2″ in diameter) so I can snake the cord through the back behind the drawer, rather than over the front. My dilemma is that it’s perfect for us to have the hole drilled, but I’m not sure about resale since I’d be drilling through the Dorian countertop in the bathroom, so I’m still pondering.

    Thanks for the video tour!

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