Small Vanity Organization: Spring 2014 Overhaul

OJ|OLJ_05-23-2014_00Today I am sharing a look at my vanity in our bedroom at the family vacation home in Utah.  I store my makeup and jewelry that I keep at the house in a small desk up in my Loftice, otherwise known as an office in a loft.  Before we dive in, I though I’d give you a look at my loftice.

This nifty little space is located in our bedroom just above the bathroom.  There is a ladder for easy access.  When my in-laws designed this house 25 years ago, they made use of this space as an extra sleeping spot for my husband’s visiting friends.  We started coming out to visit more and for longer periods of time several years ago and I was looking for a little space to call my own.  The loft wasn’t really being used anymore and my in-laws very generously let me transform it into my own sanctuary.  I particularly like that it’s in our room, because a) I don’t feel like I am “claiming” any of the common space in the house, and b) it’s very convenient for getting ready since it houses my vanity.

Considering the floor space is just about 6 feet by 15 feet (this is a rough estimate), I was very happy to find the pieces to make up a small corner desk set by Winsome Wood that would fit against the back wall and provide a couple of stations, one for work and one for play (aka makeup).  I also had enough space for a reading nook complete with a cozy bean bag that my dog Winnie loves to nest in.

OJ_OLJ_05-23-2014_03In today’s post I am going to be focusing on my vanity and its accompanying organizational components, which occupy the shortest wall.  If you’re interested in a look at the entire loftice and how it came together, I do have a  target=”_blank”>video back from January 2012 after I had first finished transforming the space.  While some of the small details have changed since then, the main gist of it is the same.

I purchased the Winsome Wood Writing Desk on Amazon (still available!) in the honey color to match the log railing and paneled ceiling in our room.  I think this is a pretty nice desk for the price, especially considering that it is all wood construction.  It is the perfect size for a small vanity.

I try to keep the desktop as clear as possible, especially considering it’s a small surface area and anything on top of it tends to make it look cluttered.  I like that this desk comes with a built in hutch with two small drawers and a cubby for convenient storage.  The hutch also provides a ledge for me to rest a few organizers on top of.  It has one small, shallow drawer, as well.  I use a couple of Sterilite 3-Drawer Organizers as supplemental storage.

Let’s take a closer look inside each of the organizational components I use to keep my makeup and jewelry organized.


This collage shows the organizational elements that are either a part of the desk or that I store on top of it.  As I mentioned before, the hutch that comes with the desk has two small drawers with a cubby between them.  In the drawer on the left I keep a washcloth that I put down on my desktop every time I apply my makeup to rest my dirty brushes on and protect the desktop.  I stash my two large Smashbox palettes (no longer available) and cosmetic cotton swabs in the cubby between the drawers.  My smaller eye shadow palettes and singles are stowed in the drawer on the right.

I use a couple of organizational aids for desktop makeup storage, as well.  I keep all of my lip products and some small bits and bobs in a Sterilite 3-Drawer Small Multipurpose Organizer that tucks nicely right next to the hutch and also holds my tissue box.  I have the Sigma Make Me Crazy brush kit, which includes a nice assortment of brushes as well as a useful storage container.  The two halves split open to make two brush cups.  I keep my eye brushes in one and my face brushes in the other.  I love that I can store all of my brushes closed up in the container when I away to prevent them from getting dusty.  If you’re interested in purchasing any Sigma products, you can save 10% off your entire purchase by entering the code MAY2014 during checkout (good from May 1 – May 31, 2014).  Sigma will send you a free gift when you spend $30 or more on your total purchase!

The desk has a small, shallow drawer that just happens to fit the Room Essentials 6-Compartment Drawer Organizer from Target perfectly!  I used to store the majority of my makeup in this drawer and pull out the organizer every time I wanted to apply makeup so I didn’t have to keep opening the drawer up right into my stomach.  I’ve changed that up a bit and now keep mostly products I don’t necessarily use everyday in the back half of the drawer.   Items I like to access more frequently such as brow products and eye shadow bases are in the front compartments so I only need to open the drawer a bit to access them.


The rest of my beauty items are tucked away in a Sterilite 3-Drawer Storage Cart that fits like a glove between my vanity desk and the loft railing.  The top drawer is dedicated to the rest of my makeup and other more frequently used beauty products such as body mists and baby wipes.  I recently picked up a very handy Divided Cosmetic Bin to keep my everyday makeup items organized.  I love how the built-in organizational components of this acrylic caddy make each product easy to identify and access.  I keep backup beauty supplies and my nail kit in the middle drawer.  The bottom drawer is not beauty-related, but it felt strange not to share the contents of all three drawers!  This drawer is where I stash my sewing kit as well as any of Winnie’s toys that need surgery.  I also keep my loftice cleaning products, including disinfecting wipes, windex, and microfiber cloths here.


I have some jewelry that I keep out at the Utah house, which I like to keep stored away and protected for the long hauls between visits.  I placed a 3M Command adhesive hook on the underside of my desk for my hanging jewelry organizer.  I use anti-tarnish zip top bags for each piece of jewelry as well.  I love how this organizer is out of sight but still within easy reach when I am sitting at the desk.  I don’t like to keep any jewelry out when we are not at the house, but when we are in town for a visit I will store some pieces on the cute jewelry tree I snagged at Target a few years ago (this model is no longer available but they have several other nice ones in stock now).  I make sure to tuck everything back into the hanging organizer before I leave.

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

I would love to hear how you organize your vanity if you care to share.  Check back in two weeks for a look at how I organize my clothing and accessories in the bedroom of our main home in Illinois.
Happy organizing!


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14 thoughts on “Small Vanity Organization: Spring 2014 Overhaul”

  1. Really good use of space Jen with some wonderful tips. Enjoyed reading this blog post, you did a great job with the photographs as wishes from a UK subscriber

  2. Great cute little space. I don’t think I would like rungs getting up there but that’s me. I like the organized personal feel. When you store your watches. Do you pull out the stem to save the battery life? I do that when I am not wearing my watches.

  3. Great tips for general small space storage! Love the idea of the jewelry hanger under the desk! I could do with some internal drawer organization too. I’ve made a start by using some smaller subscription boxes to separate the drawer space and organize products which has helped a lot!

    Sarah 🙂
    Saloca in Wonderland

  4. I thankfully came across your videos by accident. Now I am hooked!! I LOVE organizing myself but you are so inspiring. Thanks so much for linking all the products and ideas. That’s a real plus!! I have to catch up on you past posts but I am excited to see what you come up with next!! Love your website as well. Keep it up! Your are doing a great job!!! It’s such a liberating feeling when our stuff is clean, neat, and organized. It makes life so much more pleasant and less stressful when you can find everything and everything has it’s place…..THANK U!!

  5. I really enjoy this Organization Series and i love your detailed pictures, those alone are beautiful to look at.
    I was wondering if it would be possible for you to maybe make a video about how you organized your notes for school. In a video I watched from you some time ago you said that you had very in-depth notes and that you kept them. I have a huge amount of notes as well that i spend a lot of time on, but I always have problems finding the right way to store them or how to organize them in general.
    best wishes

    1. I finally parted ways with most of my school stuff except for the papers I wrote in college a couple of years ago. Before that I had them stored in plastic filing boxes by class.

  6. The decor is a bit childish for my personal taste- would be more appropriate in a child’s bedroom. The organization ideas are helpful. Your in-laws are really nice to let you keep so much of your stuff at their house!

    1. I like to think of it as a little space for my inner child to be free 🙂 You really can’t see it unless you climb up the ladder, too, so I don’t feel like it interferes with the style of the house. And yes, my in-laws are super nice!

  7. What kind of chair is that from PBTeen? I need a new office chair. Mine always hurts my back and neck? What do you like better your Utah or Chicago office chair? What is the one you have at your Chicago house?

    1. I’m actually not hugely fond of either for sitting for long periods of time, although the Utah PBTeen chair is actually much more comfortable than my Pottery Barn chair at home because it has much more cushioning. The PBTeen chair is fine for the Utah house but I’m looking into a nicer office chair for home.

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