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Overhead view of lipsticks
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I am by no means a beauty expert. My everyday makeup routine generally consists of some foundation, mascara and a prayer that my adult acne isn’t going to flare up while I’m at work. The mere thought of an eyelash curler unnerves me. And yet my bathroom is filled to the brim with random makeup products that litter the counters, the shelves and the spare corners of the shower. I need professional help.

So I talked with two beauty pros—our friends Deanne Kaczerski and Lindsay Dreyer over at MIMI—for advice on how to keep my beauty products organized and under control.

Motto: Makeup clutter is no joke. Do you have some clever ways that you keep things tidy and organized?
: I made my husband build shelving for my beauty products in the bathroom. I have separate glass jars for my clear hair ties, my black hair ties, Q-tips, makeup sponges, cotton balls. Everything is in their little jars. I keep five to six jars in a shelf on its own, then I have all my brushes in a bamboo container and a shelf just for all my serums and lotions.

Dreyer: Put your products in order of how you use them—so when you get out of shower, you use toner first and then serum and then you moisturize and so on. You layer your products in the order you use them—that can help save you time in the morning. … You can also come up with ways to organize based on what you have. I have all these kitchy mugs that I’ve gotten over the years from friends. I keep my makeup brushes and such in them. That gives your space some personality.

Motto: Any easy DIY tricks?
Kaczerski: I am a hoarder of pretty boxes. They’re my containers for housing my hairspray. I’ve used several to separate bras and underwear in my dresser.

Dreyer: I reuse vases to put beauty products in them. I put almost all of my lipsticks in this pretty vase. You can see exactly what you have. Sometimes it’s annoying to have to fish through to get a certain color, but the ones I love and use the most seem to float to the top.

Motto: How do you handle organizing drawers?
: I love sock separators. I use them for eyeliners and lipsticks inside of drawers.

Dreyer: You can also use individual utensil trays. They can go right in your drawer, and they’re good for smaller spaces where you can only fit two to three per drawer.

Motto: What do you do if you have very little storage space at your apartment?
Kaczerski: It’s better to have a highly curated set of products than a ton of stuff you won’t ever use. Plus, it makes decision making in the morning much easier. That’s the hardest part when you have too much stuff. It makes the morning very difficult!

Dreyer: I have a huge lipstick collection. It makes deciding what to wear in the morning so challenging. Do I go with this pink or that purple? Don’t make the same mistakes I do!

It’s just like when you look at your clothes in your closet. When buying makeup, you shouldn’t feel pressured to go outside of what you like and your comfort zone. If something doesn’t work for you, don’t buy it just to make a statement.

Motto: At what point do you just throw stuff out?
: If you haven’t used stuff in six months, get rid of it! Stuff expires and collects bacteria. You probably keep most of your stuff in the bathroom where you shower—and a lot of moisture can build up and cause mold. Don’t hold onto stuff.

Also, natural products are great but they do expire faster, so pay attention to expiration dates on your products. And anything that touches your eye, you should be careful with. The likelihood of getting an infection in your eye…it’s not worth it! Even if you have been using something every day, like mascara, after six months, it’s probably dried out anyways.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

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