Organizing Home

Part 7: Organizing Chaos – Cosmetics

 My make up organizer

For me the happiness after buying cosmetics is far more than buying anything else. There is a tremendous thrill of purchasing just that orange lipstick shade or that emerald green eyeliner I had been eyeing for a while.

The part that I really enjoy at the end of a hard day is comfortably sitting on my couch and applying my favorite shade of nail paint. It just gives me that quick happiness boost and lifts up my spirits. That is probably why I actually enjoy sorting out my dressing table. I even spray some perfume and apply lipstick before I get into bed. I like to think I get sweeter dreams that way. 

My dressing table in Islamabad

Following is a picture of a cosmetic organizer I got as a birthday gift from mama. It has different sections for keeping pencils, lipsticks and other such items.

Make up organizer on my dressing table in Islamabad

Till university, I was the biggest tom boy in town so none of this really mattered to me. In fact I used to be scared of mascaras and scream out loud if my sister tried to apply it on my lashes for a party. My idea of getting ready was to wash my face and dash out. Now I wouldn’t dare wash all that make up off my face before going to a party.

Make up organizers like mine are available in the market in different styles as shown below. This is an excellent way to keep your cosmetics organized yet easy to access.



When I was in university, I got my first dressing table after Nataliya got married. I was happy to have been donated her mirror and table with drawers where I could keep my newly bought cosmetics. My dad loved to see his girls decked up. So every time he had a trip abroad from the airline or Air-force, he would bring us loads of nail polishes, eye make up palettes and eye liners. His choice was the best and he got me the highest quality cosmetics that I ever owned. My friends would be surprised when I replied where I got them from as most fathers are not interested in such details.

My dressing table drawer in my room in Islamabad

As shown in the picture above, chocolate boxes make great drawer organizers. It is best to keep similar items in a container. I use a glass flower vase and a Ferrero Rocher chocolate box for my nail polishes. An antique silver container for cotton wool and an accessory hanger for the hair bands.

My dressing table top

I spent two years at Davenport Black Limited as a Loan Executive. It was a typical office job where I was at my desk from 8 AM to 6 PM Mondays to Fridays (and some voluntary Saturdays too). It is true that such jobs can become really boring and one has to find ways to motivate ones self in order to keep your head into it. Because its the Finance sector, one has to stick to the script and cannot change it around. Saying the same things to a million customers over and over again can play strange games with a persons mind. I remember hearing myself telling my customers the interest rates, lender details and policies even when I was in the shower, trying to sleep or even in my sleep talk. Those endless beeps, tones, and voicemail messages can drive one up the wall. Numerous colleagues resigned as they just couldn’t bear hearing the phone beeps and same things over and over again, every single day. I was actually the only person throughout those two years who managed to survive. All other colleagues had either been fired or they decided to get a life.


Like everyone else, I had a locker and chest of drawer in my office. My locker had chocolates, soup, Cappuccino, and Nesquik, candies, marshmallows and squash bottle in there. I also kept my nail-paint pouch, nail polish remover wipes and file in my drawer. I know in our Pakistani culture, it is considered bad to do these things in public. But our office environment was nothing like that. Our bosses knew that we had terribly tough targets and how tough our jobs are, so a little bit of entertainment didn’t do them any harm.

20130114_121903I quickly fixed my younger sister’s cosmetics

While being busy on the phones, we used to change our nail color in the office. I knew I didn’t have a minute for this once I got home so this was the only place I could make my nails look presentable. Once Silky Kohli, my best friend and I were testing out our oil reducing papers when our boss Joe walked up to us while talking to his customer (on the phone). He took a few oil control strips and started dabbing them on his scalp and showing us how much oil there was. And we both started making gestures that meant ‘ew! you’re disgusting’. It was a little funny as this happened during our serious financial conversations with our individual customers. My colleagues from the whole office used to come to me for nail colors (and chocolates) to keep themselves motivated and entertained at work.

Make up bag organizer       

In order to keep cosmetics properly, one needs to have some make up bags, pouches and make up cases. This is a picture of a compartmentalized make up organizer that my sister gifted me years ago. It can be hung or folded and is comprised of different sections. If you get a deal on such a bag, don’t miss it. These are amazing and make the best gifts to a loved one too. Mini versions of this are also available in the market which are perfect for traveling. More on that on my ‘Travel Kits’ part of this blog.

My make up organizer along with bag for extras

Here is a picture of a cosmetic case, which I was gifted years ago. It has elastic on the sides so one can easily make their pencils, manicure markers and brushes stand. In the middle, you can place any of your cosmetics as you like. I used sealable bags to separate similar items.

My extra make up pouch

This was an extra bag with the eye shadows that I rarely used. So I decided to keep them in a separate bag altogether so they don’t confuse me in my daily make up routine.

Beauty essentials that I think every girl must have in her dressing table

Cotton Balls – For removing Nail polish and applying rosewater/cleanser on face.
– Cotton Buds/Cutips  – For cleaning ears, make up quick fix, removing eye make up near eyes
– Hair band – To keep your hair away while you wash your face or apply face mask
– Teasing comb – for backcombing on special occasions
– Hair pins, rubber bands, safety pins, pair of scissors, nail file & nail cutter

– Johnsons baby wipes – removing make up including mascara, cleansing face/hands/body
– Easy wax strips – I normally avoid parlors and believe in DIY.
– Shine control paper strips – Just dab it on your face so the oily shine disappears 
– Nail polish removing wipes – Great for on-the-go or travelling. Light weight, easy application.

– Rose water – as a cleanser, toner, a moisturizer, make up remover & eye refresher
– Ubtan – Mixed with Rose water, it is the best face mask
– Sandalwood powder – A herbal face mask which does wonders on the skin

– Leave-in conditioner – Works wonders on wet hair (Pantene or Loreal recommended)
– Hair spray – Hair styling is impossible without it
– Coconut oil – Hair conditioner, moisturizer & lip balm
– Almond oil – Hair conditioner and skin softener
– Shine Serum – For those bad hair days (Livon recommended)
– Dry shampoo – for days when you don’t have time to actually wash your hair

The shelf in my dressing table 

There are only a few things which can give worse impression of a person’s hygiene than finding hair in the brush. One must keep a bin right next to the table so every time one finishes using it, it can be cleaned immediately. It actually doesn’t take more than 10 seconds but would make our husbands lives a lot more pleasant. 

Some pictures that inspired me on ‘Pinterest’

One could use a bathroom organizing shelf to keep nail polishes, or get one made specially for them. I find the concept really cute.


Following is an idea that inspired me a lot but I haven’t yet been able to put it into action. Basically, one uses a punch on stickers and sticks the little circles on the top of each nail polish with its color painted on the circle. This makes it easy for us to pick up the color we want.


Just a little tip is to use different nail polishes to identify different keys in your house.


Following are two more interesting ideas. The left one is an ordinary hanging organizer which has been efficiently used for make up. The one on the right is basically sticking magnetic strips behind cosmetic items and letting them attach to a magnetic board. Looks great but honestly, I wouldn’t invest so much time in trying to make that.


Following is an inspiration for storing our brushes. I love how they look here. But my only concern is dust. I wouldn’t want to rub all the dust that they accumulate, all over my face. In case you have space to put this arrangement inside a dust-proof shelf, its perfect.


Following is a DIY cosmetic stand which looks quite pretty. 

I hope this can inspire you girls in some way. If any of you are actually inspired to do up your cosmetics, my message would be to please check if there is anything on your dressing table that has been unused in a year. If so, please give it away for charity. There are so many beautiful women out there, who love to deck up specially on Eid but can’t afford even a single lip stick. Giving away what we don’t use is the least we can do for them in the way of Allah for His countless blessings on us. Best of luck with your dressing tables.

P.S. I’m absolutely loving the response on this blog so far. Your sweet comments and messages encourage me to write even on those off days. I am still struggling at keeping the posts short. Lots of love. Keep smiling.

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