Make up brush storage in a bowl of beans on belle meets world blog

I am SO psyched to see sunshine and warmer temperatures here in Chicago. So psyched in fact, that I spent most of my weekend organizing my accessories, cosmetics and toiletries in anticipation of the seasonal change. Read on to find some helpful information and ideas for cleaning up your own prized possessions using household items you already have!

First thing’s first – let’s talk about these dried beans in a bowl! I had all these aspirations to cook and sprout dried beans myself, but – surprise, surprise – they sat and sat in my cupboard for a few months too long. Around the same time, I was running into a makeup brush overload problem. I might have upwards of 50 makeup brushes and they can pile up and get dirty quickly. 

IDEA: Enter the beans, and the glass bowl. I like to use marbles to hold dried flowers up straight in a vase for decorating my home. Why not try something similar for these brushes?! I found the bowl for less than $20 at Crate and Barrel (link here to them) and it too had been sitting in my cupboards forever. Perfect! Combine the bowl with the beans, and stick the brushes in. Not only do the beans look sort of cool showing through the glass, but more importantly, the brushes stick up straight and can easily be pulled out, used and stuck back in without knocking down the rest of the brushes. 

Now let’s get on with the rest of this post….


Displaying my belongings is a really important theme in this post, and in my life. I am extremely visual – I like to look at all of my things, touch them, admire them and then make a choice about what I will wear and use. Doing this with jewelry is so fun because it all sparkles and shines!

display your jewelry creatively on belle meets world blog

Organizing my accessories was my first task of this project – what a mess! I had everything in one giant pile and couldn’t discern one thing from the next. Each day I’d grab the same earrings, necklace and ring that I kept on my nightstand. The jewelry box was so disorganized, it had lost its function – that’s dumb! I’ve got lots of pieces I love – they may not be expensive, but most of them are meaningful. Why wouldn’t I go out of my way to wear them?!

IDEA: Enter TJ Maxx Home Goods and some other household items I decided to re-purpose. Home Goods is an AMAZING place to buy storage items for jewelry. I found the two blue organizers and the brass stand there for under $50 total. My really fancy pieces are laid out in an old stationary box I had (under the velvet tray is a compartment for envelopes and pens). And for my necklaces, I grabbed this metal bulletin board that was lying unused in my house. Since its foam covered in perforated metal, I can use magnets or push pins to hold the necklaces and the earring posts stick right through the holes into the foam. 


Ew! I had makeup from 2009 in my collection! GROSS – that is 7 years of gooey hair gel, blush and glitter going bad. I admit, it feels bad to get rid of cosmetics for me. Many of them I picked up in beauty school when I was trying to make a go of mobile styling and makeup. These items are so meaningful to me, and I’ve held onto all of them ‘just in case’ I’d need them one day. 

But here’s what you need to know –  all cosmetics and beauty products, including skin and body care, have a shelf life. It’s right on the back of each package. If you look below,there is a little graphic of a container with a ‘6M’,  ’12M’, ’24M,’ etc to represent 6, 12, 24 months and anywhere in between. I think you can stretch it a bit beyond the recommended shelf life, but when your products are dried up and cracking – it’s time to part with them. And have you ever smelled rancid oil? Yuck. That’s what’s happening in your out-dated products – don’t put that on your skin or in your hair!!!

shelf life of beauty products

Another reason to get rid of makeup is if it’s out of style or beyond your age. Believe me, I’m the girliest girl and LOVE my glitter, but I’m also very aware that I am 32 years old. Chunky, waxy glitter palettes are no longer acceptable to wear – and that’s okay. I certainly wore my share of glitter over the years, and I’m ready to give it up and wish those young ladies who can still slather it on to ‘Go With Glitter.’ I salute you, and I’ll also be tossing mine. The same goes for shimmery white shadows and cheap eyeliner pencils. Ditch ’em!

Get rid of old beauty products on belle meets world blog

So you’ve culled out the crap, and now it’s time to CLEAN what you’ve got left. I love this simple daily makeup brush cleanser from Sephora (link here to it) because you can literally mist each of your brushes and products everyday after use, wipe lightly with a tissue and leave to dry for the next day. Bye, bye bacteria!

A brush cleanser is also great for spraying directly onto liner pencils and lip gloss tubes to get rid of the top germy layer and refresh the applicators. And if you’re uber-clean, I recommend sending the pencils through a sharpener to remove one more extra layer.

Clean your makeup brushes on belle meets world blog

IDEA: Now that everything is washed and dried, I recommend grouping  your cosmetics into categories – blushes, lips, mascaras, liners, etc. – and storing them in some lovely containers that neatly display everything you have. This way you’ll be more likely to use everything before it goes bad. I love these acrylic pieces I picked up from The Container Store (link here to them) because I can see each product. It’s like my very own mini-Sephora!

Store makeup in clear containers on belle meets world blog


Toiletries can also get out of hand. Whether you’re in Sephora, Target or the salon, every hair and skin product seems like an awesome idea at the time – so you buy it and then have too many at home. When this happens to me, I can hardly think straight, let alone stick to a regimen that keeps my hair and skin healthy.  

IDEA: I recommend paring it down by identifying the few products you rely on within one – two weeks and putting those few things in their own basket or tub based on their category. You’ll see here I took these two old baskets I’d once used for bath products and used one for my key hair products and the other for my key skin products. You can purchase similar metal storage baskets at Target (link here to them).

The things that are still within the parameters of their shelf-life should be kept – but store them out of the way. I put mine on a shelf and drawer beneath my vanity. If I need them, I know where they are, but they aren’t cluttering my everyday

hair care storage on belle meets world blog

Skin care storage on belle meets world blog


Pack a toiletry bag with samples on belle meets world blog

Do you have 800 million samples lying around from all your subscription services (like Birchbox) or hotel visits?! Me too. 

IDEA: Grab all your empty travel bags and fill them each with a set of the sample-size toiletries you’ll need – shampoo and conditioner, lotion, face wash, body wash, toothpaste, hair products, etc. I travel for work and play at least once or twice every month, and it makes such a difference to be able to grab the bag out of the drawer without thinking. Plus, it gets all those samples and clutter out of the way and makes it useful. Every time I go on a trip, I set a little goal of finishing at least one sample size product.


Confession: Fragrance is uncharted territory for me. I don’t know why, but I’ve never been into changing it up or even wearing it at all everyday. At the same time, I’ve never been able to find my perfect scent either, so I have a collection of fragrances ranging from low-end eau de toilette from GAP (I’ve been wearing Heaven and Dream since high school!) all the way to high-end perfumes from Mugler and Prada. Most of these fragrances are floral in scent so they’ll transition into spring well, and I want to commit to wearing something everyday this coming season. I believe there is a perfect fragrance out there for me, and I’m determined to find it (another blog post in the making)!

Display fragrances on a tray

IDEA:  Since I’m an out of sight, out of mind kind of girl, I’ll usually forget the scents are there if they aren’t in a place I can see and reach them. What about putting them on display like my jewelry, cosmetics and toiletries?! Well, guess what? Crate & Barrel (link here to similar items) has a lower-priced line of white ceramic kitchen ware that looks simple yet elegant, which is how I found this white serving tray for less than $20. It holds these pretty bottles on my dresser so that I’ll wake up looking right at them and give thought to what I want to wear that day.

P.S and Remember: Don’t apply fragrance directly onto your skin. Spray a couple pumps into the air in front of you and walk into the mist. Do a little twirl through it to distribute evenly, and you’ll smell like an angel (and not like you bathed in a whole bottle of it).

And if you’re still reading…wow! Kudos to you and thank you so much. Stay tuned for next week’s spring cleaning and organizing post! I’ll focus on shoes, clothes, closets and what it takes to keep your things organized and visible while changing over seasons. And I’ll have a guest poster!!!!