I’ve been really into painting my nails lately, and have been building my nail polish collection. I needed a way to organize it all, but preferred a system that I could pick up and take with me if I want to have a mani night at a friend’s house.
After searching several stores, I finally found the perfect container for my needs. The exact one I purchased is the Sterilite Stack & Carry. I got mine at Target, but they might be available at craft stores too since the packaging suggests it’s meant for craft supplies. Be careful though, because a lot of similar containers I saw at Michael’s were not deep enough to hold a standing bottle of polish.
What I liked about this style, besides having a handle, was that it was two separate layers that lock together. That way, I can keep my polishes separate from the rest of my tools and supplies.
I basically keep everything I need for a manicure or pedicure besides the polish in the bottom half. Cotton balls, files, polish remover, lotion, etc.
I organized it further using these plastic silverware organizers. You can go as cheap or fancy as you want with that. I went cheap. I got this set of from Amazon for $6. They’re not particularly nice, but perfect for my needs.
The dividers serve two purposes. One, everything isn’t sliding around getting mixed up. Two, since liquid products have to be stored on their side, if they were to leak it would at least be somewhat contained.
Since I don’t have enough polishes to fill the space entirely (yet) I wanted to contain them into smaller sections so they weren’t constantly falling over when I moved the box around. I got these white containers at Goodwill for 50 cents, but these can be found anywhere pretty cheaply, especially a dollar store.
I leave my mini collections in their original packaging, so they don’t get lost in the mix, and because I like to know the names of the colors.
That’s pretty much concludes my organization. If you’re curious about some of the products or routines I use, I’ll go over them below briefly. But, I’m definitely not a nail expert and there are lots of great nail gurus out there with lots of good information if you’re curious on how to give yourself a perfect manicure. That said, here are some of my faves:
I never soak my nails to get the cuticles soft, because I want my nails super dry when I apply polish. Instead, I use this Sally Hansen cuticle remover and the rubber end of this cuticle pusher to shape them. I generally don’t use the cutting end at all unless I have a hangnail.
Nothing too unique here. I like to use a nourishing or strengthening formula polish remover to take off color, and I use 100% acetone to remove glitter and to clean up mistakes.
To get perfectly clean edges, I use a small paintbrush dipped in acetone as I go to clean up all the edges and keep any polish off my cuticles. The brush I use is a Royal and Langnickel 1/8″ angle brush with rubber handle. It has a really sharp tip and is small and easy to maneuver. It was just a few dollars from Michael’s.
For basecoat, I’ve been liking this Orly Rubberized Bonder.
For topcoat, it has to be Seche Vite. I misplaced mine and tried a few other brands before I gave up and just bought a new bottle. The number one reason I can’t stray from Seche Vite is it dries the polish so, so fast. With the other top coats I have tried, I can still dent or smudge my nails hours later. With Seche Vite my nails are dry to the touch and I can resume normal activities within 20 minutes. It does smell awful and it’s weird to get used to the consistency at first, but it’s so worth it.
The last routine item is just a cheap bottle of Vitamin E cuticle oil. This one is Sally Hansen, but I doubt there is a huge difference among brands. I have been trying to remember to apply nightly and it’s made a huge difference in how my nails and cuticles look. Nicely painted nails turn ugly real quick if your cuticles are dry and scraggly.