Don’t wait until you’re living in full-blown chaos to begin decluttering your beauty cabinet, says New York home organizing expert Caroline Solomon. “A little bit of disorganization easily grows into a gigantic mess,” she says. “That’s when it gets overwhelming. You want to be able to relax and enjoy your space.” Solomon, who began her career as a beauty editor (she once worked at Lucky magazine with goop’s Jean Godfrey-June and Megan O’Neill, where she in fact often organized the beauty closet), launched her business in 2020. She works one-on-one with clients to organize their homes, partners with brands like Parachute and Dyson to create content on the web, and reaches even more clients through her courses online and on TikTok.
Solomon’s biggest tip? Make the time. “Tackle it when you can set aside a few hours—a rainy Saturday, for example—and really commit,” she says. Follow Solomon’s easy steps below and you’ll find the results are more than worth it: My small NYC bathroom is now living proof.
TAKE EVERYTHING OUT
“Once you take all your products out and put them out in the open, it’s easier to visualize what you have, not to mention the space you’re working with,” says Solomon. Check under your bathroom vanity, in drawers, and in older handbags—don’t miss anything. “Scrub things down while you’re at it,” she continues. “Clear away dust bunnies and wash your makeup brushes and other tools.”
EDIT AND TOSS
Start by throwing away anything that’s expired, broken, or empty. “If it smells off or the consistency is weird, that’s a no,” she says. Then set aside the hair, makeup, and skin-care products you use every day (you know you’re keeping those). Focus on what’s left with Solomon’s take on Marie Kondo’s famous “joy” question: Does this cheek color truly flatter my skin? What about this foundation shade? Does this exfoliant feel good on my skin and make it glow?
Once you’ve separated what you’re keeping and what you’re discarding, it’s time to get rid of stuff. “If it’s new, in great condition, or barely used, give it to a friend,” says Solomon. Even totally unused beauty products can be difficult to donate to large charitable organizations; smaller, more-local ones are often more receptive. If you have a lot of unopened beauty products, make a gift basket for a charity to auction off—few auction items are more popular than beauty baskets.
Once you’ve tossed what needs to be tossed, group the remaining products together. “Mentally go through your daily routine from start to finish,” says Solomon. “Line up the products in the order you use them.” Put all your bath and shower essentials in one group, then make groups for skin, hair, makeup, and body products. Start with just the ones you use in the morning.
My Morning Products
Botanical-Infused EssenceVintner’s DaughterActive Treatment Essencegoop, $225SHOP NOW
Brightening Vitamin C Dropsgoop Beauty20% Vitamin C + Hyaluronic Acid Glow Serumgoop, $125/$112 with subscriptionSHOP NOW
Lightweight, Dewy Skin MoisturizerTata HarperFortifying Moisturizergoop, $130SHOP NOW
Exquisitely Textured OilFurtuna SkinDue Alberi Biphase Moisturizing Oilgoop, $225SHOP NOW
Imperfection-Blurring SPFSaint JaneLuxury Sun Ritual Pore Smoothing SPF 30goop, $38SHOP NOW
Rich, Comforting Body CreamLe PrunierPlumbodygoop, $80SHOP NOW
My Shower Products
Whipped Detoxifying Scrubgoop BeautyHimalayan Salt Scalp Scrub Shampoo$45/$38 with subscriptionSHOP NOW
Shampoo for Incredible Texture and Shinegoop BeautyAmino Acid Shinebath Shampoogoop, $36/$32 with subscriptionSHOP NOW
Deeply Moisturizing, Silkifying ConditionerCrown AffairThe Ritual Conditionergoop, $36SHOP NOW
Skin-Polishing Miraclegoop BeautyMicroderm Instant Glow Exfoliatorgoop, $125/$112 with subscriptionSHOP NOW
Gorgeously Scented Body CleanserCorpusNatural Body Washgoop, $30SHOP NOW
Fluffy, Soothing Shaving CreamFurShave Creamgoop, $32SHOP NOW
Next, do the same for products you use at night. After that, group together the products that you use but don’t use every day—weekly skin treatments, devices, hair tools, and styling products.
My Nighttime Products
My Weekly Treatments
Purifying Chocolate MaskKlurSupreme Seedgoop, $60SHOP NOW
Depuffing Sheet Masks for Eyesgoop BeautyLift + Depuff Eye Masksgoop, $125SHOP NOW
Lavender Gel-Cloud PeelAlpyn BeautyWild Huckleberry Radiance Recovery Peel Maskgoop, $56SHOP NOW
Moisture-Bomb Hair MaskCrown AffairThe Renewal Maskgoop, $58SHOP NOW
Solomon says her clients fall into two categories: those who love to see beautiful products out on the bathroom counter or vanity and those who prefer a clean, sleek space with everything tucked away. “I tell clients to meet themselves where they are, not where they’re aspiring to be,” says Solomon.
The Best-Looking Products We Know
PULL OUT THE ORGANIZERS
Bins, caddies, baskets, and lazy Susans can be super helpful—but don’t go out and buy new ones right away. “I like to start with items someone might already have in their home, like vases, trays, cups, or shoe or product boxes,” says Solomon. (She used vases and cups I already had in my apartment to store all my makeup brushes, brow pencils, lip liners, eyeliners, concealer, and mascaras—and I love how it looks.)
Creamy Liquid Concealer That LastsTower 28 BeautySwipe Serum Concealergoop, $22SHOP NOW
Precise Lip LinerRMS BeautyGo Nude Lip Pencilgoop, $22SHOP NOW
Pearl Pencil for Wide-Awake Eyes19/99Precision Pencil Duogoop, $42SHOP NOW
Inky-Black Liquid PenILIAClean Liquid Linergoop, $28SHOP NOW
Brow-Defining PencilAmi ColeOn-Point Brow Pencilgoop, $20SHOP NOW
Glossy MascaraTower 28 BeautyMakeWaves Lengthening and Volumizing Mascaragoop, $20SHOP NOW
If you want to use organizers, be sure to measure the spaces you’re working with before you buy them. “I like clear acrylic containers in the bathroom,” says Solomon. “They don’t warp or crack with humidity. Plus, it’s easier to see what you have through a clear container, and if you see it, you’re more likely to use it.” Solomon also likes bins and baskets to keep loose items like hair ties, clips, brushes, and combs together in one spot.
FIND A PLACE FOR EVERYTHING
Now you can start putting things away. Place your favorite skin care at eye level on an easy-access shelf, keeping the items in sequential order of use. Try to keep similar products together, too—if you switch between two different face oils, for instance, put them next to each other.
Makeup goes easily into drawers. A great Solomon tip: For blush, lip balm, highlighter, and other items where seeing the color is important, check to see if there is a color swatch or description on the bottom of the product (there often is). Store the items upside down. “That way, it’s easy to grab exactly what you’re looking for,” she says.
For larger items like hair dryers and curling irons, wrap up the cords and put them in an accessible basket or drawer. I’m especially obsessed with my Harry Josh cordless tools and pouch. Not only are they some of the most high-performance tools on the market; the incredible pouch is a chic storage tool in itself—the straightener and curling iron fit perfectly inside and it comes with a detachable heat mat that you can lay your hot products on.
If you have a stand-alone bathroom shelving unit, use that space for storing towels, containers, and baskets. Solomon put an empty lazy Susan from my pantry on one of my shelves for all my hairstyling products.
Then she took all my beloved skin devices and stored them in a wicker basket, which sits on the shelf beneath the lazy Susan. For the tinier devices that could easily fall to the bottom, she used my new ZIIP Halo’s packaging box, keeping the devices within easy reach.
MAINTAIN THE SYSTEM
Check in with yourself regularly to see if your new system is working. “If it’s not, don’t be afraid to try out a different method,” says Solomon. “You’ll know you’ve found your groove when it becomes second nature.” Do a tidy-up refresh about every three months.