Friday, April 22, 2011

Mini Project: Organizing My Makeup / Cost: $$

Hey.... guess who still doesn't have a functioning camera?!

I've been Captain Indecisive with what I should do about a new camera (do I pick one up or just hold out for the next iPhone?), and so I've got absolutely zero photos of the projects I've been up to lately. Thankfully I still have some mini-project photos kicking around that I haven't posted yet. Hooray for procrastination.

This project is absurdly simple. Basically it's just about organizing things better. If you're trying to decorate on the cheap, reorganizing more efficiently is your best friend. It doesn't usually take much cash (well, unless the reorg requires new furniture... I'm sure I'll be posting on THAT issue in the future) and it can make your place seem substantially more pulled together if you do it well. Generally speaking, it's good bang for your limited buck.

In my case, my makeup collection was getting a bit out of hand. At the time I was storing it in two places: a small makeup bag I kept out in the bathroom and a messy makeup section of a drawer in a storage dresser I had in my hallway closet.

Yup... this was where this always lived. Not repulsive, but not a particularly attractive design element either.
Overflow. Some of this stuff I barely used, but some of it I used all the time. DEEPLY inefficient system. Also, DEEPLY ugly.
At the end of the day this was a terrible system. The makeup bag in the bathroom was too small to hold everything I liked to use regularly, plus the bag had to go behind the faucet because:

  1. If I put it anywhere else it would fall over because of its shape.
  2. I was too lazy in the morning to put it away somewhere sensible, like in a cupboard or closet or something, once I was done with it.
  3. Did I mention being too lazy to put things away in the morning?
So I needed a better system that was also attractive so I could get away with leaving it out all the time. Did I also mention that my bathroom was small at the time? Yeah... no big MAC or Sephora makeup case for me :(
*sigh* I lovededed you cupcake... um, I mean "Sephora makeup case"!
Guess what they make these days, though? Little fabric train cases!

So cute... and WAY cheaper than a traditional train case.
Yup, a mini train case. It had more room than my old make up pouch, a wide base that allowed it to be stable (without help from my friendly neighbourhood faucet), plus it was attractive enough to leave out (thus enabling my lack of cleanliness in the morning). Also, the fact that it was fabric meant it was cheaper AND lighter than the metal cases I'd been looking at. I picked this one up at my local grocery store for around $19. I also eventually purchased the matching travel pouches which, as it turns out, make excellent containers for the craft projects I occasionally tool about town with.

There are loads of cute fabric train cases out there. For instance:

This version from the Container Store runs at $18 and even has a separate section for your brushes.

This case from is a bit pricier at $32, but it comes with an extra travel pouch and would be a gorgeous accent piece in a bathroom.

As part of my Milly for Clinique binge from the other week I managed to get both the train case and makeup pouch from this set on eBay for under $10. Search for "Milly Clinique" to find your own if you're interested.

In the end, it's really all just about packaging your supplies efficiently in something the right size that actually looks attractive.

Final project cost to me: $19
Time to complete project: About 15 minutes to reorganize

Sunday, April 3, 2011

When you just want one part of a set

Friday I was out perusing the mall and by pure accident I bumped into this:
Ah pouch... I'll find you yet!

Yeah, so the makeup set is nice and all, but it's not like I really need more eye shadow right now. No... what caught my eye was the little Milly pouch the set came with. While first and foremost I'm completely obsessed with Kate Spade stuff, my interest in Milly comes following not so far behind. My weakness for retro clothing lines knows no end!

So the dilemma: do I leave behind a completely enchanting pouch or do I spend $45 (plus tax) on makeup I don't need just so I can get my paws on a freakishly adorable pouch?

Thankfully, my fiscally responsible side won out and I left the store with no pouch... which, of course, I still felt pretty pouty about. Then I remembered... people get those "gift with purchase" makeup bags and such all the time, so every person like me who wanted the pouch but not the makeup there's likely also a person who liked the makeup set but was indifferent to the pouch... and since the pouch was name brand there was always a chance someone might be selling it on eBay.

Ah eBay. So different from those early days of people just selling random stuff, yet still occasionally useful. The site is infested with professional sellers and counterfeit goods, but there's still some good deals there in certain cases. Lucky for me, there were quite a few Milly for Clinique bags available for a song. Alas, not the exact pouch that first caught my eye, but some other great designs that included a different pouch in the same fabric.

In the end I picked up several makeup bags for a few bucks each... way cheaper than buying the makeup set I originally saw.

Moral of the story: if there's something in a set that you're keen on, check on eBay or other auction/classifieds sites before you blow a metric ton of money on a bunch of stuff you don't actually care about just to get one or two things you're lusting after.

Alternate moral: if there's a set of something that you only want a part of, buy the set and put the stuff you don't want up on eBay for someone else to pay for. Goodness knows I might thank you for it.