Nail Polish Storage and Organization

I struggled for ages with trying to figure out the best way to store and organize my nail polish collection. It can be extremely frustrating! Almost a year ago I picked up a Melmer and it changed my life. Seriously. (If you don’t believe me, check out my stash before the Melmer.)

So what is a Melmer? It is cube storage meant for scrapbooking that can be purchased at Michaels. I’ve never paid more than $15 for a Melmer as they are often on sale, though the retail price is $30. The cube is 14.25 inches in height, width, 14.5 inches in depth and fits nail polish bottles perfectly. Each unit has three drawers and each drawer can fit up to 100 bottles of OPI nail polish.

Assembly isn’t bad. I’m not particularly great at assembling things, but I put these together without too much trouble. The drawers are rather slick, so I put Duck non adhesive shelf and drawer liner in all of the drawers so the bottles won’t roll around. Drawer liner can be found at home improvement stores or stores like Target and is pretty inexpensive.

The other popular nail polish storage unit is the Helmer from Ikea. I actually went out to Ikea to check the Helmer out before I purchased any Melmers and it didn’t really impress me. The drawers are flimsy and I really didn’t want an additionally piece of furniture to store my nail polish in. Helmer’s can hold around 500 bottles of nail polish and are around $40.

As far as organizing nail polish in the Melmers I do it by color, then by brand, then by bottle shape. Colors I have alot of (purple, blue, green, etc) have their own drawer, others have multiple colors (I don’t have many yellow polishes!). I put sticky notes on the front of my Melmer’s with the colors because when I expanded from one to two Melmers I couldn’t remember which drawer had what colors.

This organization makes it easy to find any given polish, but I really hate just standing infront of my linen closet trying to decide what nail polish to wear. The BEST organization tip I have for nail polish is to make a nail polish spreadsheet in Google Docs. Yes, I realize this sounds a little crazy, BUT!, it makes picking out a nail polish so much easier. And it’s really not as time consuming as you may think. Once you get the initial list done, it’s easy to add polishes later.

I realize that was a really long post! But I hope it was at least somewhat helpful. If you have any questions about Melmers or making a nail polish spreadsheet or anything please don’t hesitate to ask. There are a couple more pictures of my Melmers below the jump 🙂



29 thoughts on “Nail Polish Storage and Organization

  1. Lydia March 1, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    Yes! Thank you! I have been searching for something to hold my nail polish better than the plastic shoeboxes I’ve been using and this seems perfect! We always get the Michael’s coupons for 40% off in the Sunday newspaper and I also get some by email from Michael’s too. So for those of you who don’t get the Sunday paper sign up for their emails.
    The Container Store has a Like-it Modular Drawer system that I want to check out. I don’t know if it will fit the bottles well or be as cost effective as the Melmer’s System but then I don’t have nearly as many bottles of polish as you do! My collection is expanding though. =)

    • Alli March 2, 2011 at 7:19 pm

      I never pay full price for ANYTHING at Michael’s! These definitely work well for nail polish storage.

      I failed to mention in my post that these are stackable. So as your collection goes, you can always stack these units 🙂

  2. Jen March 9, 2011 at 12:41 am

    oh wow, thank you for posting this. i’ve been looking for proper storage for all my polishes, they are taking over my room right now. lol – i hope i can purchase this storage at my local michaels. *crosses fingers* – i rather not spend the money on an expensive unit at ikea :/

    • Alli March 9, 2011 at 9:59 am

      No problem! I’m glad it was helpful.

      I doubt you’ll have much problem finding this unit. Make sure to check the Sunday paper or website. Michael’s almost always has 40% off coupons 🙂

  3. Julie April 25, 2011 at 11:32 pm

    I came across your blog googling for nail polish storage and I just got my own Melmer today. (Great idea by the way…)

    Question, does your bottom drawer squeak when you pull it out and push it in? Mine does even if it is empty. Any ideas on how to fix that? Thanks!

    • Alli April 26, 2011 at 7:29 pm

      Hmm, neither of my bottom drawers squeak. I don’t know what could be causing that. Definitely check all the screws and make sure they are tight, but otherwise I don’t know what to tell you.

      Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful.

  4. lac114 August 21, 2011 at 9:42 am

    very helpful post, thanks!

  5. Patty Housel (@phouse1964) November 30, 2011 at 11:38 pm

    Amazing! I’ll be looking into this soon! My winter challenge is to paint my nails every 1-2 days and while I don’t have tons of polish (yet) what I DO have is starting to take over. Love your blog!

  6. Darla Moore May 24, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    Hello, i know your post is over a year old but i was wondering if you can tell me the dimensions of your melmer? Micheals doesnt sell the Jetmax anymore but has a very similar product.

    • Alli May 24, 2012 at 7:35 pm

      The cube is 14.25 inches in height, width, 14.5 inches in depth.

  7. Lindsay G June 17, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    Is the actual unit called a Melmer or is it something else? I went there today and there was nothing called a Melmer.

    • Alli June 17, 2012 at 8:03 pm

      They are called 3 drawer organizer cubes and are from the Craft Storage Collection

  8. Blair December 9, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    I really like this post on nail polish organization. Unfortunately I am very frustrated on which method to use. I would really like to purchase a nail polish rack so I can see each polish individually, but these tend to be ridiculously expensive and I don’t want to order it online. The Melmer seems great, but the drawers are a bit too deep and, once again, I wouldn’t be able to see the polishes individually (as in, the whole bottle) I know I seem a bit picky on this, but I would really appreciate it if you had any suggestions. Thanks 🙂

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