March 8, 2013

Friday Favorites #8: Nail Polish Storage!

TGIF! Before I get into today's post I have a question for you guys....what do you want to see going forward in these Friday Favorites posts? I have a few ideas but they all require time to swatch things and I haven't had much time for that lately, unfortunately. I'd love to hear about what you want to see! If you've missed any posts in my Friday Favorites so far you can check them out by clicking here.

Today's Friday Favorites is about Nail Polish Storage. I've talked about this the last time I did a nail polish collection type post which can be seen here.  I get a lot of questions about what I use so I thought a new post might be handy for those of you who missed my stash video since it was done over a year ago. Just to be clear, this isn't a nail polish stash post...I am thinking about doing an updated one though, you guys let me know if you want to see it. Keep in mind if I do another stash video/post it's probably not going to be any time soon because I'm in the middle of reorganizing and destashing at the moment, and by at the moment I mean I've been at it for like 3 weeks because I'm lazy when I'm not at work or doing blog stuff haha.





Alright so there are a bajillion options for storage, the main 2 that  I will be showing and talking about in this post are the Helmer and the Alex which are both from Ikea. For me personally these are what work the best because of the amount of nail polish I have. If you don't hoard like I do you could go with wall racks or what us PolishAholics call a Melmer (it's actually not called that, I don't know the "real" name) which is a 3 drawer storage unit from Michael's.

Fun fact, I actually REALLY want wall racks, I love the way they look like art but I'm afraid to get them because of where I live. I live in Southern California and I can just picture us having an earthquake and all my polish flying off the wall...what a tragedy that would be. I am so envious of those of you with wall racks!

My first little storage unit I use is an acrylic nail polish rack that sits on my desk. This is pretty small, I believe it's meant to hold 60 bottles. I use this for storing things I need to swatch, I used to keep them in a drawer but I kept forgetting about them and things were going untried way too often. If you have a smaller stash or maybe a few polishes that you want to display or that you grab for a lot this is something you might like. When I'm not so backed up with things to swatch I like to keep my base and top coats along with my favorite polishes to layer with in this so that they are easy to find.

I got this nail polish rack at a local beauty supply for about $12. I'm sure you can find something on ebay that is very similar by searching nail polish display or nail polish table rack etc...

A peek at future blog posts...how exciting!

Next up is probably the most popular nail polish storage option, at least in blogger land...it's the Helmer from Ikea. The Helmer is a 6 drawer unit that looks like a mini filing cabinet. It's great for nail polish storage because it's small but it holds a ton of polish, depending on the size & shape of the bottles you are storing it holds around 400-500 bottles. The Helmer comes in 3 colors: Red, White & Silver. I own 3 red ones, I love the way they look!

Image Source: Ikea.com

Since the Helmer is from Ikea you do have to build it, I don't think it's too difficult to put together...the only tool you need is a screw driver to attached the drawer pulls since it's all held together by the way you bend things along with tabs you bend to hold everything in place. The Helmer does come with casters but as a personal preference I didn't use them on any of mine. 

Here's a little looksie inside one of my Helmer drawers, it's one of my Zoya drawers. I currently have 2 and they are both full so I need to make another Zoya drawer (because I can't part with any of my Zoyas...I have a problem). I really like storing brands with more compact bottles in the Helmer because you really can pack a ton of them in there. Each Helmer drawer holds 84 bottles of Zoya!

Under the polish is a squishy shelf liner from Target so the bottles don't fall over when you open the drawer

The view from above, my only dislike about the Helmer is that the drawers aren't super sturdy when you pull them out most of the way. They tilt down and can actually fall out if you aren't careful while you pull the drawer out most of the way trying to get something from the back. This isn't a huge deal but you do want to be careful when sliding them way out.



My favorite storage for polish is also from Ikea, it's the 9 drawer Alex. There is also a 5 drawer version of the Alex, I've heard the drawers are more shallow in it though so if you are thinking about getting it I'd take a few bottles of polish from different brands with you to Ikea and make sure they actually fit in the drawers before buying. As far as I know the 9 drawer Alex only comes in White, depending on the size/shape of the bottles you are storing it can hold upwards of 800 bottles...I've honestly never counted but it's about twice the size (maybe bigger) than the Helmer so that's a rough guess.

I like the 9 drawer Alex because it's huge, it also looks like actual furniture and it's very sturdy. There are 5 shallow drawers and 4 huge drawers. The shallow drawers fit polishes like OPI, Orly and China Glaze just fine. If you have really tall bottles from other brands the bottom drawers would be great for them. I like the big drawers for storage of supplies like nail polish remover and random things like that.

Image Source: Ikea.com
Much like the Helmer you have to build the Alex, it's more involved and a little bit difficult to put together but it's not that bad compared to other stuff I've put together from Ikea (like my entertainment unit...what a PITA). Unlike the Helmer the drawers for the Alex are secured to the unit with screws so they slide in and out smoothly and there isn't an issue with them tilting or almost falling out. However this also causes my only annoyance with the Alex...the drawers don't slide all the way out. Because of this I usually stick polishes I don't love towards the back of the drawers because they are hard to get to. Right now I don't have shelf liners in these like I do with the Helmer, I need to get them because the polishes do slide around when you open a drawer.

Below is a look at my Orly drawer, there are about 75 bottles in here and as you can see there is still a lot of room for more.


So that's it! I'd love to hear what you guys use for storage! If you have any questions let me know in the comments!

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78 comments:

  1. Hi. Thanks for sharing, it is fun to see a glimpse into how big your stash is and how you manage it. Do you also have them in a spreadsheet? I keep mine in a plastic shelf unit from Walmart, and also in a vanity that belonged to my grandmother, and it has overflowed to a sewing box from my girlhood and an overnight bag, like you put your makeup in. I am trying to use things I have around here, and hide the polish as much as I can.

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  2. LOVE the look of the Alex - its awesome! I store my polishes in a 3 drawer system at the moment, but I have 250 bottles so it works well for now :)

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  3. I have that exact cabinet under my desk, in red as well and it's mainly full of junk while I wonder where I can keep all my polishes! -doh- Time for a clear out of the Helmer at the weekend!

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  4. Fantastic post! I would love to know how/if you rotate your collection, in terms, whether you swap nail polishes, give away, etc. Do you own all the polishes you show? What is the life span of the nail polish? What do you do with the polishes that go bad? Do you 'resuscitate' them? If so, how? What is your nail polish budget?
    You do great job, keeping us informed :). I love your blog :)

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  5. ohmygod. that just amaaazing! and organized! <3 i would love to see a stash video btw :) much love from asia xx

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  6. I fixed my Alex so the drawers now come out all the way. Remove the screw that holds the rail to the side of the drawer. It's the screw you see near the front of the drawer. I removed them and I have had no issues with the drawer sliding out too fast or tilting but I can now remove it completely and get to the polishes in the back. You could try it with one drawer to see how you like it.

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  7. I have a Helmer as well! Love it!

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  8. Great post, Jen! I would love to see an update of your stash once you're finished organizing. Also, I think it would be really informative if you could tell us how you organize within each brand/collection. Right now, as my collection grows exponentially, I'm having a really tough time keeping track of things.

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  9. I also have a red helmer, it is quite full but it is still only one so most possibly I will need another one in the future. I like the alex a lot but I want one not so much for polish but for my other cosmetics

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  10. Kelly LauderdaleMarch 8, 2013 at 6:22 AM

    I loved seeing this! As I continue to accumulate polishes (I'm only around 100 right now) I have been searching for better storage solutions. The tote I started with is not even close to doing it.

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  11. Ikea actually discontinued the white Helmer for some reason :(.

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  12. I currently am using 2 Melmers from Michaels. They are actually pretty nice, you put them together on your own as well.
    My only complaint is that sometimes you caa get a squeaky drawer (they slide over plastic rails if that makes sense). I wish I could some how make them have the real drawer wheels. I love thr Melmers too because two stacked on top of each other fit perfectly under my desk! :)
    My two units though are proving to be not quite enough anymore (about 300+ polishes in them right now) so I'm going to have to decide if I want one of these ones or more Melmers...

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  13. They did? It was still available in all 3 colors when I looked at Ikea.com last night

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  14. I'll give that a try, I thought about doing that but I was worried the tracks for the drawers might want to stay in the unit and not slide out with the drawer if I unscrewed them (if that makes sense). This is such a great idea!

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  15. I'm travelling with a bunch of mine, and I've found that an unused poker box works great!

    http://pinterest.com/pin/231724343299379764/

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  16. I do have a spreadsheet, there is a link to it at the top of my blog :)

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  17. This is seriously great, thank you for sharing! I currently use three of the five-drawer plastic storage carts from Target, but I've outgrown them and since the drawers aren't tall enough to have the polishes stand up, it's pretty disorganized. But IKEA seems like the best option for me, now that I'm getting to more than 1,000 bottles of polish. Thank you again for letting us peek into your organization system!

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  18. I also have a helmer, but it's not totally loaded with polish

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  19. I live maybe 4 hours from the nearest Ikea, and with a toddler it's not feasible to go. I'll have to check out their shipping options. I'm working on adding cremes to my collection for layering, and would love to see a list of your go-to shades for each color.

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  20. Thank you so much for sharing! I have about 6 of those 3 drawer containers from Walmart, and plus polish on top of each and it is taking up way too much space in my house, lol. I will definitely be looking into getting Helmers next week during my break, lol.

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  21. This blog post is very interesting. I have a storage obsession. I love drawers and containers and everything like that! :)
    I don't have a lot of nail polish, so I keep all my nail polish in one of those makeup bags that are sturdy and zip up. It's not really a bag, though...it stands up and is has a handle and a strap on it. I'm not sure what to call it. I'm able to keep all of my nail polish and a travel makeup bag with supplies in it. I don't wear makeup, so I'm just glad I was able to find uses for those bags! :)

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  22. I have a Helmer, I was getting to a point where organizing them by color instead of brand was easier for me... but I had them separated (like a half inch of space all around a bottle), then I bumped into an open drawer and all the polished fell over. So I put them all together and touching but I am realizing I cant do that by color anymore (awkward shaped bottles dont sit well together) Now I will have to organize them by brand. Is this the only way to organize them?

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  23. It's still on the website, but if you look you can only save the white one to a list, you can't purchase online. And the majority of the stores no long have them them stock. I called to see when they would have it back in stock because I already have 3 white helmers and wanted a few more, and the agent stated the were discontinuing the white ones.

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  24. Interesting, I didn't notice that. Hope they aren't doing away with them. Now I want to go to my local store and see if they have any

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  25. They probably will remain in the unit but it doesn't effect the drawer coming out or going back in at all. I found that they stayed on the drawer most of the time. I suggest trying it with one drawer to see how you like it. Mine doesn't tip or come out really fast - which worried me! - so no worries about it falling on my foot or bottles breaking. It made a huge difference in getting to those back bottles.

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  26. Hi! Where you have bought you Hard Candy nail polishes? I live in Finland but I'm going to Las Vegas to visit my sister next week and I'd love to have those Hard Candy nail polishes! :)

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  27. I had a Helmer, and when I went to get a second one my husband suggested the Alex because it looked nicer. I keep them in my bedroom because that is where I usually paint my nails and it gets great light. My Alex is pretty full, I need another one!

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  28. disqus_9wiYVSArGuMarch 8, 2013 at 9:46 AM

    Love this post! I work in the beauty industry so i have about 5 of the 90 piece OPI stands and a couple China Glaze stands because not all polishes fit in the OPI stands. Love the China Glaze stands, they are AWESOME & look great because of the black wire. Just ordered a red Helmer though for all my miscellaneous polishes stored in bins that need a home!

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  29. Wow. U do. Have a lot. U did a great job sharing this. It was informative and it will help me organize. Thank you. Can we see more photos of degens. What ate his daily routine.

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  30. They are available at Walmart, hope you can find them!

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  31. For my birthday this year I was given a 3 piece Stanley tool box from Lowes $35 holds just over 100 polishes on the top part plenty of room for nail art items and small bottles in "nut and bolt" section and the bottom holds everything else you would need . I do a lot of home mani's for friends and the wheels make it soo easy to take out best value especially if u need to travel with polishes just line the hole thing with velvet stick on liner from a craft store to give the side a little softness and ur set . Great and inexpensive and best part all ur bottle remain upright !

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  32. I have a couple of Melmers from Michaels but my drawers are so full that they bow in the middle and don't slide out easily. Does this happen with the Helmer?

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  33. nope, I've never had that problem with my Helmer or Alex

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  34. Oh my god, please give me all of your Orly nail polishes. I swear on my life that I'll cherish them all.

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  35. Love it!! I would absolutely kill to have a stash like yours! I've been working on mine for the past year, but of course it doesn't come any where close to yours.

    As for some Friday Favorites I would love to see some fun nails art ideas. I'm always trying new things and would love to see what you do!

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  36. I love the look of the Alex! I don't have an Ikea near me though. :( I've never been to one.

    I currently use a small chest of drawers that's meant to be sort of a hallway or entry-way decorative peice of furniture. It works though.

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  37. Right now I'm using a plastic tub from the container store store to hold my polishes. I'd say I have about 35-40 or so so it works for me, the only problem is that everything tends to get jumbled around when I take it out. I don't have enough justification yet for a helmer or an Alex.

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  38. I use a wall rack and I LOVE IT. It's looks fantastic and its a great way to see all of your polishes at once (great for me because I sometimes struggle to pick what color I'mma rock that day). Only downside is its a little pricey. =(

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  39. I have the 5 drawer version of the Alex drawer and it's perfect for my nail polishes!!
    It's not flimsy like other furniture and you can tell that it is going to last you a very long time! xx

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  40. I would love wall racks but I don't know if having all my polish on display and expose to light would be a good thing. I like keeping my polish in the bathroom because they're the coolest rooms in summer and I wouldn't have room for the amount of wall racks I'd need in there.


    I like the look of the Alex, and I love the Zoya/Orly drawers, it's nice seeing one brand all together!

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  41. I have the 6 drawer Alex that I use as a nightstand/nail polish storage. I have 1000+ polishes and I only use 4 of the drawers as actual polish storage so it could fit a ton more. But ya does suck that there's all that wasted space since the drawers don't come out fully. Oh well I still love it lol

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  42. Crystal (CDesigns92)March 8, 2013 at 4:40 PM

    That's a great way to store polishes! Thanks for sharing!

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  43. I used a Helmer, which I've always been reluctant to get because it's so ugly and file cabinet-y looking. I made it cute though so it actually fits in with the furniture in my room and I'm super happy with it! It holds all my nail polishes!! No more shoeboxes yay! But the quality is a bit sad with the drawers, but it's ok it's just incentive to keep my drawers closed :)

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  44. This has been an obsession of mine lately...finding the perfect storage. I really like the idea of a wall rack. I like the idea of seeing all my polishes. I'm curious if anyone has had trouble with wall racks. The only downside I see is having to clean the bottles off every once in a while. Thoughts?

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  45. I've been looking for a white Helmer for months - guess this is why I can't find it! I have one red and one silver. :/

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  46. This isn't even a storage question (although I am very jealous of how organized you are)- Where did you find Barry M in the US?! I just moved back here from England and I miiiiiiss it!

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  47. I have a white helmer but its not full yet. I still have two drawers empty and around 300+ so far. I'm using the helmer to restrict myself...I can't have more than what will fit in there so once I breach that last drawer I'll have to give some away!

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  48. I bought them from ninjapolish.com!

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  49. I have 2 Helmers. Most of my drawers aren't nearly as full as yours, but I love that I can organize them. My drawers are organizes by color instead of by brand, because I figure if I open the green drawe, it's easy to zero in on the Zoya or the Orly or whatever bottles based on the shape, and only have hose few to pick through to find the one I want. If I organized by brand, I'd end up picking up all of them before I found the one I was looking for (Murphy rules my life). Zoya's are my favorite bottles. Nicole by OPI and Julep are my least favorite. I still need to find a way to deal with the polishes I'm using and those I need to make swatchsicles for. I'm going to ask for the new Caboodles nail polish train case for Mother's Day.

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  50. Lindsay Brooke WilliamsMarch 8, 2013 at 10:25 PM

    I have just over 400 and I keep them all in my Helmer which is starting to get full (and frankly that terrifies me) I have mine sorted by color because that's how I browse for what to wear next. I did try it by brand so everything would fit together better and I just couldn't stand it. Each drawer front is labeled with each color I have inside it, it works pretty well for me.

    Thank you so much for the idea of drawer liners! I HATE everything sliding around in the drawers but that never occurred to me, you're a genius!

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  51. you can also get them from harlowandco.org

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  52. Harlow & Co no longer carries Barry M unfortunately

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  53. Hi. I got an Alex 6-drawer unit in the fall, then a Helmer. My
    collection keeps growing so my husband got me another Alex for
    Christmas.

    I saw a great idea on another blog (Emerald
    Eyeliner).where she used an Antonius divided drawer insert to organize
    things. (http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/50043573/) It's
    essentially a plastic bin that exactly fits into the Helmer drawer. The
    drawer holds less polish this way, but the inserts can be easily
    removed and the bottles stay neatly standing up!

    I use these for
    my Alex drawers, too. I have two in each drawer, with about six inches
    along the side for other things. This solves the problem of not being
    able to reach the back of the drawers because I just lift out the bin.
    Again, the drawer holds fewer bottles of polish this way, but I find it
    easier to manage the bottles this wayr. Also, I would think it would
    make reorganizing the stash easier.

    To give you an idea, the Antonius can hold about 56 bottles of Color Club.bottles and about 50 Orly bottles.

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  54. Great post! I don't have nearly as many polishes as you (yet)! I live in IKEA:s homeland Sweden so of course I have furnitures from there to my polishes. My choise was an Alex with 6 drawers in it.Works great.

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  55. Thank you! :)

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  56. Ahhhh, thank you!! I know what I'll be doing this weekend! Sorry, credit card.

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  57. Have you ever done a post on the OPI Gel Color? I'm really interested in those, but not sure, whether I should grab one... Maybe that's rather a topic for a regular post instead of Friday Favorites, but I would love it! :)

    Regarding the FF, an update on your stash would be amazing. It would also be nice, if you told us something about like what polishes you like to wear in everyday life and how often you change the colour of your nails, unless you have stuff to swatch of course. ;)

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  58. Nope sorry, gel polish isn't something I ever use.

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  59. Great post! I use the "360" plastic fishing tackle boxes from Bass Pro

    http://s7d5.scene7.com/s7viewers/dhtml/images/spacer.gif

    (the spacers are removable and adjustable). They fit the polishes perfectly and are clear so I can see what's what. I have them sorted by colour. I use one of the plastic boxes strictly for my manicure tools and the OPI bottle of polish remover fits perfectly (I just refill it as needed). They also carry a bag to store the boxes in that makes the whole system very portable

    http://www.basspro.com/Bass-Pro-Shops-Utility-Box-Carriers/product/59192/

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  60. I love , love , love my racks!! Yes, you will need to dust them - I currently have (5) 96 bottle racks, and 3 more on the way. I also have a 270 bottle rack - it is "3 deep" - so it's not my favorite one. I like them to be ALL be seen --> on single rows. ~smile~

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  61. You shouldn't keep your polish in a bath room - unless the tub and shower are never used. The humidity isn't good for them. I use "racks"...I love to see mine. The light should be fine - just not exposed to the sun light, ie: near a window. ~good luck~

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  62. Let me say that I LOVE LOVE LOVE your blog. Now that I have that out of the way. I love everything about the helmet but for me it is not economically smart since the shipping cost is about half the cost of the item.

    For my storage I actually use 3 drawer organizer cubes by Recollection that I got at Michael's. These are pretty darn sturdy & can be stacked. I have 4 that are stacked and there are no issues of tipping or anything. The only down fall is that the bottom drawer does not have any rails or anything to glide on just the actual drawer material so you get a bit of a squeak. I am sure rubbing soap on it will alleviate the squeak but I have bee took lazy to do it...lol

    They are typically $45 but you can typically find them on sale for 40%-50% off or use a coupon for 40% off a full price item.

    Here is a link if anyone is interested: http://www.michaels.com/3-Drawer-Organizer-Cube/sb3460,default,pd.html?start=22&cgid=products-scrapbooking-recollections-storage

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  63. Is the bottom of the Alex drawers a solid piece of wood (or wood imitation)? The storage I currently have from target has basically thick cardboard for the base of the drawers which is bowing like crazy in the fuller drawers. I don't want to sink $120 into another storage system and have the same problem.

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  64. I don't know what they are made from but it's definitely not flimsy cardboard. I have drawers completely full of OPI and I've never had a problem with the bottoms bowing or not being able to hold the weight.

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  65. Amy &amp; RachaelMarch 13, 2013 at 1:19 PM

    My nail polish collection is currently kept in deep drawers and its getting to be too much, thanks for the ideas :)

    xx

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  66. I have an Alex but I didn't secure the drawers so that's a downer like the helmer but it is true it is a pita to build and a pita to get polish out of the back. But it keeps my vices out of view. I ran out of room for polish/supply storage but I don't want to get another one (will double my collection...eek)

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  67. I was thinking maybe you could do a Friday Favorites (maybe a video?) on how you shape your nails.

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  68. Is it necessary for the drawers to be airtight? Is there a difference if I store them in a wooden drawer? How long can your nail polishes last?


    Am currently looking into some nail polish storage solutions.. (:

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  69. Great post! I love the idea of using a nail polish rack for untrieds, because even though I mark them (using hole punch reinforcers because I had them already...haha), I do seem to forget about them, especially if they're in the back of the drawer. I would also really like to get an Alex someday, but that probably won't happen as long as I'm still in college/grad school (eventually). I'd hate to have to move that twice a year. Right now I have two Melmers, so they're pretty easy to move in and out of my on-campus apartment.

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  70. I have never heard of anyone needing airtight drawers. As long as you tighten the lid decently, there shouldn't be any evaporation. (I have some old polishes that are about 10 years old, I recently bought Restore from Zoya to thin them down so they are usable again.)

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  71. I'm late to the game on this, but I went to Ikea this weekend, and it was still there. My husband thinks they changed the SKU on it, because it was a separate listing from the red/silver in their in-house stock computer, and it was on a different row in the self-service section from the others as well. Before I found them, I was so mad at myself for not calling to check stock beforehand since we had driven 2 hours to get there. But they're definitely there! They're just not with the others for some reason.

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  72. Your Friday Favorites are my favorite! You asked what we'd like to see in them. I'm always a little thrown when you say you've "thinned a streaky formula" so it's less streaky - how do you do that? How do you deal with streaky polishes? How do you keep nails from chipping? How do you let nails grow long without picking at them? I guess I'm after all the little tricks you use to keep your nails looking good and making troublesome polish working. Thank you for all your posts - I do love them!

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  73. This was a great post! I want to get a drawer unit from ikea to store my makeup but never thought to stick polish in there! Walmart had some adorable drawer liners I need an excuse to buy... I have a little plastic rack like you showed but it's beyond full so I need to investigate other storage options which is how I found your blog!!

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  74. Unfortunately, I have a clothing obsession as well as a polish obsession, so I don't really have room for any more drawer units. I use a wall rack that I made myself (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-QmkFhLfHg ... I think I'm going to need to build another one soon). It's surprisingly sturdy, cheap to make and I like that I can see my polishes when deciding what to put on. I also keep mine sorted by color rather than brand, because I have quite a few oddball brands and I like to be able to pick coordinating colors for nail art easily.

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  75. I like wall racks best. I would forget my polishes and what I have if they were in a drawers

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  76. Hi Jen. Great blog post! I'm thinking about investing in a Helmer or an Alex from Ikea when i move out of my apartment to my new Apartment in March of 2014. My question is would the China Glaze bottles fit more comfortable in an Helmer or should I go with the Alex. Based off the pictures I see that your Zoya polishes looked snug and perfect for the Helmer. And your Orly's looks really good for the Alex.


    Thanks for your time! :)

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  77. I'd go with the Alex, you can fit so many more and much more comfortably than you can with the Helmer!

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