How I organize my nail supplies – Part 2

In this post I would like to discuss how I organize all my supplies in the nail space at my home, and how my system enables me to quickly gather and easily transport the items I need a the salon.

As you saw in Part 1 of this series, I have quite a few nail supplies that I work with on a regular basis.  To organize all that gel polish I bought quite a few photo boxes from one of our local craft stores, Michael’s.

pib1b The ones I bought are sturdy cardboard covered in black paper, and so far they’ve held up quite nicely for several years. They were probably only a couple dollars each, on sale or with a coupon. You can find them in various patterns to match your decor.

When storing gel polish it’s very important to keep UV light away from the bottles.  If not, the gel will start to cure over time in the bottle. These boxes are opaque and work very well for this purpose. I organize my Gelish by color family and each gets its own box, or some share, as needed. For instance, colors like red, purple and pink each get their own box, whereas colors like green and blue or brown and orange might share a box because there are fewer shades of each.  Each box has its own label and, if a box gets too full, I can just split up the colors when necessary.

Inside each box is a metal ring with a swatch stick for every color that goes in that box.  I ordered my metal binder rings and my swatch sticks from, and they are the Uxcell 2/2″ metal binder rings and Jovana brand white plastic swatch sticks. With a fine point permanent marker I label each stick with the Gelish Item # and the name, and paint 2-3 coats of that color plus top coat before adding it to the binder ring.

Each color also gets swatched on one nail of a natural color swatch wheel, which I also bought from The swatch wheel is labeled with the name  of the color next to its nail (I use a label maker on the smallest font setting for this purpose.) The purpose of having two sets of swatches is so that I can leave the swatch sticks in each box, while I carry the swatch wheels with me to appointments.  And since clients don’t care about the item #, I don’t put that information on the swatch wheel.

The downside to carrying the swatch wheels with me is that, over time, they take a lot of wear and tear from transportation and various people handling them. Some of the colors have also become faded over time and are no longer true representations.  I expect that eventually I’ll need to re-do a wheel or two.

I store my boxes of polish on the shelves in my nail room. This way they’re easily accessibly but our of the way.  As I mentioned in my previous post, I have many seasonal colors that I keep out and ready to go to the salon. Those colors plus the essentials like base and top coat, some pinks and reds and neutrals, I keep in a rolling “trolley” cart that I bought from our local salon supply store, Cosmoprof.

sbs-875710 This cart is Modern Elements brand, and is fairly well-made considering the price point. For me it serves a dual purpose because it also holds all the supplies I need to do my nails at home, which means I can move it from room to room as needed.

Before I head out to the salon, I grab the polishes from the top tray of this cart and put them in a container to go to the salon. For me this works nicely because they’re in the cart if I need them when I’m not at the salon, but they’re also ready to go to the salon quickly.

In part three of this series I’ll discuss a some of the issues I’ve found in working with gel polish for 5+ years, for myself and my clients.


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