I've got something a little different for you today - a look into how I choose to organize and keep track of my stash! Although I know this is a system or technique lots of polish bloggers and polish lovers use, I first saw it over on The Polish Well's blog, and I became obsessed. What a beautiful and organized way to have every polish ready to sample, to pair with other polishes, and to file away neatly! This system, of course, is the use of swatch sticks, the plastic sticks with a nail bed at the end. Read & see more after the jump!
I choose to organize mine by color, which a ring for each color category (reds, pinks, greens, etc.) While the swatch sticks come with nuts and bolts, I prefer the loose leaf rings because it's easier to put new swatch sticks on and take old ones off. It also takes away that hard and fast limit of 50 sticks per bolt.
When I get a new polish to swatch, I generally add it to my stash list, and print out a label for the stick consisting of the polish brand, the name, and the number of coats necessary for opacity. I learned quickly that unless you want all your polishes to look matte, you actually have the paint the underside of the stick and let the sheen of the plastic act as topcoat. With the exception of matte polishes and textured polishes, I always follow that rule. I try to keep the sticks in order of darkest to lightest shade, so once the stick is dry, I match it up with the closest shades to it and pop it on the ring. The best part about them is that when I'm swapping or selling my or unused polishes, I can include the sticks with the polish as a nice little extra, and give the new owner an idea of what it will look like on the nail!
Aside from keeping a physical running list of my collection, I also use these for myself and family when we're unsure of what color to use. They're easy enough to hold over the natural nail to see exactly how the polish will wear. It's also made life so much easier when it comes to glitter toppers; you can pick your undie color and slap a glitter on top with the sticks, without having to make a mess on your nails and then take it off if you don't like it! It's also great for quickly and roughly matching up dupes and making sure you're not buying a fifth red in the same shade (which I'm 100% guilty of doing all the time!) To me, they've been a worthwhile investment, and they definitely keep me organized. I reach for them all the time, and it makes me REALLY ultra conscious of what I've got! One of the best things is that they're relatively inexpensive; I found mine on eBay for less than $3 per set of 50. What are your organization methods for your stash? Let me know in the comments below!