Moving My Makeup and Nail Polish Stash 1,000 Miles

Not long after I accepted the job offer that would move my family 1,000 miles away, I popped into my office. I looked around.

“Wow,” I thought. “I really do have a lot of makeup and nail polish.”

HA, now, this wasn’t really “news” to me, but I haven’t really had to think about how much I own in recent years. In 2015, when we moved into our house, I simply moved the plastic shoe boxes I had with nail polish inside just a little at a time while on maternity leave.

But moving 1,000 miles is different than moving a half hour away. There are movers involved who will pack and load for us, and we can only take the essentials in the U-haul trailer we’ll take down with us since we’re in temporary housing when we arrive.

Since nail polish is flammable, moving that is on me; and I decided I could fit my makeup stash in my car. So all my beauty goodies will make the trek down with us.

Knowing this, over the course of several weeks, I weeded out a TON of nail polish. I must’ve gotten rid of a third or more of my collection. More than 25 plastic shoe boxes worth – I took it out in beach bags, large plastic containers, and plastic shoe boxes. It was the biggest, most necessary destash I could have done.

I went through my makeup and brutally tossed stuff, particularly among my single-pan or loose eye shadows, because I favor palettes these days. I also got rid of more than a big plastic drawer full of lippies. In total, when all was said and done, I got rid of more than one plastic drawer set of makeup.

While I pared things down, I recognize that my collection is still larger than the typical person’s array of cosmetics and nail polish. So I thought I’d share with you how I’ve approached packing all of it, and how I’ll transport it.

Eye Palettes

At first, I stuffed all my palettes into a large, expandable tote bag that I’d gotten years ago from Thirty-One. But I could not lift it. I certainly wouldn’t be able to carry it up the steps out of the house or lift it into my car.

So I broke my stash down into two piles, and packed them into two smaller bags. I have another Thirty-One bag – a large, over-sized duffel – that has three large compartment bags designed to fit inside for organization. I’m going to use the duffel itself for my older daughter Lorelei’s clothes, shoes and other needs, but I used two of the three compartment bags for my palettes. The one bag was not full all the way, so I tossed in the “extras” I have of things – a spare powder, mascara or liner. Stuff that hasn’t been opened yet because I don’t need it quite yet!

Nail Polish

Over the last year, I’ve stored my nail polish two ways: Used nail polish is separated by color in plastic shoe boxes while untried nail polish is either in a couple of large plastic containers or holographic bins in my cubby furniture.

I emptied the holo bins into more plastic shoe boxes for this move, because the bins are flimsy and not a useful way to travel.

I took every plastic shoe box or plastic container and added as many layers and stuffing of bubble wrap as would fit, creating a tight storage for the polish. I didn’t wrap each bottle individually and I worry they will bang against each other and potentially break, but at the same time…I can’t worry about that.

After adding the bubble wrap, I wrapped each shoe box with packing tape to keep them closed for the drive.

There are some nail polish-filled shoe boxes tucked into larger tubs that have, for example, shoes in it.

I will have to report back on how the stash makes out. Some of it will be in my car, but much of it will have to go in the trailer. I anticipate the trailer to be more bouncy than the car, so I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little nervous!

Cheeks and Things

One of the other products I pared down was my blushes. I tend to reach for the same shades, but I do like variety. So I got rid of a bunch. My blushes didn’t take up a whole bag, so I added my random nail wraps from various brands like Maybelline, NCLA and Kiss. The bag doesn’t zipper, so it’s definitely going in my car.


I am obsessed with highlighters and while I could be ruthless in some areas of my stash, I had trouble parting with any of my glow.

But, I fit all of my highlighters – mostly powders and palettes – into my old Marc Jacobs backpack. I’m not too concerned about these, and they’ll go in my car for the journey.


I didn’t know what the heck to do with my lipsticks. All I knew was, I didn’t want to leave them in storage!

I basically took the drawers out of the plastic drawer set, and put them in this Thirty-One carrier. I added another bag of loose lippies. I have way too many lippies…

I added more to this second Thirty-One bag.

Also want to note…I have a ton of Thirty-One bags. It’s because I sold it for over a year several years ago. Love them! But will probably pare down my bags!


I use mostly pencil eyeliners with a couple liquid pens and a couple gels. So they easily fit into a cosmetic bag! Here’s a look at that bag and one of the palette bags, closed:

Loose Shadows/Singles

Finally, my loose shadows and singles went into this smaller bag. I used to have about double the amount, but the reality is I just don’t reach for them. I kept a bunch, of course, but like I said – I was brutal in what I got rid of.

So have you ever done a long-distance move? How did you move your collection? This is probably not the most secure way I could have approached the move, but honestly, with two kids and a whole house to worry about, I did my best! The majority of the makeup, as I mentioned, will go in the back of my SUV and the nail polish in the U-Haul trailer.

I’ll check back and let you know how I made out with everything – if there were any casualties!