Discussion: How do you organize your workshop?

In the January Q&A, Camirra asked: I’m not sure if you have posted about this already, but how do you organize your workshop? I am struggling to organize my ingredients in my workshop in a meaningful way. Right now they are just thrown in boxes and I hunt for what I want when I formulate=bad system. What is yours? And I would appreciate if anyone else would share ideas as well.

Oh, Camirra, thank you so much for thinking I might be organized! I am so disorganized, I actually worry about it at night when I’m trying to fall asleep. (I’m hoping to hire someone in the next few weeks to help me inventory everything I have now and figure out how to store it all!)

In that same post, Elizabeth suggested: I have my ingredients sorted on shelves by category. So, all of the oils in one section, extracts together, emulsifiers together etc. That helps me find things that I am looking for. When I need a humectant, I find it in my section for that. I hope that helps.

I do this, too. I try to have a box for categories of ingredients. My oils tend to be in the freezer, but right now I have boxes for some oils and butters, esters, silicones, botanical extracts, conditioners, emulsifiers, powders & salts (which is a super heavy box), preservatives, humectants, and surfactants. (As a note, keep the humectants and powders away from each other or you’ll have a soppy mess in a few days!) But I have a ton of things that aren’t categorized yet, which is where I’m feeling stressed and frustrated.

I also have boxes for mineral make-up ingredients and another for micas & glitters.

This picture of my notebook was originally a list of new ingredients I’ve added to the workshop this year. You can see in the upper left hand corner I have cold lotions, then conditioners, surfactants, and humectants. I’m working on a master list with notes on which box I might find something. What you see here, my friends consider very tidy for me. Five months later, this list is a crazy disaster!

Another question I have for you, my lovely readers, is how to you store your bottles? I’ve normally stored mine in large Ziploc bags by category – 2 ounce tottles, 4 ounce tottles, 50 ml foamer bottles, and so on – but this is getting out of hand!


We had a great discussion about how we organize our formulas on Patreon on December 14th, which ties in with this idea.

How do you organize your workshop? How do you store your bottles? Share your thoughts! (If you have pictures, we can add them now to the comments below, and we’d love to see what you’re doing!)