Free-up space in your bathroom by getting rid of nail polish

My mother has the most beautiful finger nails a woman could ever dream of having. They’re strong and straight and no one believes her when she says that they’re real. She doesn’t have professional manicures and, even though you won’t believe me, she doesn’t wear finger nail polish.

To let you in on a secret: My nails are not as beautiful as my mother’s, and I don’t wear finger nail polish either. I wouldn’t even know how to put it on if someone gave me a bottle.

I trim and file and put lotion on my cuticles so that my nails always look healthy, clean, and well-maintained. My mom might even buff hers a bit to make hers shiny. But, open up our bathroom cabinets, and you won’t find finger nail polish anywhere.

In my experience, people only notice someone else’s nails when they are dirty, unkempt, or have chipped paint on them. If you’re looking to free up some space in your bathroom cabinets, you might think about getting rid of your finger nail polish supply. In addition to giving you some space, it also has the bonus of saving you money on polish and polish remover. I also don’t experience stress about chipping my finger nail polish right before an important meeting.

If you decide to get rid of your finger nail polish, be sure to dispose of it properly. Remove the nail polish cap and allow it to become a solid (do this in a well-ventilated area, like on your front porch). Once it is a solid, it is safe to throw away in the trash. If you have an extensive finger nail polish collection, then take all of your polish to your local hazardous waste disposal facility. It is unsafe to dispose of liquid polish in your trash. Nail polish remover should also be disposed of at your local hazardous waste disposal facility.


This post has been updated since its original publication in 2007.

15 Comments for “Free-up space in your bathroom by getting rid of nail polish”

  1. posted by Misty on

    Another excellent reason to get rid of fingernail polish is that the chemicals in most adhesives mimic estrogens, which can mess up your system balance. It’s scary that young girls start wearing nail polish right when their systems are coming to maturity, and they start throwing xenohormones at their system.

  2. posted by Jennifer on

    Cosmetics are the most annoying form of clutter in my book. I have one color of eyeliner, one compact with four shades of eyeshadow, one compact with blush, one tube of foundation, and two lipsticks. That’s IT! I mean, how much do you really need, especially if you’re not single and 25 anymore?

  3. posted by Christine on

    What an excellent suggestion! I’ve been trying to find a way to minimize the bathroom clutter, and since I’m not so great at “coloring in the lines” when manicuring my own nails, this might be the way to go.

  4. posted by Nancy on

    Aargh! Great suggestion, but in New York City (where I live), manis & pedis (or lack thereof) are definitely observed. One doesn’t dare leave the house in sandals without a pedicure, nor would I ever meet a client or go on an interview or date or to a social event without a manicure. It’s definitely given high profile here (and considered that a woman who doesn’t take care of her nails, doesn’t take care of herself). However, most of us do have it done professionally at the 1 of 1,000s of nail salons NYC has to offer. My only problem is that I like to have the color at home so I can touch up if I need to. I also don’t like the quality of most salon base & top coats, so I take my own. I keep my nail care items in a clear plastic school pencil box though & limit myself to that space only. When I go to the salon, I take them in a small cosmetics bag.

  5. posted by Ginny on

    I only wear polish on my toes. My reason for the nails is the chipping issue. My girls would kill me if I got rid of our polish though, lol. I never knew not to throw out liquid polish, thanks for this post!

  6. posted by Lucy on

    I think nail polish is an okay thing. For an average woman, who does use her hands for housework, the nail polish helps strengthen my nails so that they do not break or split while I am doing household chores. I consider nail polish a pretty way to preserve the strength in my nails. The bottles of polish are small too – so it does not take up much space to have 3 bottles or so. I don’t think that eliminating all nail polish bottles is going to clear up a huge bulky space in my home at all. It’s insignificant, in terms of clutter space reduced.

  7. posted by Monica Ricci on

    I found that if I left my nails alone, they’d usually break, partly because they’re not super-thick and partly because of my line of work (I work a lot with my hands).

    Then I discovered when I polished my nails, they’d break even more! I’d often be annoyed because I’d want my nails to be nice for speaking engagements, book signings, media appearances, etc. However, I didn’t want to get acrylic nails because I thought they’d be too high-maintenance.

    However, about a year ago, I tried getting acrylic (“solar”) nails just to see what it would be like. To my delight, they are beautiful and my nails are ALWAYS camera ready. No chips, no breaks, no cracks and NO POLISH. The fake nails turned out to be way LESS maintenance than taking care of my real nails.


  8. posted by Mo on

    In spite of my office job and business attire, I am an avid rock climber and can never keep my nails looking neat or keep nail polish chip-free for more than a few days. In spite of this I am shamed to say I have bottles of nail polish stashed in various places all over my house. This is a great tip!

  9. posted by Eve on

    I like the look of polish but hate the chemicals; I love HoneyBee Gardens’ polishes!

  10. posted by Lisa S. on

    Sorry, but I’m keeping my nail polish. I don’t get fancy manicures, but I do splurge on semi-monthly pedicures and I like being able to grab one of my THREE bottles of polish and head to the salon.

    My entire cosmetics collection can fit into the vertical acrylic organizer, so I’m not too torqued about product clutter. But it’s all about using what you have and keeping only what makes you happy, you know?

  11. posted by Alice on

    I had an awakening this week but it didn’t involve getting rid of nail polish. I realized my toothbrush drawer was cluttered… when I started pulling items out I found 6 pkg dental floss, 5 toothbrushes in original wrapper and a package of inter dental brushes these had all been given to me a various dental check up. I will donate these items and I still have 1 extra brush, 2 large pkg floss, t-paste etc.

    I’ve been actively decluttering my house for several years now — its amazing but I still keep finding little stashes I never even realized I had.

  12. posted by Alison on

    Nope. Not happening. I don’t put nail polish on for other people. I put it on for me for the little splash of color or sparkle that brightens up my day. If I’ve put on one of my holographic or cool effect polishes, I sometimes stare at it for awhile just to see it. I love doing themed manis, like stamping on snowflakes for winter or pumpkin faces for Halloween. My polishes live organized neatly within a drawer in my Ikea Helmer along with all their accessories.

  13. posted by SkiptheBS on

    Yes! PaInted toenails with sparkly sandals are fun and keep people looking at the cute feet instead of my extensive collection of facial wrinkles which deft my best uncluttering efforts.

    My work keeps me washing my hands all day so no polish except on special occasions.

    I keep several polish bottles in a pretty box in an armoire drawer. Nail polish is ridiculously ineffective so I use straight acetone from the hardware store and keep it with the shop tools. Cotton balls have a nice home in a carnival glass canister so nothing looks cluttered except the tools.

  14. posted by Marion on

    I remember many years ago when I first started decluttering, I started in the bathroom with my several bottles of nail polish and it made a big difference. Today, I keep only one nail polish color – and that’s it. No clutter with only one color, and actually I only use it on my toe nails. My finger nails I keep short and trimmed. It’s so much simpler. Thanks for a great post!

  15. posted by laura ann on

    I am a housewife , retired and we do our own yard work, never wore nail polish and rarely makeup except blush and mascara only when dressing up. Have enough to do as it is.

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