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The quick way to deal with product samples chaos

Blog post   •   Jun 17, 2014 11:45 +08

If you're a beauty column writer for a publication, likelihood is your desk is warping under the weight of thousands of samples sent to you every week.  The health and beauty market is crowded, and every brand is craving for journalistic attention.  Hence the samples chaos - paper bags, press releases, products encased in bejeweled boxes, or just products in their store-bound packaging.  

We were at the offices of a local magazine for a photoshoot last week, and chanced upon the desk of their beauty column writer.  We didn't get a chance to take pictures, but there was a mountain of samples, in a very literal sense, rising up from the carpeted floor.  This samples-Everest topped off at navel height and spawned several ridges a quarter of the way down the U-shaped desk. 

We didn't mean to gawk, but we did.  We didn't mean to turn green with envy, but we did.  And yes, we DID wanted to dive into the bed of paper-bags-and-boxes, much like a kid in autumn with a pile of leaves.  Not out of wanting to fish something to take home, but to get it organized. 

So this post is dedicated to all beauty journos out there who are struggling to get their heads above their samples clutter, and to their esteemed colleagues, who need some relief from the safety hazard. 

First of all, remove all the product samples from their paper bags and bulky, blinged-out boxes.  Leave only the items in their original packaging.  Then group them according to their purpose.  For example - eyeshadows, lip gloss, blusher, foundation, BB creams - you get the picture.  For combination items, e.g. lip and cheek tint, leave them into a separate category. 

Then pay the nice folks at Muji a visit to get a couple of PP (polypropylene) storage drawers.  One nice thing about working in a magazine - you get loads of working space.  So, make full use of it.  But before heading down, do measure the free space around your desk (THRICE!). 

We like Muji's 55cm-wide-by-44.5cm-deep PP drawers, because they are wide enough to have everything visible, and not too deep to pull out for access (in a cubicle).  The plastic is thick and sturdy, does not discolor and the drawers do not become "stuck" over time.  These PP drawers come in 3 different heights - 18cm, 24cm and 30cm.  Depending on the size of your collection, each drawer may fit 2 to 3 different categories of products.  Buy drawers of the right height to fit the category of products you plan to place in it.  

Smaller items like lipsticks and small eyeshadow palettes will go well in the 18cm drawer.  While the 24cm or 30cm drawers fit larger items like hand creams, lotion bottles, etc, better.  If you're unsure, buy one drawer of each height, do some trial and error at the office, and then come back to return or exchange them (or buy more).  After all, Muji has a 7-day exchange policy. 

If you foresee that each drawer will have 2 or more categories in it, head down to your friendly neighborhood home goods store (Japan Home, Good Price, or otherwise) and get a couple of baskets, then assign a category to each basket.  If the plastic-ky baskets don't appeal, and you want something that looks more organic, ask the friendly Muji store staff about their "non-woven partition cases".  Again, these come in several different sizes, and are excellent companions to the PP drawers.  They were not designed for holding cosmetics, but not that it matters to us - cos we're the MacGuyvers of the organizing world!

Have fun organizing and let us know what you think!

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