One of my favorite things to do is re-use and repurpose, and I love coming up with inexpensive ways to keep my dance stuff organized and ready to use. Hence, I’ve often been called “The Martha Stewart Of Dancers” which tickles me to no end! Here are some tips and tricks for cleaning and storing all your necessary tools and accessories, so you can focus on dancing, not hunting stuff down!
Keep a travel-sized spray bottle of rubbing alcohol in your make up kit or gig bag for cleaning your beauty tools. Each time you apply concealer, eyeliner or any blush or shadow, spritz your brushes and wipe them off gently, in the direction of the bristles, on a tissue to remove pigments and get rid of bacteria. Every so often, take a cotton ball and spritz it to wipe down the inside of your brush roll or the inside of your cosmetic bag to keep it fresh and germ-free. You can also spray your combs and hairbrushes so you’re not spreading oils or old product through your hair as you brush or style it.
Type out a “generic” show introduction in an easy-to-read font, and keep a few in a pocket of your gig bag. Slip it in with your CDs when you hand them over to the deejay or emcee, and you’ll never have to look for a pen or scramble to come up with an intro at the last minute.
Keep rhinestones and crystals in a pillbox, and pop it into your make up bag. To store bindis, cut a small sheet of wax paper or plastic, stick the bindis to it and keep it in a business card case, or inside a small container like a recycled cough drop or breath mint tin. When you’re ready to use the little decorations again, just peel them off, apply a dot of eyelash glue and stick them where the sun does shine.
Use ice cube trays to organize your jewelry. Chains and pendants, earrings and rings all fit into the individual rectangles, and the trays can be stacked in a drawer, making everything easy to find.
A great way to store necklaces, bracelets and heavy pendants is on those inexpensive wall-mounted paper towel racks, available almost everywhere. They can be spray-painted or used “as is”, and you’ll be able to see all your accessories.
Over-the-door shoe bags are a fantastic way to store your dance class tools and accessories, too! The pockets can be used for your dance slippers, of course, but also for leggings, leg warmers, hip scarves, resistance bands, your iPod and cords, finger cymbals, neatly rolled veils, feather boas – whatever fits! When you’re ready to go to class, reach in, get whatever you need, throw them in your dance bag and off you go.
FOR CRAFTING AND COSTUME MAKING
I use a large fishing tackle box to keep all my crafting supplies in, most have slide-out trays with separate sections that make organization easy. They’re great for storing all sorts of small notions that are frequently used, like thimbles, jump-rings for jewelry, pliers, crystals, super glue, glue-gun sticks…whatever! A tackle box is also great for storing your make up, and usually much less expensive and way more durable than the cosmetic storage boxes that are designed the exact same way! Spend your money on the beauty products, not the container you keep them in!
Get a few large safety or diaper pins and slip your hooks and eyes (in matched pairs) onto it. Do the same with buttons needle-threaders- this way; they’ll be easy to find in your sewing box.
Keep feather plumes in small mailing tubes, available at office supply stores. They’ll stay pretty, fluffy and un-rumpled, and’ll be ready to use when you need them.
Recycle prescription pill bottles and store your glitter in them. The lids are tight and prevent spills, and you’ll be able to see the colors easily.
CHEERS FOR VODKA!
Many of you know that vodka can be used to freshen up costumes and get rid of odors- make 50/50 water and vodka mixture in a spray bottle, and keep it on hand to mist your costume. Hang your costume up, spray the mixture from about a foot away- and let it dry- it takes a matter of minutes, neutralizes smells on your cossie, and won’t harm sequins, beads or crystals.
You can also use vodka to kill bacteria on your lipsticks! Fill a shot glass half way up, and dip the waxy part of the lipstick into the vodka for a few seconds. The alcohol will evaporate almost instantly, and it won’t affect the product’s color at all.
To keep powder shadows and blushes clean, mist the surface from about six- twelve inches away with straight vodka. Like the lipstick, it’ll dry immediately, and keep your products clean and free of any sebaceous oils or germs.
If you liked these tips and want to read more, my new book, “The Belly Dance Handbook: A Companion For The Serious Dancer” is available here: