The Mani Cave: A Whole Lotta Nothin’

It’s Wednesday…time for the weekly mani cave reveal. I won’t keep you in suspense for a second longer! Wait for it…wait for it…

The Mani Cave (work / play / polish)

…keep waiting for it…As you can see, the only thing I accomplished in the TMC this week was a shuffling of the mess. At least now I can get to my polish. Between preparing for Thanksgiving, going to a Thanksgiving dinner, hosting a Thanksgiving Leftovers Event (at my house) and a throwing a completely unrelated-to-Thanksgiving family party (also at my house)…the poor TMC was neglected. But I did manage to clean and then destroy my home no less than three times in three days! Anyway, the lack of progress in the TMC doesn’t mean I can’t share future TMC plans and ask for advice.

I’m trying to decide what furniture to have in the room besides the large pink table. I don’t know if I want a counter/desk that goes around the perimeter? Hanging cabinets? or shelves with baskets? I know many of you use IKEA Helmers for polish storage. But what about IKEA Alex? If Helmer’s weren’t metal, this would be an easy decision. (I’m not a fan of metal furniture.) Plus, Alex comes in a few sizes (tall, short and wide) and can be used as a table leg. Has anyone used the Alex drawer unit to store polish? I’ve seen it on Pinterest before.

IKEA Helmer vs. Alex for Polish Storage? (work / play / polish)

I also have my eye on this Ikea Ferle rug. I figure I need to go with something as inexpensive as possible because it will likely see it’s share of polishing/crafting mayhem. I need to see this one in person though – I feel so lucky that there’s an IKEA just 30 minutes away! Going to IKEA is my answer for everything. Broke a lamp? Go to IKEA. Have 47 photographs that need framing? Go to IKEA. Craving meatballs? Go to IKEA. Feeling depressed? Go to IKEA.

IKEA Ferle rug

So hopefully next Wednesday I’ll have a radical transformation to share! Please send me your ideas! Don’t forget to enter the Giving Thanks for You! giveaway I’m hosting with the lovely Victoria at the Manicurator. Lots of awesome prizes up for grabs. If you look carefully in the pic of the room…you can see two of them. Just waiting to be won!

Giving Thanks for You! Giveaway

The Mani Cave (work / play / polish)

Please leave a comment. I read every single one!

Comments (49)

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  1. I think I like the look of Alex more than the Helmer. The Hemler looks more officey. I don’t have either, but if I had my choice, I would pick Alex :) CUTE room and cute rug!

  2. I have two Helmers. I love them because they are on wheels..which I find useful…but don’t like that the drawers will fall out if one (or one’s 3 yr olds) aren’t careful. I wish I had wall space to have them on display!

    • I guess I didn’t know they were on wheels. I wonder if I can put the short Alex’s on wheels? I can only imagine the havoc that twin 3-year-old boys could wreak on a polish collection!

    • Tess says:

      I know this is a year old, but I wanted to comment that Helmer drawers have a little tab you can pop out in the rear sides that act as a stop to avoid falling out. To keep my polishes from sliding around in them, I added felt liners to some and plastic liners to some. The rubbery grippy kind didn’t work as well. I also added little dividers I cut out of chipboard (what food boxes are made of) and taped inside the drawers. IKEA also has a tray that fits, which I find better for supplies and other stuff than polishes.

      I have four Helmers – two with wheels and two I left them off of, to use as a base for a work table. I believe some Alex units come with wheels; I think any Alex could work with wheels but be careful with anything really tall, especially if it’ll be used on carpet.

      WPP, I love your polish wall! Before I bought my Helmers, that was my plan and then I figured out that I have way more polish than I have uninterrupted wall, LOL.

  3. I feel the exact same way about Ikea. I love going there to browse and have a snack when I’m feeling sad. Ours is near the airport, so I can sit by the window and watch planes taking off and landing too.

    We have lots of Ikea furniture, but I haven’t tried either the Alex or the Melmer systems. yet. My polish collection is still small enough to live on my desk. It’s growing though…

    • I’m glad to see your comment, Kate. It means I’m not crazy for loving IKEA! :)

      • Tess says:

        I’m envious. My IKEA is 90 minutes away (on a good day) so I don’t get to go without a dang good reason. I save up my shopping list for months, and then you can’t pry me out of there. It’s total mood therapy! Aside from a couple of heirlooms, you’d be hard pressed to find anything not from IKEA in my house.

  4. I like the look of the Alex better, but I’ve not used either so would cant comment on usabilty or practicality.

  5. Get the Alex and the rug! And I want to go to IKEA with you. It’s going to be so fun shopping for TMC – I crave the Wednesday updates from you. And hey, where are the Cheetos?

  6. KrisInPhilly says:

    I have a tall 9 drawer Alex and a 5 Helmers. I like the Alex but I prefer the Helmer. The finish of the Alex is chipping off, it’s heavy and not easy to move and since the drawers do not come out you would need to empty it to move it easily. Since the drawers don’t come out all the way the bottles in the back are a little hard to reach. The Alex is easy to put together and it does hold a lot of bottles and it can hold supplies and other items as well as tall bottles of polish.

    The Helmer is a breeze to put together and you can paint or paper over them to make them snazzy. They are easy to move and the drawers come out so it’s easier to organize and see all the bottles of polish. They stack really well too.

    They both have pros and cons but my preference is the Helmer.

    • Thanks for this feedback! This is super helpful. First, I am in awe of your 5-Helmer collection! I hadn’t thought of painting it. I could even paint it pink! Now you’ve got me thinking. (I’m dangerous when I start thinking!)

  7. I have Tagged you to do the Winterlicious TAG! Check out my post for the questions

  8. eklinman says:

    my favorite little find in this room so far are the two electric candles on the windowsill…

    • Ahhh…you have excellent attention to detail! LOL. Those are battery operated candles that I put in every window in the house. THREE double-A batteries PER candle and they were all completely juiced out in one night!!!! So now instead of having this beautiful, candle-lit display for the neighbors…I have two, fake, burned out candles sitting on every window sill! :O

      • eklinman says:

        Do they make socket-powered ones? Is it even worth it for that much power? That’s so sad!

      • Tess says:

        I found some like these at Walgreens that have a timer in them. They stay on for 8 hours, go off for 16, and repeat. I turned them on at dusk one evening and didn’t have to touch them again for ages. The batteries last a crazy amount of time.

  9. Ashley says:

    I have that rug in my kitchen! Love it! So far it’s held up well to spills and kitty lovin’. And you can’t beat the price!

    Love your Mani Cave! Can’t wait to see how it turns out!

    • Really? You have this rug?? And it’s held up okay? Does it lay flat? I’m always worried that cheap rugs will try to roll themselves right of the floor.

      • Ashley says:

        It lays perfectly flat! It did take a bit to flatten itself after I unwrapped it the first time but I think most rugs do. It even survived a stint with a flooded kitchen and a few days standing in the shower and it’s still flat.

        It’s held up like a champ quality wise but the dark color shows a lot of fur and other light colored dusties so it does need frequent vacuuming. =) I’d recommend this rug – I love it! Definitely worthy of its price and then some (but don’t tell Ikea. I like the cheap price!)

      • Thanks, Ashley! I’m going to go look at it in person this weekend. If you see it in next Wednesday’s mani cave update…then you’ll know I gave in and bought it! :)

  10. I love the rug. I think its a winner.

  11. aeronluna says:

    I like the Alex draw set better.

  12. ColeenyTheMeany says:

    I have the Alex and I absolutely LOVE it! I have that and the Malm dressing table as my workstation.I put drawer liners in to stop the polish from sliding about when I open the drawers. The only downer is that with the drawer liner, my $OPI bottles don’t fit in the small drawers. I only have six so I just put them on top. Side note: the drawers totally come out! There are two screws in each drawer attaching it to the rails. if you have a lot of polish in each, it’s a two man job; but it can be done! ok. I’ve rambled enough. Happy decision making! :-)

  13. i miss ikea! when I lived in italy, i bought a lot of stuff on ikea.. once a month, my husband and I went to Ikea and ALWAYS bought things for our house..
    So once, we bought Dave (

    but I really really miss Ikea.

    I like Alex, but are you sure that polishes would fit on the top drawers?

    • Now I’m not so sure about the top drawers in the Alex. You know what I gotta do…I must go to IKEA with every brand of polish I own in purse and look like a crazy lady filling the drawers. If you see me on the news being carried off by security…you’ll know why!

  14. I also like Alex more than the Helmer. I have a smaller version of the Alex and it works just perfect for me.

  15. rebecca says:

    I like the look of the Alex, but it seems like it would get dust inside easier because of the open pull style drawers. I like to have my windows open a lot in the spring and fall so I deal with lots of dusting.

    • Rebecca, that’s a good point. Especially with all that “crafting” stuff going on in the room. There doesn’t seem to be an easy way to clean out the drawers. Maybe vacuum them out?

  16. janet vilar says:

    i like the alex since its bigger, and it has no wheels ! im a fan

  17. kelliegonzo says:

    what racks to you have your polish on now? i have 4 helmers but like to have some out for easy access, like the stuff i need to swatch ya know? thanks in advance :)

    • Hi Kellie. I bought these racks off eBay. Just search for “Acrylic Nail Polish Racks” They were about $30 each. I had them mounted on the wall at the old house. I really like them…it’s just not practical to keep adding racks! :)

  18. Shelby says:

    I did much research on polish storage before purchasing scrapbook/crafting melmer cubes from Michael’s. I bought the 3 drawer and 2 drawer versions (my collection isn’t that big… yet). All of the drawers come out completely for rearranging and organizing. AND you can stack them and put a piece of malamine on top for a desk! No wheels though, but I keep mine stationary anyway. It fits A TON of polishes and other nail needs with the 2 sizes of drawers, and it’s very sturdy. I’m sorry to add in yet another option, but (IMHO!) the melmers I found at Michael’s were really the best of both the Helmer and the Alex (both of which I looked at online).

    • Thanks, Shelby. I went window shopping at Ikea this weekend. I didn’t buy anything yet. I need to make a trip to Michael’s to check out the Melmers in person. It’s such an important decision (LOL…not really, of course…but shopping is part of the fun!)

  19. Louanne says:

    I actually have the wide Alex. It has 6 shelves but only the bottom 3 shelves can fit polishes nicely. If you do want to get an Alex, remember to bring your tallest bottle of polish along to see if it fits in the drawers.

    • Hi Louanne, when I went to Ikea this weekend I was surprised how shallow the top drawers are on the Alex. I went straight from work and didn’t have any polish with me. I’ll be more prepared next time!

  20. Enjoli says:

    I do not have a Helmer or Alex yet as I am debating which one to get as well. I have been reading the comments and there are some good tips here. I have to decide which one I want so I can tell my husband since he is buying it for me as my Christmas present. How to decide…..

    PS: LOVE your mani cave! Can’t wait to see it done.

  21. Danny says:

    When I started collection polishes I bought me a helmer. But now it’s kind of to small and I use it for my university stuff. My polishes are now living in an alex and I think they’re loving it! :D hihi

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