Welcome back to another Cope with Clutter blog post! Today we're really going to get into the how to effectively declutter makeup, and the reasons why it's so important!
I also have some exciting news to share... I'm now on YouTube! You can find me (and subscribe too!) by searching 'Cope with Clutter' on YouTube. I've created a video based on this entire blog post; so if you'd prefer listen than read, then head on over to YouTube! I'll add the link here -> https://youtu.be/t4zYL3MrCpU
Okay let's get into todays post!
Why should you declutter your makeup?
There are so many reasons why it's important to declutter your makeup collection from time to time. Here are the reasons why:
You get rid of expired products. From a hygiene point of view this is extremely important! In particular liquid products (mascara, foundation, concealer, liquid lipsticks, primers) and those with wands can easily become breeding grounds for bacteria. They can potentially be dangerous and risk infection! Due to their formula they expire far quicker than powders, and it's important to let go of them when they do.
You fall back in love with products you forgot about. Often makeup migrates to the back of the drawers and become forgotten. Now is the time to give them the use and the love they deserve!
It brings awareness that we may have more products than we truly need. Ask yourself the question: when did I last actually completely finish up a product? I know myself that even though I use the same bronzer every day it will take me a long time to completely use it up! So how many of the same product do you really need?
You give makeup a second chance. Some products can be sold on (those that are unused or unopened), or offered to a friend or family member (only ones that can be sanitised). Although this has to be done with caution, you may have some items that can be fully utilised and not wasted.
It brings mindfulness about buying habits. When you see a new product that you want, you know what you already have at home. It makes you think twice about purchasing it.
Make the most of the products you already have. You know the products that are almost empty, so that you can focus on using them up first and getting your moneys worth.
Create space and clarity! By removing unnecessary clutter from your space, you feel calmer and more in control.
How do I know if something is expired?
Every product has a use after a certain shelf life. These are a time based guideline for the product to be used up once it's been opened.
For cream-based products that contain water or have a wand, its more important to note the time guideline because bacteria can more easily grow. Products with wands (especially mascara and liquid lipstick) are particularly important because the wand, when used, collects bacteria and then is inserted back into the tube.
For powders the time is more flexible because powders don't 'go off' the same way that a liquid or cream product does. Powders and eyeshadows (when properly used and stored) can last far longer than the printed expiry.
In the end a lot of it comes down to common sense. Check the smell, texture, performance, and appearance (has it separated?).
How to declutter
1. Take it all out
Collect up every single product that you own! From drawers, shelves, displays, bags, cars; anywhere and everywhere! Lay it all out in one big pile to get a true perspective of how much you own.
Tip: put everything on a wipeable surface, like a kitchen countertop, not on carpet or a bed! Just incase of any spillages or broken powder products.
2. Separate into categories
Use this handy list to help you:
Within each category you might have different forms of the same product, for instance powder bronzers and cream bronzers. If you feel like it would be helpful to (particularly if you have quite a large makeup collection), you can further separate them into subcategories to help with the decision making process.
3. Keep, bin, donate
Have three containers or areas labelled 'Keep', 'Bin', 'Donate'.
The Keep section is for products that you absolutely want to keep and continue using.
The Bin section is for products that are either expired, those that cannot be offered to someone else, or that are pretty much used up and not worth keeping or giving to someone else.
The Donate section is for products that can safely be offered to others. Unopened or unused items can be sold through online platforms like Depop, or given to women's shelters (you will need to check with your local shelter what they do and don't accept). Lightly used items that cannot be sold can be offered to friends and family. Powder products are generally deemed safe to re-gift; however cream products not so much due to hygiene. In particular used products with wands (for instance liquid lipsticks, concealers and mascaras) are a big no-no because they are a breeding ground for bacteria and possible infection.
4. Sort through one category at a time
It can be tempting to jump between categories when decluttering, but please don't! It will only lead down one path of overwhelm and poor decision making.
Begin with what you feel is a manageable category. Work your way through each category one at a time, not skipping ahead to the next one without completely finishing the previous one.
Be thorough when handling the products. Open them up, give it a go, swatch it, put together and compare different colours and formulas!
You want to look your best, don't you? So only keep the products that make you look and feel the best!
If at times you feel overwhelmed, take a 10 minute break away from the area you're working in. Have a cuppa, get outside, play with your dog! Take your mind off the decision making so that when you return you'll be recharged and refreshed.
Get honest with yourself
With some items in life we attach and carry subconscious guilt; this makes making decisions hard. But please be true to yourself and what your inner voice is really saying! At the end of the day, holding onto a product because of guilt and not ever using it is only creating unnecessary clutter in your space and life.
Use these five questions to help you make decisions:
When was the last time I used it?
Did I really love it the last time I used it?
Does this product work well for me? (Does the shade match? Is the formula easy to use? Is it too pigmented or not pigmented enough? Is it too glittery/shimmery/matte/oily/drying? Does it last throughout the day?)
Do I have another product that is similar that I prefer to use? (Especially eyeshadow pallets and lip products)
Am I keeping it because of guilt?
When deciding whether or not to let go of something, you may find yourself encountering some common obstacles, such as:
'I spent a lot of money on it'
'I didn't buy it that long ago'
'It's a limited edition product'
'It holds a memory for me'
'Someone bought this for me'
'I might use/need it in the future'
In response to all of these obstacles, you need to think about the bigger picture. Putting them back in your makeup collection only adds to the clutter, as nothing will change and trust me when I say that you still won't use them! Something which I have personally done with a sentimental eyeshadow palette is store it in a memory box. It was my first ever eyeshadow palette that I bought, and I've had it over 10 years. It's been well loved and I can't bear to let it go! Now it's not adding any clutter, but I can still keep that memory along with other miscellaneous sentimental items.
Ultimately don't punish yourself in letting items go! Use this time to learn from your mistakes and to make better decisions in the future. Before purchasing a new product do research on it. Read articles, watch YouTube videos, and learn about other peoples experiences with using the product before committing to buying it. There is a huge beauty community on YouTube now with hundreds, if not thousands, of makeup lovers reviewing new makeup constantly!
Tip: I recognise my favourite, die-hard makeup products by thinking about the ones I choose when I travel (despite this being a long, long time ago pre-covid). These are the items that are reliable, the very best of the best, your ultimate favourites. For instance, which single eyeshadow palette do you pick out over all the others? Why do you choose that one? This is a handy indicator of whether you should keep something or not; would you pick it out to take and wear on holiday? It's all about figuring out and identifying your absolute essentials.
5. Lip products
No doubt the hardest category to declutter, because every lip product is every so slightly 'different' from the other, but we have the urge to keep them all! In reality though, we all have far many than we will ever need or go through.
Start off with picking out the lip products you always reach for. These are no doubt your tried and tested favourites.
As said before refrain from jumping from category to category. Focus on one type of product and don't move on to the next one until you've completely finished the last one. It helps to keep feelings of overwhelm at bay.
Swatching lip products on your arm is a fantastic way to whittle down your collection. Often some colours are so similar there's virtually no difference!
There we have it; these are the five simple steps to take when decluttering your makeup! I hope that you have learnt something to take away with you, and that you implement this system next time you declutter! Be sure to let me know how you have got on; I LOVE seeing before and after images too! Don't forget to follow me on YouTube so you don't miss out on future uploads!