Skip to main content

How to thoroughly declutter your makeup collection

If you have to spend longer than 15 – 20 seconds searching for lipstick, it’s time to declutter your makeup collection. Some people have extensive makeup collections that they can’t live without, while others have a few staple items that they use when they have to. Regardless of the size of your makeup bag, odds are it could benefit from a little decluttering.

The upside

Looking at the pile of odds and ends in front of you may feel stressful and a little overwhelming. That’s understandable. If you need a dose of motivation to dive into this project, keep these few things in mind:

  • You will find products that you loved but have forgotten about.
  • Clean spaces can reduce anxiety and enhance focus.
  • Organizing prevents you from using expired products which can cause infections.

Long story short, a little work organization can go a long way.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Step one

Take everything makeup-related out of your drawers, bags, and any other random places, like the center console of your car. With everything out on a table or the floor, you can take stock of your entire collection. This is a good time to consider what products you use the most and the least. Do you have an abundance of lipsticks but most are unused? Do you only have one eyeshadow palette that’s just about empty? Reflecting on these things will help you make more informed decisions in the future when you’re shopping for new products.

Step two

Put everything into piles and organize them by product. Keep foundations and concealers together, mascaras in a separate pile, lipsticks in another, and so on and so forth. Next, pick through each pile and separate them into three more categories: expired, rarely used, and unused.

Step three

Here is the easiest step: Throw away all expired items. Some products have an expiration date printed on them. Others may have a PAO (period after opening) date, so you’ll have to remember when you first used the product and decide from there whether it’s usable or not. If you don’t remember when you bought it, it’s better to be safe than sorry and toss it out. If there’s no date on the packaging, some applications, like BEEP, allow you to scan the barcode of some items and see the expiration date and other product details. If all else fails, smell it. If it looks or smells weird, throw it out.

As a general rule, each makeup product has an approximate shelf life:

  • Powder — 2 years
  • Eyeshadow — 2 years
  • Lip products — 1 to 2 years
  • Eye pencil — 1 year
  • Foundation — 2 years
  • Mascara and liquid eyeliner — 3 to 6 months
  • Concealer —1 year
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Step four

Often, makeup piles fall into the “lightly used” category much more often than the “unused” one. That being said, there are likely a few free samples laying around that are still in the packaging. If you recently purchased it, don’t worry about getting rid of it quite yet. However, if it’s been sitting in your makeup bag for six months or more, it’s time to part ways. Many second-hand shops don’t accept makeup or cosmetic products because of sanitary reasons, but you can always gift them to people or sell them for cash depending on their age and condition.

Step five

The hardest part is determining what to do with the items that you rarely use. When deciding their usefulness, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Will I finish or use this product before it expires?
  2. Do I really love this?
  3. Do I need this product for special occasions or events?

If you answer no to these questions, toss it. This is also the time to throw out any duplicates, especially if the older one is close to expiring. If you have several lipsticks or foundations in the same shade, consider how much you wear them. If you wear that shade constantly, you can probably keep most of them. If not, get rid of them.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Step six

Now it’s time to repeat the process with your makeup tools. Brushes, sponges, cotton swabs, and more can all harbor bacteria and cause infection. If the tool is older than six months old, it probably needs to be replaced or at least deep cleaned. Once all your products are organized, wipe down the makeup bag, vacuum the inside to get rid of any dust and debris, then replace your products.

Old makeup and tools can harbor bacteria and cause infection, so taking the time to declutter your bag every now and again is a big part of keeping your skin healthy. Organizing is often stressful, but with this step-by-step guide, you can tidy up your makeup drawer, bag, or case, and you won’t have to spend time rifling through your bag looking for that one lipstick shade.

Editors' Recommendations

Kelly Kaliszewski
Kelly's work has appeared in blogs and on websites. When she's not writing, she is playing with her two dogs, cooking, or…
Make the most of your living room/dining room combo with these stellar tips
Watch your living room/dining room combo shine with these tips
Gray monochrome living and dining room

Many contemporary homes have open-concept living, meaning fewer walls and shared space between rooms. It's a great idea for those who entertain or want minimal disruption between spaces. It's also good when you have small children and want to keep an eye on them while you're cooking, folding laundry, or watching TV. If you have one large area for your living room and dining room, there are some things you can do to get the most out of each room.

Of course, there's a lot to consider when it comes to which colors to choose, how to arrange furniture in a living room/dining room combo, and what wall and other decor can be used to blend the spaces together. Here's how to find the right mix that works in one collective space.

Read more
6 easy ways to update your home for under $500
Update your home with these inexpensive, easy projects
Couple painting white walls

When most homeowners think of renovations, they think of time-consuming projects that always run over budget. And often, they’re right. But updating your home doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Tearing down cabinets and installing brand-new hardwood floors aren’t the only ways to up your home design game.

With a bit of planning and elbow grease, you can refresh your space with inexpensive home remodeling projects that will have a considerable impact. Here are six DIY home projects that you can easily complete for less than $500.

Read more
Want to level up your wall decor? We love this interior designer’s trick for blank wall space
Try this clever tip for tackling blank wall space in your home
Woman hanging beach art

A common struggle for many homeowners is decorating a wall without making it feel too cluttered or, worse, too empty. Too much negative space can leave a room feeling unfinished, lackluster, and downright visually unappealing. Thankfully, Julie Jones, founder of Julie Jones Designs, took to TikTok to share a fantastic design trick for dealing with blank wall space by using a clever rule for your wall decor.
Try the 70/30 rule
Interior designer @juliejonesdesigns shared her trick for handling blank wall space with a unique rule that works for nearly any wall. “I have a 70/30 rule,” Jones says in her TikTok video. She explains that the rule means 70% of the wall needs to be filled with positive space while the other 30% can be negative. “It’s a really easy formula that you can apply to almost any wall.”

Read more