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Beauty Organization Tips

How-To: Clean Out Your Beauty Stash

I moved to a new apartment this past weekend, and let me tell you, I never want to move again. Embarrassingly, I had about six boxes filled with beauty products — much more than I could ever need. In going through the stash, I managed to trim my collection down by at least half, and the resulting lack of mess and clarity of mind is priceless. Need to get organized, too? Get my tips for creating a clutter-free beauty stash when you


  • Become a bag lady. Take three grocery bags (or boxes) and label them donate, keep, toss.
  • Get the big picture. Oh no, there's stuff everywhere! Pull it all together and lay it out on a table to see what you have. If products aren't separated already, sort them into appropriate categories. For instance, I put my lip glosses, lipsticks, and lip liners in different piles.
  • Lose the new and unused. Go through each category and look for new, unopened, unused products that you've had for a while. Put them aside and be ready to give them away. I know, you're thinking, "Oh, but I was going to use that!" Ah, but you haven't done so yet, so put it aside. We'll go back to this later, trust.
  • Ditch the stuff you hardly ever use. Why did I have four turquoise eye shadows? And how many cans of hair spray does one woman need, anyway? Since I wear turquoise eye shadow once every two years, they had to go. Ditto for hair spray, since it takes me about a year to go through a can. Be honest with yourself: If you haven't used a product in more than six months, do you really need it? Nah. Put it in the toss bag.
  • Lose the old stuff. Embarrassingly, I had a Prescriptives lipstick from their Audrey Hepburn color collection... which came out in 1999. Gross. Trash that crud and anything like it. If it smells bad, the color is off, or the consistency has changed, into the trash it goes.
  • Remove the duplicates. This step was hardest for me, but it was worthwhile. You know that collection of beige eye shadows that you have? And they're all more or less the same? You don't need them all. With color cosmetics, I swatched the colors on my wrist to see which colors I liked and which were just OK. Keep what's necessary; donate or toss the rest.
  • Share the wealth. Remember the pile of unused products? If any of them will replace something you tossed, keep it. Otherwise, they join the donate bag. New items can be donated to women's shelters, or you can always ask friends if they'd like some of the gently used goodies.

Anybody else have cleaning tips?


Join The Conversation
aistea311 aistea311 8 years
ooh nail polish was the worst for me when i was a kid. My sister and I would buy those little 99 cents ones and random cover girl ones (like when they came out with the bottle with a bit of powder to put on top) but luckily now I only have a clear, my two colors from the OPI India collection and a small bottle of hot pink for my toes :)
new new 8 years
when I did this a while ago I found out that I always buy the same kinds of products: 5 bottles of the same colour nailpolish, tons of eyeshadows in the same shade etc. I gave a lot of them away. But I did learn that I always buy the same kinds of products and now I know not to do that anymore.
carhornsinapril carhornsinapril 8 years
whenever i'm doing a purge, i put my new/unused stuff up for swap and makeup alley. i've traded some things i'll never use for some real treasures... just be careful about trading for used stuff. ick.
dd-sugar dd-sugar 8 years
I have problems with duplicates, just way too many and they are tiny and cute and I can't bear to throw them away. I sorted them in "sets", placing them in snack sized baggies for my gym bag, car, extra purse, emergency bag. These have come in handy when I forget my makeup bag or have to dash out in a hurry.
DarlingDA DarlingDA 8 years
I feel guilty throwing out makeup I paid a lot for that I barely used (ie, the "Juniper" eye shadow from Clinique - $13 and I've used it maybe three times), so I end up hauling them around. I should just send them to my sister, but I worry she'd get pissed about getting used makeup, but her eyes are hazel and she has darker coloring to my fair complexion and blue gray eyes.
Autumns_Elegy Autumns_Elegy 8 years
Most places will take unopened items. I used to work at the Salvation army and we would chuck anything used, opened, worn, whatever. But if the safety seal was intact and it was within its use by date we would happily sell it on unless it was hair dye or perfumes. We couldn't sell hair dye or perfume as many people are allergic to it and don't know it, if someone were to buy it and have a bad reaction we could be held accountable. Especially if people were spraying the perfume through the store, not only would it smell, people with athsma & those who are allergic to perfume would be effected.
Beauty Beauty 8 years
Tatsauce, you can call the donation place and ask. My guess is that most people will prefer new items, but it can't hurt to ask.
tatsauce tatsauce 8 years
Oops I meant "are" not "or"
tatsauce tatsauce 8 years
I have a bunch of old perfumes that I never wear anymore, or those okay to donate? Or do they also have expiration dates?
melizzle melizzle 8 years
Sorting through all my stuff is such a task... but so fun!
glam-sugar glam-sugar 8 years
I need to do this again, I can barely close my train case.
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
I make it a point to do this every few months. I've come across a lot of unused eye shadows or colors I will probably never wear again. I often give them to my sister since she is my next in command. I'm better now and don't spend spend spend on useless beauty products.
blackdresses88 blackdresses88 8 years
I just bought a brush cleaner (embarassingly enough, I hadn't cleaned my brushes prior) and so now I'm going to do exactly what you did-go through everything and decided what to keep or throw. However, I won't be following that whole "remove the duplicates" steps. I am very loyal to the make-up that I do like, and will buy backups often times, just in case I run out. So I'll be keeping my duplicates-but maybe I'll make a list of what I already have backed up so I don't buy too many.
Allytta Allytta 8 years
Did this right after new years :) and washed all my boxes and make up bags... now it's only 7 of them :D big ones... man, i should start a blog as well.
emalove emalove 8 years
I love sorting through all my beauty products...I have so many that it can be overwhelming, but once I get going, it feels good to get rid of old stuff and organize!
hottpink hottpink 8 years
This is my project for the weekend! LoL
Sara-Rose Sara-Rose 8 years
i try to do this in my bathroom and vanity areas once a month. I don't buy that many beauty products every month, but more some months than others. When I do buy new stuff, I try to see if theres anything that can get tossed when I put the new stuff away.
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