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?