10 Tips to Help Declutter your Makeup Collection

It's fall, which means holiday makeup sets hit shelves and my makeup collection somehow gets bigger. And bigger. 2015 has been a year of purging - I've downsized my wardrobe substantially and decluttered my makeup even more.

When it comes to beauty products, I've developed a strict rule: if something goes in the drawers, something else must come out. As much as I adore having a substantial collection that allows me the freedom to pick from 6 different warm pink-y nude lipsticks, I don't need them all.

In my time purging I've come up with a few declutter tips that always keep me on the right track. Full disclosure: I have a lot of makeup. Beauty is my love, my passion and my job. I think this advice would apply to anyone, but if you have a substantial collection and are looking to downsize, here are my top 10 tips to help you declutter your makeup.

Decluttering Your Makeup Collection

Tip #1: If you're not head-over-heels in love with the way it makes you look or feel, get rid of it. 

For the longest time I held on to things because I kinda-sorta liked them. Does this sound familiar?

"I don't "hate" that peach lipstick, why would I throw it away? It looks okay...I mean, I don't really wear peach lipsticks because I don't love the way they look on me...but...I may want this someday so I'll hold on to it." 

This rhetoric made me a legitimate makeup hoarder. Now I don't keep any products that I'm not over-the-moon excited to wear. I only keep what flatters my face/features/skin tone and makes me feel like a sex goddess or a power player.

Tip #2: If you haven't used it in the past year, you're not going to.

I say 'year' because a good chunk of the products I have are seasonal - I don't wear plums in the summer and rarely reach for corals in the winter. Even if I used to love something, if I no longer reach for it it's probably because I have something better. I find that other something, swatch it next to the 'maybe' and then usually always toss it.

Tip #3: Just because you paid a lot of money for it, doesn't mean you'll ever wear it again.

I get it - it's the hardest thing in the world (well, close to it) to throw away that LE Chanel lipstick that looked ahh-mazing on every runway model last year. But if it looks like death with your complexion, get rid of it. If the product was limited edition (LE) or hard to find (HTF), check Ebay to see what the going rate for the product is. Sell any new backups you may have, and either blogsale the rest or swap it online (stay tuned for a post about how to sell or swap makeup online soon!).

Tip #4: If you're on the fence, keep it out where you get ready or put it in your handbag.

If after a few weeks (I'm being lenient here) you still haven't reached for it - toss. Don't hold on to something that's just taking up space. If you do reach for it, pay attention to how it wears throughout the day. A lot of times I'll forget why I stopped using a product, and then when I re-visit it I remember. Throw away anything that looks "meh", wears poorly or doesn't "spark joy" (as Marie Kondo would say).

Makeup Declutter Tips - Blush

Tip #5: If it's cream based and over 3 years old - TOSS!

I have to remind myself of this all the time. I hoard expired makeup for sentimental reasons, because something was "my favorite" for two months three years ago. If you've moved on, you've moved on. Close your eyes, say a little makeup prayer and throw it away. If you love something so much and can't fathom the thought, take it out of your dusty drawers and display it!

Tip #6: Toss any dupes if you've upgraded to the real thing. 

This was hard for me. Before I got my first "big girl" job I would obsessively research "dupes" for the high-end products I couldn't afford. I'd collect coupons and constantly raid drugstores for the latest. As I've gotten older, I've replaced some of these with better quality, higher-end products. I'll keep something if I reach for it daily, but otherwise, if the dupe is truly inferior, toss it.

Tip #7: Put any "I cant's" into a box out of sight. If you haven't thought about it in 3 months - get rid of them. 

This was the most helpful piece of advice for me. Sometimes items stay in my box for 6 months, but I digress. Also - don't pull out the box, and think you've reunited with your true love after years apart. Toss that shit to the curb where it belongs. You didn't even remember what it was 5 minutes ago.

 If you broke into your box before the 3 month mark for something, keep it!

Tip #8: Get organized.

It's amazing what you'll use (or realize that you don't use) when you can see everything you have. Buy drawer separators (IKEA has great inexpensive options, as does TJ Maxx/Ross) and some cute containers for the makeup you use every day (TJ Maxx/Homegoods and office supply stores are your best bet). Put pencils in cups, lipsticks in holders, and display any compacts or liquids in an organizer.

Makeup Declutter Tips - Lipstick

Tip #9: Donate as much as you can and give any like-new products to friends and family. 

It softens the blow knowing that someone else will be able to use your former favorites. Most women's shelters love receiving unopened makeup, but check with your local one to see if they accept opened products (some do). Give what you can to family and friends, and (I know it's sad) toss the rest.

Tip #10: Buy yourself something nice. 

Honestly? You've earned it. It probably goes against the main point of this post, but whatever. Makeup addiction is a cycle and don't think that I've beaten it.


Do you have any tips on decluttering your makeup stash?


  1. Okay, I HEAR you! I need this. I will do this!! Best suggestions I've seen yet, and I'm officially inspired to get it done! Thanks for the great post. :-)

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