Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Decluttering strategies for makeup - How to simplify & trim down your collection

There are so many different ways to declutter and simplify your makeup collection, but today I want to share what has worked for me. Over the past six months I have reduced the size of my makeup collection by half. I realized that my collection was much, much too large for me - I was feeling anxious looking at my makeup, guilty over the amount of money I had spent, and guilty that I owned products I hadn't touched in months. You can read more about my thought process here in my first post of the series if you want more details.

It can be hard to get started on a large organization or decluttering project. Personally, I have an issue with inertia - it is hard for me to get started, but once the ball is rolling it is much easier for me to continue.

So, here are my steps for decluttering your makeup collection!

Step 1: Set goals

This might sound hokey, but think about what your goals are for decluttering. For me, my goal was to regularly use every product in my arsenal. This breaks down into a few different components. First, if I am going to use every product I own often, I can't own a bajillion of everything and still meet that goal. Second, if I want to enjoy using my products, I have to like or love every product in my collection. Third, if I am successfully rotating through my collection on a regular basis and am happy with those products, I need to reduce my shopping to keep my collection a reasonable size going forward.

You might not have the same goal as I do - maybe you live in a small apartment and want a small, minimalist collection. Maybe you are happy with the size of your collection, but it is organized in a way that feels overwhelming to you. Maybe you bought a crap ton of metallic eyeshadow before realizing that mattes are your jam.

Regardless of your goal, think about what you want and set a goal for yourself. It's important to stay positive - don't punish yourself and don't focus on guilt. This is about enjoying and appreciating what you have!

Step 2: Garbage can

Check through your collection for anything that needs to go into the garbage. Do any products have mold? Have any products expired? Has the smell gone rancid or off? Be ruthless and throw them away! Don't risk an infection or bacterial contamination by using a product that has gone bad.

If you want to take it a step further, I tossed every open mascara that was over 3 months old and every open lip gloss that was over a year old. I also did a harsh cull of my samples - I committed to either try the foil sample packet within the week or toss it. Be honest with yourself and don't keep 'backup' foil packet samples you don't actually intend to use soon.

It might feel sad throwing things in the garbage, but there is no using something up if the formula has gone bad and you can't pass expired products along to a friend.

Step 3: Put it all away

I cleared out the bottom drawer of my dresser and put my makeup collection inside. The idea here is to put it all away - maybe you have an Ikea Alex with opaque drawers, maybe you put it in a tote box in the closet, maybe you put it in your travel makeup bag, but put it all away where you can't see it. You have put it away in the right place when it would take intentional effort to take a product back out of storage.

Step 4: Pack for a staycation 

I hate what YouTube has done to this phrase, but it's time to "shop your stash" - open up your storage and pack for a minimalist staycation. Plan for being "gone" from your collection for a week and pack the bare essentials back to your vanity. Pack your favorite, most used, most loved item from each essential category, but no doubling up! One eyeshadow palette, one mascara, one powder, etc.

Use only your staycation kit for a while. It might take a few days or a few weeks, but give yourself enough time to feel like you have had enough time to give each product some love. If, after some focused use, any of the products you "packed" aren't satisfying to you, put it aside to get rid of and pick something else out of storage.

Life is way, way too short to force yourself to use a product that doesn't make you happy!

Step 5: Reintroduce products to your daily routine a few at a time

Over the next few months, reintroduce a product back into your vanity if you find yourself missing it or wanting to use that specific product. You know it is something you enjoy if you want to use it even if it is stored out of sight.

Keep reintroducing products slowly and let them into the regular rotation. Over time, (a few months in my case) you will notice that you haven't pulled items out of storage in awhile. At this point, everything that is in your vanity should be loved, enjoyable to use, and used regularly.

Step 6: Deal with the items still in storage

At about the 5 month mark, I opened up my dresser drawer again. Most of the items in the drawer hadn't been used in over a year and they didn't tempt me to bring them back out over the past few months. 90%+ of everything in this drawer is leaving. If you have a few sentimental items in this drawer, I give you permission to keep them :) I kept an old favorite Covergirl eyeshadow that was my first ever eyeshadow single. I kept it because of the memories, not because I want to use it, but I think it's okay to have a few things like that.

Sort the items in storage into three piles: (1) sell, (2) give away, and (3) keep part of the item. 

Step 6a: Sell what you would like to, if any. I had a group of items that were lightly used, higher end brands, and relatively new. I sold a bunch of items on Reddit's Makeup Exchange subreddit, but I'm sure there are other places you can sell items online. Don't fall into the trap of pricing the item according to retail value, because 15% off retail + paypal fees + shipping doesn't give your potential buyer much of a discount. Think about this instead: these products are offering you NO VALUE and the money you spent on them is already gone! Price your items to sell and move them out fast. If your items don't sell in a quick time frame, accept that no one wants to buy them and push them into your give away pile.

I got a couple hundred dollars selling makeup on Makeup Exchange, used that money to pay my utility bills for two months, and it felt great!

Step 6b: Give away products. Remember, only give away products that someone else will be able to enjoy. This means products need to be sanitized (lots of great tutorials on YouTube for this if you don't know how), not too old, and still functional. I am very lucky that my younger sister loves makeup, has a warm undertone (I'm neutral-cool), and is about a shade deeper than I am. I happily gave her and some of my younger cousins lots of products that I liked, but weren't flattering shades or finishes on me. I also passed some items along to friends and my sister's friends.

Don't forget about sample minis, makeup bags, and tools in this step! I packaged some give away items in bundles to give away to my cousins - I included a brush appropriate for the item and put it all in a makeup bag. I also gave away unused samples, like mini mascaras and mini primers that I thought might be useful.

If you don't have family or friends to pass items along to, consider women's shelters (often they only take unused items, so call ahead and check their policies!) or some internet friends (like Random Acts of Makeup on reddit).

It felt kind of sad to give away products I had loved, but a few weeks ago I met up with my sister for a weekend getaway and she brought a makeup bag that I gave her! She was getting ready in the hotel, and she was using a mascara mini, blush, and blush brush that I gave her. It felt so great to make my sister happy! If you are having a hard time letting go of products, think about the joy you can give someone else instead of just letting products sit in a drawer.

Step 6c: Only keep part of an item. Do you have a palette that you only use a few shades from? Do you have a duo that you only use half of? Don't keep the whole thing if you only use or like a piece of it. Depot what you want to use and dispose of the rest. (If you don't know how to depot a palette, I have a tutorial here.)

I used to think that if I depotted an eyeshadow palette, I was somehow obligated to keep all of the pans. I actually filled up a whole z-palette with pans of eyeshadow I didn't like just because the rest of the shades from those palettes were in my everyday use z-palette! I also caught myself keeping items from a value set just because I loved some of the other products from the same set. Kind of bonkers, I know.

I give you permission to get rid of the shades and pans from depotted or disassembled palettes and sets that you won't use.

Step 7: Assess your progress. 

At this point in my journey, I had successfully pared down my collection by half and was meeting my goal of using the products I owned regularly! Go back to your original goal you set months ago and honestly assess how you did. Do you need to go back and revisit some steps? Maybe it's time for a new goal or a second goal. Maybe you did a great job and deserve a pat on the back!

Step 8: Plan for the future. 

Once you are satisfied with meeting your goals or making good progress towards them, it's time to think about how you can set yourself up for future success. For me, I knew I had to pay close attention to my shopping and online media consumption.

Now, I don't buy new makeup unless I have researched it (positive AND negative reviews!) and thought about how it would fit into my collection. Would I honestly use it regularly? Is it a replacement of something I used up? If you want to buy something new, wait a few days and assess if you still want it or not.

I also started paying closer attention to which Instagram accounts, YouTube channels, and blogs I follow. I like content that is educational (come on guys, not everything can give you life and is finely milled and SO PIGMENTED!). Make sure the content you are consuming is making you happy. If the internet in general isn't adding a lot of value to your life, take a break from Instagram and YouTube for a week and spend that time outside, reading a book, or going out to coffee with a friend instead.

After simplifying my collection, I feel excited about my getting ready in the morning time again. I also don't feel overwhelmed or anxious looking at my makeup because it is better organized and curated for me and my routine. I also have a much better idea of my preferences for color, texture, and finish of products, so I can be confident that a new purchase is a good idea for me. I still buy makeup sometimes (and I still enjoy buying makeup!), but I am going about it in a more balanced, intentional way and I feel good about that.

Remember, makeup is makeup. This isn't a super serious thing and it is supposed to be creative and fun! I hope this has helped you enjoy what you have and enjoy the present moment! Good luck decluttering :)

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