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Make-Up Collection Decluttering: A How-To

Wednesday, 19 April 2017
make-up stash collection declutter how-to

Back in February, I gutted my entire make-up collection. I went through and threw out old products, and gave away those I didn't use enough. I more than halved my make-up collection, and you can read a little bit about my journey here, and have a peek at my collection here (more vids to follow soon!).

Today I thought I'd bring you a little post on how to declutter your collection. Like clearing out your wardrobe, it's a tough task and for me, it's only worth doing if you know you can be truly ruthless - just because it's pretty, that doesn't mean you need to keep it. By all means, I've kept a small drawer of make-up bits that photograph well (a couple of Illamasqua eyeshadows; my KVD and ABH liquid lipsticks, for example) because they make great props and as they are quite bold colours, I don't know anyone who'd get better use out of them. 

That said, it's all about really focusing on what you use and what you don't, and if, realistically, you aren't going to use a palette more than once a year, it's time for it to go! So, here are some tips on how to really gut your make-up stash.

TAKE EVERYTHING OUT...

...And lay it all out before you. You need to be able to really see what you have, and I find it best to do this by also splitting your products into catergories, if you don't already have them stored this way. Lay out all your foundations, then all your concealers, etc, and go through them one group at a time. Now that you can see what you have before me, you should be able to start picking off what you know you don't enjoy using or won't get any further use of. Now is the time to bucket all the stuff that's expired too - if the texture is off or if it's smelling dodgy, make sure to bin it. There are some products I had that actually still performed well, but because I knew for a fact I'd had them for 3 years I decided to chuck them, and if I really liked a product, I made a note of it so that I could repurchase it at a later date (we'll get to repurchases later on).

RULE OF THREE

Once you've eliminated the most obvious products that you don't use or have expired, it's time to have a real look at what you own and see if you can narrow it down anymore. For this, I asked myself three questions. The first question is, Do I use this on a weekly basis? I get that for things like eyeshadows and lipsticks, you might not be someone who uses the same thing day-in and day-out. If, like me, you're a bit of a make-up junkie, you might like to swtich up your make-up on a daily basis, and that's totally fine. However if it's not seeing the light of day at least once a week, it's time to question its place on your vanity table. I had a lot of foundations that I actually didn't really reach for at all, even though I enjoyed them. It's worth asking yourself secondly, Do I have to force myself to use this? Regardless of whether you answered yes or no to the first question, if your second question has you answering yes then it's pretty much a guarantee that you'll be better off without it and that it's just taking up space unnecessarily. If you have to force yourself to use it, the chances are you wouldn't miss it if it wasn't in your collection. Thirdly, if you feel you aren't forcing yourself to use it but perhaps don't feel you're getting a lot of use out of it, ask yourself, Will I use it more? There are some cases where you do enjoy a product but it gets lost in your over-saturated beauty collection, so you may not be using it right now but you know if given the chance, you'd use it more because you like it. In these cases, I'd say it's safe to keep the item for a short time further and revisit the issue again in another four weeks.

UNWANTED PRODUCTS

Once you've decided what's staying and what's going, it's time to decide what you're going to do with the stuff you're chucking out. If it's expired, throw it away, and if it's half empty, it might be worth doing the same there too. I gave away a bunch of products to my mum who is the only person I know who is as obsessed with make-up as I am, and when you give stuff to friends and family, at least you know it's going to go a good home. I also decided to leave a couple of extra bits at Jack's - two highlighters and a couple of eye palettes I loved but didn't use enough in my room but that I enjoy have now found their home in my drawer at Jack's along with my line of Sleek's Matte Me liquid lipsticks. If it's a relatively new and unblemished eye palette, it may be worth listing on Depop - cheap make-up bundles are a great way to get rid of make-up quickly and without much hassle - but if you have a bunch of stuff that's in good condition, you could send it to a women's refuge charity. I haven't sent mine yet, but plan on doing so soon (I keep forgetting to pick up a box for it all). If you don't want to Google your local, I did discover Give and Makeup which you can read about here.

CHANGE YOUR STORAGE 

Another way to help you declutter is to change your make-up storage. Whilst this time a year ago the idea of having a set or two of IKEA Alex drawers appealed to me very much, now I'm totally content with the two clear acrylic five-drawer towers I have. They are very small and compact with shallow drawers, so I can only just fit my collection into them, and there are a couple of bottles that won't fit as they are too fat, and I have my acrylic 24-lipstick holder, too. While in the future I may expand to having a third set, I'm really happy with how my collection looks right now and how snug it all fits. I love being able to see everything I have laid out neatly before me - I used to have deep drawers where everything was piled on top of one another - and I like that everything has its place. If you're really serious about decluttering, it may be worth setting yourself a challenge and buying new storage to fit your collection at its ideal size. 

CHANGE YOUR APPROACH TO MAKE-UP

When I first started blogging, I bought so many new products and justified it by telling myself, But so-and-so liked it, so it must be good, right?! Even if I wasn't particularly fond of a certain formula or style of product. I also told myself, But this will make a great review post! There's definitely a certain pressure in the beauty blogging world to keep up with the latest trends and try out the latest products, and it can be very hard to resist trying something everyone has been talking about. I used to go out of my way a lot to try products from brands that were rarely spoken about, just because I wanted to shine more light on them, and whilst my intentions were good, it didn't really do my bank account any good and encouraged me to just spend and keep internally justifying why I was spending my money. I also continued for a long time with the buying make-up products that my teenage self loved, but that my 20-something-year-old self didn't love as much. I was still purchasing colourful eyeshadows even though I don't often wear them, and I bought a ton of different falsies even though I already know that my Ardell Demi Wispies are the one and I don't really need any other kinds of lashes.

Nowadays, whilst I don't and probably never will be able to create the minimalist makeup collection that the likes of Anna from The Anna Edit boasts, I do enjoy what I enjoy, and try not to stray from what I'll realistically wear into the territory of "it's pretty and colourful, I must has". Colourful make-up will always have a special place in my heart and I still love a purple lipstick, but for eyes, I'm now favouring the neutrals over anything else and that's OK - I've accepted that my tastes have changed (drastically!).

If you're a blogger who is often asked to review products, I think it's sort of a no-brainer to realise that if you want to keep a smaller, less-cluttered make-up collection, it may be time to start saying "no" to offers from time-to-time. I think my generation of bloggers - the more green to the blogging scene - often gets a lot of bad crit for just wanting freebies. For me, I have reviewed products from brands or shops I genuinely enjoy, but it's very rare that I accept any PR email sent my way. In 2016 I had a lot more offers than I ever expected, and I turned down 99% of them. Whilst yes, a lot of them were totally unrelated to my blog/generally didn't interest me, there were some that I knew would probably suit me, but I didn't need the product. It seems so wasteful to say yes just for the sake of it and I hate the idea of talking about something on my blog that I'll end up passing to my mum a week later because my make-up collection is so full.

THE UPKEEP 

I was really proud of myself for getting rid of as much make-up from my collection as I did, but honestly, the work doesn't stop there. The upkeep of such a small collection is an entire chore in itself, especially when brands are releasing new products left, right and centre. I still struggle to resist new purchases, especially when it comes to lip products - they are my weakness! I also recently picked up a product I will use probably only for a blog post too, which I'm really annoyed at myself for. It was only a fiver, but it's going to sit there now and probably get very little use, and next month I'll end up chucking it! It's not a good idea to buy whilst you're sad and just want to buy something - at the very least, keep a wishlist of products you've wanted for a while as at least you won't feel as bad than if you were to impulse buy.

Wishlists are a great idea, as I find I make a list and if I still want those products in a few months, then I'll go ahead and buy them, but often I'll find myself removing things that I've forgotten about (a sure sign I won't use it) or don't want anymore. It's also nice to think about it in the way that you're still able to purchase new makeup, you just need to be more careful and less irrational about it. At the moment, I'm trying not to buy anything as I plan to do a small Colourpop haul later in the year. I've narrowed my Colourpop wishlist down from about £260, which is what it was at pre-decluttering, to £70 post-decluttering. I'm very pleased with this and incredibly excited to bring these new additions to my collection. I do think I'll need that third set of drawers by then, though. ;)

In the case of expired products that you definitely enjoy, I do think it's worth repurchasing. For example, I threw out of my Bourjois Healthy Mix concealer which I adored but had owned for several years, and I do plan on repurchasing it at some point. I've told myself, though, that I'll only repurchase once I used up another of the concealers I already have. Making this kind of deal with yourself is a really good way to keep on top of your collection, I think. Instead of adding back to what you already have, you are simply replacing what you recently finished so it keeps a nice balance. You could do this for new products too, not just repurchases.

I think it's a good idea to revisit your collection on a monthly basis and see what you've been neglecting. If you want to get more use out of it, perhaps leave it out where you can see it immediately when you're about to apply your make-up, but if you haven't gotten the use out of it and you don't think you will, it's perfectly reasonable to either throw it away or give it away. 

That's a wrap for this post - I think I've covered everything! If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave them in the comments below! Thank you for reading and I hope this was helpful!

Have any of you guys decluttered your makeup stashes recently?

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