Home » Makeup » How to Declutter Your Makeup Collection: 3 Questions to Ask

How to Declutter Your Makeup Collection: 3 Questions to Ask

posted in: Makeup
March 23, 2017

Hi, I’m Miranda and I’m a makeup hoarder. Yes, I know that it comes with the territory of being in the business, but I really do have a hard time letting things go. My makeup collection often gets to the point where I can’t close my drawers properly before I finally decide to declutter.

Deciding to declutter your makeup comes with so much anxiety, though. Oh, I’ll definitely need this some day, and even Oh my gosh, I forgot I had this! I’ll definitely use this tomorrow, have definitely run through my head when I try to finally tidy up. One thing leads to another, and I’m back to square one, having saved practically everything I vowed to clean out.

Recently, enough was enough. My space was becoming overwhelmingly messy, and it was time to get serious. I was able to actually get rid of two full garbage bags of makeup and beauty products long forgotten. What went differently this time? I asked myself the following three questions.

1. When Did You Bring Home This Product?

We all know that makeup doesn’t last forever. Makeup expiration dates are a great way to justify finally throwing away that 3-year-old tube of lipstick. On skin care products, you’ll usually find a little jar symbol on the packaging that indicates the number of months you have until you should discard an open container. For makeup, here’s a quick breakdown of when you should exercise the idea of out with the old, in with the new:

  • Liquid Foundation: 1 year
  • Powder Products: 2 years
  • Cream products: 1 year
  • Twist-Up Pencils: 1 Year
  • Lipstick: 2 Years
  • Liquid Eyeliner: 6 Months
  • Mascara: 3 Months
  • Sharpened Pencils: You can use these until you can’t sharpen them anymore.

If you can’t remember when you purchased something, you should probably err on the side of caution and toss it. A good rule of thumb is if the product changes consistency or smell.

After you Declutter Your Makeup, Try One of These Organizers to Keep Things Tidy!

2. When Was the Last Time You Used This Product?

It always seems that being realistic goes out the window when decluttering makeup. I’ll always make up some reason why I need to hold on to the glittery eyeliner I’ve used once. When cleaning out your collection, take a step back. Look through selfies if you have to and ask yourself, when was the last time you used this? Give yourself a timeline rule and stick to it while going through your stash. For example, if you haven’t used it in a month, chances are you can live without it.

When going through your makeup, you might even re-discover old purchases you’ve forgotten about. Let’s be honest, there’s probably a reason you forgot about it. If you’re extremely convinced you had just misplaced it, keep it for two weeks. If you still haven’t used it, toss it.

3. Do You Have Something Similar that You Like Better?

I hear ya, Miss Piggy. I’m guilty of having 10+ lipsticks or eyeshadows in the same shade with the slightest differences taking up a ton of room in my makeup collection. If the first two questions don’t help when it comes to this, it’s time to get swatching. Swatch products side by side to see exactly how different they are. If there are two that are extremely similar, which one do you use more? That’s the keeper, toss the other one. This has helped tremendously in cutting down my lipstick drawer… which you can see below. Yeah, I’ve got a long way to go, but baby steps!

It can be difficult parting with products you once loved. Find out how to declutter your makeup collection by asking these three simple questions.

Although I’ve used “toss it” as the solution to decluttering makeup, but you don’t necessarily have to throw products away if they’re still in good condition. Reach out to local women’s and teen shelters to see if they accept gently used items— they all accept unopened items, if you have any! I often bring products over to friends’ houses when visiting, letting them sift through the pile and pick out anything they need. If something is pretty old and worn though, it’s best to throw it away.

Want to declutter even more, and embrace extreme simplicity? Check out how to create a capsule makeup collection.

When’s the last time you decluttered your makeup collection?


  1. Erika
    | Reply

    I just recently went through my polish collection. Twice. I purged enough polishes to help the wife of one of my husband’s colleagues stock her new nail salon and had some to give away to friends and family members and still have a LOT left! lol I should do makeup…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *