This Is How Marie Kondo-ing My Makeup Stash Changed My Life
Oct 02, 2019
Is your makeup stash a perilous leaning tower of palettes? Do things look crumbly, discolored, or smell odd? Then it's time for you to Marie Kondo your makeup stash. Even putting aside the storage issue, do you really want eons old and possibly bacteria-ridden cosmetics on your face? Here, editor Sheryll shares what impelled her to go KonMari on her beloved stash and how to do it.
I live in a moderately sized, one-bedroom apartment. As much as I wish I had my own makeup and skincare vanity like all the cool kids on YouTube and Instagram, I don’t. My work desk doubles as my vanity, and as you can probably imagine, nine times out of 10, it’s a disorganized mess. In order to make room for my computer and various accessories like a light and my mouse, I have to precariously balance makeup palettes, blushes, highlighters, and foundations on one side of the desk. When I want to do my makeup, I have to move all of my work stuff out of the way.
All of this nonsense came to a head when I put a glass of water on the only open space next to my computer. I’m not sure how it happened, but I accidentally tipped over the water and completely fried my computer — my literal life source since I’m a freelancer and work from home. One panic attack and $300 later, I had my computer back (whew), but decided enough was enough and I needed to Marie Kondo my makeup stash once and for all.
Step 1: Get rid of expired, old products
I admit I am somewhat of a makeup hoarder. I do really well with keeping up with expiration dates of skincare products, but makeup is a whole other beast. In true Marie Kondo style, I took all of my makeup and put it in a big pile and got to work. I wanted to get rid of the old stuff first so then I could really take a look at what sparks joy for me.
As a refresher, here are some various estimates for makeup expiration dates. Keep in mind these are just guidelines. Go with your gut — but if things smell weird, are starting to separate, look weird or discolored, or are getting dry and clumpy, toss it in the trash.
Concealer: 1 year
Foundation: 6 months to 1 year
Cream blush: 1 year
Powder blush: 2 years
Liquid eyeliner pen: 3-6 months
Liquid eyeliner: 3 months
Eyeliner pencil: 2 years (you’re constantly sharpening it, so it lasts much longer)
Eyeshadows: 1-2 years
Lipstick: 2 years
Lip gloss: 1 year
Mascara: 3-6 months
Step 2: Sort out products by type
After I got rid of all the old, expired makeup, I went in and sorted everything by makeup type. Single eyeshadows went in a pile, eyeshadow palettes went in a pile, pencil eyeliners, lipsticks, etc., etc. It was at this point that I started to get really overwhelmed by the amount of products I had. Chasing after new releases seemed like the worst idea in the entire world.
Step 3: What brings me joy?
After I had everything sorted out, it was time for the grand finale, the true essence of Marie Kondo’s game-changing tidying method. It was time to look at each product and ask myself “Does this spark joy?” It sounds utterly ridiculous typing it out, but Marie might be onto something. Picking up each item individually forced me to think about whether or not I really enjoyed a product, or if I was just something I bought in the spur of the moment because everyone else was doing it.
For lipsticks, I swatched each one on my hand, as well as trying a few on. I found some gems I forgot I even had — a bright orange Fenty Beauty matte lipstick and a rich, deep blue liquid lipstick that I bought but never had the courage to wear. As I went through each product, I was acutely aware of how often I’d used it, if ever. Honestly, I don’t even wear makeup enough to justify a vast majority of my stash, and if I’m keeping it really real, I use the same products over and over again. Going through my stash forced me to realize I don’t NEED 12 different highlighters. I use the same three. Do I need another eyeshadow palette when I use the same two over and over again? And if I only use foundation once every blue moon, do I need five of them? The answer is no. No, I do not.
Step 4: Organize it and make it look pretty
After getting my life together and getting rid of the makeup that did not bring me joy, it was time to organize it all. I bought some of those acrylic makeup displays, one for brushes and liners and all the “long” stuff, one with pullout drawers for palettes and powdered things, and a third for all of the rest. I have to say, my desk/vanity looks super cute and organized, and I’m not frantically trying to search for things or knocking over water and destroying computers. What a time.
Do you Marie Kondo your makeup stash from time to time? Let me know what you kept and what didn’t bring you joy in the comments!
Sheryll Donerson got her start as a beauty writer by writing K-beauty reviews for her blog, The Wanderlust Project. These days, she's lifting heavy weights, eating tacos, drinking (too much) coffee and is 1/4 of the beauty podcast, Beauty Beyond Basics (or Triple Bees for short). You can find her on Instagram and Twitter at @sheryllrenata.