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October 2, 2019

This Is How Marie Kondo-ing My Makeup Stash Changed My Life

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.


marie kondo your makeup


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.


marie kondo your makeup


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.


marie kondo your makeup


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.


marie kondo your makeup


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.


skincare storage skincare cleanout marie kondo your makeup


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.




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Reading this made me feel so relaxed. I love the feeling of a clean, organized space. On the other hand, I love hoarding makeup and skincare and, like you, it's that spur-of-the-moment purchase that keeps my collection much bigger than it needs to be. You've inspired me to go and really get back down the essentials! Great article :)


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I desperately need to do the same thing soon! Keeping and using expired makeup products really shows in your end result. For a functional and aesthetically pleasing vanity, organization is everything!


Verified experts are beauty professionals who receive free products for independent reviews without receiving payment.

What a great article to save--especially with the expiration dates on products!! Many times when clients and friends have complained that their products don't work like they used to, the first thing I ask is "how long have you had it?" Great go to information to make sure all of your beauty stash is manageable!


Any makeup lover will find themselves with draws full of makeup. You really have to ask yourself if you have used them, and if they are still good. Check the expiration of your products! You don't want to put on old products on that beautiful face of yours. I have recently adopted a minimalist lifestyle that extends to my makeup collection. I only keep what is essential and within the expiration date. Less clutter = less stress in my book. Give it a try!


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This rings so true for me. As a reformed Seph-(whora), addict whose family constantly gave me the standard beauty box because somehow they thought I needed another 500 eye-shadow palette in my 40s! No more. I have deleted, de-cluttered, and super simplified my makeup area and routine. Less is really more...peaceful.


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I'm living in that same working/beauty space and I totally agree, organization is everything. I have to admit I didn't know who Marie Kondo was, I do now, but I'm good at organizing.
What I have not been good at is disposing of those makeup items I haven't used, some more than the recommended length of time. After reading your article I feel compelled to organize that makeup. Thanks.


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Oh man theses are great tips. I love Marie Kondo. I used her tips to clean out my closet not Im inspired to clean up my makeup :)


Great idea. This sounds like a project for the holidays. I did the whole KonMari thing with all my belongings once and it really did change my life. I see no reason it wouldn't also work with makeup!


Oof, I need to do this. I rarely wear makeup anymore, but I went through a phase where I thought I'd really learn to do perfect eyeshadow. But I never did. So I have these great little palettes.... and they're all pretty old, but I am so loathe to toss them! It was a lot of money but they have all probably expired long long ago.

But maybe I'd have more room to store sheet masks if I throw out the old stuff, right?


Marie Kondo has helped me change up my thinking of getting rid of lots of stuff, but make up that i don't even wear and never really even did for some reason is really really hard!


Writer cocopark says she uses her eyeshadow palettes forever by scraping off the top layer. I know this is probably not what you need to hear if you're looking to Marie Kondo, but if you're looking for a reason to save them, you might want to try this method! I've done it and my shadows work like new. (Same with blushes and powder highlighters.)


Maybe I'll try that! Thanks!