Makeup Stash Declutter and Maintaining Your Collection

I think beauty lovers out there would agree that as much as they love accumulating beautiful products, a good declutter can be just as gratifying. I remember talking to my coworkers once about how I like to watch videos on people tidying up their space / re-organizing their stash / decluttering their status and they. thought. I. was. insane. (LOL). Anyways - I love a good organizing video and some of my favorite YouTubers to watch for a declutter are Anna, Alix, Kate, and Estée. They all have easy on the eyes / well organized storage for their makeup/skincare and oh my does it make me feel zen when I see it.

Honestly, I think decluttering and leading a more minimal lifestyle is a journey and obviously not something that happens overnight. I’ll admit that I love to collect things and even hold onto letters from when I was in elementary school (yup). Letting go of things is definitely a symbolic way of letting go of things in your life (and the past). Don’t let things weigh you down, just let them go and be happy with what you have. Holding onto things of the past is just tiresome so do what I’m doing, and just rid yourself of old things.

The Storage

Over the last 6+ years I have acquired quite a few Muji drawers - and I really could afford to downsize some of them. I have three 2-drawers and two 5-drawers that are currently dedicated to makeup storage. While I have one 2-drawer that sits on my vanity with "everyday" makeup bits, the remainder of my drawers are situated on my bookshelf in my office now or inside of my storage locker unit. Prior to moving to our new place, my drawers used to live on the side of my dresser on the floor (I didn’t really know where else to place it). Granted none of my Muji drawers are really packed tight so I could definitely afford to downsize on them. In all honesty I'm not using the space efficiently and a lot of stuff is really sitting there for "special occasions" which really don't come up all that often. Sometimes I think about switching out one of my two-drawers and dedicating it to jewelry and watches alone. And other times I think about purging a ton of my lipsticks and just keeping the bare essentials and maybe 1-2 "fun" lip colors - taking on a more Parisian-vibe makeup style. This post has been queued up for almost 6 months now (yikes) and I’m now in my new place with my own office space to do all the creative things. I’ve dedicated an entire post to my office room storage so you can read more on that here since everything I had written previously no longer applies 🙃


Around spring time, I did a little spring clean and did a baby purge of makeup - getting rid of products that are far too old (I’m talking, Urban Decay Naked Palette, circa 2009) or shades that don't suit me (hi, beautiful bold lipsticks that are pretty on paper but a nightmare to wear). I still held onto them for a little while longer cause I'm a hoarder and it's hard for me to let things go. I'd say that a lot of my friends don't really use makeup/skincare much, so a large portion of my stash wouldn't really be ideal for them. However, there are a select few friends out there that do use makeup (even if only occasionally) so they do get to reap all the excess products in my stash. I always tell friends that even if they don't end up using it, it's totally fine. If they're debating on using a bold lipstick for a one-time event, take my un-loved ones and save some $$! 

Recently I've been so fortunate to be added onto a few big brand PR lists (like brands I grew up shopping for at Sephora) and had a huge *pinch me* moment. The only semi downside is that I still only have one face and while I typically accumulate makeup more slowly than skincare, I really can't move through it all that fast. With skincare, I can at least treat the rest of my body (i.e. arms, legs, stomach, back, feet) with nice products and slather myself in oils and lotion. But with makeup, I'm not really going to be swiping highlighter all over my body like a disco ball (I mean I could..but it'd be messy). I'm definitely being a lot stricter with what I keep and although things may be pretty, realistically I probably won't get much use out of it. I actually had some followers on Instagram message me saying that I should send them to people for free. While I do include many unused products in giveaways and occasionally do random giveaways with products that didn’t work for me (i.e. skincare products used once or twice), I thought it was quite bold for people to ask me to send items to them (or other people) for free. I honestly didn't even know what to say - like sorry, I'm not made of money? I’ve chatted with other people around the Internet and it seems like everyone has had this happen to them at least once which completely blows my mind. It's in poor taste IMO - please don't do it as it puts the recipient of the question in a very awkward position. 

Anywho - on the regular I sit down with Netflix playing on my laptop and sort through my drawers. I definitely follow a KonMari method and pull everything out of the drawer/basket that it’s in and look at every product. I re-read ingredients lists and look for ingredients I know will irritate my skin (mostly silicone/dimethicone) - and I’ll usually throw them in a re-gifting pile or giveaway pile. Sometimes I’ll start gathering items that I want to test and pull them out as well. Products do have shelf lives (even if you aren’t opening them) so if I find that I have 5 new eyeshadow palettes, I need to realistically think about which ones I’m going to use and perhaps gift to a friend one that I won’t have time to get to. Going through my products regularly is just like shopping my stash, and it helps me familiarize myself with what I have rather than just receiving a PR package and then pushing products in a corner to be forgotten. Keep your collection in tip-top shape and even inventory the items that come in!

If a product isn't going to a friend or I don't feel like doing a giveaway, I've been gathering items to be donated to a women's shelter near me. I've read lots on how women escape with nothing and need every little thing they can get. I suppose I take a lot for granted because I’ve been very fortunate my whole life. I think if you’re in a similar position, you should do your best to give back however and wherever you can. For me, this is one area and if you think it might be yours - I encourage you to do the same! BTW - if you’re based in California (NorCal) know of any local shelters to the Bay Area (specifically around South Bay), please do let me know!


I've been doing more declutters recently and have been a lot more ruthless with what I'm giving away. If I haven't reached for it in 2018, it's pretty much adios. If it's something I've been on the fence about, I've moved it up to my top-drawer storage and if it hasn't been used, then it's going to a friend. I had to be super strict with myself about what's old/expired and just throw that out. It's definitely something that makes you re-evaluate how you purchase products. I'm definitely very minimal when it comes to my makeup and I am fully ok with it. I have changed my shopping habits and rarely buy makeup. If I’m buying makeup products, it’s typically for a re-stock of an essential product. What are those “essentials”? They pretty much cover everyday essentials like eyeliner, mascara, and concealer (although Laura Mercier gifted me enough concealers to last the foreseeable future lol - thanks Ariel!!). I’ve definitely started shopping my stash before making an order online and it’s actually helped a ton. I know what I like and I can tell right off the bat if something isn’t going to work for me. Instead of holding it on just to include in photos / re-test, I just choose to pass it on ASAP. Having a streamlined collection of all products you enjoy reaching for is extremely refreshing.

One thing that’s so hard for me is to pass on sales and coupons - particularly 20% off ones. I know Ulta sends them out every month or two and now that they carry a lot of brands and even prestige brands, I’m not as desperate to haul as I used to be with Sephora sales that came around twice a year. Sometimes saying no, not picking anything up, and keeping that money in your bank account is an even more gratifying feeling. Is this what #adulting really is? Be strong - you got this!

For any of you that are trying to figure out how to pare down your stash, really pick everything up and re-evaluate it. Like I said above, do a little Kon-Mari method and hold / swatch each makeup item to see if it’s still how you remember it to be. I used to hoard a ton of eyeliners at once - varying in shades of brown/black/grey. I quickly figured out which brown hues I liked where some were more brown-black and others were more light brown and not too flattering. Some blacks had more blue undertones and would just look weird against my skin tone. Swatching them and realizing the errors of your choices helps you learn for the future, and just pass it on to friends/others who can use them. For eyeliners that can be sharpened, these are fine as others can just sharpen away any used parts. With twist-ups, sad to say but you just gotta toss them. My #1 tip for those that love to buy luxury beauty - please just USE the products. There’s no point buying a $90 foundation and using it ONLY for special occasions. How many special occasions will you go to? You might as well get your $$ worth and use it on a day-to-day basis, or at least a semi-regular basis.

As mentioned above, inventory your products. This works for me in various ways! For one I use it to track my “income” - if you’re a blogger, you should be keeping track of everything that comes in, whether its PR/Gifted/Sponsored. Technically everything you’re receiving should be counted as income, especially if you’re receiving that product in return for a service (i.e. posting a review on IG/blog/etc.). This allows me to track which brands I’m talking with, potentially receiving items from, and what I can expect to receive. This helps me be more selective with who I work with and know not to say yes to 4 brands wanting to send me a face cleanser at once. It also doubles to remind me when I got a product in so if it’s been in my collection for 6+ months and I continue to reach for other products over it, it’s time to go. I’ve chatted with a few others before and I think many were quite intrigued of my inventory monitoring and tracking so I’m thinking about doing a post. If you’d love to see it, please do let me know below!

What are some of your favorite tips for decluttering and maintaining a pared down collection - both makeup wise and skincare wise?