The term “less is more” has never been more true than now. It’s been the year of minimal indulgence. We've been wearing less makeup, buying less, and leaving home less. The only thing we’ve had more of is cabin fever and growing face mask collections. With all the extra time we have on our hands, and with the need for our spaces to be clean to keep our minds clear, there's no better time for some anytime-of-year cleaning to prove that less really is more.
You might have heard of Marie Kondo. She is one of People Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People, well known for her tidying. She travels the world decluttering people’s homes through her trademarked KonMari Method. Kondo is a minimalist who believes possessions should spark joy, and if they don’t, to the bins they go! (Or the charity shop; think green!) Let’s try to revive some joy in a part of your life that’s probably been on the backburner for a few months: your beauty collection.
This process will take a little longer than 5 minutes. Commit the time and energy to organizing your products. The result of your toils should be a clean and tidy collection, and it will definitely spark some joy. Plus, this is a great excuse to get away from a screen for once.
The KonMari method urges tidying by category, not by location in the home. In this case, start with one category of makeup, and work your way through your collection from there. When looking at your products, you can probably pick out which ones you haven't used in over a year (a sign that your product might be expired, too). Think back to before the pandemic when applying your makeup might have been a daily ritual!
Cull through, item by item. Are there certain colors you’re no longer drawn to? Do you absolutely hate the feeling of liquid lipsticks and wonder why you ever bought a set of 6? Are your nail polishes looking gloopy and thick? Asking yourself a few questions and answering them honestly will help you narrow your collection down quickly. This process will also remind you of what you forgot you loved. There’s the spark of joy!
Every makeup or skincare package has a small symbol called “period after opening”. It looks like an uncapped jar, and tells you how many months the product will last after you open it. This symbol refers to a product’s shelf life, and references how long the preservative system within its formula is approved by the manufacturer to work. Thinking back to when you bought your products and referring to this PAO symbol can help you weed things out really fast.
You might be horrified to learn about this symbol and realize that you’ve been using the same eyeshadow pan for years. It’s only a little scary, but don’t worry, your general health is not at risk. Your products just might not perform their best, but the worst that can happen is skin irritation, acne, and sties. When in doubt, throw it out (especially if it smells funny).
The KonMari method recommends thanking your products for all their service to you before it’s time to say goodbye. This is especially helpful if you have a hard time letting items go. This action subconsciously provides closure, and allows you to move on to the next.
The beauty industry is one of the most wasteful ones, and produces over 120 billion pieces of packaging yearly. When disposing of your unwanted products, please do so responsibly. Whatever is unopened or unused, try selling online or donating to charities for women. A friend or family member might be okay with taking your gently used products. For everything else, consider the best recycling option for you.
Some brands will accept your empties to promote their closed-loop product lifecycle initiatives; this is something to think about when purchasing new products too. As for municipal recycling, every district and region has its own policies. Some plastics and metals can be recycled in certain places, and some cannot. It’s important to research what materials are accepted in your town’srecycling bins before putting them on the curb. One mistake here can result in the whole batch of recyclables ending up in a landfill.
If you did this right, you should be left with far fewer items than you started with. Now you can get creative with storage systems that work well for you. It’s best to keep surfaces clean if you have extra drawer space. A clear space promotes a clear mind, and lots of cluttered products on your vanity can look and feel overwhelming. Check out Marie Kondo’s own lifestyle brand for some organizational inspo.