A guide to overhauling your beauty clutter, the KonMari way.
Thanks to Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, the KonMari method has made its way into our closets, kitchens, living rooms and now...our makeup bags.
Marie Kondo is a Japanese organizing expert and best-selling author of “The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up," an organizational tome first published in 2012 and now a hit Netflix show. Unlike the title of the show suggests, however, it’s really not about "tidying" your piles of possessions: it's about getting rid of stuff.
The KonMari method, according to Kondo’s website, says we should all “keep things that speak to the heart, and discard items that no longer spark joy. Thank them for their service, then let them go.”
Below, we’ve taken Kondo’s words of wisdom and applied them to help you organize your piles of beauty products.
ACTUALLY COMMIT TO TIDYING UP
Kondo recommends tackling the entire project in one go. Don’t just try to tidy one drawer of lipsticks, or only your complexion products—grab it all: hair and body products, skincare and makeup. Depending on how many products you have this could be a time-consuming project, but unless you do it in one go, you’ll just end up moving items from one spot to another and having to repeat the process the next month.
TIDY BY CATEGORY AND NOT LOCATION
Rather than tackling your stash by location, organize by category. The KonMari method has people starting with the clothing category, and then going into sub-categories: all shirts, pants, socks, etc. The same method can be applied to organizing your beauty products. Lump products into three main categories: makeup, haircare, skincare. Then within that, tackle your sub-categories. For example, skincare would have moisturizers, toners, serums, etc. Make sure you have your entire collection in front of you. Empty your drawers, your makeup bag, your purses and pockets. It should immediately become clear that you have too much. Take note when you catch yourself saying “Oh, I forgot about this!”
IMAGINE YOUR IDEAL LIFESTYLE
Kondo asks you to visualize the life you want to live. Cluttering your home, she says, causes chaos and can lead to unnecessary stress. The more you pack in a closet, the harder it is to know what you have, to stay organized and to get dressed in the morning (hello, indecision). But if you curate it to just house items that you love, it makes life a lot easier. The same goes for your makeup.
Cutting down your collection will make you more appreciative of your products and how they can elevate your look. Also keep in mind—and this may be the cause of our collective beauty clutter problem—with skincare and makeup, we are always on the hunt for the next big new thing before using up our existing products. So prepare for that by leaving room for inevitable growth.
FINISH DISCARDING FIRST
Some products are easier to discard than others—just check the expiry dates. On the back of every product there is a tiny symbol that looks like a can with its lid popped open. On it, you'll see a number indicating how many months (6M or 12M or 24M, etc) from when the package is first open that it should be thrown out.
Old makeup, especially liquid products, can harbour germs, which are particularly a case for concern on your face. Other obvious discards: If you’ve never worn a metallic lipstick, why do you own four? If you regularly get your nails done, why do you own a large nail polish collection? If your complexion products don’t match your skin tone or work with your skin type, why hang on to them?
DOES IT SPARK JOY?
Ask yourself not what to get rid of but what to keep. Kondo stresses the importance of only keeping items that bring you joy. This is an easy rule to bring into the discussion of makeup, because of the direct correlation between looking good and feeling good. Once you have made your initial cuts, take each remaining item in your hand and take a private moment to ask if it sparks joy. And if it doesn’t? Get rid of it.
Be honest: some makeup just looks better in the container than it does on our skin. Get swatching, choosing what makes you look and feel your best. The result is an organized collection that is both practical and pleasing.
WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR DISCARDED PRODUCTS
Kondo advises to verbally thank them for their service as you part ways. To give them a second life, a good question to ask is, “Is there someone who would enjoy this more than me?” Then you can sanitize your product and pass it along to a friend or family member. For any heavily used or too-old products, look online to see if the company has a way to recycle their products. Aveda, Origins, Kiehl's and M.A.C Cosmetics are a few companies that have their own recycling programs. Some even offer perks: M.A.C, for example, lets you swap six empty containers for a free lipstick.
For other products, such as empty compacts and containers, google to see what is accepted at recycling facilities near you. (In Toronto, Waste Wizard is a great resource.) Or try Terracycle, a global recycling company that allows you to send hard-to-recycle items to be disposed of (though often for a fee).