black make up palette and brush set

Another week, another declutter post! This week, I’m delving into the usually most cluttering items and talking about how to minimise makeup and toiletries (including skincare). Hopefully by now you’ve already decluttered your clothes and bedroom, and can move on to something that takes up less space, but can create extra clutter.

January is always a time when I notice the amount of toiletries I have, usually due to adding to the collection from Christmas gifts! I love handy gifts and those toiletries see me through a good few months, so money saved yay! However, despite coming in use, I’ve often found a body lotion or some deodorant that’s been sitting in a box for over a year unused and that’s when it becomes clutter.

Makeup is another one we so easily collect without realising. While looking for the perfect red lipstick, I think I bought about 6 others that I barely wear. I’ve also been given makeup that’s similar to things I already own and I don’t know about you, but I don’t hit pan too often with my palettes. If I do, it’s usually just the one colour that I use up.

While toiletries and makeup might not seem like they’re cluttering up the place, having so much can be distracting. The products often go unused and the ones you actually want to use can be hidden amongst the others.

hands holding makeup brush and eyeshadow palette

How to minimise toiletries (including skincare)

crop person with smear of face cream

Group items

As always, group the similar items. Body lotions in one pile, shower gels in another, and so on.

How often do you use that type of product?

Have you ever used body lotion or is it just an extra to your gifts usually? If you do use it, how much do you realistically go through? Think about this for each type of item.

How many do you realistically need?

Try to stick to at least under year’s worth. If you only go through a shampoo bottle once a month in your house, but have 15, are you going to want the same shampoo in over a year’s time?

Are they in date?

Even toiletries have expiration dates. On most products in the UK you should see a small symbol that lets you know how long the product will last. The number shown is the number of months the product should ideally be kept once opened.

It’s unlikely anything bad will happen, but the product will be much less effective after this date.

What to do with discarded products

Unopened products that you no longer want to keep could go to a family member, friends, or can be given to a homeless shelter or food bank. Opened products should be the first in line to be used, or be discarded.

How to minimise makeup

Group items

Again, sort your makeup by item type.

Try them

This is a longer process than toiletries, but personally I had to make sure I knew what to keep with some items by doing swatches and trying things because those reds are all different and I don’t know what I like best! (See where the hoarding thing comes in for me?)

How many do you realistically need/want?

I don’t even wear makeup most days, but had enough to last me years. I definitely won’t want the same products in a few years, and certainly don’t need 40 lipsticks!

Check expiration date

As above, the expiration date should be checked and products should be discarded according to them. Quite often, you don’t realise how long you’ve had a product, until you realise you had the palette since your first year of uni 7 years ago (not that I’m speaking from experience!)

Are they still safe?

Have you had a cold sore while using a lipstick, or an eye infection while using an eyeliner? It’s best not to keep items like that once you have recovered. If in future you do have these issues, it would be best to use a lip or eyeliner brush and clean it instead of using the product directly.

Storing makeup and toiletries

Storing toiletries is fairly easy once you have decluttered.

You can use a cupboard or small drawer set in the bathroom. In the bathroom, you should have one of each type of product. The extras can be kept in a storage box until they are needed. This means no decisions need to be made in the bathroom about what to use and products will more likely be used fully before new ones are opened.

I find clear storage boxes best for the extra toiletries kept elsewhere, because when products like that are hidden, they can go unused. Out of sight, out of mind.

To store makeup, you can use the famed Ikea Alex drawers, but any drawers can be suitable. I have used beauty box subscription boxes to separate the products within one drawer. Lip products in one, eye products in another. I plan on reducing again and again, but for now it’s working well for me and I take much less time finding what I want to do my makeup. It also makes tidying up afterwards much quicker!

I used to use counter top clear storage for makeup, but it made the place feel messy to me. However, for those wearing makeup everyday, it could work for you more easily. Your makeup should be accessible and easy to use, not another cause of stress when getting ready.

Some storage ideas…

Do you have a lot of unused products? Let me know if this post is helpful in the comments and if you have any extra issues when it comes to minimising your makeup and toiletries.