The groundhog has spoken — an early spring is just around the corner. With all the joys of warmer temperatures and blooming flowers comes the other great mark of the spring season: cleaning. Whether you love it or hate it, spring cleaning is a must for a happy and fresh home. To help you get your cabinets in check, here are 5 steps to simplify your beauty supply.
1. Gather Your Stash
The first step to minimizing your collection is getting it all in one place. Empty out your drawers, cabinets and organizers — this will make it easier to really see your products and get everything organized.
This is the best time to deep clean your cabinet space! It’s likely that there is a buildup of hair, dirt and spilled products in the areas you normally don’t wipe down. For stains scrubbing won’t get out, try spritzing white distilled vinegar over the discoloration. The vinegar cuts through grease and grime without bringing harsh chemicals into your space.
2. Check Expiration Dates
This is, unquestionably, the most important step in the decluttering process. Go through your collection and throw away any expired products. Your skin care products should be marked with an expiration date, and for makeup you can follow these general rules of thumb:
- Mascara: 2-3 months
- Foundation and Concealers: 6 months
- Eyeliner: 3-5 months
- Lipsticks: 2 years
- Moisturizers: 6 months – 1 year
If you’ve ever had a stye, infection or reaction to a product, toss it immediately. It may seem wasteful, but your skin should never pay the cost of a few dollars saved.
3. Get Rid of Duplicates
Now that your expired products are out, take another look at what’s in front of you. Do you see duplicates? Many times we hoard products we love without even realizing it. If you have small amounts of the same product (three non-expired foundations in the same color, for example), combine them to save space. Otherwise, minimize your stockpile by setting aside anything you have copies of.
4. When Was The Last Time You Used This?
If you haven’t used a product in over 6 months, it’s probably expired anyway. For longer-lasting products like lipstick and nail polish, ask yourself: when was the last time I used this? If you can’t recall, it’s probably time to set it aside. For seasonal colors like the darker reds and purples we love in fall, consider creating a special section to avoid taking up unnecessary space.
5. Will You Buy This Again?
Be honest with yourself: do you really love this product, or are you just keeping it because you can? A lot of times we hold on to beauty products because they were expensive or because we think they’ll come in handy one day, only to let them collect dust on our shelf. If you look at a product and don’t think you’d repurchase it, it’s probably not something you should keep around.
Fun fact: MAC Cosmetics’ “Back to MAC” program gives you a free lipstick when you return 6 of their packaging containers. Those colors you ended up hating could land you a great new shade!
Well, now what?
You’ve thrown away all of your unusable products, and now you’ve got a bunch laying around. What can you do with them?
Most of the time, when women arrive at shelters for domestic violence or homelessness, they do so with just the clothes on their back. We all know how important feeling good about our looks is to general self-confidence and happiness, both of which are things women in displaced situations need more than ever.
Any non-expired product that comes in a bottle or a tube is an excellent thing to donate as-is, due to the low risk of contamination. Shampoos and hair products are a great place to start. Unused makeup (powders, shadows, lipsticks) and nail polishes are generally fine as well, so long as you toss the brushes. Mascara should never be donated.
If you’re looking for a women’s shelter in your area, this map is a good place to start.