The Beauty Editor’s Quick and Lazy Guide to Marie Kondo-ing Your Stash This Spring

The Beauty Editor’s Quick and Lazy Guide to Marie Kondo-ing Your Stash This Spring
Photo: Nemida /iStock/Getty Images Plus. Design: Allison Kahler/STYLECASTER.

Disclaimer: I am not a beauty vlogger who can teach you how to organize makeup in a well-lit, beautifully-decorated, walk-in closet for YouTube. I am, however, a regular schmegular skin care enthusiast and occasional makeup wearer with limited space atop my bedroom dresser and behind the bathroom mirror. And even though my makeup uniform is usually limited to BB cream and mascara, I know that spring cleaning isn’t just for the closet or living room.

Not only does the winter to spring transition routinely handle the leftover remnants of seasonal depression like Olivia Pope. It also motivates me to start chucking half-used bottles and make my amateur beauty display #shelfie-worthy, even if I’ll never get the courage to upload a snapshot to the ‘Gram. This time around, I’m definitely channeling my inner Marie Kondo, whose Netflix show Tidying Up With Marie Kondo and multiple books on organization resulted in me donating four huge bags of clothes to my local church. As it turns out, the simple act of only keeping things that “spark joy” is sort-of revolutionary and definitely applicable to my excessive beauty collection.

Now that I’m staring down a literal pile of bottles and jars, some used and some unwrapped, I am more than ready to give my makeup and skin care pile the same treatment. So no, there is no one magic treatment to cleansing your beauty space, but if you’re unabashedly lazy like your’s truly, here’s the 4-step, KonMari Method-inspired guide to getting it done without breaking a sweat (or nail).

Check Expiration Dates

Stop slathering old stuff on your face. I know it’s easy to forget that beauty products expire because they don’t mold like fruit or bread, but they do. And exposing your skin to expired ingredients will only lead to breakouts, or worse, infections that leave behind permanent damage. We’ve got a full breakdown of how long you should be using beauty products across most categories, but here’s the Spark Notes Version you should screenshot ASAP:

Liquid skin makeup: 6-12 months

Powder face makeup: 24 months

Eyeliner: 12 months

Mascara: 3 months

Lipstick: 12-24 months

Skin cleansers: 12-24 months

Skin moisturizers (creams and gels): 12-24 months

How to Clean Beauty Stash

Getty Images/Allison Kahler.

Get Cute, But Functional Storage

I can’t emphasize enough how time-saving storage, be it simple or intricate, is to anyone with more than a handful of products in their beauty collection. Sure you can throw everything in a travel bag or designate a drawer for it all, but things spill, stain and become a general nuisance when they’re not positioned upright.

You can do everything from tiny Ikea boxes to grandiose rotators on Amazon. Once you’ve nixed the expired gunk, you’ll know exactly how much space you need and can purchase accordingly.

Decide What Actually Sparks Joy

Here’s where our homegirl Marie comes into play. And it might be the hardest part. For many of us (or at least me), part of the reason we hang on to things is one of two reasons. Sometimes certain trinkets (or lipstick bullets) are attached to a memory we want evidence for. And for people like me, we’re scared that the second we throw it away, we’ll need it. I can tell you from experience that the latter almost never happens.

There’s a reason that dusty eyeshadow palette has been sitting unopened on your dresser for months. It seemed like a good idea when you bought it, but the reality is that it doesn’t fit your aesthetic. Bite the bullet and give it to someone who will put it to good use. Better yet, watch an episode of Tidying Up With Marie Kondo for the gentle, but stern inspo you probably need.

Downsize With Multitaskers

Finally, once you’ve thrown out the old, ushered in the new and retired the products that only work in theory, consider adding at least one two-fer into the mix. We’re all busy and therefore, could benefit from something that doesn’t take minutes to apply. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a brand that doesn’t have offer a “less is more” options, but if you’re having trouble tracking them down, here are our current favorites.

Now go spark some joy before summer arrives and we have to do this all over again.