Reorganising beauty products should be a Kondo category all of its own, in my opinion. Alas, Marie doesn’t see it that way, but I’ve interpreted some of her teachings and rejigged them to suit an overflowing beauty collection…
Marie Kondo is the Japanese tidying expert and author of the book The Life Changing Art of Tidying Up (that was originally published in 2012 would you believe), and now she’s also the star of her very own Netflix show, in which she travels around the US, hooking people up with organisational hacks and tips to keep them from becoming buried in their own clutter.
As yet, I haven’t seen anyone unearth their 94 mascaras, 35 bottles of foundation and 278 make-up brushes to show Ms Kondo – whether they’re just not into make-up or they have a secret beauty basement of shame, I cannot confirm.
If Marie came to my house? She’d be brought to (probably happy) tears on sight of my beauty collection. Over ten years as a beauty editor, I’ve accumulated quite the array of products. I’ve also given truckloads away, but still it looks like I’m operating a bootleg branch of Boots from my spare bedroom.
Because of this, I reckon I’d give Marie a run for her Japanese yen when it comes to beauty organisation. Here are the five key things I do to make sure I don’t smother under the weight of a thousand primers. I have given them all headings that begin with C to make them easier to remember and because I’m a massive fan of all things mnemonic.
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Seriously. For your health if not for tidying reasons. Anything that has been opened for more than a year, immediately toss. Yes, even that Bobbi Brown eyeshadow palette you love that isn’t completely gone. Make-up goes off and houses bacteria, so if you’re getting spots a lot or have sensitive eyes, your make-up being out of date could be the cause. I am a little nuts about dates, so I write on the label of all my mascara and skincare when they were opened, so I know when to toss them.
Brushes, as well all know, should be cleaned very regularly, as otherwise they are an incubus for viral plague. Think of the dead skin cells, the sebum, the gone off bits of make-up that exists in them. Ew. But the rest of your make-up collection should be wiped down too. Likewise, the surfaces on which you store your beauty collection. I store my beauty stuff on a cloth which is full of foundation smears, mascara flakes and eyeshadow dust, forming my very own Shroud of Turin. So wipe down bottles and cases, inside and out, and clean your surface too for a bacteria-free make-up zone.
Just like Marie Kondo would advise, lay all your make-up out in front of you and separate into categories. Eyes, lips, skin, whatever category system works for you. Then go through each one, and let your make-up spark some Kondo-style joy. If you use something religiously, keep. If you bought something and it didn’t work for you but is still useable, donate to a pal. If something is five years old and you’ve never gone near it, into the bin with it.
Once you’ve gone through and determined what it is you like and want to keep, assess how much room you have in which to store it all. If you still need to cull, for space reasons, look at the things you have most of. If you have nine identical red lipsticks, maybe cut out your least favourite six and give yourself three (still identical) ones. Obviously it goes without saying that if the three you’re keeping are matte and you have nine more that are gloss (yes, your categories will get that specific) that’s fine. Whatever works for you and your space.
Part of Marie Kondo’s method is to arrange things so that the user can see everything clearly, which in theory will encourage them to use what they might’ve been overlooking before. I don’t know about you, but I definitely take the handiest route when it comes to picking beauty products (whatever’s right in front of me will do) and so some of my really nice stuff gets neglected because, you know, out of sight out of mind. Dividers for drawers don’t have to be expensive (I recycle any small boxes I get, cut off the lids and refill them with beauty bits) but you can also buy perspex make-up storage in lots of different places. Here are some I have and love.
Penneys brush holder, €8