We Beauty Dummies have mild hoarding tendencies, especially when it comes to our bath and beauty products. We’re constantly buying new items to try, and we have a hard time dumping stuff we don’t love because we’re convinced we may used them someday. Add in all the gift bags and well...then we’ve got a problem.
Of course, like the rest of America we’ve been watching Tidying Up, the new Netflix show with Marie Kondo, all about her ”Konmari” method of reducing clutter and leaving you with only the things you love and use. We’d always been meaning to read her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, we simply never got around to it. But the show is addicting and seems to have made an impact, so we had Kat give the method a shot. Here was her experience.
KR: OK so, while I do like to stay organized and have a system to my madness, I just have way too much stuff. Tons of stuff I know I don’t need but I have this compulsion to save and use on a rainy day. Part of that comes from being broke for so long. I always had to get thrifty with my makeup so I’d save lots of cheap things and use them creatively. Also, I do have mild OCD, and sometimes I think my hoarding might be an expression of that — I have this fantasy where I use each product one by one, then recycle all the empty bottles and then completely start over from scratch. Of course, the reason that’s a fantasy is because it’s totally unrealistic and never going to happen. There’s not enough time! Also, there is no logical point to even using products I don’t love. It was time to downsize only to what brings me joy.
The first step in the Konmari method is to lay out everything you have in one place so you can get a sense of just how much you own. So that’s what I did. In the pic above are all of my bath, beauty and hair products (and my cat), and yes, it seems like a lot. But I still wasn’t convinced I was going to be able so substantially downsize. I mean I do use a lot of this stuff...
Step two, however, is where shit gets real. You have to pick up each item individually and see if it sparks joy. And if it doesn’t, or if you’re on the fence, it’s gone.
This sounded easy enough at first, but with literally hundreds of products I found myself rushing through the process a bit. I’d pick up a few items at once and go “oh I’m definitely keeping these” then proceed to start organizing them. I had to stop myself. This is the trap I always fall into: I feel like if I make my stuff look pretty in their little drawer, it doesn’t matter that I have 35 lipsticks that are all old and pretty much the same color. Wrong, so wrong.
For skincare and hair products it was easy to think “does using this spark joy” aka “does it work” and immediately I could say one way or the other that I did not like the texture of that volumizing spray and that I was never going to use that old curling iron. I thanked those items for their contribution to my life, and then I tossed them into the give-away pile.
Makeup was a little more challenging simply because I had so much, and I was afraid to throw away the wrong thing because well...that shit is expensive! To know if each item sparked joy, I just started swatching like crazy.
That’s when I realized I had about 10 black eyeliners and 12 orangey pink lipsticks. Way too many. At the risk of getting distracted, I started trying stuff on, tossing out anything that went on dry or didn’t look absolutely stunning on me. I am not sure if Marie Kondo would find this step acceptable, but it was effective for me, it just took a long fucking time.
At the end of it all, I’d spent about 2 hours going through my makeup, tossing things out, and putting it all back. When I first started, part of me felt like it was a waste of time to make such a huge mess just to end up putting things back where I found them. But in the end, I threw away an entire kitchen garbage can full of junky products, old makeup cases and unnecessary packaging, and my dresser is cleaner, easier to navigate, and less overwhelming. In a perfect world I also would have invested in some cute little boxes to help me organize even better, but given my means, I think I did a pretty good job.
As for my unwanted appliances — 2 curling irons and an unused off-brand Clarisonic, I donated those to Reveal Beauty, a nonprofit organization in New York that helps survivors of domestic abuse and sex trafficking through beauty services, workshops, makeovers and access to products. It was so easy to let go of things when I knew they were going to a good cause, to someone who actually needed them.
Many organizations will take makeup and hair products as well, as long as they are unopened or unused. Here’s a list of just a few places to donate when it’s your turn:
Got suggestions for other beauty charities? PLEASE let us know! Tag us on @beautydummy on twitter and instagram, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.