9 Tips for Purging Your Makeup Collection | The Great Makeup Purge of Summer 2021

9 Tips for Purging Your Makeup Collection | The Great Makeup Purge of Summer 2021

9 Tips for Purging Your Makeup Collection | The Great Makeup Purge of Summer 2021

the great makeup purge of 2021To quote Boyz II Men, “It’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday.”

Hi, my friend. How was your weekend? Did you get a three-day? I hope it was equal parts relaxing and productive, just because I always like that. I like when I get some time to relax but also feel like I accomplished something on my to-do list.

But, of course, anytime you get to spend a few days recharging, that’s always a good thing. One lesson I’ve learned the hard way is that downtime is essential. It’s straight-up vital, because if we burn out, we’re no good to ourselves or those around us. (Side note: why does it seem like all of the big “adulting” lessons have to be learned “the hard way”?)

My weekend was spent doing some relaxing and some productive things. I went to the pool and the beach on different days, and I also made some serious headway on what I’m dubbing from this point forward as “The Great Makeup Purge of Summer 2021,” and you know what? I FEEL GREAT!

A few weeks ago I talked about how I’ve been wanting to scale down my makeup collection, because as a beauty lover and a sentimental person, it hasn’t been easy for me to let go of things — like that Chanel Garden Party quad I’ve had since 2008 (!) that I haven’t worn in years. I know I hold onto makeup for way too long.

I’ve tried a few times over the past few years to get my collection in check, but I don’t think I’ve ever been ready to commit before.

But I am now.

The push I needed finally came via a recent closet cleanout, which, by the way, wasn’t easy. It took several weeks and lots of starts and stops, but saying goodbye to all of the clothes in my closet that didn’t fit me anymore has been the most freeing thing I’ve done for myself in years. I have so much extra physical and mental space now, which I’d like to carry into other aspects of my life.

I’ve decided that it’s time to finally do it, and here are some of the helpful things I’ve discovered so far…

TIP 1: Move everything into the garage

A few weeks ago, I packed up all of the makeup that was in my office into seven big totes and four cardboard boxes, and I moved everything into the garage. I did this all in one afternoon. (Mind you, I’ve been beauty blogging since 2007, so there was A LOT of stuff.)

The reason behind this? I wanted to physically remove all of the makeup from my office. In the past, when I’ve tried to purge products inside my space, I’d end up moving makeup from one spot to another. I would label everything with the intention of eventually organizing it all and scaling it down, but that part never happened.

I figured that moving everything into the garage would shake things up, and also, if I really wanted that 10-year-old palette or that 12-year-old lipstick to come back inside the house, I’d have to make the effort to haul it back.

TIP 2: Set a 15-minute limit for purging

Every morning for the past couple weeks, I’ve gone into the garage with a timer set for 15 minutes. I set it for that because I know I get overwhelmed when I try to bite off too much at a time.

For those 15 minutes, I sort through the totes and decide if something will be recycled, or if it’ll be brought back into the house.

TIP 3: Schedule your purging for a time in the day when you have the most energy

I do the sorting early in the morning because that’s when I have a deeper well of strength to draw from. Saying goodbye to stuff that you’ve had for years is…surprisingly hard to do, so I do it when I have the most energy and the most mental fortitude.

TIP 4: Use mental tricks when you hit plateaus

In the beginning, it was really easy and very clear what needed to go. I’d open a tote and the things that had to be recycled were extremely obvious — lipsticks and cream products that were hella old, anything that smelled funny or looked separated or “off,” or things that I haven’t worn in a decade immediately went into the recycling bin.

I’ve gotten to the point where it’s getting harder, though. I go into the bins and everything *seemskeepable.

To get past this, I’ve started using mental tricks, which is what I did when I hit a plateau when I was cleaning out my closet. Like, when I found a piece of clothing that I liked but haven’t worn in years, I’d physically try it on. Oh, boy, that was a huge eye-opener. When you’re standing there with a jacket that you can’t even get an arm through a sleeve, it becomes very apparent that you need to LET THAT SH*T GO.

TIP 5: Hold it in your hand and talk yourself through it

One thing I do with the makeup is hold it in my hand and ask myself how many times I’ve actually worn it in the last few years. Then, I remind myself that I’ve been living without it for so long, and I won’t miss it when it’s gone. That seems to make it easier to say goodbye.

This sounds silly but it works!

TIP 6: The four-year time frame

I also use a four-year time frame as a reference. I chose four years because it’s the time someone can start and finish high school or college — times of big change in one’s life.

For instance, If I’m standing there holding a palette I haven’t worn but have had long enough for a student to start as a freshman and graduate as a senior, it becomes very clear that it’s time to let that palette go…

TIP 7: The “10 things” trick

Another trick I’ve used to help move things along when I hit a plateau is to go into each tote and remove just 10 things that can be recycled. It sounds simple, but it REALLY HELPS when I’m stuck.

TIP 8: Think of the end goal

Every time I’m out there purging, I think about my end goal, which is to keep makeup that I absolutely love and use often. I remind myself over and over again that once I let go of the things that are just physically and mentally taking up space in my heart and my home, I’ll have so much more room for other things in my life. I jokingly told El Hub over the weekend that if he needed me, he could find me in the garage purging makeup and hurdling toward my new life. Sounds silly, but that’s what it feels like every time I’m able to let something go. I feel like I’m charging toward a lighter and freer version of myself. I feel a little less burdened, and it feels good.

TIP 9: Make space to hold onto some things you love

FYI, I do plan to hold onto some old stuff for nostalgia’s sake. I’m thinking that I can keep one tub solely for makeup memories, for the collections that moved me deep in my core (MAC Mariah Carey, Fabulous Felines and of course, Blogger’s Obsessions), along with things that I remember using and loving. That way I don’t feel like I have to say goodbye to everything.

I’ll update you on my progress. Mind you, it might take months, but at this point I know I can get there, and I can’t wait to be on the other side.

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,


There are 8 comments on this post. Leave yours.

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Reader Interactions


  • Christine says

    June 1st, 2021 at 12:36 pm

    Sounds like you came up with a great strategy that works for you!
    I’m a little bit jels that you still have your Fabulous Felines pieces. omg I wish I hadn’t purged my Burmese Beauty quad. I’ve attempted to find dupes but nah, the magic is gone.


    • Karen says

      June 1st, 2021 at 1:17 pm

      It was such a good collection. I finally let go of the Superslicks, but I kept most everything because I loved the color story and the names.

      How was your weekend?


  • Jennifer Emmett says

    June 1st, 2021 at 6:45 pm

    Oooh that one haute dog gloss tho…. I remember the FF one, yeah! Excellent tips and I’m both proud of you and inspired for me!! Great job keep it up and keep us posted!


  • Kim says

    June 2nd, 2021 at 6:09 am

    Good for you! This is a huge project and you are getting it done with strategies that are effective AND are making you feel good. This is a total win! 🙂 I definitely need to do the same with my clothes, but maybe next year. Too many goodbyes this year and I’m very sentimental, too. Can’t wait to hear about your progress!!


  • Chelsea says

    June 2nd, 2021 at 6:58 am

    Oh Fabulous Felines! That was over a DECADE ago, I’ve been chatting with you on your blog that long. (I went to Cannes ten years ago this month ?).

    I like this process, and 100% agree that getting rid of clothes that don’t fit is FREEING.


  • Jane says

    June 2nd, 2021 at 8:21 am

    I know I sound like a broken record when I start me conversations with “As I have gotten older”, but I realize that I don’t need as much stuff, including makeup. I don’t follow trends and since I am not a collector or blogger, I only buy what I know I will use and what suits my look. I have two blushes, three lipsticks, one foundation, one tinted moisturizer, a bronzing powder, a mascara, a brow pencil and several brushes. I am pretty much the same with my clothes and shoes. I will add things from time to time, but my closet is a lot emptier than in the past. I guess those are life lessons. I also think it’s healthier.
    Be well.


  • Mirela DoValle says

    June 2nd, 2021 at 6:06 pm

    Wow! I thought I was the only one with these problems lol. I literally am about to start this. The very first thing that I did is, I just bought a ton of new palettes and new things for my kit including a new kit and all. This way I’m excited about everything when it arrives and I open it and I figured it will make it somewhat easier when I purge. I just can’t stop buying and so much keeps popping up for me now, ugh ??‍♀️. I’m just skeptical on things like my airbrush foundation which I literally used like 3X, a ton of brand new INGLOT eyeshadows that have never been open that I can build palettes out of, etc. Praying for the best.


  • Anne says

    June 4th, 2021 at 2:25 am

    That sounds like a great strategy, well done! I can relate, it feels very freeing to have more space and less products to choose from, otherwise I get “decision fatigue” – I am so overwhelmed by everything I can’t even decide on one thing and just walk away.


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