How to Declutter Your Makeup Collection

The rise of beauty YouTubers and online forums has undoubtedly caused an increase in makeup purchasing and hoarding. I was sucked into this glamorous world five years ago when I discovered YouTubers like JuicyStar07 and Michelle Phan. My makeup collection grew exponentially. Though I never had enough to fill an Alex 9 Drawer, it was still an excessive amount of makeup. When I discovered minimalism, I was already frustrated with the ridiculous amount of hoarding in the YouTube beauty community, and so it was easier for me to declutter my own collection. Here are my tips for decluttering your makeup collection successfully.

how to declutter your makeup collection

Change Environments

Gather all your makeup from your makeup bags, purse, and bathroom, and bring it all into a new space. This could be a table, couch, bed, or the floor. Make sure the space is tidy to begin with so you are not distracted by any surrounding mess.

Keep, Sell/Give Away, Trash

Designate three piles as noted above. If your makeup isn’t in any condition to sell or give away, then just make two designated piles. Note the lack of a “maybe” pile. 

Toss Out the Old

Seriously, get rid of that crusty expired makeup. If it’s hard for you to let go of an item, then picture the infection you could possibly get from continuing to use the product. It’s not worth the risk, just toss it!

Separate into Categories

You don’t really know how many eyeliners or lipsticks you have until you group them together. Palettes can be tricky because they can be placed in different categories. I go by what the palette is mostly made up of. For example, my Naked on the Run palette includes twice as many eyeshadows as it does face products, so I place it in the eyeshadow category.

Consider What You Love

Go through each category one by one. Do you love eyeshadow? If you do, then it makes sense to have multiple palettes or singles. Do dislike bronzer and highlighter? Make sure your collection reflects that. It’s easy to hoard makeup because you love how it looks on someone else. Make sure you love how each product looks on you. Maybe you need to apply that lipstick you just bought or swatch an eyeshadow on your arm to be sure.

Eliminate the makeup you don’t love.*

Consider What You Use

Now, with what you have left in the categories, go through each one and pick out what items you have actually used and will use in the future. You can love something and never use it.

While completing my first makeup declutter, I found I had two cream blushes I never wore. I enjoyed blush but didn’t like applying cream blush over my foundation. I also didn’t like applying blush without foundation because it highlighted my acne scars. Based on these personal preferences, I realized I was keeping cream blushes because I loved the idea of having cream blush. I loved how it looked on other people, but it wasn’t suitable for me and my lifestyle.

I bring this example up because you might be holding onto a type of product that you like the idea of having but don’t actually use. At this stage in the declutter, it’s important to differentiate between the items you love and use, and the items you love to have.

There’s nothing wrong with keeping items you love to have, but you have to consciously do this. (Maybe we’ll call this conscious hoarding? haha) All jokes aside, I understand that things can sometimes make us feel secure in ourselves. I understand that people with less money and therefore less resources tend to find enormous value in things compared to people with more money. It is up to you what you decide to keep.

Finish the Job

Once you have separated everything you must finish the job. Put away the items you are keeping. Take photos of the items you are selling and post ads (if that is the route you are going.) If you want to offer something to a family member or friend, then contact them now. Lastly, if you want to donate your makeup, find the closest women’s shelter, and put the items in your car or near the door so they are out of the way. With ads posted and your donation items segregated, it will really feel like you’ve completed the declutter.



  • I know some makeup lovers like to keep sentimental makeup products. Since you aren’t using it anymore, the only reason you should keep it is if it makes you happy. Maybe it reminds you of a loved one or an experience you had. It’s no use keeping old or limited edition makeup if you can’t use it or if it doesn’t make you happy!
  • I used to keep random costume makeup including glitter, black lipstick, and neon eyeshadow. I used the glitter and lipstick once or twice but kept them for years just in case I needed them for a costume or for going out. If you use an item at least once a year and have the room to store it, I don’t see a problem in keeping it. However, please note that I did eventually get rid of all that costume makeup and I do not regret it. (To be completely transparent, I’m not a big fan of dressing up anymore.)
  • Keep it simple with brushes. If you have multiple brushes for the same function, keep 2, maybe 3, and get rid of the rest. I have two blush brushes so I’m able to wash my brushes every two weeks instead of every week. 
  • Remember to keep what you love to wear.


*Keep in mind that these guidelines are for someone with an excess of makeup and enough money to replace some items. If you are on a budget with an excess of makeup, then it might be beneficial to keep some items as backups. Take these instructions with a grain of salt. If you have any specific questions, I’ll be happy to answer them in the comments!

Check out my minimalist makeup collection below!