How do you decide what to keep when going through your stash?

I’m not your usual person, obviously! These days, I keep brands that make sense for archival reasons–like MAC and going back to compare formulas/shades that get re-released–and for brands where I don’t think (and the past has shown that) I’ll need to revisit for comparison purposes AND I don’t like a product, I’ll usually get it ready to donate/give away (depends what it is and how it was tested).

— Christine
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Thanks to anxieties and OCPD, it’s nearly impossible for me not to keep absolutely everything. :/

That being said, if there are products that I absolutely cannot use (such as foundations with poor color match), I might still be able to pass it on to someone close to me. The spouse usually falls victim to this, because hey, if it’s THEIRS, then I’m not REALLY getting rid of it, just moving it to a different space. XD

I toss anything that’s gone bad, truly unflattering colors, foundations/bb creams that don’t match my skintone, shadows that crease no matter what primer I use, poor performing products.

Ok, so this is confession time for me here….I don’t seem to be able to know how to part with stuff. To decide what to toss or give away, Idk, feels painful? My one kid lightheartedly ribs me, the other has said that I have all the telltale signs of a future”hoarder”!
Of course, I DO toss mascara and eyeliner after 2-3 months, unless it’s some rarely used, but unique product. Rancid lipstick and lip gloss go in the trash, too.

For now, I just keep everything… that’s not a sustainable idea and I’ll eventually need to make decisions! If something is truly awful, I’ll try to return it (it’s very rare for me) or just throw it away. I’ll also trash products that are old and don’t look/smell/feel the same. On a few occasions I’ve received products that I knew wouldn’t work for me (not for my skin type, or shade would not look good) and given them away to friends.

I go through my stash two or three times a year and look for things I haven’t used at all since the last declutter. Those generally have to go, but I might make exceptions for things I know I only use in certains seasons (darker foundations/bronzers for summer, really vampy lipsticks in winter), these can stay if I’m sure they have been and will be used again.
The things I toss end up either with one of my family/friends (if I think it’s a good product that simply doesn’t suit me) or I throuw them away (if it’s something that I consider a generally crappy product).

It is always not the decision what to keep but what to remove from the stash 🙂
I divide makeup in two categories – the fun stuff (eyeshadows!, lipsticks!, blushes, nail polish), and stuff that has to do its purpose well (foundation, concealer, bronzer, eyeliner, mascara, brow product, etc.). From the fun stuff (that’s the big stash) I keep all unless it is visibly lesser quality than the rest or just got so old that it smells/looks bad. From the rest I have only 2-3 of each (not counting seasons color changes) and if it does not work for me there’s no sense in keeping it,

Is it expired? Have I worn this in the past 3-6 months? If not, why and do I actually see myself using the product? Are there other formulas I prefer over this in the same-ish shade? Is it in good condition and would anyone I know (family, maybe friends) use it more than me?

My stash is organized according to the facial part it goes to.
I have a notebook where I record anything with a creamy base and the date of purchase. I only have two criteria for anything creamy: Has it expired or does it smell funny?
Mascaras are listed on a separate page with date of first use. Mascaras are tossed three months after they are first used and I only used one at a time.
Powdery items are removed as soon as they hit pan so that I can use them first.

I meant that powdery items are moved to a separate stash once I hit pan. That stash has a label on it that says “use me first”.

I see if it suits me and if I think I will true wear it in the time to come. If not, I give it to friends and family and try not to buy the exact same shade a week later. Been there, done that.

Because I don’t have a lot of space I have to go through my stash once a month as least. It up a lot of things up for swap/blog sale to pass them along.

But I ask myself: Have I used this past month, will I use it this year, do I have something similar I like more?

I have a hard time parting with MAC. Also I have a hard time parting with higher end stuff bc I put more money into it. Otherwise, I give stuff to my daughter but sometimes I take it back lol. I do toss if it smells funky or changes texture. I try to give away if I am not using it. Also I try to be more thoughtful in my future purchases. Not buy another peachy pink blush even if it is cute and tempting bc I have enough of that shade for ex. Difficult but I do try lol

I have a hard time letting much go- I do “sniff-test,” of course, and anything funky goes. However, those are generally cream or liquid items. I keep most powder items pretty much forever unless it’s something I truly think I will never use again.

That’s a tough question. I would like to say I only keep things which I use, but the reality is entirely another story. I’ve become much better over the last 2 years aggressively paring back the hoard. I’ve always donated makeup to people who appreciate and can use things I find I no longer want. I’ve just become significantly better at donating things I still find attractive for reasons not related to use.

I went through a stage where I rather obsessively hoarded everything and found it difficult to part with items I was not using. That stage strangely co-incided with the onset of my chronic illness and carried through while I was very sick. I think I wanted to impose some form of control while I felt it was slipping through my fingers in other areas of my life. As it turns out I’m simply cannot subscribe to full-on hoarderdum since clutter and disorder drive me even more totalbonkers.

I’ve recently become a huge fan of the Konmari Method of tidying and sorting. It says don’t decide what to throw out; decide what to keep, and only keep things that “spark joy;” i.e. things you love. So I have to LOVE it, not think it’s merely OK, not tolerate it, not keep it because I spent a lot on it and now have buyer’s remorse, not keep it because it was a gift or was on sale. Really helps me with everything, not just beauty stash. (Also keep things that are useful even if you don’t necessarily love them, because who loves their toothbrush, fork, hammer, etc.?)

A few years ago, I threw away so much ($$$$$) that I decided then and there that my buying habits had to change — as in: Don’t even think about it unless you really, really, really love it!!! Since then, I’ve made a few mistakes, but I’ve quickly returned them. My stash is now akin to my jewelry collection: Each piece is loved. The only products I now throw away are those that have expired, and it’s been a long, long time since I’ve even had to do that. My stash is comparatively small now, and that’s more than okay by me. (I still love seeing all the new collections, but it’s like window shopping now. I just admire.)

1. If the product has expired or gone bad, I toss it.

2. If I get pink eye/an eye infection, any eye makeup that can’t be sanitized is gone.

3. In extreme cases when a product is truly irredeemable, I might get rid of it.

I’ve been trying to cull my collection so I bring things out seasonally. At the end of the season if I didn’t even touch it once, it’s time to destash it.

I’m a major hoarder of makeup but I’ve gotten better at cleaning up. Definitely if I have a better quality dupe of a shade or two very similar things where I greatly prefer one over the other, then it’s an easy decision. If it’s something that goes so unused that it becomes more of a bother, then it’s out.

I think the biggest problem is free samples. They have a tendency to collect and take up way more space than they should. I’ve been better lately about using them or tossing them as soon as I get them.

I go through my stash fairly frequently. I throw out the truly awful products, and things that have gone bad. If something is usable, but not my colour, etc, I gift to my sister. I am quite warm toned, and she is cool toned, so my misses often work on her. She volunteers with teens at risk and she brings the items she doesn’t want there. They are appreciated there as they are good items, just not good for me.

I make sure the product hasn’t gone bad. If it has, it goes in the trash. Then I think about whether I actually like it. If not, I give it away to someone who might. Next, I think about whether I still use it or think there is a good chance I’ll use it in the future. I’m a bit of a collector/packrat, but I don’t want to waste anything I know I’ll never use (unless it’s LE/collector packaging). I also consider whether I have dupes that are better quality.

Other than the sniff test to see if it’s gone bad, I tend to toss things that are frustrating me when I apply them. Products shouldn’t be frustrating to apply! I shouldn’t be getting frazzled at the end of my face routine, L. If it’s new, it gets returned; gently used gets passed on to friends; and older items get trashed.

I get rid of anything expired first. If it’s been lightly loved, like a foundation, I’ll donate it. Anything that touched my lips or eyes I’ll offer to others before I toss but it’s usually toss.

I usually go through my stash once or twice a year to find things I haven’t used all year. I then put them in a “to go” pile. Here’s where the dilemma really begins for me— I don’t know what to do with perfectly good and sometimes unused make up that I no longer use or want. I hate throwing it away and I’d love some ideas on where I can donate it or give it way…

I go through stages of purging. I gather all of one item, like lipstick, and do a process of elimination. I will keep at least one of the different shades I have. If the product has an aged smell, it’s history. My friend and I always give each other first dibs on the pass me downs.

Usually only when there are signs that products are breaking down, especially creams, some foundations, mascara, and the very odd lipstick. I’m especially terrible at remembering to throw out mascara, even if it hasn’t broken down, so that’s in my focus. I often identify items that I want or should use, and place them somewhere prominent so it gets used as a priority. I don’t buy many nail polishes, which was the big cull before my last move (as was perfumed bath and cream products that I can’t used due to my spouse’s sensitivities., tho I will never depart from my beloved Dune). Despite what some might say, my stash is not excessively large that a lot needs culling on a regular basis.

I keep everything that hasn’t gone off (my powders items and palettes seem to stay fine forever).
I buy and use up my mascara 1 tube at a time and have pared down my cream and liquid products to things I’ll use up before they go off. Yay for airless pump packaging!

I’m keeping an eye on liquid lipsticks and my lip tars though. I’m not sure how quickly they will turn, separate or go bad.
I actually use up nail polishes since I have long nails and sometimes regret not buying a back up (CHANEL Black Pearl, looking at you).
I have started upgrading my lipsticks to a smaller but higher end collection which I really like.
I am going to do Konmari but I really like my makeup collection so I only anticipate a re-organization in that area

I clean things out twice a year. Products that are old (I adhere loosely to the guidelines for discarding cosmetics), no longer relevant, or that just weren’t all that great to begin with, get tossed out. Products that I never or seldom use because I simply don’t like them, get donated to friends or women’s shelters, etc.–if they can be sterilized, of course. Sometimes I’ll keep a product because I thought the color was perfect and I want to have it handy for reference when I buy something in a newer formula. I love cosmetics and am thrilled with all the advancements made so I’m always moving on; eager to try new products.

First of all – age of the product. If it is too old, looks/smells funny – out it goes
Secondly – if I don’t really like or use it. Some products just don’t seem to be as good as you thought they would.

I put everything in those little make-up gifty bags by product. I then sort by drawers which are the oldest products. It stays unless it smells bad or separates. Organic/natural products are the exception and are used immediately. I don’t add a product to my daily routine until I’ve used one up (practicing delayed gratification-weird I know). I love my stash and have way too much. I also love the UPS truck that delivers my mail order beauty. Isn’t it like opening a present every time?

I rather give things away than toss something out unless it’s a lipstick, lipgloss, powder or something old . I’ve learned that the things I could consider trash or waste of space could be something really useful for someone else (even things I consider poor quality could work pretty well to other people) so I almost never toss things out and just give them away. If I own an unflattering lipstick I just make it work with lipliner because I already paid for it and the things I buy are almost always mid-high end and that’s a lot of money! So if it doesn’t work I just make it work somehow.

Until a few years ago this would have been a difficult question to answer as I was buying a lot of makeup and beauty products in general and I was really swayed by anything shiny and glittery! I purchased equally from drugstore and high end. I didn’t care about my skin tone, skin type, etc. and was always trying new foundations, new lipstick formulas, etc. A few years ago I started listening to my skin and paying attention. I learned my skin tone, type and texture. Since then, I know what foundations will work for me and I rarely have to take anything back or get rid of them. I almost always purchase high end foundations because I am over 60 and for me most drug store foundations just don’t work. Having said that, I go through my other makeup every six months. Again, with the exception of a few small eye shadow palettes most of my makeup is high end. I am a makeup snob, I guess but I love the packaging, the smell, the textures and pretty much everything about most high end makeup. I do still buy eye shadow palettes that are so pretty but just don’t suit me or are too stiff or lack pigmentation or have any number of other issues. I have lipsticks that are the wrong color for me and blushes that make me look sallow! Sadly, I have learned to part with them when they don’t work out. I probably should just return them but I have found great joy in giving them away. I have given them to women’s shelters and to my college age daughter who is also a makeup junkie. She has all the makeup she could ever want so she does not keep the loot but posts signs on her dorm notice board and mentions that she has a new “shipment” of makeup from her mother and the young college students get together and split the spoils. They are always so grateful to get the “nice” makeup. I rarely have anything outdated but of course if it is or it is smelling off I just toss it.

I have a system that works pretty well for me. I do an inventory every 6 months and if I haven’t used something in the past 6 months, it goes in a different display. I keep that display visible to see if I will reach for the ‘maybes’ for the next 6 months. I’ve typically found that I have only used the maybes a few times or not at all. After the 6 month trial is up, I put them in the give away bin or trash (depending on whether they can be sanitized or whether they’ve spoiled). There have been a few times where I’ve fallen back in love with a product, but mostly it’s to the point where I won’t miss it if it’s gone. Then I do another inventory and start my maybe display all over again. This last inventory cycle I have only had 3 things, so it’s worked pretty well so far. Some things I still can’t bear to part with for sentimental value but for the most part, the inventory and maybe display help in figuring out what to keep and what to toss.

My problem is I seldom toss unless a product is past it’s prime. I might be a neat hoarder but I hope not. I can get more storage.
Actually exaggerating. I just like my toys, color.

I keep everything *sigh*, If I fall out of love with something or it’s nearing its toss-out date, I just use it obsessively until it’s gone. The only thing I’ve ever tossed out I think is a Sephora foundation cuz it had tons of questionable ingredients.

Someone asked where to donate unused makeup items. Please consider your local women’s shelter or shelter for homeless teens — these people sometimes have only the clothes on their backs. I’ve been told they get plenty of donations of clothes, towels, etc. but rarely get indulgences such as makeup or nail polish. The shelters I’ve donated to have been INCREDIBLY thankful.

I go through my stash every once in a while, though I haven’t had a chance to in the past nine months because of lifestyle changes and travelling. But the last time I de-cluttered my makeup drawers I just went through and tossed anything that I wasn’t reaching for, and I go rid of a decent amount of stuff. Now I have a lot of makeup, but I love it all! I plan on doing a Konmarie when I get back home though to everything I own, including my makeup stash (in 2 weeks!)

I have a few questions I ask myself as I go through my stash:

1. Do I like wearing it?
2. Is it expired?
3. Has it changed texture/smell, etc.?
4. Is it worth using up?

I use these when I go through items that normally last a bit longer, such as foundation, lipstick, eyeshadow, etc. Items that need to be frequently rotated through, such as mascara, never stick around long enough to be evaluated.

I’m getting ready to move at the moment so these questions are being put to use. As a result, my collection is getting down to a more manageable and streamlined state of being.

Because of OCD and also because I blog, I have an excel spreadsheet of my inventory at all times. About 304 times a year I do a major collection clean out where I’ll take out all items I have in a certain category (let’s say all red lipsticks) and swatch them all to see if I like the colors still. I’m also currently testing all my products for longevity and the way they’re going on so if there’s anything that doesn’t hold up I’m passing it along.

If I haven’t worn a product in months, I question why. Do I hate the formula, shade or does it do something like go flaky or patchy? Obviously if it breaks me out it is gone straight away but I make sure it is definitely that product my skin doesn’t like otherwise it would be wasted money! If I have too many similar lipstick or eyeshadow shades, I try to condense them down.

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