There seems to be a trend in decluttering here in the beauty blogging community and I, for one, am all for it. While I wouldn't call myself a minimalist (I don't think a minimalist owns eight different nude blushes!), I am, however, very much into the idea of only owning things that I wholeheartedly love, use and brings joy into my life, as I believe it serves us no good to occupy our minds and our spaces with anything else that doesn't. Over the past couple of months, I've been on a real decluttering kick, so much so, that back in September, I flew back home with a whopping three kilos worth of beauty products to give to my mum, sister and my brother's girlfriend! As I feel like I've got this whole decluttering thing down pat now, I thought I'd share with you the tips and tricks I've learnt over the years, which will hopefully be as helpful to you as they have been for me.
1. Create wishlists
Wishlists are a great way to keep yourself in check as they ensure you're not impulse shopping and are only buying the things you really, really want. Before I started making wishlists, I'd just buy whatever I wanted whenever I felt like it and now those products are no longer in my collection because I never considered my purchases and never really loved them to begin with. Now when I add things to my wishlist, I keep them on there for at least a few months, sometimes even a year or two, and make sure I think about the product before I make the purchase. Go in-store and swatch obsessively and ask yourself questions like, 'Is this similar to what I already own?', 'Do I only want this just because everyone else has it?' and 'Do I really need this now or can it wait?'. Wishlists help prevent buyer's remorse and overspending, plus it's always satisfying crossing things off lists.
2. Don't buy a lot at once
It's very easy to get carried away during this time of year. There are Christmas offers to lure you in while you're doing your gift shopping and then there's Black Friday, Cyber Monday and even Boxing Day to further entice you. I always love treating myself and buying myself a little Christmas present, but try to set yourself a limit. While it's exciting adding new products to your collection, when we buy too much at once, it's easy to favour those over the older things we own and cycle just repeats itself the more we buy. You want to ensure you're using your entire collection at all times and not being so excessive. Use products up before repurchasing or buying things in its place and don't buy for the sake of buying just because there's a sale on.
3. Love it or lose it
An old friend of mine used to say, "I like it, but I don't love it" whenever we'd go shopping together and as I realised just how much power this phrase holds, I learnt to adopt it when shopping myself. Sometimes we want something just because it's almost what we're after, when really, we should be holding out for that perfect product to come along. And let me tell you, it always does! Tying in with #1, if you're umm-ing and ahh-ing over something, it's probably (but mostly definitely) not worth it.
The phrase comes in really handy when decluttering too. This is something people always say when giving decluttering advice, but I'm going to reiterate it anyway - don't hold back and be absolutely ruthless. It's all about quality over quantity. Now, when I say that, I don't mean only buy high end products; that's obviously not a viable option for everyone and although I don't like buying from the drugstore myself, I know that there are still high quality cheaper options out there to their expensive counterparts. What I mean is that you should enjoy every single product in your collection; it should all be of value to you and everything should feel exciting to use, not an effort. Sometimes we have too many options, it's overwhelming deciding what to use everyday or we're simply using products because they're there, not because we actually want to. Do you really need those ten different concealers in your collection? Pick your favourites and get rid of the rest. I make little exceptions for fun products like blush and lipstick, but even now, I've become a lot stricter on myself. Sure, beautifully lined up lipsticks in Muji drawers is aesthetically pleasing, but what's the point if you're not using all of them? Even if the product is Chanel or YSL, don't keep it just because it's high end, keep it because you love it and you use it. If you don't absolutely and wholeheartedly love something in your collection, it can stand being gotten rid of. I can assure you that the chances of you regretting it and thinking about said product long after it's gone will be 0%.
4. Use products on rotation and shop your stash
Being beauty junkies, it's only natural that we're going to own more products than the average person and a great way to make sure that everything's getting used and loved is to rotate products and shop your stash. For me, I always look at what hasn't been touched in a while or what's getting old and should probably get used up before they expire. Whether it's a weekly, fortnightly or monthly rotation, try not to have too many products on the go simultaneously because the more you have, the more difficult it becomes to use things up. Pick a select few to concentrate on at a time and then move on to another lot once you're satisfied. As for shopping your stash, taking the time to rediscover your old favourites is fun and it's a nice feeling to fall in love with something all over again. I've even found it just as exciting as actual shopping, so it's a great way to curb those bad spending habits too.
5. One in, one out
When I first got my IKEA Malm dressing table, I made two rules for myself; 1. Never own more makeup than the dressing table can fit and 2. Don't stack products on top of each other (because if I can't see everything or it's difficult to reach, I'm not going to use it). In the two years I've had the dressing table, I've never broken my two rules and that's because I'm always getting rid of stuff as I get new stuff. The "one in, one out" policy ensures that our collections remain manageable and that we don't find ourselves needing extra storage for an excessive amount of products. Although I really want to overhaul my skincare routine, before I do that, I'm using up what I already have first, so I don't feel overwhelmed, guilty and out of control with product overload. When we stick by the "one in, one out" rule, we can also benefit our family and friends or even strangers by giving our unwanted products a new home, the environment benefits too as we minimise waste, and even our bank accounts get something out of it because it means we're getting our money's worth out of what we've bought.
6. Learn to say no to brands and PR companies
When you're a beauty blogger, it's pretty exciting to have brands and PR companies reach out to you who want to send you their products and new releases. When it first happened to me (anyone here remember Choies?!), I thought I had truly made it as a blogger! The more emails I received, however, the more I realised it isn't all that it's made out to be. A part of me felt guilty declining these PR companies, even when I was sent a lovely email or they were brands I really liked, but it overwhelmed me to think about adding more products to my collection when I'm actually in the process of using stuff up. It made blogging feel like a chore when it's supposed to be a fun hobby for me. Plus, it doesn't do our skin any good to be trying different products constantly. I have more than enough products of my own to use and since I've been doing this beauty blogging thing for quite a few years now, it takes a lot for me to get excited over new releases. I never measure the success of a blogger by the amount of free products they get sent; to me, it doesn't even look like fun at all to receive parcel after parcel! I mean, obviously there are awesome brands you'd make exceptions for, but it's not something I envy in the slightest. For you non-bloggers, you don't have to constantly give into the hype of the latest and greatest. There's always going to be something new and it's impossible and too expensive to attempt to keep up.
7. Don't hoard samples, use them
I'm always astounded by the amount of samples people hoard just because I always use mine as I receive them, and especially if they're sachet packets as I really hate keeping those around! They're always the worst kind of samples, aren't they? Sample products are a fun way to try something new for free, but if you keep them around long enough, they'll instead overwhelm you and feel like a chore. To tell you the truth though, I'm not even the biggest fan of them. I rarely ever collect my Mecca Beauty Loop Box when I'm eligible for them and even when online retailers offer free samples, I don't always add them to cart. I mean, it obviously depends on what it is, but if I'm uninterested in the product, there's just no point in taking it just because it's free. As I mentioned above, I already have more than enough!
8. Don't save your most favourite products just for special occasions
We all have those products in our collections that we deem our most cherished; the ones we never want to be apart from and the ones we probably reserve for special occasions only. I don't know about you, but I don't have many special occasions in my life and when I realised this, I gave myself permission to use those favourite products of mine more regularly. I mean, if we spent a lot of money on these items and if we love them as much as we claim to, why aren't we using them? What is this "special occasion" we're waiting for? A few years ago, I hit pan on one of my favourite blushes, so I stopped using it altogether instead of continuing to love it, which when I think about now, is just absurd. Obviously, I'm not going to wear my $95 bottle of Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation on an everyday basis, but if I want to wear it only to work just for one day, why the hell not? You only live once, as they say.
9. Everything in its right place
Not just the name of my favourite Radiohead song, but also valuable words to live by. When we organise our beauty collections and have things in order, it's easier to see all that you own and makes all the difference when attempting to declutter. Mess is just stressful and most likely means you're only using what can be easily reached. Take time to clean and wipe down your products every so often, organise them by category and take pride in your belongings. If you spent money on it, look after it. Everything is so much more of a joy to use when you're neat and tidy, and it can even help with the longevity of your products' shelf life too.
10. It's a process
Before I moved to Melbourne two years ago, I owned over 100 bottles of nail polish. Insane, I know! When I arrived, I came along with somewhere between 85-90 nail polishes and then managed to dwindle it down to about 50 last year. Another couple of nail polish declutters in the past two months, and my current collection stands at 35 bottles. I think I've done pretty well, if I say so myself! While I'm a lot more ruthless when it comes to decluttering now, it wasn't always like that in the beginning; sometimes sentimentality got in the way and other times, I genuinely thought I'd make more of an effort to use a particular product (I wasn't implementing #3 hard enough!). Not only that, but our tastes and our personal styles evolve and change over time, and when that happens, so does what we want to get rid of. I got into the online beauty world back in 2009 and in that time, I've learnt a lot about the products I enjoy using and work well for me. I'm no longer as easily enthralled by new releases and an IKEA Alex 9 drawer unit full of makeup isn't enviable. That's what I call stress! The thrill and that initial high from shopping is fleeting and isn't satisfying to the soul. Sure, I still own more beauty products than the average person and probably what's considered "normal", but as a beauty blogger, it's manageable and I can say I love and use every single product I own.
How do you declutter your beauty stash?