How to declutter your makeup collection in 6 easy steps

Time for a glow up 💋

A makeup bag with makeup and brushes falling out on a blue background
(Image credit: Getty)

One of my guilty pleasures is treating myself to a good makeup haul. This, plus all the samples I get from my boyf's beauty company job (TY, babe), means that I have a major need for organization products and frequent decluttering sessions.

My makeup collection sits on top of a set of drawers in my tiny bedroom, so when it's disorganized it's pretty obvious. As well as the aesthetics, having a disorganized makeup collection can also mean that you're putting old products onto your face. Gross.

I've put together a step-by-step guide to decluttering your makeup, so your collection is easy to use and serves you well. This way, you won't be scrambling around for your fave eyeliner five minutes before you gotta leave the house.

Scroll on through — your makeup collection is gonna look so beaut once you're done reading this.

Good to know

Time: 30 minutes, possibly longer if your makeup collection is big.

Difficulty: Easy

Top tips: Go for a practical but thoughtful mindset when choosing what to get rid of. Think about when you wore it last and if it sparks joy (yes, I'm going all Marie Kondo here).

Here's what you'll need

How to declutter your makeup collection

Step 1: Take all of your makeup out

A pile of makeup on a blue towel

(Image credit: Future/Eve Smallman)

Yes, I mean it — sometimes in order to declutter, you have to create clutter. Taking everything out of your containers and boxes will make it easier to see what you have. I recommend laying them on a towel, so you don't get any makeup stains on your floor.

Step 2: Organize the makeup into piles

A variety of makeup products on a towel

(Image credit: Future/Eve Smallman)

Categorizing these by type will make it easier to see how much of each product you have, so you can check for duplicates, unopened products, or anything you don't use. Start by sectioning these out by face, eyes, and lips, and then if you have lots of a certain product (e.g. eyeliner), you can subsection this out into a different pile.

Step 3: Throw away any expired products

A mascara being held with makeup in the background

(Image credit: Future/Eve Smallman)

Yes — just like groceries — makeup can expire, too. There will be a li'l tub symbol with a number somewhere on your product, that indicates the number of months your formula is good for. If you know you've had your product for longer than this, throw it away. It's better not to take any risks as you don't want to give yourself an infection.

Step 4: Discard any products you don't need

Makeup in a trash bag

(Image credit: Future/Eve Smallman)

I'm going to be honest, this is the hard part. I hear you saying "I need it all!" Trust me, you don't. Go through and pick out any products that you don't wear — especially any that are broken. If it isn't in your daily routine or doesn't come out on special occasions, chances are you don't need it. If you have any unopened items, you could gift these to friends and family or donate them to special organizations that accept cosmetics. Otherwise, throw them away. 

Step 5: Clean your makeup organizers

A makeup organizer being cleaned

(Image credit: Future/Eve Smallman)

Wipe down your makeup products with spray and a microfiber cloth to remove any sticky marks or stains. Repeat the process with your makeup organizers, so they're clean and ready for you to store your makeup.

Top tip: If you want to go one step further, wash your brushes. Over 9,000 Amazon shoppers love how quickly this Ricris one gets makeup off. 

Step 6: Put your remaining makeup back  

A collection of makeup in a makeup organizer

(Image credit: Future/Eve Smallman)

This is a good time to assess if you’re utilizing your makeup storage container as best as possible. Would all your brushes fit better in that big gap? Would your eyeliners squeeze in that slot better than one chunky lipstick? Once you’ve figured out where to put everything, place them all back into the holders.

Top tip: If your makeup organizer is still brimming even after decluttering, you could always get organizers with slots, like this Qiuttnqn set from Amazon, to break up bigger items such as eyeshadow palettes and face palettes.

All done! How cute is your makeup table looking now? If you’ve read this and feel like going on a whole decluttering journey, try out the 30-day decluttering challenge that'll make your whole apartment just as tidy.


Where does decluttered makeup go?

Unopened decluttered makeup can either be gifted to friends or family or donated to organizations that accept cosmetics. There are also websites you can sell unused products on. If the makeup is opened throw it away, so you don't spread bacteria.

Why should you declutter makeup?

It’s a great way to audit how much makeup you have in your collection and to remove any products that are unused, out of date, or no longer in a usable condition. 

What makeup should I throw away?

Throw away makeup that’s either out of date (check the tub symbol with the number), broken, or that you genuinely aren’t using any more.

Eve Smallman
Staff Writer

Hi there! I’m a staff writer at Real Homes. I've been a lifestyle journalist for over five years, previously working as an editor across regional magazines. Before this, I graduated from Nottingham Trent University a degree in journalism, along with an NCTJ gold diploma. I love running, decorating my rented Victorian home, and discovering new cheeses.