The Purge: Lip Drawer Edition

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Something that comes with beauty blogging/vlogging for half a decade is an accumulation of excess product.  Between purchasing things for posts, receiving PR samples, and just buying things ’cause I like ’em, the stash steadily grows over time.  My collection has felt especially overcrowded and cluttered lately, so I’m doing a giant product purge to clear out the old and refresh the new.

First up: my lip drawers.  For starters, the rest of my collection is not at this level of hoarding, I swear.  It is legitimately embarrassing how many lip products are in my possession.  Somewhere along the line my lip drawer became a black hole for products, and instead of clearing old ones out, I just kept dumping new ones in.  There are some products in my lip drawer that I literally bought the summer I started my YouTube channel… FIVE. YEARS. AGO.  And while I haven’t used those products for a while, they are still sitting in there, taking up space, and hiding the products that are still good from sight.  It’s like a junk drawer: once things are too chaotic and messy, you avoid even opening it unless you have to.  That needed to change.

I’ve been using two drawers for storage, and my goal was to downsize to just one.  The before photos:

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I dumped out all of the products on my floor and began sorting.  The majority of products I needed to toss were in the 2-5 year age range and just plain old.  When it comes to expiration dates, I’m more concerned about lip glosses because the wand-tube packaging harbors bacteria.  Everyone says to toss them after a year, which I try to stick to, but if it’s one of my favorites and it doesn’t look/smell/apply any differently, I’m not going to nix it right when it hits the 365 day mark (I’m looking at you, Chanel Jalousie).  Lipstick is longer lasting, considering you can cut off the top and wipe it clean.  I kept all of this in mind while sorting.

Into the toss pile went the majority of my Revlon lipstick collection, which made me a bit sad.  I love Revlon lipsticks, but I purchased most of mine almost 4 years ago, and many of the sticks have dried out significantly.  Most of my MAC lipglasses were 3+ years old and totally chunky and separated- eww, toss!

After a general “this is way too old” sweep through the pile, I began sorting in “heats”.  I started with color categories: pinky mauves, bright reds, nudes, etc.  For each category, I swatched every color on my arm, noting the formula, texture, and shade.  I then began finding dupes and eliminating them (older product usually lost), and just generally asking myself: do I like this color?  Is it something that still fits my makeup style and personality?  There were several colors that I remembered really loving, but swatched on my arm and thought, “Oh hell no!”  Frosty lipsticks?  TOSS!  It’s funny how your preferences change over the years.  For colors I was unsure of, I lip-tested to make my decision.

After I went through all of the color ranges, I re-gathered the “yes” products and went through the process all over again with different categories: sheer lip colors, jumbo balms, etc.

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After several hours, I was finally finished and felt pretty good about both my “keep” and “toss” piles.  You can probably see a ton of products in my toss pile that I’ve raved about, and to be clear, the majority of these products are being tossed because they are expired, not because I don’t like them anymore.  There are also some that are from a product line I love (ex: CoverGirl Jumbo Gloss Balms, Tarte lipsticks), but the particular shade isn’t something that worked out for me (or I have dupes) and I would rather give it to a friend who would use it more.  I’m sad that there are a handful of Revlon Lip Butters in this pile… I love them so much but at three years old they were just NOT looking good or sanitary anymore. :(

Unfortunately, used lip products are not usually eligible for donation (for the obvious sanitary reasons), so unlike the rest of my purge, this portion will not be going to a local women’s shelter.  None of the MAC products are actually being tossed, as they are all eligible for the Back 2 MAC recycling program.  The final “toss” pile:

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Here is the updated, reorganized lip drawer… I achieved my goal!  My total number of purged items is 80.  EIGHTY.  Out of 185 items to begin with (omg, I know…), this is roughly 43% of my lip product collection.  I cut it nearly in half!  While this is still a very large amount of products, it is significantly reduced, and the remaining items are on probation: if I check back in 6-8 months and it hasn’t been used, it’s finding a new home!

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Phew!  This is definitely going to be the most extreme area of my makeup purge process, so I’m glad to be done with it, and I even rediscovered some really great products in the process.  Do you ever “purge” your makeup stash?  What are your tips and tricks for deciding when it’s time to let something go?

Check out the other posts in my Purge series!

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  • Alli Stewart

    I recently did a deep clean of my vanity, and was amazed at how many suuuuper old products that I had been holding on to (hoarding) for far too long! I wasn’t quite as methodical in my own purge though. My general rule was to weed out items by age first, and then determine if I have actually used them recently. I think we all know the struggle that is constantly trying out new products, only to forget them a little while later.

    Good luck with the rest of your organization!

    allisbrilliant.com

    • Allison Anderson

      Thanks!! And yes, it’s crazy how the years can fly by and you don’t realize how many products have passed their prime. I was looking at some of my limited edition MAC glosses and thinking back to when that collection was out, and was shocked that some of them were over three years ago. Feels good to clear them out!

  • jenna

    I recently went through my own declutter, I felt overwhelmed by my collection and found that I was neglecting products that I loved inorder to try and get use out of ones that were just ok. I found that I was holding onto a lot of products that just didn’t work on me and ones that I didn’t use but liked the packaging (haha typical beauty junkie problem). As a nail polish and blush junkie those were the 2 sections that were the most difficult but I love that feeling after a purge where you see all the empty space you have!

    Can’t wait to see the rest of your declutter :)

    • Allison Anderson

      I had the same issue when doing this purge! There were a lot of products that I liked the packaging or they were from one of my favorite brands, but I realized they really didn’t work that well for me, so there’s no point in keeping them. I’ll have to check out PinkSoFoxy’s videos, I love watching other people declutter their makeup!! :)

  • http://www.librarianlavender.com Librarian Lavender

    What a great post! I usually throw away my lip products after six months, because I have a crappy immune system. It’s also a great reason to buy plenty of new ones all the time ;). I loved reading about the process and how you handled things, very nice!

    • Allison Anderson

      Thank you! And yes, one of the best things about a purge is the space to add some new additions :)

  • Gracie

    Do you ever go through and “purge” makeup brushes, sponges (beauty blender), tools? I honestly wish more companies had a recycling program like MAC.

    • Allison Anderson

      I plan on going through my tools and doing cleanout, especially with brushes! I wish more companies had a recycling program too, it’s such a great idea.

  • http://teenbeautylover.blogspot.com/ Vicky M

    I really need to do this myself. I have some 2 year old Mac lip glosses that need to meet my garbage can.

    teenbeautylover.blogspot.com

  • Angel Liu

    Amazing!

  • http://nichellexoxo.blogspot.com/ DeAsia Nichelle

    I love your collection and congrats on the clean out! I just cleaned out my closet last month and it felt like I won a grammy!
    nichellexoxo.weebly.com

  • http://ladyporter.blogspot.com ladyporter

    I wish I had that many lip products!

    xx
    ladyporter.blogspot.com

  • http://www.inaworldofbees.com/ Brooke Ellen

    I am working on my entire purge, today I did skirts, scarfs, sweaters, and pants. Let me just say that I feel better but I am not looking forward to everything else, especially my makeup. And I am happy to see I am not the only one with that many lipsticks!!!

    xoxo
    Brooke

    inaworldofbees.com

  • http://blushingbiddies.com/ Puri

    That is one hell of a purge! But great job doing it- I think it’s just a great re-fresher for whats in your collection too, so you can fall back in love with a lot of good oldies.

    blushingbiddies.com

  • BeautyBanterBlog

    This is a great idea!! Looks like it took a while. Where did you get those drawer organizers?
    Maddy @ http://www.YourBeautyBanter.com

  • georgia.

    I’ve loved your YouTube channel for ages, but I’m new to your blog. I don’t usually leave comments but had to say I really love your writing style! It’s lovely to read so I will definitely now be a regular reader :)

  • Allison

    holy cow do you have a ton of lip products! I have a little acrylic stand that I have all my lipsticks in and (try) just keep it at that
    Allison from http://www.mercuteify.com

  • http://www.writingwhimsy.com/ writingwhimsy

    really great to see your process! my lip drawer is definitely my biggest part of my stash!

  • Hannah

    Wow! That’s great that you got rid of so much. I recently did the same thing to under my bathroom sink. Some products were from 2008! It feels so good for it to be organized again though. :)

    http://www.misshannahmae.com/

  • Morgan Snow

    I can not believe that you are getting rid of all of that soo much money gone amd good product wasted I.understand the lip glasses but the lipstick seeing this hurts my soul

  • http://www.rainandredlips.blogspot.com/ Devyn Hinchee

    I love these posts so much! Totally gives me the motivation to be harsh with my cleaning out! I normally (try to) stick with the one in, one out policy when it comes to all of my makeup but I’m quite enamored with red lipstick so I don’t always follow that one…

  • http://kiwifashionblog.blogspot.com/ kiwifashionblog

    Good job on the sorting and reorganisation!

  • http://www.blueberrysegments.blogspot.com/ Mary Jo

    uh la la! That’s some serious set of lip products! And yeah, most of the times purging I found products I had all along and forgot about them.

    My Blog: Blueberry segmentS

    My Youtube Channel: Blueberry segmentS

  • http://nueyork.blogspot.com nueyork

    Congratulations on being able to part with so many products! I keep things I don’t use anymore just because I feel attached to them, but after seeing such beautiful products you’re giving up I realise that I can do it too.

    nueyork.blogspot.com

  • http://chelseamakeup14.blogspot.com Chelsea

    Okay, I thought I was a lip product hoarder lol! This is definitely something that I need to do, but I just don’t want to. I hate to throw away products that I’ve boughten, when they’re too old to use, there’s just no point in keeping them. Of course, when you clean out the old, you make room for new products. :)

    -Chelsea | http://chelseamakeup14.blogspot.com

  • http://tutusnunicorns.blogspot.com/ Emily

    Love it! Nothing feels better than throwing things away that you don’t use or need anymore- at least for me. I love purging!! xo

  • https://www.youtube.com/user/ItsKeerstin Kirsten J.

    I’ve been doing Decluttering videos on my channel :)

    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLr_R9m7znNn8Yhh7FFsiUm3SGUtFsO197

    That’s the playlist – I think I have 17 videos up so far. It’s crazy how much we can get rid of when we’re honest about how YouTube makes us become hoarders, hahaha.

    I still haven’t done the sweep of my lippie drawer for dupes. I only got rid of old and disliked products, I’m going to go through it again soon to eliminate dupes. :)

  • Samantha L

    This is fantastic! Where are your clear plastic bins from?

  • Panda4t

    Actually I went through my lip products last night. I’m slowly trying to find shades that I not only love but work for me. Sadly. I needed to get rid of most because I’m a cool toned extremely fair skinned chickie that still can’t find the perfect pink. Loved this post. Will you be doing a makeup collection when you’re finished? Or a vids watching your favs? Any lip product help. Lol

  • https://angelaslookbook.wordpress.com/ Ange

    Wow, that’s insane – props to you for finding the will to go through all of those and cleaning them out! I definitely need to do that one day too!

    x
    http://angelaslookbook.wordpress.com/

  • http://www.youtube.com/users/whatlyddid LydiaGrace

    Every time my parents say ‘you bought MORE new makeup?!’ I’m going to show them a picture of this drawer! 😉

  • Maggie

    I have been decluttering my makeup recently as well! Honestly, I’m a firm believer if you haven’t used it in 6 months to a year you probably don’t love it.

    http://thatsmagsforyou.wordpress.com

  • Yolennie

    Lip product heaven <3

    Yolennie

    http://www.lavenderfedora.blogspot.com

  • http://www.bloominrouge.com bloominrouge

    My god it’s a thing of beautiful. I’m guessing you’re friends are about to be happy campers too.
    Bloomin’ Rouge

  • http://www.modernbeautygirl.blogspot.com/ sisi

    that’s crazy! I can’t believe you cut your collection in half! I really need to go through my collection, but I can’t bring myself to throw them out!
    -Sisi
    http://www.modernbeautygirl.blogspot.com
    http://www.othermoderngirl.blogspot.com

  • http://www.theviewisbeautiful.blogspot.com/ Nadia

    It seems ironic, but my lip drawers are also my most crowded and I don’t even wear lip products most days! I really need to clear out the super old shades and consolidate my drawers. Thanks for the kick in the butt!

  • http://aprettytrippyblog.com/ Gillian

    Dang, girl! Way to stick with it and do a SERIOUS purge! Did you do a sanitizing sesh of the ones you’re keeping? I’m just wondering if this should be done on the reg…. Hmm…

    Anyways, this is BEYOND inspiring! And I love seeing it in blog form too rather than a video! Very cool!

  • Teruš
  • Lucy Phillips

    Hiya, I see that you are following me on bloglovin’!! Due to problems please may you follow me on this bloglovin’ link instead as this is the proper one which is connected to my blog:

    http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/12552811

    Thank you, sorry for the inconvenience xx

  • rchiariello

    You can always sell stuff on makeup exchange on Reddit. I’ve made a few hundred dollars doing that.

  • Rachel Webster

    I love seeing pictures of lipstick collections purely becuase they are always so beautiful because of the colours <3

    é

  • Kylie Inman

    Can you recycle unused MAC products for Back 2 MAC?! Or did you just clean them out so you could return them?

  • Elisabeth

    I actually think this is a very good idea! I mean, as long as you don’t throw all those NARS, Tarte and MAC lip products to a garbage, because the could be definitely be used by someone near you who would be willing to try them out (overall if you gave them for free haha). But aside from that, it is very nice that you did a cleaning and got rid of everything you weren’t going to use again. And plus, you’re a beauty guru, so this way you’ll get to try more lip products in the future! 😀
    Loved this post!
    xxxxxx

  • Jennifer X

    Purging lip products would be the toughest for me! Fortunately, I am careful of what I buy (luxury of not being a beauty blogger) so I don’t have too many duds, and can keep my stash to about 30 in the lip area. I sanitize them every so often, I’m not that into glosses, so my stash is still pretty good (I just recently went through them.

    http://jennifer-theansweris.blogspot.com/2014/08/too-many-for-two-lips-organizing-my-lip.html

    I’ve been thinking of doing a blog post about the ones I’m making an effort to use up.

    Btw, I enjoy your writing!

  • http://beigeberry.blogspot.com Kat Kirchner

    I love the Benefit Lipglosses and the Nars ones.
    beigeberry.blogspot.com

  • shirale68

    I LOVE this “Purge” series ! It’s wonderfull ! Your blog is so nice :)