This past weekend, my husband and I had a great Saturday. We slept in, went to the gym, had a long, lingering French brunch with a good friend, then wondered what to do with the rest of the day. It was cold and gloomy, so we tried to rally and think of errands or out-and-about things to do, but couldn’t think of anything. I said aloud “well, if we just go home, I’ve been kind of itching to de-clutter the bathroom…..” This made it real. There was no going back now.
I regret that I did not take “before” pictures. I was focused; on a mission. Because trust me, it was a problem.
I was drowning in products, collected over the 12 years we’ve lived in this house. Old hair products shoved to the back of a cabinet, old lip colors that had separated or dried out, anything cream-based that was past it’s prime, things I used half of and then decided I didn’t like, random samples collected over too many years of Birchbox and Ipsy (long since cancelled), travel bags, and anything that didn’t have a proper home.
On the heels of the Sephora 20% off sale (during which I showed a fair amount of restraint!), I had a hard time finding a place to put some of my stock-up items. So I was in the right frame of mind for this task, which was “nothing is precious get rid of it all!!!!”. Ok, maybe more like keep what I love, and ditch the rest. If I haven’t used it (or more likely, was unaware of it’s existence), it was out. I grabbed a box and labeled it “keep” and a paper bag labeled “throw”. I probably didn’t need to actually label things that were different types of containers, but it made me feel more official. Lucky for him, the kitten jumped in the “keep” box. I liked this system because it forced me to touch everything, evaluate it, and make a conscious decision of where to put it back (as opposed to the “shove it over there” method). It also let me wipe down my grimy bottles, shelves, whatever.
Now before we go much further, I want to express remorse for my level of waste here. It was SO MUCH STUFF. And as much I would have liked to make a generous donation to a women’s shelter, very little of what I threw out was actually worth passing on, since it was old or half used. So moving forward, I know I’ll still fall into traps and buy stuff I don’t need, but I’m definitely going to go about my purchases more mindfully.
I had four zones to conquer: the countertop, the cabinet, the top of the cabinet, and the daily drawer.
AND AWAY! WE! GO!!
MB was happily immersed in a computer game, so I threw on an episode of The Black Tapes, cracked open a cherry lime Klarbrunn, and started with the cabinet. We don’t have a lot of storage in our bathroom, so we have a cheapie white cabinet in there, which was jammed full of random stuff that would explode out whenever you opened the door. On top of the cabinet, I have a step-shelf for perfume, hair products, and daily use things that was also overrun (which led to things always being knocked over), a smaller set of drawers with makeup I needed to store but didn’t use daily, and a bin full of palettes, masks, hair bands, and pretty much any random thing I needed to shove somewhere. It was out of control, and it felt really great to pull everything out. Here’s the finished, organized product!
I was now able to fit the blue bin inside the cabinet, and that happily houses all the lipsticks, eyeshadows, and skincare products that I use on occasion so I like to keep, but don’t need to have out, at the ready. This allowed me to downsize my palette storage (I didn’t get rid of any palettes!) to a wire basket, which is both smaller and easier on the eyes than an ugly plastic shoebox. The shoebox, as you can see, was re-purposed to the bottom shelf, housing… well, a few things I couldn’t bear to part with, like old perfumes with only 3 drops of nostalgia left in them, or things I use seasonally. Wait… why did I keep all those velcro rollers?? Maybe someday I will learn to use them.
I have a small drawer in the vanity that I keep my daily go-to and frequently used items in, and it was getting to the point where I had to have it configured just so in order to even close it. We all have this drawer, right? I’m not alone? Well, I was able to pare it down quite a bit, and while I still have about 57 too many lipsticks (as if “too many” is even a thing), I can now quickly see and grab what I need on mornings when I hit the snooze an extra time. Or two. I used some food storage containers to separate things out by use- complexion, eyes, lips, and tools, which makes it even easier:
Now look at this clean countertop!
Everything is so tidy! These are things I either use daily or it’s just easier to have them within reach. I don’t use more than a few of those lip/eyeliners, but aren’t they cute all nestled together in a cup??
The best/worst thing I did was to wash my brushes. Washing aaaaalllllll of the makeup brushes is oddly satisfying. A few years back, Pamela gave me this awesome brush cleaning mat from Sigma, and it makes the job even more fun! I use lavender Dr. Bronner’s because it is the best, and gentle, and smells nice. Pro tip: always dry your brushes flat- if you dry them stored upright, moisture can loosen the glue in the ferrule and wreck your brush.
Cleaning hair brushes, on the other hand, is a vomit-inducing task. But!! It feels so magical and good to have clean brushes, so suck it up and do it now and then. Pull off as much hair as you can (puke), then soak your brushes in some warm, soapy water (again, I used Dr. Bronner’s) for a few minutes, then scrub any remaining grossness out with an old toothbrush. Later, when your gag reflex recovers, admire your sparkly clean new brushes!! (Check out Kandee Johnson’s tutorial if you need more!)
Here is all the stuff I threw out. It’s a whole grocery bag. RIP, stuff. You had a good run. Except for you Biore pore strips- you were just terrible.
Oh!! I also found $41 cash (??) and rode the wave right into cleaning out my purse. Next stop: the t-shirt drawer. Maybe I’ll wait until the next lazy Saturday rolls around.
What are you cleaning? Do you have any tips to not be a product hoarder? I’m trying to pay attention to how many hot pink lipsticks I have, I swear! What podcasts are you listening to? This project took at least 3 or 4 episodes of The Black Tapes, which I have now finished all 3 seasons of, so I need something new!
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