A Plan (and a Flowchart) for Clearing Out Your Bath and Beauty Products

published Oct 5, 2016
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(Image credit: Marisa Vitale)

Your bathroom may possibly be the only division of your small space with four walls and a door, so it’s not totally surprising that a lot of clutter ends up settling inside the bathroom to hide. Couple that with the fact that your bath and beauty kit is likely the last thing that gets refreshed (Do you know when your mascara expires? Do you?), and you’re looking at a bonafide problem area. Today, we clean it out for good.

First things first, get familiar with the shelf life of some of the most common bathroom products. Here’s a brief breakdown of recommendations of when it’s time to toss your makeup, from Allure:

  • Mascara: Every two to three months
  • Foundation: After six to 12 months
  • Concealer: One year, or once the color goes bad
  • Face powder and blush: Up to two years
  • Cream blush: One year
  • Eye shadow and liner: After three months
  • Lipstick and lip gloss: After one year
(Image credit: Ana Kamin)

Step 3: Break Down the Bathroom

We’re bringing back the flow charts from step two’s kitchen mission to assess what to do with the bathroom goods in step three. This isn’t a cop-out; all the same principles apply whether you’re talking about a spiralizer versus a hair curler, or lemon pepper against lipstick.

So you know the drill: Grab three boxes, and label two of them with “trash” and “donate.” Then take the third box and work your way through the bathroom, emptying cabinets and shelves (including what’s in the shower) into it one section at a time. Then put the things you want and need back onto the shelf and the things you don’t into one of the two going-away boxes.

Here’s how you might handle your beauty products:

Sort things like makeup, medicine, hair products and cleaning supplies through this flow chart. Don’t forget about the secret stash of BirchBox samples and hotel bottles you’re saving for basically no reason.

(Image credit: Taryn Williford)

And here’s how to sort your grooming tools and accessories:

We’re talking hair styling tools, hair clips and pins, containers, dispensers, applicators and all the towels.

(Image credit: Taryn Williford)

Once you’ve cleared the whole bathroom, you can dispense of everything in the trash container the way you usually do, with one exception: Medicine. Set any expired or unwanted medicine products aside, along with your donate pile—we’ll sort through all of that in step five.

How did the bathroom cleanout go? We’re more than halfway there!

Missed anything so far?