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How to KonMari your make-up mountain!

Decluttering Marie Kondo style!

Is it me or is Marie Kondo, the Japanese clean-up queen everywhere at the moment? You can’t skid on a pile of newspapers or stamp on a remote control without seeing her. A year or so before she Netflix’d, I flicked through her best-sellers The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying and Spark Joy just to see what all the fuss then was about. With 27 gold shimmery eyeshadows, 32 dusky pink lipsticks and 14 black mascaras etc currently occupying three large drawers, I thought it couldn’t hurt to KonMari my makeup stash. Plus, I could sort out my absolute faves for my then-impending nuptials.

In a nutshell, KonMari-ing is not about choosing what to chuck but rather keeping the things you truly love. Marie says, ‘When something sparks joy, you should feel a little thrill, as if the cells in your body are slowly rising.’ Now the magpie in me says that’s whenever I see a gold shimmery eyeshadow but that’s not going to help my make-up mountain get smaller. Still, reading her books inspired me to downsize my (ever-growing) stash. There was only one thing for it. I was going Kondo!

To play by the six KonMari rules you must:
1. Commit yourself to tidying up. Once you’ve started, as Kate Bush once sang to Peter Gabriel ‘don’t give up.’
2. Imagine your ideal lifestyle. Before getting the bin liner out, think about the beauty kit you crave.
3. Finish discarding first. Don’t just hide everything away so that it looks neat on the surface. Only think about storage once you’re down to the bare essentials.
4. Tidy by category, not by location. Lay out all your make-up so you can see exactly how much you have (like 27 gold shimmery eyeshadows.) Then start to sift through your favourites in each category.
5. Follow the right order. KonMari talks about tidying clothes before books and papers etc… I went through the order of my make-up routine. Starting from my base onwards through brows, eyes, lashes, lips and cheeks.
6. Ask yourself if it sparks joy. If the thrill comes, it’s a keeper. If it doesn’t, then say thank you and goodbye.

So how did I get on? Well, I waited until I had a whole day to myself. No tv, no radio and definitely no small children. I lit a tonka bean candle and totally focused on the job in hand. I can’t say I was like a ninja tossing out eyeliners and lip glosses in every direction. Discarding anything that wasn’t old or broken was tough. I decided to break it down into sections. If it sparked instant joy, it stayed in my main stash. If it sparked joyful thoughts of summer holidays I put it in a small travel bag. And if I felt sure that it would spark future happiness (ie. it was unopened) then it was stored away in a pretty box.  The rest I shared between my two young daughters (who needs Disney make-up when they can have Dior?) and friends (though it did still pull at my heartstrings to say goodbye.) Having said that, I do feel a big weight has been lifted. A big gold shimmery weight….. 

I asked make-up artist Amanda Harrington for a few other wise words when it comes to decluttering your kit. Her four-point plan consisted of:
1. If you’re agonising over what to keep, go for the things you use the most, what suits your skin type and anything you receive positive comments on.
2. Put together an everyday make-up bag with the shades that match your skin tone within the season you’re currently in. For me, it’s my BB cream, a good concealer, a non-grease eyeshadow, a mascara, a soft eyeliner, blusher, lip balm and lipstick.
3. Chuck out anything that smells bad, has dried up or separated. As a rule, foundations tend to last 1 year, lipsticks and eyeshadows up to 18 months and mascara around 4 months. Toss anything you haven’t touched in the past six months too – even that perfect red lipstick you’ve been saving for an occasion that may never happen!
4. When sorting out your brushes, lay them out and clean them using gentle shampoo. You’ll notice which ones you use and which ones you never touch.

Spurred on with a now minuscule make-up kit, I decided to cleanse my skincare shelf (pun intended.) Actually this was pretty easy. Although I test out new products all the time for work, Estee Lauder Daywear and Advanced Night Repair had me at hello years ago. The only time they don’t spark joy is when they’re empty! So, out everything else went. To be used, as KonMari suggests as body creams, if not given away. 

So with my beauty stash being approximately 99% smaller than it was, where should I keep it? Doing it KonMari-style declares that skincare and make-up should be kept separately. Skincare products are watery whereas many make-up products repel water. She says that make-up should be displayed on a dressing table, or if you don’t have one a pro makeup box with small compartments, a pouch or pretty box. Skincare should make the bathroom their home. For me that means Estee’s in the bathroom cabinet and my post KonMari kit consisting of 13 daily essentials are sitting pretty on my dressing table.

Marie Kondo talks of the joy factor that should be felt when applying make-up in the morning. I can honestly say that having the products I need (and love) in front of me certainly sparks that. Next stop, my shoe mountain!

Do you think you could part with a chunk of your beauty haul…? Which products could you never be without?

Sarah x

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Btw, these are the prods that made my grade:
Estee Lauder Daywear Advanced Multi-Protection Anti-Oxidant Creme

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronised Recovery Complex II

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Synchronised Recovery Complex II

Smashbox Photo Finish Pore Minimising Foundation Primer 

Estee Lauder Daywear BB Anti-Oxidant Beauty Benefit Creme

YSL Touche Eclat

Bobbi Brown Sheer Finish Pressed Powder

Smashbox Brow Tech

New CID i-line Eye Pencil in Black

Benefit They’re Real Tinted Primer

Benefit They’re Real Mascara

Bobbi Brown Party All Night Palette

Lancome Precision Effects Mono Eyeshadow in Eclat de Bronze

Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge for Lips and Cheeks

Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet in La Raffinee

Bourjois Effet 3D Gloss in 03

Narciso Rodriguez for her EDT



  • Please can I have all the makeup you’re throwing away? It looks way nicer than anything I’ve got. All of my stuff is broken in some way, plus it was cheap to start with!

    6 months ago : joely
  • So this morning i’m reading that something called satori is ‘the thing’. It sounds just the same. basically having a declutter and living in a calmer, cleaner space. it makes sense to me. i’m just too attached to things……

    2 years ago : denise
  • your kit has got nothing on mine. I don’t know how I could part with any of it too. every single thing brings me joy and bundles of it. hattie x

    3 years ago : hattie
  • I kon mari’d my underwear drawer and all my costume jewellery. It’s easy throwing out old pants but I found getting rid of the jewellery really hard. So much so that it’s all in a box under my bed! Ssh……

    3 years ago : Suki
  • I’m in the process of buying all new. I really like a lot of the same things as you. Especially the skincare. And the benefit. It’s reslky helpful to see what an expert would actually choose if they could only have the bare essentials. Tilly

    3 years ago : Tilly
  • You threw out so much!!!!!! Next time please chuck it my way!!!! Ax

    3 years ago : Aioffe