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Tidying Accessories + Makeup {The Secret to Decluttering}

September 20, 2015

One of the biggest sources of clutter in our homes is having an excess of accessories and beauty products that we never use.  Learn the secrets of decluttering this area of your home and keep the clutter from returning ever again.

Welcome back to the third week in our series on decluttering and sparking joy.   This week we are digging into our accessories and beauty products. 

This is an area where I think many of us struggle with clutter and having an excess of things we don't use because accessories and beauty products are relatively inexpensive and we want to experiment with new things.  Today's post will teach you everything you need to know to overcome this problem and I've created a few helpful printables to help you as well.

In case this is your first visit here, each Sunday I'm joining in with some of my best blogging buddies (say that 10 times fast) to bring my views on how to gain control over your clutter.  Many of us are focusing on things that we learned from The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up  by Marie Kondo.  Links to everyone participating appear at the end of this post.

Learn the secret behind successful decluttering your accessories like purses, shoes, jewelry and makeup.  |

Affiliate links are provided in this post for your convenience.  For more information, you can view my disclosure policy.


As a girl, I love them all.

Clothes come in and out of style.  Our size changes and they no longer fit.  Shirts and pants wear out.

But accessories can always stick around.

I have about...

- 50 pair of shoes, including sneakers and flip flops,

- 15 purses

- A small basket full of scarves and belts

- And about 15 pair of earrings, 20 necklaces, and a few bracelets and rings.

A small amount maybe compared to some women, but quite honestly most of it probably could be considered clutter.  I use the same purse most days.  Grab the same five pair of shoes when going out to work. And rarely remember to add accessories like jewelry and scarves.

Why do I buy these things if I don't use them?  Accessories are relatively cheap in comparison to buying clothes.  And I guess I think that small purchase will make me happy.  And when stores use these items on mannequins,  it entices me right in to believing that necklace will complete any outfit I have.  And it might if I actually remember to wear it!

Like when we were decluttering our clothes last week, though, we need to look through our accessories and decide to keep just those items that spark joy and make us happy.  You may have really wanted that cute pair of heels when you bought them, but if they are sitting unworn because they don't fit or you no longer like them, the cute heels must go.

Regardless of whether or not most of these items could of be discarded from my life, I have found a simple way of keeping the amount that I have down.  The number of shoes cannot exceed the space in my closet.  The shoes I have fit perfectly all lined up on shelves in my closet.  If another pair of shoes comes into my life, a pair has to leave.  I know we read about that technique all the time.  But it is so much easier to stay true to this idea when there is literally no place to put those new shoes without removing an old pair.

When I started decluttering, I had about 10 pair of shoes in shoe boxes that I was "saving" in case I decided I liked them again.  When looking at the shoes I do wear and seeing if they sparked joy, I went through these as well.

There actually were a couple pair that have become my new favorites, so I'm not sure why they ended up in with shoes that I didn't want.  To make room, a few of the ones that were out in my closet had to go because I just didn't like them or they didn't fit right.

The same limited space idea works for my purses, scarves, and belts as well.  There is a small section in my closet for purses and if I buy another one, an old purse must come out so it has room to sit.  When my basket of scarves and belts is too full, some have to come out from there as well.

And just like decluttering clothes, you must search for all the accessories that you have even if they are located in multiple places in your house.  (For instance, your winter scarves and gloves are likely not living in your bedroom).  You must find every last piece, or Marie will make you discard the items that you find later!

Once you are left with just the accessories that spark joy, try to find a way to incorporate them into your daily wardrobe.  Add a necklace or scarf to your outfit before leaving the house.  Reach for a different pair of shoes than you normally would.  If you find that there are things that you can't MAKE yourself use, then it obviously doesn't spark joy and should be donated or sold.

A great tip from The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up is to empty out your purse every night.  At first I thought this was a little crazy and a waste of time.  Why empty out my purse, if in the morning I'm going to put the same things back into it?  But what I found is that it keeps me from gathering too many items that don't belong in there and more importantly, it encourages me to use a different purse each day.  In the morning, I'm more likely to choose a different purse than the day before since I'm going to have to fill it one way or the other.

As a side note, some of you may be questioning what you should do with heirloom or family jewelry that you may not wear on a regular basis.  In my opinion, these items would fall into the same category of items as family photos and keepsakes.  Because those things have memories and meaning attached to them, Marie suggests that category is decluttered last in the journey to tidying.  So for now, keep them in a safe place and don't worry about seeing what sparks joy there.

And now let's talk about your makeup and beauty supplies.....

Do you have a drawer full of beauty supplies that you can never seem to use?  Maybe it is because they are "too-good" to use.  Some products are just so expensive that you want to "save them for something special."  And then there are the ones that you buy and honestly just never think to use.  And let's not forget about those "must-have" creams that never actually worked or the lipsticks that never looked good on you. Any of these sound like you?

We've talked a lot about keeping just the items in our lives that spark joy.  A bottle of hand lotion or tube of toothpaste is not likely to do that.  There may be a bottle of perfume that makes you happy or a cream that makes you feel luxurious, but for the most part those products are not going to make you feel things like your clothes will.  So we've got to find another alternative for sorting through these things.

Once again, pull out all your makeup, skin care, hair care, medications, etc, even if they are located in different rooms.  Go through each product, holding it in your hands and deciding whether or not the item is worth the space it is taking up in your home.  Is that item doing anything to enhance your life?

  • Begin by discarding the items that are out of date or no longer any good.  That's easy.

  • There maybe products that you know you'll never use and are willing to get rid of.

  • But then we have the products that you bought and hate to just toss because of cost or the desire to use them....even though you don't.

My solution to this problem of not using what I've purchased?  Those items have found a new home front and center on my counter top.  They stare at me everyday and will continue to do so until they are used up.  Makeup primer (I seriously didn't need it, but the pricey bottle sounded good.)  Cuticle cream (I know my nails will thank me, but I just never seem to remember to use it.)  Hand lotion in a scent that I no longer have in shower gel (I like my scents to match.)

Having these items sit in my way and out in the open reminds me that they need to be used.  I've actually gotten rid of a few bottles of stuff already and am working my way down through a few others.  This may not be the prettiest solution for getting rid of clutter or using up what you've purchased, but it does seem to work.  If you find that you still can't force yourself to use the product, then it needs to be tossed or donated.

Pay close attention to the things that you have bought and haven't used.  Why did you purchase the products?  And why don't you use them?  Make a mental note of what you discover so that this problem can be avoided the next time you're tempted.  Most beauty products aren't cheap, so there is not point in throwing money away on something that will sit in your cupboard.

And here are this week's printable guides.....

I hope this post has provided you with a little inspiration for uncovering your favorite accessories and beauty supplies.  Next week all of us will be switching our focus to decluttering books.  Is this a clutter problem for you?

In case you haven't read it yet, the book can be ordered here from Amazon or at most other book retailers.

Be sure to check out everyone's links this weeks for lots of inspiration for organizing your accessories and beauty supplies!

In case you've missed the previous posts in this series....

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