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Spring Cleaning Time! How to Declutter and Organize Your Skin Care Stash

Posted by Nikki Wisher on Apr 30th 2024

Spring Cleaning Time! How to Declutter and Organize Your Skin Care Stash

It’s that time of the year again! Spring is all about fresh starts, and it’s the perfect opportunity to breathe a bit of fresh air into your home by decluttering and organizing. One area of your home that might need an edit is your skin care stash. I know mine does every year – I pick up a variety of skin care products that look fun, and I might use them a time or two and forget about them or I might just never find the right occasion for that unique face mask I bought. If you have a stash of products you’ve built up for a while, here’s how to whip it into shape.

Step 1: Decluttering

To borrow a page from Marie Kondo’s book, everything you own takes up space and if a skin care product doesn’t have a beloved place in your routine (whether it’s daily or for special circumstances), it’s just using space in your home. Follow these tips to declutter AKA edit your skin care products.

Check Expiration Dates

So many of us use or hang onto expired skin care products without realizing it (yes, skin care products do expire!). Expired products can develop bacteria that you don’t want on your skin, but even if they don’t have bacteria squatting in them, they’re less effective.

Most skin care products don’t necessarily have a specific expiration date, but they have a limit on the amount of time you can safely use them after they’ve been opened. If you don’t see a date on your product, look for a symbol that looks like an open jar. It should have a marking in it, like “6M” for “six months” or “12M” for “12 months.” If it’s been longer than this since you opened the product, no matter how much of it you’ve used, toss it out.

Here's a pro tip by the way: to make this easier in the future, try labeling skin care products when you open them. Buying skin care online also makes this easier because you can look back in your email to get an idea of when you bought it, because you probably opened it soon after.

Follow the One-Year Rule

The one-year rule is like the golden rule of decluttering: if you haven’t used it in a year, show it the door. The same is true for your skin care, even if it isn’t expired. Sure, there are some products you might only use on special occasions like refreshing eye masks, but if you haven’t had a use for it in the past year, you probably won’t anytime soon.

Remove Anything That Doesn’t Agree with Your Skin

It’s easy to end up with products in your stash that aren’t a good fit for your skin. You buy a product to try out, it makes your skin irritated or oily, so you set it aside and now it’s just sitting in your drawer, forgotten and taking up space. Now is the time to toss it out. Your skin type is unlikely to change anytime soon, so that product is better off in the trash.

Can You Donate Skin Care Products?

As great as decluttering and reclaiming some space can feel, it’s natural to cringe at how much product is wasted or thrown away. Can you donate your products instead?

That depends. If a product is unopened and you bought or received it relatively recently, you can probably donate it. Look for a local shelter or an organization in your area that helps people transition out of homelessness – these organizations often accept personal care items to give their clients. Unfortunately, though, if a product is opened at all, it’s considered a sanitary risk and isn’t donatable. In these cases, you can often dump out the product into the trash and recycle the bottle to keep it out of the landfill.

Step 2: Organizing

Once you’ve gotten down to the skin care products that are of value to you and are still fresh, organize your stash to make it easier to manage. Check out these tips.

Create Daily Skin Care Kits

You should have a consistent set of skin care products you use daily, like a cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen, for example. You want these products to be easily within reach, so it helps to group them as a “kit” in your drawer or on a shelf so you don’t have to sift through all your products to find these essentials every day. You can have a morning kit and an evening kit.

Organize Backstock or Occasional Products by Season or Purpose

For skin care products you don’t use every day, like backstock of your favorites or products you only use occasionally, there are a few helpful ways to organize them. Consider grouping products based on the season – there might be products like a rich moisturizer that you only use during the dry fall and winter, and other products you only use during the spring and summer when it’s more humid.

For non-seasonal items, my favorite way to organize is grouping products by their purpose or category. For example, you could have one drawer section for anti-aging products, one for cleansers, one for exfoliators, and so on. This way, when one of your essentials runs out or when you want to add something into your routine, you know right where to go.

Step 3: Restocking

Now that you’ve gotten rid of everything that didn’t serve your skin, you might have to restock a few items too. Follow these steps.

Re-Up Your Favorites

You might find yourself realizing that one of your daily staples is expired and needs to be thrown out. Start your refresh by getting a fresh product for those staples.

Replace Ill-Fitting Skin Care Products

In the course of your decluttering, you might have gotten rid of a product that isn’t the right fit for your skin like an oil-based anti-aging product that isn’t suited for your oily skin. But you still want to have some anti-aging skin care, so look for alternatives that are better suited to your skin type.

Consider Sizing Down

As you’re shopping for fresh skin care products, think about the products you threw out – particularly the ones you were still using but that expired before you could finish them. When you replace those products, look for a smaller size of the product if it’s available so it doesn’t go to waste.

Strolling into Spring with a Better Skin Care Lineup

This spring is the perfect time to make sure your skin care stash has the high quality products you want that are tailored to your skin. Follow the simple tips above for decluttering and editing your skin care stash and upgrading with products that are perfect for your skin. Then head outside and take in the springtime!