The fresh start of a new year always feels like the perfect time to cleanse, whether that be your body or your home. After the excess of the holiday season, it can feel really good to just let. things. go. and wipe the slate clean. That’s why we teamed up with our friends Elizabeth & Erika from the Streets of Gold blog to bring you our tips on cleaning out your closet, your make up bag, and your hair products and accessories!
The other night I binge watched Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix, and got so inspired by her method of only keeping items that bring you joy. If you haven’t seen the show or read her book, the idea is that you hold each item in your hands and ask yourself if it brings you joy. You should be able to feel the joy in your body. If it does bring you joy, you keep it, if not, it goes.
While I love the idea of this method, it might not be the most practical for some people. Maybe you work in a job that requires you to dress a certain way, and those clothes don’t necessarily spark joy in you, but if you tossed them you would have nothing to wear to work. Or maybe your concealer doesn’t spark joy because, well, it’s concealer and that’s asking a lot of concealer. So here are a few of our tried and true tips for purging your closet and beauty bag to give you a fresh start to your year and your look.
Elizabeth’s Make Up Tips
- Anything that is expired, toss. Typically the expiration is printed somewhere on the packaging, but cream based products are usually around 6 months to a year, powder formulas around 1-2 years, lipsticks 1 year, and mascara 3 months (after it’s opened).
- Separate what you use for an everyday face from your more “fun” makeup. I find my statement items sit in the fun section for a while and often expire before I use them, but (because I have FOMO) I can’t bring myself to throw them out before then. My everyday 5 minute face products are gone long before they ever expire.
- If you don’t use it, get rid of it. Bad formula, not a great color, don’t have time for it, let it go. It’s beautiful I know, but it’s time to say goodbye.
- Clean any smeared lip stick or spilled powders from the outside of your makeup with a makeup wipe. If you have a bag, throw it in the wash or give it a wipe down. If you have trays give those a good wipe down too!
- WASH YOUR BRUSHES. I won’t ask when the last time they had a bath was, but we’re going to do it now. Don’t have brush cleaner? There are loads of DIY recipes on Pinterest, or in a pinch shampoo and conditioner will do the trick.
- Now is the fun part, organizing everything! There are so many ways to do this! I like having a clean surface, so I keep my brushes and everyday needs in a tray on top and everything else in a drawer.
Erika’s Hair Tips
It’s the New Year people, and we all know what that means! Its purge time! I don’t know about you, but I started emptying out all my cupboards on New Year’s Day! I love getting rid of and reorganizing things, and my personal hair products are not exempt!
- Now the typical rule of thumb is that the shelf life of hair products is 3 years. I myself usually use my product up before that, or if I don’t use it in a year, I most likely toss it. As a result, I don’t do much with my hair product except get rid of the product I haven’t been using regularly.
- If you have travel size product, either toss it, or put it in your lineup and use it up! There is no sense in having 7 mini bottles of stuff laying around for the next time you go out of town! I personally buy the empty mini travel bottles and store them in my suitcase when I’m not using them!
- Go through your brushes! I only have 4 that I use regularly that I keep in hands reach. Same with hot tools, I only have two that I use weekly that are stored on my countertop. I do have a few more than that. I usually store them, if I get them out to use within 3 months, I’ll keep them, if not, I take that as a sign that I don’t use that item, I wouldn’t miss it and I get rid of it!
- Last on my list, Hair Accessories! This is the hardest one for me which is why I saved it for last! I am the queen of telling myself that I need to keep it because I will wear it one day. Then the next year after I haven’t worn it I say it again! This year I went through and got rid of anything that I hadn’t worn in 2018! I then organized it all, bobby pins, elastics, fancy barrettes, they all have a certain place in my drawers now. All my headbands are hung up where I can see and easily choose from!
Organization is hard, especially when it comes to getting rid of items. I love that minimalism is coming back in style and I appreciate having an organized house, Now lets see how long it stays this way!
Rhiannon’s Closet Tips
I love Marie Kondo’s method of taking everything out of your closet and heaping it into a pile to give you the shocking effect of just how much clothing you have, before one by one only putting back into your closet the pieces that bring you joy. But if that doesn’t sound like your thing, or you need some additional guidance, here are some great questions to ask yourself as you go through:
- When was the last time you wore it? Can you even remember?
- Is it seasonal? Seasonal items, like swim suits, can usually be reduced to one or two. Pick your favorite(s) and toss the rest.
- Is it stained, does it have holes in it? Maybe it’s time to toss it and look for an upgrade to something that feels fresh.
- Does it need repairing or tailoring? Be honest with yourself: if you can fix it yourself or bring it to the tailor, will you actually get around to it any time soon? If not, it might just be time to part with it.
- Do you have like six of almost the same shirt? It’s okay if you do, as long as you actually wear them all in rotation. If you don’t, pick your top three to keep and let the rest go.
- Is it a style or color you keep trying to wear, but it’s just not you? Maybe it’s time to stop trying to force yourself.
- Is it a piece that you would love to wear if you just had the right thing to pair it with? Either let it go, or see our tip below.
Tip: As you’re going through and eliminating things from your closet, keep a pen and notepad handy, or start a list on your phone of holes you have in your wardrobe. Do you own a dress you love, but never seem to have the right jacket to wear with it? Are all of your shoes black? Keep track of what’s missing, and keep the list on hand next time you’re shopping so you can shop with more intention.
Letting It Go
I am a big proponent of reducing as much waste as possible, so I urge you to sort as you purge and make sure the right items get taken to the right places. I sort into three categories: items to take to a resale or consignment shop, items to donate to a thrift shop, and items that can be upcycled.
Consignment & Resale: Clothing or housewares you bring to a resale or consignment shop should be in good or almost-new condition. Ask yourself, would you or your friend buy that shirt in it’s current condition? If yes, put it in the consignment pile. Keep in mind that these shops are taking in clothes seasonally, so if you’re bringing in sundresses in January, chances are they will pass. My favorite place to bring gently-used items to is Labels Consignment, with two locations at 2332 James Street and 3927 Northwest Ave.
Thrift: To be honest, I usually put more into my consignment pile, take it in to see what they want, and carry over the rest into my thrift shop pile. So my second stop is to make a donation at the thrift shop, and my favorite one to support is Wise Buys because 1. We’re N State Street neighbors (they are located at 1224 N State Street), and 2. Their sales support Lydia Place, an organization that works really diligently to end homelessness in Whatcom County, and particularly gives a lot of support to homeless mothers and families.
Upcycle: This category is my secret weapon for throwing away less, especially textiles. Instead of donating your jeans with the hole in the crotch to a thrift store and asking their volunteers to sort through that crap, save them the labor and put it in it’s own pile. Your holey shirts, extra shoe laces, and broken belts can actually find a new purpose at this little gem we have downtown called the Ragfinery, a non-profit that teaches classes on using discarded materials to create all kinds of things. They also have a shop where you can buy scrap fabric or upcycled apparel. The Ragfinery is located at 1421 N Forest Street.
Bonus: If you’re cleaning out the rest of your home and have old towels or blankets to get rid of, the Whatcom Humane Society greatly appreciates and accepts these donations October – February to dry and warm our furry friends.
And there you have it! We hope you found some inspiration and tips to help you get going on cleaning out those closets and drawers. And you know, the more you let go of, the more room you have for fun new things that bring you joy at this particular moment in your life.