Why Is It Hard to Say Goodbye to Old Makeup?

Me looking at the all the totes in the dining room corner

Why is it so hard to s​​ay goodbye to old makeup? I’ve been thinking about this lately, in large part because all of the momentum I had while I was decluttering my stash last spring has ground to a halt. The Marie Kondo train I was happily riding — toot, toot! — has been going nowhere for months.

I’ve been stuck. Big time.

One thing that hasn’t helped was that I had to bring all of the products that were out in boxes in the garage back into my house, and UGH — it’s a long, dumb story concerning homeowner’s association parking rules, but the point is, I had to do it, and now everything’s stashed in a corner of my dining room.

Totes upon totes upon totes, but hey, at least I had the good sense to not bring it back into my office! ?

I’m looking at the totes in the corner now and wondering why I haven’t touched them in months.

I think one reason is because I assumed that decluttering makeup would be on the same level as cleaning out my closet and saying goodbye to my pre-baby wardrobe, which was hard, but not impossible. Yes, it took a while, and it had many difficult emotional moments, but I got through it, and I felt great afterward.

the great makeup purge of 2021
To quote Boyz II Men, “It’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday.”

Here’s the thing, though: with clothes, you get immediate feedback if something doesn’t fit. For example, when I cleaned out my closet earlier this year, I could try on stuff and make an immediate decision. One time, I tried on a cute white jacket, and I couldn’t even get my arm through a sleeve, so it was easy to say, “OK, this clearly doesn’t fit me right now at this moment, so I’m happy to pass it on to someone who can fit into it and will appreciate it more.”

With makeup, it’s not always the same immediate feedback for me. I mean, yeah, there are the obvious times when I’ll open something up, and it’ll look weird or smell funny, and I’ll know right away that it’s going.

The further I’ve gotten into the purging process, the more challenging it has become to say goodbye.

Like, I’ll see a beautiful piece I’ve held onto for years and think to myself, “Oh, this is really pretty! I have to keep it.” Then I’ll do the math and realize I’ve had it for…way too long, and even though logically I know the item should still go, has to go, I can’t do it.

I have a tendency to 1) remember how I used to be in the past or 2) think about how I might be in the future, and when I’m surrounded by those compacts, lipsticks and palettes, I’m rarely ever in the present moment.

For example, I’ll have a blush in my hand, and so many memories of my 30-something self come flooding back. It was a time and place when I was kindasorta fabulous! I stomped-walked in high heels everywhere I went — yup, even at the airport, girl! My closet was bursting with quirky dresses and cute accessories, and I stumbled into all sorts of adventures. Most of the makeup currently sitting in the totes in my dining room is from that era.

And, on the opposite end of the spectrum, sometimes I’ll be holding the same blush and will start thinking about the future. I’ll wonder if I might need that blush someday and if I’ll regret letting it go.

What if, what if, what if.

I guess one lesson learned from this process is that I no longer want to be swinging back and forth between who I was in the past and where I might be in future. I just really, really want to be more present in the current moment. The now.

So, maybe that’s the push I’ll need. Maybe? I hope so.

I also try to tell myself that saying goodbye to old makeup means I’ll have more room for better things in the future. Newer things. Maybe I’ll find new colors and textures and brands to love!

Anyway, thank you for listening. I hope this was relevant to you in some way as a fellow beauty lover.

Here’s to all of us moving forward, one lipstick at a time.

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,


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