Vanity, thy name is clutter.

How much space do you think is taken up in your home for the sake of vanity. What square footage is used to accommodate beauty products, hair styling formulas and tools, clothing that is excess to your needs, shoes, and fashion accessories.

I will admit up front that I am a bit relaxed when it comes to presenting myself. I only use make-up if going to work, out in the evenings or just because I feel like sprucing myself up a little. And even then I only use the basics, foundation, mascara, brow pencil and lipstick.

I don’t believe that most beauty products actually live up to their promises so I don’t waste my time and money using them, aside from a little moisturiser when need be and a chap stick. I think that genetics and good nutrition has more to do with outward appearance than man made products.

I have found that hair requires lots of grooming in order to look as wonderful as you see in advertising, no matter how effective they would have you believe the product is. If I decide to try a new hair product I wait until my old one has run out then use the new one until it is used up before reverting back or trying something else. Since they are all much the same I see no point in giving up an allowing half used bottles of product to accumulate in my bathroom cabinet.

As for clothes, mine are mostly practical, comfortable and casual with a few good outfits for evening wear. I am a bit of a jeans and blouse kinda gal in the winter and cotton dresses or capris and fitted T-shirts in the summer. I don’t go to work so I have no business attire.

Most of my clothing looks fine with either black of brown shoes of varying styles depending on the outfit or weather. And I only have one small black handbag and a black clutch purse.

Needless to say vanity doesn’t take up much room in my home. I guess though that most of my readers are somewhat less minimalist than I am in this area. However do give some thought as to how much might be a little too much when it comes to the above mentioned items. How much of your space, money and time are you willing to trade for the sake of vanity.

Today’s Mini Mission

Declutter two excess cooking or serving items in your kitchen.

Eco Tip for the Day

Stains ruin clothing, protect them with an apron while cooking in order to help them last longer.

For a full list of my eco tips so far click here

It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow

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About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.


  1. I’m pretty basic in my makeup, too. Just last week, I tossed a 4-pak eyeshadow that I haven’t used since a costume party last July. I’ve tried to jazz my look up, but it seems forced and I don’t like high maintenance. 😉 I’m trying to streamline my clothing, as well. My office is pretty casual so cotton slacks, capris, knit shirts are my regular attire. For a while, I watched the show “What Not to Wear” and I honestly tried to implement some of their suggestions, but I’d buy clothing out of my comfort zone and then only wear it a couple of times before it went to Goodwill. Comfort at work is a big deal to me.

  2. I’m fairly low maintenance too: 1 bottle of shampoo, no conditioner and 4 items of day to day make up + 1 moisturiser and 2 extra bits of make up for special occasions.
    I have a very capsule wardrobe with one smart outfit: my wedding dress which each time I wear it, brings down the cost of our wedding (obviously I didn’t go for a long white number 🙂 )
    It’s had 2 outings since our wedding so far and I’m planning on it lasting another 5 years of posh do’s and other people’s wedding, lol.
    Where I do differ from you Colleen is that coloured shoes (i.e. not black or brown) make my heart sing. So I do have about 12 pairs of shoes and sandals and boots. But they last me years (oldest pair is 20 yrs old) But they are stored on a long shelf in our bedroom and it is now a one in one out policy – they are not allowed to take up any more space that that shelf. And not all would be replaced once they finally wear out.
    I own 2 hand bags – one over the shoulder one I use every day and one suede one for rare smart occasions. I love being minimal with bags.

    • Hi Doodle, I remember that you are a colour girl and you will be glad to know I do have one pair of red sneakers and a pair of red evening shoes. They probably wouldn’t be replaced when they wear out but for now they are serviceable and a nice splash of colour so they can stay.

      • Excellent news Colleen! I’m sitting here writing this in my red armchair in my much loved patent red sandals looking at my purple settee 🙂

  3. Hi Colleen! I am not a big fan of make up either. It is funny that Michelle mentioned “What not to wear”. I watch it too and I see what they are trying to do with the guests (they have to get them out of the “comfort zone”) but I don’t think we should apply it to our daily life as shown there, because we are spending our own money. When shopping for clothing I always keep to my own style, and as I have told here, when I did buy clothes for my imaginary self it ended in the wardrobe for ten years. So in the clothing part I try to buy comfortable but nice looking clothing, I look a lot for what I want and what I did learn on the show is that you have to buy fitted clothes that make you look good. And not go for quantity, but quality. A few good pieces are way better than a full wardrobe with ugly ones (I learned this one by experience).

    • Andreia, I so agree with you! I’m trying to shop smarter and get those quality pieces as well. 🙂

    • Hi Andréia, I am inclined to agree. Mind you some people can get stuck in quite an unflattering comfort zone but so long as they are happy why not. The thing I find the hardest to shop for is jeans. When you try them on in the store (for me that is usually the thrift shop) they seem to fit just fine. Then after wearing for half and hour of so they stretch and begin to show their true colours. Hence one of the reasons I buy mine secondhand is that they are cheap and no big deal to donate back and try again for a better pair.

      As I always say though, be careful when it comes to “quality” when it comes to shopping of clothes. High price does not always denote quality. Sometimes you are paying mostly of the label. Cut, fabric and construction is where you need to look to ensure this.

    • Andreia – I got the book out of the library and my friend has a pocket size edition that she takes clothes shopping with her. I found the book better for me as I was able to skip straight to all the short person advice and whatever-else-attribute-needs-disguising-or-enhancing advice and I could see what they meant. This was the Trinny and Susannah version of What Not To Wear UK. I use it as a general guideline but not the final say-so if I really like something in the shop that’s not within their ideals BUT I think it looks flattering when I try it on AND it gets the nod from the worlds harshest critics (teenage daughters) then I get it.

      I figure I won’t always find an outfit that everything on it will meet my individual requirements but as long as I avoid the definate no-no’s I can get by. Or if I really want to wear something that is a no-no then I have to figure out how to disguise it BEFORE I buy it. (the new ankle grazer jeans are a no-no for short people, but if we wear them with wedges (no straps across the ankle) to make our legs look longer and a top or accessory that draws the eye upwards – then that can counter it). I am fortunate that my BFF is a fashionista and also short so she does all the thinking for me.

      Having said that, there are people who go around in public that make me wonder just what they were thinking when they put themselves together that morning. I know that sounds awful and judgey but hmmmm………

      • Hi Moni! Great minds think alike! I have that book and love it! 😀 I bought it 8 years ago and I find it very useful. understand where you are going with the no-no. Sometimes a piece of clothing can be a no-no and look so good on you that you buy it. And wear it to death. Unfortunately, for me, I have no fashionista to help me out, so I have to go along with my taste and the mirror. And I have to try everything I buy. I have made a mistake this year, but I can get the piece in useful shape with some sewing.

  4. Another minimalist in these areas here, but it took getting fat and being broke to get me to that point. You’d be amazed how those two things will cut your shopping habit down to nothing cold turkey. 😉

    I have a black leather shoulderbag that hubby found at the recycling center. It’s the only one I have, and it’s lasted years so far. I think it will last at least another year or so.

    Years ago I wouldn’t step outside my door without a “full face” of makeup on. Now, I rarely wear any. I’ll add a touch of neutral eye shadow, neutral lipstick and some mascara for church, but even that isn’t every week.

    I used to love jewelry, but don’t feel that it looks good on me now that I’m big. I wear a pair of simple post earrings every day, and my wedding rings (when they fit). That’s it.

    I used to have all sorts of fragrances, but lately don’t usually wear them because they all seem too “chemical” smelling these days, not nice like they used to be. I have shampoo, conditioner (my hair is long), and a body wash in the bathroom, and that’s it. Cheap stuff works as well as the expensive, if you ask me.

    My wardrobe is very small and basic because it’s so hard to find clothes that fit me, and fit into my budget. Actually, my husband has a MUCH larger wardrobe–and MANY more pairs of shoes–than I do. I’m forever teasing him about this as he hates to part with anything.

    When it comes to stuff to wear, I do have a little excess in clothing that is too small for me. I’ve been slowly weeding it out and getting rid of it, but always have the dream of “some day” fitting back into the clothes again. They don’t make jeans these days like they used to, so I have about half a dozen smaller sizes hanging in my spare closet. Those would be hard to replace, but if I’m no closer to being able to wear them within the next year or so, I’ll probably end up getting rid of those too.

    • Hi Decluttering Diva, holding on to clothes that no longer fit is a clutter situation that many people encounter. The frugal and environmentally friendly side of me says hold on to them just in case but the declutterer in me says let them go and treat yourself to new clothes if you do lose the weight. Losing weight effectively is like effective decluttering, it requires a lifestyle change in the way of a psychological shift and hard work with maintenance once you reach your goal. I wish you success with both.

  5. Vanity! Not me. What you see is what you get. I tried the makeup thing when I was in my 20’s. Learned I was allergic to the stuff. Gave me a great excuse to not bother. I have a face cleaner I use, a shampoo, and a lipstick (I use it for church). I have less than 30 pieces of clothing. I’m just not a vanity girl. I look nice in what I wear but I don’t need a lot and can’t see spending the money for it. I not only don’t like all the maintenance but can’t afford to get crazy with stuff either.

    • Good for you Deb J, it is nice to be happy in your own skin. I feel the same. Take me as I am, beauty is more than just skin deep. I don’t mind sprucing up when I feel like it but aside from that good old natural Colleen is what I offer. Take it or leave it.

  6. Colleen! I dare say that all my vanity can fit neatly into one large suitcase if it were put to the test. But I am willing to work on it;) Yours was a fun pot to read and I am hoping you have a peachy one!

    • I CJ, I can’t imagine you would need a large suitcase to fit your vanity in. Wishing someone a peachy day says to me that you are beautiful enough just the way you are. No effort required. 😉

  7. In the Makeup Dept, I like to wear it daily, but the change for me is in only having what I use. If I have something that doesn’t look good or work for me–I pass it along to a friend immediately while the product is still fresh. And my other new-for-me policy is not buying ahead. I used to think I might not be able to find this blush or that lipstick color would be discontinued — which is true– but I will have fun finding a new one or might get tired of the old one before I have used up the old one.

    My clothes are getting pared down to the point where it is pleasant to be in my closet. Just yesterday I decided to take out everything brown-based. I don’t feel comfortable in that color (love it on others!) but that means I don’t need brown shoes, purse etc etc. My black, navy, charcoal clothes seem to work interchangeably with black or navy accessories.

  8. In the past, I could never resist those promotions in the department stores where Clinique and the others would give you a cosmetic bag or two and lots of little makeup items if you spent a certain amount. Fortunately those days are behind me and I’ve been using up all the freebies and not replacing them! But thanks for the reminder Colleen, I need to have another clear out of the drawers and cabinets in the bathroom as I know there is plenty that can happily go. Starting with the eyelash curler which I never got the hang of …

    • High Christine, I hadn’t considered the eyelash curler when I was writing this post. I can’t say I have ever used one but I am pretty sure there was one in the house at one stage. It must have been my daughters. I also remember there being an eyebrow comb which also never got used. I also didn’t mention all those little electric gadget associated with grooming that could be considered vanity items. Facial spas, manicure tools, hair removal systems…

    • Christine – I’m laughing here, because my daughter’s and I have been working our way thru all those little samples and whatever moisturisers, lotions and potions that we already had. We keep it altogether so that whatever we each need at that time gets used and if we need something else next week (teenage skin esp) well there’s bound to be something in the box that will do the trick. BUT the reason I am laughing is that I found amongst the pots and tubes a little pot of Clinique eye cream and as I’d never used an eye cream before and wouldn’t voluntarily pay Clinique prices…….I thought I’d give it a go. The problem is that now I love it. I will have to put it on my gift wish-list.

    • Christine,
      Thanks for the reminder about that eyelash curler hiding in the back of the makeup drawer. I think I used it twice about 10 years ago. I also couldn’t get the hang of it. I was struggling to find a thing for the day after getting back from vacation, and you helped me get past the hump. Now I’m back on track with the decluttering!

  9. I’m certainly not happy with how full the second bathroom drawer is – and am meaning to thin it out through ‘use it up’. It’s not helping to have combined supplies with the BF, so there’s extras of shampoo and the like.

    Interestingly, the BF wishes I was a little more pretty pretty (I wear Hard Yakka men’s work wear as a uniform!), so I did a post (sort of to point out the ridiculousness) about the cost of being vain – if I did get my nails and toes painted professionally and my few stray greys coloured and and and – I hope you don’t mind me sharing the link?

    • Snosie, I think you are chic and gorgeous just the way you are:-)

    • Thanks for sharing the link Sarah. I can assure you I would barely spend a fraction of that. Mind you it isn’t hard to tell I don’t but that’s fine by me.

    • Hi snosie! I liked the link, but I think it is a bit extreme. I am not against going to a salon to do my nails once in a while. If I am in the mood I can go every week to have a manicure. However, it is a cheaper service where I live, so it does impact on my budget as in breaking it. It is a fine line between being a slave to perfect grooming in every moment of life (nails, waxes, hair colouring, and so on and so forth) and wanting to look good and groomed for a special occasion or just because you feel like it. I would not feel comfortable with myself spending 4.000 dollars in a salon, but a little vanity and a little care (set a low budget and stick to it) are not a problem. At least not for me.

      • Thanks for sharing your routine Andreia – I do prefer to make a big effort for special events – like my birthday, or NYE or the like. I suppose I’m not great at painting my own nails, and i feel silly to have smudged nails, so I like to get it done ‘properly’. But I don’t bother with colouring my hair at 28 (despite a few greys). It helps that I work in a very site based, male industry, so I don’t feel any peer pressure in the day to day, to look a certain way. Which means I enjoy ‘dressing up’ like a girl on weekend or nights out.

    • Snosie – that certainly describes the Lamborgini of beauty regimes, alas most of us have more of a Toyota or Honda type regime/budget. 🙂 Like Andreia, I enjoy a treat visit now and then but mostly I have to stay within a budget.

      • Hahaha it was sort of my point – to my BF! If I did all the things I think he thinks are ‘normal’, then, well, I wouldn’t be paying my half of the rent :p I was (to some extent) pushing the boundaries – there’s no way I would justify that expense!

  10. Colleen, I had to laugh when you said you only wear the basics for makeup, as I think only us extremely fair-haired people would consider brow pencil essential 🙂 I think my basic makeup is usually enough, but I never look glamourous in photos like my groomed and made up sister (who wears false eyelashes EVERY day).

    It’s actually easier having long wavy hair as I only get it cut twice a year, and I try and eke out my highlights to every 10-12 weeks as I hate spending money on my hair, and don’t like going to the hairdresser either. I do have a set of hot rollers for special occasions, as I got rid of them once, and had to replace them as I really like the groomed hair look once in a while:-)

    My clothes take up only about a metre’s hanging space in my wardrobe, as I could easily wear the same jeans, black top and knee high flat boots every day in winter. It’s nice to have a few dressy items too, as I don’t need a work wardrobe either. (When I used to work in an office I spent a FORTUNE on suits!) I’ve gotten into scarves as accessories though (too much black isn’t flattering around the face after a certain age) and I buy most of them at the op shop; there’s some great scarves there.

    • I have met you in person Loretta and I know for a fact you are gorgeous just the way you are. No false eyelashes required. Like you, I only get my hair cut about twice a year too. I don’t bother with hair colour as red hair tends to have enough highlights of it’s own. I must admit my hair can have some crazy days but so can I, perhaps it is just one of natures warning signs. 😉

  11. I just got rid of everything I don’t use on a regular basis. I only have blush, foundation and eye shadow left. There is so much room in my drawer. Why keep things I don’t use! The more I get rid of, the more I realize how little I really need.

    • Hi Spendwisemom, sometimes I think the more we declutter the more we learn about who we really are. That is why it suddenly occurs to us that we don’t need these things because we are being who we are and not what society dictates we should be.

  12. I’m with Vicky K on the makeup front. I wear it daily – my mum always said foundation was the best UV protection for the face and she’s holding off on the sun damage front so I’ll take her word on it. I’ve more or less settled into my ‘usuals’ for make up. If there’s a special occasion I have some eye shadow too, but if its a special-special occasion then it is cheaper for me to go to this little nail and beauty place in our local shopping centre/mall and they’ll do my makeup for a very reasonable fee. As they have all the colours of the rainbow available for everything, then I don’t end up buying cosmetics to go with the outfit that probably won’t get used later. Undoubtedly I’ll wear the outfit again but I’m generally comfortable with my usual makeup for anything below special-special occasions. I have only done this twice over the last 18 months, once for when I went to Grandma’s wedding and once for a close friend’s 25th Anniversary party, so it also comes under the heading of a treat for me.

    • Hi Moni, that sound pretty reasonable to me. I have only had my makeup done a few times in my life. My wedding, weddings in which I have been bridesmaid and once for my 4oth birthday. It is nice to see what a professional can do although I didn’t like my 4oth birthday makeup much. I would do it again though for a special event. I also generally only get manicures when someone gives me a gift certificate for a salon.

  13. Wow, Colleen! Your post today and the mini-missions are certainly hitting home with me! I have always enjoyed makeup, but I wasn’t really into doing it a lot until I hit my early 40’s. I felt I had become quite frumpy for a few years after our son was diagnosed with mild autism and my daughter with dyslexic type learning disabilities. I had focused on the kids and my husband, so I wanted to start looking better for myself. I started reading blogs and watching YouTube videos on makeup, beauty, fashion, accessories, etc. At first it was fun, but then after I bought a lot of stuff that bloggers and YouTubers suggested (mostly makeup, haircare, and skincare), my body started reacting badly to stuff. I had been diagnosed with rosacea years earlier, but I started becoming super sensitive to everything. After a visit to the dermatologist, and reading information, I realized that less is definitely better for me! I had to return, toss, or giveaway a lot of my makeup, skincare, and haircare products. I have a little more stuff than you and some of your readers, but my makeup will fit into a medium makeup bag with room to spare. I stick to boyfriend jeans, t-shirts, and ballet flats or Sperry’s for everyday. I have a turquoise purse I use in the summer and I want to get a navy or black one for the winter. I do need to buy some nice dresses and skirts for church and for going out in the evening since I don’t have any right now. I don’t wear a lot of jewelry anymore (earrings make my ears hurt and sometimes bracelets and necklaces feel too “heavy” at times). I do wear my wedding rings everyday though. My beauty, hair, and skin care are the areas where I have become a more of a minimalist through necessity, but it’s a good thing. I don’t have to think about which makeup look I want to do. I put it on and I’m ready to go in 5-10 minutes with my wet hair! I never dry my wavy hair. 😉 Thanks for the great post!

    • Hi Toni, it seems you did have a lot to concentrate on rather than yourself for a while. I can understand you wanting to dig your way out of that rut. Too bad that you then found out your were allergic to lots of products. It does make you wonder how good they are for anyone when people with sensitivities react so badly to them. I am glad that you have settled in to knowing what is right for you now. I don’t dry my wavy hair either, I find that if I restrain it while it is wet it usually settles down OK.

  14. Great post today Colleen. Oh My! As a recovering make up, lotions and potions junkie, this is an area that I still have to work on. About 8 years ago, I got into natural make up and lotions with limited preservatives. This really impacts what I choose to buy, so that helped. I also found products that I love, making me less likely to try new stuff. I still have too much stuff, but continue to learn that I really need a lot less than I have. I tend to wear tinted moisturizer with SPF, prefer tinted lip balm to lipstick, and need blush and mascara because of my pale skin. Hair products and perfume are no longer an issue. I often use coconut oil and jojoba oil for make up remover, hair treatments, and as body moisturizer.

    As I have got older I have decreased the number of handbags and pairs of shoes I own. I have some clothes that I have had for years and also go for comfort. I am still working on decreasing my clothes, however compared to my friends and my husband, I have a limited wardrobe. I notice the clothes I really like, that I feel comfortable in, are the ones I wear the most.
    For every thing I buy, this includes make up, shoes clothes etc., I always get rid of at least one item. I am trying to stay ahead of the game.

    • Hi Sheryl, my mother swears by coconut oil too. I must get myself some when I get home from vacation. It is good on the outside as well in in apparently. My mother and father use it in their hair. My daughters partner uses it nutritionally. I dare say it is good for skin too. I recently saw a homemade deodorant recipe using coconut oil as well. I would mind giving that a try.

  15. This is probably the right post to bring up something that I have been pondering lately. Once upon a time we bought a foot spa – now you are probably all holding your sides laughing – but at the time our daughter had just started pointe work in ballet and she appreciated a nice foot soak at the end of the night, espcially as it kept the water warm. These days, its used more for pedicures over summer as I get nasty cracks in my heels when I switch to wearing jandals. Last December my kids gifted me a pedicure at the beauty parlour and it was fabulous and they did a much better job than I, I don’t usually paint my toenails, but I gotta admit I spent the next couple of days admiring my feet with the Frangipani Pink polish colour. Recently I sorted thru my basket of home pedicure stuff, all the gadgets, foot soak stuff, foot care stuff, lotions and potions for tootsies, tools etc etc – and it occured to me that if I added it all up, I could probably go to the parlour every 2-3 weeks over Summer.

    Now I am the first person to advocate doing as much beauty/vanity stuff at home to save some coin, and I was including in this equation items which were from a The Body Shop gift basket I was given by a friend. But every year I find I have to buy a new tool or gadget to do the job, or some new remedy or lotion, would I be better just to go to the parlour?

    • Of course, if I do switch to going to the parlour, I would use up the other stuff first.

      • Hi Moni, salon gift certificates sure make great non-cluttering gifts and takes the guess work out of gift giving for your family members. I think I would switch to the salon.

  16. I don’t have any make-up or beauty products, I’m not into it at all. I have two pair of shoes (I wear my Converse til they are completely dead! And the other pair is my Doc Martens one’s which I have since I’m 14). I always hated handbag, so I only have two backpacks. I have no jackets/coats, only one hoodie. I’m not sensitive to cold (when it’s snowing or it’s just “cold” outside, we don’t put the heater or something of the like. It’s a great way not to be sensitive to cold.) I don’t have a lot of clothes neither. Like I said one time, even when I need something it’s hard for me to buy it, haha. I’m learning to take care of myself but I personally don’t need make-up and all that stuff.

    • Cindy J (or I, sorry I can’t tell with the italics) – you are fortunate to be impervious to the cold, I am one of those people who are permanently cold, I’m sure I am half reptile! I have a minimal wardrobe but at least 3/4 of it is winter clothes and jackets.

      • Hi Moni. It’s an I, but I confess the italics make it pretty difficult to read :).
        I’ve realized that in times of cold/snow, people were used to turn on the heater, wearing a lot of sweaters by the same occasion, so their body no longer really knows of what the temperature is. The fact of not using the heater (even if my Mom often complains about it, she’s very sensitive to cold), only a little sweater when home if needed, and then my usual hoodie (and gloves, if snowing) when I get outside, my body doesn’t feel like there is a huge difference of temperature, because even if it’s still warmer at home, there is a smaller gap between my body temperature and the temperature outside, compared to the ones of people who keep their heater on all day long. So my body doesn’t feel so much the cold, even when the temperature is close to the negative. Even when I can have a bit cold, I don’t listen to it and I’m fine. (I have no “special” clothes per season.) I hope I was as clear as possible, it’s a bit hard to explain on a keyboard.

        • Cindy I – LOL my hubby is like you, a self-regulating radiator. Alas, I’m like my grandmother I suspect we have poor circulation as our hands are often cold. My hubby and son can walk around in a t-shirt in the middle of winter, but despite their trying to aclimitise me, its not going to happen. In my youth I took part in an experiment to see how long it takes to return to normal temperature after a cold swim in the middle of winter, and I took the longest out of everyone and by a noticeable delay. Nevermind, we can’t have everything, humans are all put together differently to keep it interesting.

    • Hi Cindy I, I think you need my help when it comes to being minimalist. In fact I think you could teach me a thing or two. 😉

  17. I have to admit that I used to have 5 little cupboards (think, ikea helmer as in size-wise) for my make up only.

    However, after three last purges, I have been able to downsize it to one shelf of my ikea expedit closet, a small bag for back uos and items that I want to use up, and a little box containing prescribed ointments.

    I’m thinking of doing another round of decluttering so perhaps the box and some additional items can go.

    At the moment, I’m doing my eyebrows and add a little mascara daily, so I don’t look sick. In addition, I have kept only little extra for when I go out. Overall, I think I’ve decluttered 80% of my original stash, of which an additional 10% is still waiting for me to use it up. About 5% will go next round and when all is out, I’ll be one happy woman 😉

  18. (This comment was sent to 365 via email and pasted here by colleen)

    People in general but women in particular realize that the cosmetics/fashion/diet industry is a multi-billion (perhaps multi-trillion) dollar industry with one thing in mind: to make women feel insecure about ourselves so that we part with our hard-earned money.

    The fashion industry does not care about you.

    The cosmetics industry does not care about you.

    The diet industry does not care about you.

    The plastic surgery industry does not care about you.

    They shroud their false promises in words that SOUND like you are important, but the only part of you they are interested in is your wallet.

    Within only one century, makeup has gone from the status of something used by actors, circus performers and the neighborhood floozie to something that women, by and large, are convinced that they MUST have for everyday wear — to the office, to formal occasions, even at home.

    The very WORD “makeup” implies that something is “wrong” with the user — that there are flaws to be “made up” for.

    No one NEEDS makeup. It is something that we have been convinced is a necessity, rather than a special bit of something to look glamorous on special occasions.

    If you feel that you must wear a bit of makeup, keep it to the bare basics. Throw out any makeup more than 3-6 months old and stick with a neutral foundation and other basics. Perhaps an extra choice of bright lipstick for a night on the town, but all of your makeup–all of it–should be able to fit in a standard traveler’s makeup bag. Really, it should. Use up one thing and replace it just before you run out. No need for seventeen compacts of eye shadow. Unless you are in a job requiring glamourous makeup — cocktail waitress, entertainer — all of your makeup should fit easily in a travel-sized kit.

    Please think about this. I’ve read that the average first-world woman spends at least a few thousand dollars a year on hair styling, dye, makeup, nail care and diet products — and that’s before one pair of shoes has been bought. Granted, many of us spend far less, but the article was talking about averages.

    We do NOT need shoes to match every outfit.

    We do NOT need a new wardrobe every fashion season.

    It is far, far better to buy well-made, classic clothing and indulge in a few modest accessories to keep up with current styles than it is to clutter our closets with “the latest.” No one really needs more than a few pair of well-made, well-chosen shoes for work, even for a posh office job. A few pair of casual shoes and/or boots, a pair of exercise shoes (not a pair to match every exercise outfit), winter boots if you need them for your climate, a couple of pair of summer sandals, and any specialty shoes that might apply to your job and/or leisure activities: hiking boots, steel-toed boots for industrial jobs, riding boots, or other specialized shoes for specialized activities.

    Consider this: stop keeping up with fashion and pay down your credit cards and other bills instead. Declutter anything from your closet, particularly trendy casual clothing, which hasn’t been worn in two years or more, exclusive of clothing used for special leisure time purposes (you just MIGHT get to go rock-climbing or play tennis again soon).

    Replace clothing as items wear out, and opt for ONE well-made, versatile item rather than two or three cheaper, trendy tops.

    Do the same with shoes.

    You will feel better about yourself

    • Including the fact that cosmetics are tested on animals. (Some brands don’t.)

    • Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes! Preach it Dez. My Mom got into the makeup kick back in the 70’s. She wishes now that she hadn’t because the dermatologist told her that it had dried her skin.

  19. Snap! Quelle coincidence! I have just sold our house in suburban Newcastle and we are moving into a two bedroom apt in Honeysuckle with a single car space and no storage!. Having gone through a massive de clutter to sell the house I am still finding stuff which needs to go before the move. This despite having moved many times including overseas moves and feeling we had shucked off the dross every time. The one area that I don’t have a lot of clutter is in beauty products, I guess my hairy legged hippiness stayed with me and then it didn’t seem to matter anyway! 🙁

    • Hi Carole and welcome to 365 Less Things. Please report back and let me know how your new home is working out. Which apartment building in honeysuckle are you moving in to. We are looking over there ourselves and would love to know your opinion when you are settled. We can compare hairy legs should we end up in the same building. Cheers Colleen

  20. One way I decluttered my cosmetics and personal care products was to de-frangrance everything. I became allergic to all of the perfumes, so I tossed and donated what I had, scaled everything down to a few items, and I feel a lot better. My shelves contain less, my wallet contains more, and my lungs and sinuses feel clearer. It has taken a lot of research to find frangrance free, but I am pretty much there now. I also got rid of items that contain petroleum and propylene glycol. No scent and less toxins have really prevented me from buying new products because I cannot tolerate the smell and I am working hard to be less toxic!

    (I have also purged my household cleaning products and just use white vinegar, H2O2, and one cleaner from Seventh Generation and one from Walgreens – have forgotten the name from the item I purchased at Walgreens, but it is fragrance free and toxin-reduced. This one action has created less buying, less plastic bottles to recycle, less money spent, and I feel better with no perfumes).

    Thank you for your site and information…:)

    • Hi Robin and welcome to 365 Less Things. That sounds like a probortunity to me (a problem turned into and opportunity). Chances are all those chemical products aren’t good for any of us.

      Purging chemical cleaners isn’t only good for the environment but from my experience I would say it is good for ones bank account as well. Well done.

  21. Love your thoughts and honesty! Very much appreciated and I so agree that many products do not live up to their promises – yet we continue to buy them as a culture. When will we learn? Thanks for sharing!