Take the time to organize and prioritize your makeup.

It’s easy to let your personal care products fall into disarray, crowding drawers and counter space. Taking the time to organize them every once in a while can really pay off in the long run — both in keeping everything tidier and speeding up your morning routine.

Should it stay or should it go?

Start by gathering all your items together. If you have them scattered about in different bathrooms or a linen closet, now is the time to get everything in one central location. This is also a good time to wipe out all residue in those areas and do things like wash brushes or change the rubber in eyelash curlers.

Next, categorize similar items. Look at what you really use — you might be surprised. Cosmetics are often bought on impulse, so you may have ended up with tons of different products that you’ve only tried once. If something is perfectly functional and just didn’t suit you (not everyone can pull off glitter nail polish), pass it along to a friend or family member. You probably also have a stash of beauty products you’ve received as gifts. I like to take those beautiful bottles of shampoos or lotions that I don’t need to a local women’s shelter, where those types of basic supplies are really appreciated.

Even if you do use something, it could be time to toss it. In general, mascara, foundation and skin care products last six to 12 months. Eye shadow, eye and lip pencils, concealer, loose and pressed powder, blush, and lipstick are good for 12 to 18 months. The expiration date for every product is different, but if yours has developed a sweet or rancid smell, it’s definitely time for it to go.

Keeping it neat

Once you have your pile narrowed down to what you want to keep, the organizing begins. I like to categorize things by frequency of use. Put all your most-used items in a prime location that’s easy to access. The more you can limit the choices of items to quickly grab, the easier it is to get ready to go in the morning — so here, include just one mascara, one lipstick, one deodorant, etc. Keep the rest for times when you do want to mix it up, but put them in a different spot.

Whether you’re using a drawer or a countertop, a clear acrylic container will help you see what you’re working with while reducing the look of clutter. If you store your cosmetics in a purse- like container, find a bag that’s upright and has enough room so you can view everything you have. Make sure it’s both washable and durable.

Take the things you don’t use on an everyday basis — the cologne for special occasions or first-aid supplies — and place them in secondary drawers or on lower shelves.

Get in the habit of going through your personal care products every three to six months, and you’ll stay organized year-round.

Julie Starr Hook founded Five Starr Organizing (fivestarrorganizing.com) in 1993. She is the author of the book From Frazzled to Freedom and has written more than 250 columns on organizing. She is a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) and a regular guest on the Portland, Ore., morning show AMNW.

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