Decluttering My Beauty Routines and Products

For the past couple of years I’ve been decluttering my beauty and body products plus simplifying my routines. The pandemic has actually helped me in some ways to reduce my inventory of those kinds of products.

Since I didn’t go out to many places this past year, I didn’t use a lot of my make-up. Nor did I purchase many new items.  As a result, I have a lot of old and/or unused make-up that is probably bad. It’s time to let go of these items.

I use to buy a large majority of my make-up and other toiletries from my Avon representative. She left the catalogs for me every two weeks for years. When she retired in December 2019, I decided it was time to change my shopping habits.

Reducing the clutter and simplifying routines also meant I had to reduce what came into the house. I had to learn to not buy into the advertising about all the “miracle” products that would keep me looking 20 years younger. I also had to learn that I don’t need to have five or six different scented shower gels and lotions all at one time.

Reducing Inventory

Even before the pandemic and my Avon rep retiring, I was already on a “reducing inventory” plan.

It started in the summer of 2019. We remodeled our master bathroom. The bathroom isn’t large but it did have a small closet in it.

The remodel consisted of redoing the shower stall, new vanity, new toilet, and new floor. It also consisted of removing the popcorn ceiling and the taking out the soffit over the shower stall. That made the room look and feel larger. We kept the closet because there was only room for a small vanity.

Before the remodeling started, I had to pack up all the stuff in the closet and vanity.  Once I gathered all those lotions, shower gels, shampoos, etc. into a large box, it was easy to see I had way too much stuff. I then knew I had to reduce my inventory.

I decided I would use up what I had before I could buy/replace any new products.

My closet is now mostly decluttered. After using up most of the products I like, it’s been easy to see the ones I didn’t use. Most of what is left I still use.

However, after taking this photo I realize I still have some things I originally kept but haven’t used in the last two years. Time to doing some decluttering.

Stocking Up Too Much

When I find a product I like it’s so tempting to stock up when it’s on sale.  Why pay full price when I know I’ll use it. But if I’m not careful, I’ll end up with way too many items on cluttered shelves.

I like using different scented shower gels and lotions. Avon had great deals on these kinds of products in every catalog. As a result I ended up stocking up on too many.

I also bought several different ones from Bath and Body Works, especially when they had their sales of buy 3 get 3 free.

Great deals but how many different scents/products did I really need?

Changing my buying habits was crucial if I wanted to keep my new bathroom decluttered. I was lucking for the three things that helped me break the buying habit.

  • Remodeling the bathroom
  • Avon rep retiring therefore eliminating the catalog temptations.
  • The pandemic which didn’t allow me to go to the store to sample the scents from their sample bottles.

Letting Go Of Unused Products

Now my inventory is getting low. So it’s getting time to shop again. Only this time I plan to be careful about what I buy and how much. I have to remind myself that I don’t have to stock up on something just because it’s on sale. Maybe one extra bottle on the shelf, but not three or four or more.

As I mentioned above, after taking the photo I noticed there are some items that are not being used. I have learned over the years that a simple photo can help us see a lot more than our eyes alone can see. It’s a great tool to help with decluttering.

Anyway, it’s time to let go of those unused products. Here are a few ways to get rid of them without too much guilt.

  • Shower gels, bubble bath, or shampoos that are not liked can be used to clean toilets. Flylady taught me years ago that any kind of soap will clean. Plus these smell much better than the chemical cleaners.
  • Unopened lotion and other products can be given away to friends or homeless shelters. Just make sure they are not too old and expired.
  • Opened or too old of products need to be trashed.


Focusing on the Future

Although I’m still in the process of learning to keep the bathroom toiletries minimalized, I’m finding that I don’t miss having so many choices. I have my few favorites and they are easy to find on the decluttered shelves.

If I want to try a new scent and/or kind of lotion, I will allow myself to give it a try. It’s great if I like it but if I don’t, I need to let it go as soon as possible. I will not allow myself to feel guilty for wasting money.

Because I didn’t waste money. I spent the money on an experience (not just a product) that didn’t work out. Oh well.

Life is too short to beat ourselves up over every little “mistake” we may make. Learn from it and move on.

In other words, let go of the disliked product and remember not to buy it again.


To a lighter load along the way.

Janice Scissors





Sentimental Items – Save the Memories, Not the Clutter

Letting go of a sentimental item is hard. Sometimes memories attached to that item are very important to us. We don’t want to lose those memories.

The the fear of losing those memories may be a lot stronger than our love for the item. Especially if the item is not being used and it’s in the way or hidden in a box or drawer somewhere. So we continue to hold on to those memory triggers much longer than we need or want too.

Inheriting Items

After we moved my mother to a nursing home, we had to sell her house. I was the only one living in town so the majority of the work fell on me. On the plus side, it gave me the opportunity to see which pieces of furniture I might want. Since it was a local move it was a lot easier to move any furniture to my home instead of across the country where my sisters live.

One item I took was a treadle sewing machine. It was actually my grandmother’s on my father’s side. My parents got it after my grandmother passed away many years ago. My mother wasn’t a sewer but she liked the way the cabinet look. It became a piece of furniture in her bedroom. Her jewelry box sat proudly on top.


Anyway, for close to 30 years the antique sewing machine was closed up in it’s antique sewing cabinet in my mother’s bedroom.

When I moved it to my house I put it in a corner of my dining room. Along with the sewing machine and cabinet came all the memories I had of it in my grandmother’s house. I remember seeing it in her second bedroom between the beds. My cousins and I would play in that room when we got together for holidays.

Even at a young age that sewing machine grabbed my attention. To have it in my own home felt like an honor. Since I was the one who became the sewer in the family, that added to the special significance of it.

What to do with it?

A few times I lifted the machine up out of the cabinet to see if it worked. It did except the belt that moved the wheel was broken. For some reason my old dog thought it was something to chew on. I didn’t replace it because I didn’t want her to chew on the new one. She was old with some strange behaviors so I didn’t bother fixing it at that time.

Shortly after she passed away we decided it was time to pull out all the old carpeting and replace it with new wood floors. At that point, I let go of a lot of the old furniture. I planned to buy some new things after the floors were done. I wasn’t ready to let go of the sewing machine yet so I moved it around the corner into the laundry room. It’s not a large room but the machine wasn’t completely in the way.

Deciding to let it go

The sewing machine first became a problem when the floors were completed and it was time to move the furniture back. The wheels were rusted. There was no way I was going to have those old metal wheels on my nice new light wood floors. I considered getting a floor rug to put it on. But the more I thought about it, I didn’t want to cover up a part of the wood floors with a throw rug. But I also didn’t want to let go of the machine.

So it sat in my laundry room month after month until I could decide where to put it. The new furniture was mixed with the old pieces we kept. With the beautiful floors becoming the focal point, a light, minimalist look became a relaxing environment to be in. Less furniture also made it easier to clean the house. I can’t complain about that.

In the meantime the sewing machine and cabinet sat in my laundry room becoming more of an inconvenience than anything else. I finally reached a point it was time to let it go.

Preserving the Memories

Before I let it go I wanted to make sure I had a way to preserve the memories. It wasn’t just the sewing machine and cabinet that were memory triggers, it was also all the sewing items my grandmother had put in the drawers so many years ago. Apparently my mother never touched anything in the drawers. It was like a time capsule from my grandmother.

Sewing cabinet drawers time capsule.

In the drawers were wooden spools of thread, needles, pin cushions and cut off hems from dresses and pants. She was a short woman so most of her clothes needed to be shortened. Why she kept the extra cut off material is anyone’s guess. Maybe she thought it would come in handy one day.

To preserve the memories of those time capsule drawers I took lots of photos before putting things in the trash. But I still wanted a little something I could physically touch. That’s when I went searching for some ideas. Pinterest is a great place to find creative ideas.

I decided to keep the old wooden thread spools, pin cushions, and other small sewing items in a medium size glass vase. Each time I look at it I think of my grandmother hemming her clothes. The vase is sitting on the counter next to where my new computerized sewing machine is.

The old and the new right next to each other.

Old memories in the jar. New memories as I sew doll clothes for my granddaughter, cute masks for my family, gifts for a new baby, or a holiday gift for a friend.

Memories preserved in a jar.

Any Regrets?

Do I miss the sewing machine? Every once in a while I have a small regret. But for the most part, I love the clean open space where the cabinet use to be. I still have the memories each time I see that glass vase full of the sewing items. Whenever I run across a photo in my digital albums, it sparks the memories. Even though the big physical item is no longer in my house, I didn’t lose the memories. I digitalized and miniaturized the memory triggers.

If you’re struggling with letting go of sentimental items check out these blog posts for a little more inspiration.

What Value Does An Item Have

Treasure Lost And Found


To a lighter load along the way.

Janice Scissors


Deadlines Help With Decluttering



Have you ever had a deadline help you with decluttering? I know I have. Think about this for a moment.

Remember when you were having the family over for a holiday dinner or birthday party? How did you prepare for it? If you’re like most people you planned the food/menu for the dinner or party. Hopefully you shopped for most of the stuff ahead of time leaving just a few perishable items to buy last minute.

But what about cleaning the house? I always find it amazing that when I’m preparing for company I notice all the clutter laying around. I know the stack of magazines has been there for awhile. But now it looks real messy. The DVD’s and video games are overflowing the shelf under the TV.  How long have they been a chaotic mess? And when did the empty cups and dishes start accumulating on the coffee table and end tables? I didn’t realize the cat and dog (or kids) had so many toys laying around.

You get the picture. We become blind to everyday clutter until we know company is coming over. Then we start looking at our house through their eyes. 

Vacation Home Mindset

Do you ever wish your home felt like it was a vacation home? No clutter laying around. Simple furniture and decor. Clean, fresh, easy to sit back and relax in.

That does sound nice doesn’t it!


Weekend Vacation Home

Recently a friend told me how nice her daughter’s weekend home was. It’s in a rural area about two hours or so from the city. She kept telling me how relaxed she felt during a recent visit. It really hit home for my friend about how nice it felt to sit around in a simply decorated, non cluttered space.

Since this was a weekend home, her daughter basically started from scratch to furnish it. New and used furniture along with minimal decorating created the new environment. She didn’t have years of accumulated  stuff to clutter the house up.

(Thank you to my friend and her daughter for the use of this photo. It’s a picture of the daughter’s weekend vacation home.)


As my friend and I talked, we kept wondering how can we get our own homes to always have that simple relaxed feeling. It’s not easy but it’s also not impossible. …

The Pause and the Shift


Dear Reader,

I haven’t been blogging for a while again. With all that is going on in the world I seemed to have hit the proverbial writing block when trying to write about decluttering.

This block actually started way before the pandemic hit the United States. I’ve been going through a mindset shift for the past year.  But once the the lockdown started, this shift really came to the forefront. Lots of questions started coming up.

My Personal Questions

  1. What is important to me at this point in my life?
  2. Do I want to keep writing my blog?
  3. Do I want to keep the website or close it down?
  4. What do I do going forward?
  5. Is anyone even interested in my life stories and lessons learned about decluttering?