The Expert with Fay Wolf

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Fay Wolf is a professional organizer not just in your house but in your life.  She just wrote her first book, New Order A Decluttering Handbook For Creative Folks.  Fay founded New Order in 2006. Since then, she’s helps declutter your life (inner and outer) to help people achieve more creativity and productivity in their life. She has a One-Minute Tip video series with Apartment Therapy.  Fay has been featured as an expert on OWN Network’s Home Made Simple, Fast Company, Huffington Post, InStyle, the Wall Street Journal and more.  She has celebrity clientele such as Emily Deschanel (Bones), James Valentine (lead Guitarist of Maroon 5), Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family), Zachary Quinto (Star Trek) just to name some. You may recognize her from shows like NCIS: Los Angeles, 2 Broke Girls, and many others.  Faye is also a singer/songwriter some of her songs have been used in The Vampire Diaries, Grey’s Anatomy, One Tree Hill, Covert Affairs, and Pretty Little Liars.

Today she shares some tips with us on how to get our makeup lives in order:

How can we organize our makeup bags?

You’ll always want to declutter and purge first, before deciding on how you’d like to organize it. So with makeup bags — and bags in general – start by dumping it all out onto one surface. Feel free to put down a towel if you’re worried about any leakage or stains, and don’t be afraid to get a little messy. (This can be fun!) It may help to have a mirror and makeup remover wipes nearby, if you want to try anything out, but that’s certainly not a requirement. Sort into “Keep”, “Trash”, and “Donate”. (Sometimes local health clinic or shelters will take opened or unopened makeup and toiletries off your hands.) If you’re dealing with a large quantity, you might then go further and sort into different types (eyeliner, brushes, etc.). Consider how realistic it is that you’d need more than one or two different types of items in your makeup bag at any given time. (Three mascaras on-the-go? Try one instead.)

When traveling, how do you suggest organizing your makeup, skincare and hair care?

I use a transparent toiletries bag when traveling. It’s so helpful during my morning routine to see exactly where something is in there and just stick my hand in and grab it. Makeup I keep separately, and it only consists of one of each type of item for the trip. If you like having 3 different lip colors with you, go for it. But just like your regular makeup bag, try to keep other doubles to a minimum. If having a fancy hanging bag for your toiletries makes you happy, awesome. But as long as you have a dedicated container/bag with a small amount of items and you know where to find it, then it can be any kind you want.

I have beauty products everywhere, my car, my bag, my bathroom, on my nightstand, basically everywhere. What should I leave out and what should I put away?

Before making those decisions, it’s best to see everything you have in one place. Gather up all the items from all those different locations and do as big a purge as you can muster. You’ll get a great sense of how many doubles (or similar items) you might have and you’ll be able to start fresh. Then, choose one area of your home to put on makeup. Or at least one place where it’s stored. Depending on your display and storage areas, it may make sense to keep daily makeup out and ready-to-use on a vanity or bathroom shelf. And then you might have a (small) overflow area for any extras or specialty makeup.

If you like to have certain items with you on-the-go (e.g. bag/car), it’s absolutely fine to have doubles of the items you love for that one purpose. I’d suggest keeping the on-the-go makeup in its own pouch, inside your bag. This way, when you’re switching bags or switching cars, it’s extremely easy to transfer.

What should you keep and what should you throw away?

Well there’s the issue of what makes you feel like your best self, and then there’s the issue of what should be discarded because it’s too darn old. Remember that makeup exists to enhance our natural beauty and make us feel great about ourselves. If a color or a brand doesn’t do that for you, it’s out. As for the latter reason: makeup has a pretty short shelf life. If you’re unsure how old it is and it’s looking off, best to get rid of it. (Regardless of what you paid!)

Best advice you have received?

What other people think of you is none of your business. This can be a great reminder when it comes to decluttering, because we’re doing this work for ourselves, not to try to be someone else’s idea of right or perfect.

Can you give us some tips on how to organize beauty products in the bathroom? I have 5 different shampoos/conditioners and different bath products in my shower, how can I organize the shower better?

The short of it is: it’s all about less. Decide what you love and stick to it. Let go of the rest. Do you need 5 different shampoos/conditioners? Which one do you love the most? It’s OKAY to let the others go – whether that’s donating or throwing into the trash or recycle bin. The joy you’ll get from entering the shower every day and feeling decluttered and free is worth more than any guilt you may feel from having bought so many, or any ad campaigns telling you that you need to have all of them. Having fewer choices makes life easier. Let them go…

Last tip for our readers.

Remember how the clutter of makeup and beauty products makes you feel. Often acknowledging that feeling and simply deciding we’d like to feel better is a useful tool to get us started on the decluttering process. Thanks!


You can follow Fay on Instagram @FayWolf  and you can buy her book here, New Order Decluttering Handbook Creative.

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Photo Credit: Rebecca Sanabria