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In a perfect world, you'd find what you were looking for in no time flat. In real life, you waste time daily searching through clutter. It's a familiar scenario, but one that's easily changed. How? By making time - at least twice a year - to simplify and organize. Start with your makeup drawer, and then work your way to other parts of the house, since similar get-organized rules apply throughout.

Dump all the contents of your makeup drawer or bag on the floor and take a good look at what you have. Toss out any makeup that's gone bad - if it smells funny, has changed color, or has separated, its time is up. Transfer broken makeup to new containers. Liquid foundation can be poured into a different bottle; lipsticks with cracked caps can be sliced off and put into a palette or a pillbox with day-of-the-week compartments; lip and eye pencils missing their caps can be stored in a Ziploc bag. Next, get rid of anything that you haven't used in two years. If you still can't figure out how to wear the super-trendy color you got last season, you won't wear it now. And don't bother keeping anything that makes you break out or doesn't feel right on your skin.

Now it's time to get the basics in order:
Foundation should disappear into your skin when you swatch it on the side of your face. At most, you need two shades - one that matches your skin now, and one that will work in a different season when you're either lighter or darker.
Lipstick is where many women overbuy. Be realistic about what you're going to wear. Chances are you're not going to wear the shade that you bought to match your last bridesmaid's dress. You should have a tried-and-true shade that you can put on without looking in a mirror - imagine the color of your lips taken up a notch.
All you need is three shades of eye shadow to make eyes stand out. A base color - like white, bone, banana, or toast - that blends into your skintone. A medium-toned lid color - like taupe, grey, heather - that doesn't require blending. A dark color - like mahogany, charcoal, or navy - to use as liner. Stick to black mascara, or try brown as a softer alternative.

Your blush should instantly make you look healthy. Own two shades - one that is the color of your cheeks when they're flushed, and a slightly brighter shade for a pop of color.

Do some maintenance work, cleaning off your makeup cases and replacing old sponges and puffs. Then, decide how you want to get organized. Try a silverware organizer that fits into your drawer; lucite boxes or woven baskets; and cups for brushes and pencils. Ziploc bags are an inexpensive traveling must because you can see what's inside and they keep spills in check.