spring cleaning with stowaway.

March 30, 2016

stowaway spring cleaning | reading my tea leaves

This post is sponsored by Stowaway, a right-sized cosmetics company.

The magnolias are going gangbusters. The daffodils have unfurled. It’s not warm out exactly, but I’ve sped up the arrival of spring in my apartment by forcing these tiny dogwoods. Old Mother Nature is ready to show off after her long winter’s beauty rest and you might be too.

It’s the time of year for throwing open the windows, plunking flowers in a vase, and in between checking to see if the lilac is in bloom, tackling your spring cleaning.

Where to start? stowaway spring cleaning | reading my tea leaves

In Simple Matters, I advise readers to take a good long look at their medicine cabinet when beginning the process of decluttering a space. A medicine cabinet—or whatever space that you have to stash your lotions and potions—can often act as a kind of litmus test for the state of the rest of your home (sorry if that’s bad news). But the good news is that it’s an easy place to start because the answers to the questions of what to toss and what to keep are clear and—hopefully—devoid of too much sentimentality. Either you use that lotion or you don’t. Either you like that mascara or you don’t. Either that lipstick is expired or it isn’t.

The advice is this: Be ruthless. Purge what you’re not using, toss what you don’t like, throw away what’s past its prime.

And then—and most importantly—think carefully about what you allow to come back in. This part, I call gatekeeping. Stand your ground. Let in only what you love. Make careful choices and by next spring, when it’s time for clearing out the cabinet again, you won’t have nearly so much to sift through. stowaway spring cleaning | reading my tea leaves

If you’re in the market for something new to replace your expired lipstick or your unloved cheek color, Stowaway might be the answer. As I’ve written before, I love Stowaway because it offers right-sized solutions for your makeup bag. Instead of selling makeup in sizes that are large and heavy and virtually impossible to finish before their expiration date, they’ve sized their cosmetics to correspond with the needs of the people who use them, and they’re always paraben-, phlalatestowaway spring cleaning | reading my tea leaves-, and cruelty-free.

A customizable Stowaway Kit includes six basic products: BB cream, concealer, pot rouge, lipstick, eyeliner, and mascara. It’s all the makeup you need for $75. The idea is that instead of lugging around a dopp kit the size of Rhode Island and keeping two more at home, you’ll have everything you need in a collection of products that fit—quite literally—into the palm of your hands.
stowaway spring cleaning | reading my tea leaves
And if you do want a little something extra? An extra lipstick for a zippy touch of color? A different cheek tint for a different mood? Those few additions won’t weigh you down either. (And even if all of your cosmetics fit in the palms of two hands? I’d say you’re still coming out way ahead.) 
stowaway spring cleaning | reading my tea leaves

What about you guys? Where do you begin your spring cleaning? Closets? Cars? Medicine Cabinets?

Stowaway is offering RMTL readers a chance to restock their makeup bag with something to love. When you purchase a Stowaway Kit, use the code RMTLCLEAN to receive an additional free lipstick, mascara, and cheek pot of your choice. All of the details right this way. Apologies to international readers: Stowaway is currently only shipping within the US.

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  • Reply Sarah March 30, 2016 at 8:46 am

    I was just about to click when I read that Stowaway doesn’t ship outside of the US! Please come to Canada Stowaway, we’re just across one measly border 🙂 Look like wonderful products!

    In the meantime, I have a purging suggestion: if you have unused products (I receive a lot of scented things as gifts which I cannot use) see if there is a charity in city that would put them to good use. There’s an organization in my city that helps sex workers get access to toiletries and other basics. Sample sized products are great because they can be stashed in a purse- many of these women are homeless and need to use showers at the Y, and don’t have a reliable place to store their personal items.

    • Reply Erin Boyle March 30, 2016 at 8:48 am

      Lovely suggestion! Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Reply Julie March 30, 2016 at 10:09 am

      Hi Sarah, I’m Julie Stowaway’s cofounder, trust me we WISH we could ship to Canada but there are a lot of cost, regulation and logistical hurdles we can’t afford as a smaller brand just yet. But we are working on it and hope to be able to ship in the next year or so!

      • Reply KariM March 30, 2016 at 2:25 pm

        I’ll second the “Can’t wait for you to ship to Canada”! Also, Julie, while I’d hate for you to become the kind of company that keeps adding products, indiscriminately, have you thought of adding a pressed powder to your line for those of us whose faces are too oily for BB cream?

    • Reply Sarah March 31, 2016 at 9:44 am

      If you live in the GTA, you can order and ship to CBI in Niagara Falls NY, it’s a warehouse just over the border that many Canadians use to receive packages from companies that can’t ship over the border. They charge $5 a package to take delivery – but they take delivery of anything, even cars! And with our dollar now sitting at a whopping 77 cents on the USD it’s not such a bad deal :-). I just declare my purchases when I come back over, if you get a good day you might not have to pay the HST when you bring it back!

  • Reply Ashley March 30, 2016 at 9:08 am

    I’m obsessed with Stowaway! I’m so excited to try their products, but I’m currently on a one-in-one-out policy with my beauty products. Does the promo code have an expiration date?

    • Reply Erin Boyle March 30, 2016 at 9:21 am

      Good policy! I don’t think there’s a set expiration on this one!

  • Reply Erin March 30, 2016 at 9:13 am

    GAH!!! I want! Coincidentally enough – my make up bag is exactly where I am stuck right now. I only wear blush (and sometimes mascara when I am feeling “feisty”), yet I have THREE (count ’em) – three giant make up bags on my dresser. I can’t even tell you what is in them and I certainly can’t tell you why I have some unnatural emotional attachment keeping me from purging them.

    Halp me Tea Leaves, Halp me!

  • Reply Debora March 30, 2016 at 11:29 am

    I just cleaned out our medicine cabinet yesterday, and it was soooo cathartic! One always holds onto that half-used container of Vaseline, or saline spray, or too-fragrant hand lotion, thinking it wasteful to toss, but then it just sits there, ever-racing toward its expiration date. It felt so good to purge all that stuff and pare the cabinet down to what we use daily (my husband’s suggestion, actually). This morning, getting ready for work, opening the cabinet door felt like getting a breath of fresh air.

  • Reply Libby March 30, 2016 at 12:08 pm

    This is something that I’ve been thinking about so much lately. We recently moved and I downsized almost every other area of our lives. Right now I’m looking at my tubs of makeup and lotions and potions and wondering “what do I do with this???” I’ve been tempted by Stowaway so much, lately. I love the idea.

  • Reply Rachel March 30, 2016 at 12:10 pm

    How do you feel about the ingredients in the Stowaway products?

    I’m proud to (almost) have my medicine cabinet down to what I actually use, and am making mental notes for what to try when my current products run out. I am on a hunt for the perfect non-toxic BB cream 🙂

    • Reply Erin Boyle March 30, 2016 at 12:18 pm

      Hey Rachel, Congratulations! Feels so good, doesn’t it? Stowaway’s ingredients are all EU-compliant which means that they refuse to use a huge list of ingredients that most cosmetics companies use with abandon. That makes me rest easy on the safety front. Since we’re talking about makeup, the process is definitely a bit more complicated than other kinds of simple, single-ingredient skincare out there. Of course everyone has to make their own decision about what feels right for them, but I feel good about Stowaway (wouldn’t work with them if I didn’t).

      • Reply Rachel March 30, 2016 at 1:56 pm

        Thanks, this is helpful! It’s so difficult to sort through the information and misinformation out there and be conscious of what we’re putting on and in our bodies without starting to sound like a crazy person.

  • Reply Mary Kate March 30, 2016 at 12:31 pm

    Huh and all these years I’ve been saying “dob kit”. Thank you for this very important correction!

    • Reply Erin Boyle March 30, 2016 at 12:34 pm

      Ha! Not alone! I’ve definitely heard people say that before!

  • Reply Alana March 30, 2016 at 12:36 pm

    Hi, Erin! First off, I’m fairly new to your blog {found it a couple of months ago} and absolutely love your approach to homemaking and simple living, as well as your aesthetic. I purchased your book this past weekend and read it in 24 hours flat {including time spent sleeping! 😉 } It has inspired me to slowly replace all of our plastics, especially our cleaning tools. Your advice to purchase beautiful tools is one I’m taking to heart. Also: I have been looking to overhaul the products in my bathroom and this Stowaway kit seems like the perfect start, so I went ahead and got my hands on a kit. If I like it, I’ll share it on my personal blog to help spread the word. 🙂

    • Reply Erin Boyle March 30, 2016 at 12:37 pm

      Thanks so much, Alana! Hope you love your kit!

  • Reply Chrissy Lou March 30, 2016 at 2:41 pm

    I’ve been trying to simply and green up my beauty routine. I’m overwhelmed when I think about searching for earth friendly cosmetics so I always appreciate your suggestions! Thanks!

  • Reply Nicole March 30, 2016 at 2:56 pm

    What lipstick color is that, Erin? Is that Champagne?

    P.S. As a long time reader of your blog, I also devoured your book and have bought additional copies for family and friends. Thank you for inspiring me!

    • Reply Erin Boyle March 30, 2016 at 2:58 pm

      Yes! Champagne! (And thank you, thank you. So honored to be part of so many little libraries!)

  • Reply Ellen March 30, 2016 at 3:44 pm

    Erin! I bought my first Stowaway Kit yesterday!! Should’ve waited that one extra day, but purchasing did help me get rid of the eyeliners I’ve had for five years. Can’t wait til it arrives!

    PS- your book is on my nightstand + the postcard you sent for pre-ordering has a place in a teeny tiny gallery wall! Thank you for the daily inspiration.

    • Reply Erin Boyle March 30, 2016 at 4:10 pm

      Oh, darn it! I hope you love it! (Thanks so much for making space in your life for my book! xo!)

  • Reply Heather March 30, 2016 at 4:07 pm

    I love starting spring cleaning with the medicine cabinet! I’ve been slow to get into the spirit of spring cleaning this year, as we’ve had tons of snow in Colorado, but the medicine cabinet is done!

  • Reply Jenna March 30, 2016 at 10:29 pm

    I second the idea of cleaning out the medicine cabinet or bathroom cabinets. I use Stowaway products and am so happy that the easily fit into my work bag so that I can touch up during the day without them taking up much space.

  • Reply ladylyn March 31, 2016 at 9:31 am

    The last couple of foundations I have bought have been really disappointing. They’ve had a slightly gritty, almost sandy texture that really annoys me. Is there any of that with Stowaway’s BB cream or concealer?

    • Reply Erin Boyle March 31, 2016 at 12:11 pm

      Not gritty in the slightest!

      • Reply ladylyn March 31, 2016 at 4:18 pm

        Thanks! Sorry for keeping asking weird specific questions about products you share about. 🙂

        • Reply Erin Boyle March 31, 2016 at 4:23 pm

          Not weird (believe me!).

          • ladylyn April 1, 2016 at 12:38 am

            I basically read their entire website and then took the plunge and ordered! I can’t wait until it gets here and I can try it out!

  • Reply Amanda K. March 31, 2016 at 10:53 pm

    this is silly, but i’m confused. i’m in virginia and the magnolias aren’t blooming. do you mean dogwoods (the flower pictured)?

    • Reply Erin Boyle April 1, 2016 at 7:11 am

      Could be that the large southern magnolias aren’t in bloom yet where you are? But the magnolias in New York are almost all peaked!

      • Reply Amanda K. April 1, 2016 at 9:42 am

        ah, yes! perhaps different types of magnolias?

        • Reply Erin Boyle April 1, 2016 at 10:44 am

          totally. we don’t have many of the really big white southern magnolias up here! maybe those guys bloom later!


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