Foreword: I love to write, I find it therapeutic and sometimes I feel like I have important stories to share. Besides the all skin and makeup tip stuffs. I hope this helps you all out too. Leave a comment letting me know if you would like more of these more personal stories from us. -Laura ❤️
Hi, my name is Laura and I am a beauty product hoarder.
Whew. That feels better.
I’m sure many of you can agree with me that it’s hard to say no to all the fancy palettes and lippies. I’m a sucker for good packaging and a great marketing scheme. I used to (I will get to the “used to” part soon. I promise) have hundreds of palettes that I would touch once. I had lippies that had never been opened aside from removing them from the packaging. I had stacks of bottles for hair, skin and whatever else keeps you young. Did I mention I’m a skincare fanatic?
My favorite past time was pursuing the interwebs staring at all the beauty products. Then I’d get a wild hair and decide I need the “vault” collections of everything. That in turn gave me 3 products I would use and then 50 I wouldn’t even look at again till it was time to clean my beauty cabinet out.
My collection is the equivalent to a walk in closet filled with clothing and shoes. Only it’s in my vanity and the spare bedroom. Oh and my purse….es. Because every purse has at least 2 lippies, lash glue, and an eyeliner just in case. (I should add I have a lot of purses too. Ugh the struggle is real).
For a few years I did pretty well not collecting too many items. I also lived in ponytails, baseball caps, hoodies, jeans and work boots. Makeup application was a max of 5 minutes. I call this the “dark time” others may call it depression. When I decided to take back my fashionable life (not that it was ever physically taken away) that is when I began my obsession. It began with finding the perfect drugstore brand. Everyone wants that! I felt I could share with the world all I discovered about the mass market! And write about it. The writing part never really happened, except in IG captions. Then, I discovered Melt cosmetics and Jeffree Star cosmetics. After that it was Kat Von D beauty….. online Sephora……the list continues….I was hooked. Although I’m not an overspender, I am an overbuyer. I like a good deal!! Thrifty and a lot of it. That was my motto. Alllll of the deluxe samples and free gifts.
Ok, so I want to explain why I purged a large portion of my expensive and cherished collection. However, first I need to hit a few key points that were my motivation:
- Being a working makeup artist doesn’t justify the chaos.
- Having skin and hair doesn’t validate excessive amounts of bottles crowding out my husband’s side of the bathroom cabinet or taking over the guest bedroom with eyeshadow palettes and liquid lippies.
- I read a book. Really I did. I’ll link it here.
Let’s get to the gritty stuff–
A few weeks ago I decided to go to my storage unit I have had for 6 years. Yes. 6 fluffin years. I have owned a house for 3 of those years. I’m just lazy and you know the old adage “out of sight out of mind”. Anyways, I decided it was time to empty it out. As my son and I went through the items my throat began to burn and I realized that in the center of the unit all of my books and artwork were covered in black mold. (Look up black mold). I told my son to get out of the unit and I stood there staring at all of my treasured possessions destroyed.
Crates of books I had collected and read over and over again. Paintings I had brought back from Scotland, the only trip I ever took with my deceased grandmother and mother. My son’s baby clothes. College textbooks. Expensive Prisma colored pencils. Antique fabric.
The list goes on. I wanted to cry but instead I got pissed and said “fluff it”. It was a different word but you get the point. (When you get to know me better you will notice that I can disconnect quickly from things) I decided to close the door and worry about it another day.
After a few days, I return to the moldy abyss. I had a fresh mind and ready to salvage what I could. That was until I opened a vintage suitcase given to me by my Aunt. Inside that tightly sealed suitcase was my Nana’s jewelry box and all of the 1950’s and 60’s costume jewelry. Destroyed. Completely rusted and molded. My heart broke.
I feel like I should start at the beginning. The very beginning of my detachment. When I was 23 I was in a terrible relationship. After a few years of emotional and physical abuse I packed up and left during the day when he was at work. I unfortunately forgot I had a huge box of my childhood collectibles in his storage unit. When I returned for them a few months later he gave me a box of broken porcelain figurines and torn up photos. My whole childhood was in that box. Things I could never replace. I threw the box away and left. Closing that chapter behind me.
Let’s fast forward to 2010 and I was living in Phoenix. I received a phone call from my now ex husband telling me that our garage had been backed into by an elderly lady who lived in the apartment below us. Seriously, this happened. A lead foot elderly lady hopped up on pain pills drove through our garage. Destroying everything in its path. Boxes of antiques. Motorcycles. Tool boxes. Photo albums. We only received $1600 in damages for the super expensive toolbox. FYI: Certain Renters insurance only works for your living quarters. Not the garage.
Ok, let’s push past all the dramatic “Once upon a storytelling” and focus on the real subject. I lost material objects. Objects that truthfully have been weighing me down. These items although they are special memory wise really do not bring me joy. If they did I would’ve had them in the open where they belong. Not locked in a box or in a garage to be forgotten.
That’s how I feel about majority of my beauty products now. I don’t use all of them. I covet them because they’re popular or fancy. I buy them and then they sit in a drawer until I remember I even have them! Sometimes even after I remember they still sit in the drawer. Example: I bought the Jaclyn Hill Becca Champagne pop palette. I’ve used it maybe 4 times. Whhyy???! What is its purpose?? Besides to make me feel so fancy and cool and relevant. “Why yes I am wearing Prosecco Pop!” said no one ever.
1. rid (someone) of an unwanted feeling, memory, or condition, typically giving a sense of cathartic release.
“Bob had helped purge Martha of the terrible guilt that had haunted her”
synonyms: cleanse, clear, purify, wash, shrive, absolve
“he purged them of their doubt”
1. an abrupt or violent removal of a group of people from an organization or place.
“a purge of the ruling class is absolutely necessary”
synonyms: removal, expulsion, ejection, exclusion, eviction, dismissal, sacking, ousting, eradication
“the purge of dissidents”
So I decided to purge. I know that word could be a trigger but it’s explains the emotions involved when decluttering. For example, I began slowly by looking at the palettes telling myself I may need that olive green shadow one day. What if someone wants a lesson? Having all those options would be nice. Then I would put it back in the drawer. By the end of the day I had only parted with 2 Wet n Wild palettes (and those were contemplated on for a very long time). I was far from successful. I fooled myself into thinking I was though.
It wasn’t until I read the book I keep linking you to, that I fully started to realize what I needed to do. Now, I need to clarify I’ve had this book for 2 years. I have a serious problem with buying things and setting them aside. I only recently really dove into it when I flew to visit Stevie in L.A. I think my traumatic experience with my storage unit allowed me to be vulnerable enough to really understand the message.
So I returned and decided to really purge the collection and make it a space that fills me with joy. Not frustration.
This is what I did:
- Only touch things once (trash, donate, save)
- Remove everything from my vanity and beauty boxes
- Throw away expired and icky makeup
- Don’t look how cute the packaging is or what it could be used as
- Colors or formulas that are never going to be used are donated or tossed
- Palettes that are never opened are not opened and donated (this was the hardest! I kept making excuses)
- Throw away crappy products and tools. Stupid brushes, samples, etc
- Write the date on the bottom of the container (this helps for expiration reasons. Also to hold usage accountability)
It’s not easy. I won’t lie. It was hard and emotional but when I was done I had a huge box to donate to my sister’s theater group. As well as a black trash bag full of crap.
I made a deal with myself too. If I can keep my stockpile in check (aka clean and organized) I will take out $75 a month. This will either add up to a plane ticket to see Stevie or help me replenish my luxury skincare products.
I want to clarify that it’s ok if you love thousands of palettes. If it brings you joy, do it! For me it doesn’t. It’s overwhelming and I’m done with the clutter. I want to live a more maintained beauty collector life.
Ps. I’m sure when I get to much stuff the demolition gods will step in and have a moldy angry old lady ruin my shit as always.
What about you? Any tips on organization or how do you decide what stays and what goes?