Team, 2016 is almost over.
I like to do a few things at the turn of the year to make sure my massive stash isn’t, like, growing mold in a corner or something. Obviously it’s not because I don’t go for products without preservatives, but sometimes shit happens.
My Hoarding Instincts
I have a little bit of a beauty product hoarding problem. It’s taken me AGES to admit it and certain behaviors (such as tossing things I don’t want without a problem…but then buying 3x as many new products) have masked it, but I own vastly more skincare and makeup right now than most people will own in their lifetime. And it’s not like I’m doing 13-step routines every night of the week that could help me move through the stash. I have fairly simple routines and consistently return to favorite products.
I suspect that it’s related to the fact that for about a decade, while I was a student, I had no money for skincare and makeup despite loving it. I’m always expecting to go back to that sort of budget pressure again and the thought makes me really sad.
Now, the logical thing to do would be to save money in the event my budget downsizes suddenly so I can still buy things I like, but…if you’ve been there, you know the reality: that savings isn’t going to Sephora, it’s going to keep the health insurance active and rent paid. So…I buy too much. I give away and throw away a lot, but I still own too much, including great products I don’t get around to using. Part of it is because I like to try a lot of products for the sake of making comparisons here on the blog, but…I own a lot of stuff and it makes new year cleaning essential.
As far as combating hoarding…I dunno mane, I think I should probably explore the issue with a pro and report back. Thankfully, my budget is not negatively impacted by my over-shopping, but it just doesn’t seem to be an ideal situation.
New Year Skincare and Makeup Stash Cleaning
1. Check sheet mask expiration dates
Is it the end of the world if you use an expired sheet mask that has decent preservatives? Probably not. Very likely not. But when you own as many as many of us do…why? I prefer to take risks with the acids that might banish my acne, not masks made more than three years ago. If you have a system for rotating masks forward and not overbuying, this shouldn’t be traumatic.
2. Create a special holding area for masks that are expiring this year
Each year I toss my “expiring this year” masks into a special bin so I grab them first and organize them from first to expire to last. It’s an easy way to avoid November and December surprises. It’s also a good barometer for my shopping; if I end up with an overwhelming number of masks (keeping in mind that I don’t mask that often due to my skin not usually needing it) I might need to rethink my spending priorities.
3. Consider gifting masks to less mask-rich friends prior to expiration (obvs making note of the expiration date)
I really like low-key, low-value gifts given randomly. Some sheet masks expiring in six months or whatever given to someone who doesn’t own any but might be interested in turn-of-year self-care is a nice thing, and also hopefully doesn’t put pressure on them to reciprocate.
4. Give away or sell unneeded full-size products
This is a pretty obvious one, of course.
Unopened products: I feel comfortable donating unopened products just about anywhere. This year I discovered that I have a hookup: my husband knows someone who regularly sends barrels to earthquake victims in their home country. I moaned about having way too many giant, unopened bottles of Paula’s Choice cleanser that I’ll never test on an episode of the Snailcast, and the situation really bummed me out — until I realized that those are exactly the sort of gentle, useful products just about anyone needs. Off they go along with all sorts of nice deluxe-size and full-size makeup that I’ve gathered from beauty boxes over the past year. Shelters, pantries, and students can totally use basics and, hell, many people would love a fancy treat.
Opened products: I feel uncomfortable giving away makeup and creams that may contain my germs. My feeling is that if it touched any part of me (even indirectly), it needs to go in the trash once it’s no longer useful. That’s just me and it’s related to my constant fear that my skin harbors some nasty super bug responsible for my adult acne. In the case of lotions and other stuff stored in pump bottles that aren’t exposed to air or my germs, I feel better about letting other people use them after me. My neighborhood has a really good street sharing culture. Basically, I can put pretty much anything on the sidewalk with a “free” sign and someone will come by and pick it up. I once put a rusty saw out and it was taken in about three minutes, no joke. I actually got my makeup desk that way, so it’s a reciprocal thing. This isn’t the case everywhere, but if you know your local sharing ecosystem, there may be ways to release unneeded products back into the universe so that they are used and appreciated by someone else.
Sell stuff: If you’d like to recoup some cash for your unopened and open products check out the Reddit Asian Beauty Exchange and the Asian Beauty Skincare Addict group on Facebook. In the past, I’ve sold products to raise cash for stuff I care about, so that’s another way to make your products go to a good cause if it’s tough to find ways to donate in your area.
5. Give away samples
We need to be honest about samples. Much as they’re considered an essential part of Asian Beauty shopping culture and many people would be stressed and a bit put out if they didn’t arrive, is that box of samples really getting used? I set my unneeded samples out in the free pile and they ALLLL went, so I’m hoping that some folks in the neighborhood are enjoying nice kbeauty products right now.
6. Make your stash visible
I’m going to do a full skincare and makeup stash organization post, but I’ll share my absolute favorite things for getting the goods in order right now. The best thing I’ve done is buy organizers that make all of my products more visible so nothing gets shoved in the back of a closet or drawer and forgotten about. I’ve tried many other organizers (including plastic drawers of all sorts), but these are the best for me.
Actual Skincare Wardrobe
I bought a glass apothecary tower from Target for storing my stuff cat fur-free and wow, no regrets. It’s actually taller than me and has plenty of space for the things I want to store — without allowing me to forget what I own.
These cupboard risers are absolutely brilliant. They’re super affordable, too! The non-skid surface prevents disasters and having everything visible makes it harder to miss products.
I use cylindrical vases to store and display deluxe samples and smaller skincare stuff that I don’t use on a day-to-day basis. I fill the bottoms with sequins from Pat McGrath product packaging, so there’s a tiny bit of upcycling involved? hahaha
I like these rectangular organizers for day-to-day items that I need to grab quickly. They’re super affordable and work for just about anything.
Ok, so these are just my thoughts on how to turn the year — anything I missed? Good advice I need to hear? Uhh does anyone know a specialist in hoarding impulses? ahahah
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