There’s been a lot of talk about destashing going around lately, what with peepingpomerainian and mindyourbeauty’s #abmidyearstashchallenge (if you’re on IG, go check it out, seriously! So many great reviews and so much information in that tag!). The challenge itself is an opportunity to organize and reevaluate your skincare and makeup stash, taking public stock of what you need, what you love, and what you might want to ditch–or at the very least, remember not to repurchase.
FOR Example: Have we talked about my sample problem?
I have a sample problem. It’s bad.
Unfortunately–like any fandom based partially on acquiring things–public inventories like this can also stir a not-so-fun conversation about shopping addiction, hoarding, and other ways our skincare hobbies can quickly turn into maladaptive coping mechanisms. Sometimes it’s a disturbing realization and sometimes it’s a recurring sore spot, but it’s never fun to admit when we think we’ve messed up or we have a problem.
I understand this lady on a DEEP SPIRITUAL LEVEL, okay.
I’m writing this post because I’ve always been aware of this tendency in my family – my grandmother was a full-on hoarder, except we didn’t know the term back then. Her tiny apartment mainly consisted of walkways squeezed in between towering stacks of old newspapers, bags of cloth, rubber bands, empty Tupperware–she saved everything. My mother and I both inherited her habit of saving things for a rainy day, so we’re both pretty proactive about destashing constantly and continuously. At least…I’d like to think we are /hides face. I’m so, so far from perfect, and the past year has been an exercise in a) buying too many things because I’m lonely, bored, or full of FOMO b) panicking, and c) furiously trying to remove/organize/give away stuff before I have a full-on breakdown. Anxiety is fun, you guys! SUPER FUN. WHEE.
Anyway, here are some of the rules I’ve come up with to keep myself and my bathroom cabinets sane. I’m not saying that these are ideal or even necessarily the best way to approach destashing; all I know is that they’ve worked for me, and if they work for you as well, then this post was worth it. And tell me in the comments what works for you! This is a no judgement zone, which also means you guys aren’t going to judge me for my crappy (but real!) pictures…right? RIGHT. Cool. Off we go!
And off we go! like this car! Except not really like this car at all but whatever.
Rule #1: The 50% Rule
Clearly, this is an engraving of me while decluttering.
What’s that? You don’t see the resemblance? Pfft.
I’m starting out with the hardest one, but also the rule that’s had the best results for me overall – I’ve downsized my closet with this one, as well as my skincare/bathroom items and loads of other stuff.
The idea is simple: reduce the number of items you own by 50%. You can give items away to friends or family, re-sell them (sup /r/asianbeautyexchange!), donate them to women’s shelters – whatever feels best to you. For me, it was important not to set a time limit; I had a target amount of “stuff” I wanted to reach, and I accomplished it through several “pruning” sessions over a few months. I’ve still got a box in our front room that’s full of AB/skincare that I need to try to sell, but that’s okay! It’s on its way out, and that’s what counts.
I also went through my email account and made sure that every skincare store email/sale notification/etc went to a specially marked “skincare” folder. It was amazing how much less I wanted to shop when I wasn’t constantly seeing emails about sales every day. That one might be just me – YMMV.
Like this, but uglier. I am not a person who matches their cardboard boxes.
It’s a character flaw.
Rule #2: The Container Rule
The best way to illustrate this rule is with pictures, so bear with me. The idea behind this is that I pick a certain “container” – a drawer, box, whatever – and designate it for certain items, like sheetmasks. But whenever that container is full, I’m cut off from buying more. Sheetmask box full? Oh well, too bad! I can’t purchase any more until I’ve used up a good chunk of my own.
So for example – This is my “sheetmasks to use up right now” container. I promise everything else I use is not this fancy, but this lives in my bedroom, so I wanted it to look decently nice.
And this is my “sheetmasks that need to be photographed and tested” box. It’s a shoebox.
I tend to buy only single masks for testing, so if I want to review them after I use it, I have to photograph them BEFORE I use them. It’s kind of a pain, but oh well.
And that’s it. I used to own close to 200+ sheet masks, and now I probably own…50 or 60? Maybe? And I’ve kept each mask for a REASON, which is the most important part to me. EPIC VICTORY FTW.
In the same vein, here are my foil sample containers. Right now they’re full, which means I better get testing before I can keep any more.
I wish I could remember where I got these plastic containers, because they’re FREAKING AMAZING. I have no idea what they’re actually intended for, but they’re awesome for keeping track of small items.
There’s probably about…70 to 80 samples in each box? I went through and made sure they were all things I actually wanted to try, but I gave myself a break on these. They’re not taking up too much space, so whatever.
And finally – this is…everything else. And I mean EVERYTHING. Every skincare product I own. (To be fair, this is a BIGASS drawer).
If you’re looking at this going ???? THIS WILL NEVER HAPPEN FOR ME WTF, remember – it took me six months to get here. I am not posting these pictures to brag. This ENTIRE DRESSER used to be full, and I am not ashamed to say I cried several times while destashing this stuff. It was hard. It sucked. But the 50% rule kept me going, and after several false starts and detours, this is where I eventually ended up.
Rule #3 Treat Yo’self….with something ELSE
SO, uh, as a corollary to the above pics – I made sure to congratulate myself every time I made some major headway. The key was not to treat myself by buying more skincare stuff. Again: hard, not so fun, blargh, etc. But honestly, a good coffee and a slice of fucking delicious cake is a pretty good treat, especially if I order it to go and I get to each it on the couch. However, I realize that food is a pretty heavy trigger for lots of people, and this definitely won’t work for everyone. So here’s some other small treats that I used to keep myself going:
A set of nice new pens
A new water bottle
Ordering a movie on iTunes (so extravagant!!!)
Going to a yoga class
A long bubble bath
The idea was to make sure I went out and bought just that item, which was, again, hard as fuck. I don’t know – it worked for me, it may not work for you. I think we all know how best to be kind to ourselves, so I won’t pretend to be of much help here.
Rule #4 The “Decants and Deluxe Samples are Always Okay” Rule
And finally, the rule that kept me actually sane during all of this…I completely exempted decants and deluxe samples. I could buy as many as I wanted! Including sample sets! No big deal! And honestly, I have no regrets about this one. It allowed me to shop a bit whenever the urge was too strong, but it limited my spending pretty heavily. It also let me try out lots of things without feeling miserable, sick of my stash, and left out of all the fun. (I don’t subscribe to any beauty boxes or subscription services, so they don’t build up too heavily unless I actually put effort into acquiring them. This one also might not work for you – again, YMMV!)
And so I guess — that’s where I end this post. I hope this might be helpful for someone else – leave me a comment on IG or here to let me know what you’ve found works for you. I’m always looking for advice from more experienced “destashers”! ❤