My kitchen cupboard asset stripping continues. Meanwhile I’ve started a similar assault on another area: the bathroom cupboards. So I was delighted to read the comments from Anne Louise who is doing exactly the same thing.
It made me feel better that I’m not the only one with outrageous amounts of toiletries stashed away.
One of the great advantages of working on magazines as I did, back in the day, was all the amazing beauty samples that were sent in. When I was sharing a flat in Elizabeth Bay with my adored make up artist pal Christian McCulloch we had so much product between us it had its own dedicated floor-to-ceiling cupboard outside the bathroom which we called ‘Chemist Shop’.
I still have a Chemist Shop, although I haven’t worked in the offices of a magazine or newspapers for over 12 years. A lot of it comes from my best friend, eminent beauty writer Josephine Fairly of Beauty Bible fame (see here http://beautybible.com/). *
Jo’s always giving me gorgeous products to try – particularly rosacea treatments – and sometimes I get to be one of her official testers when they are collecting the data for a product-rating update, which is great fun and free samples-tastic.
Then there’s judging the Procter & Gamble Beauty Awards, which I’ve done three times now, and always brings in loads more goodies (including supplies of my favourite Aussie Mega Shampoo Three Minute Miracle conditioner, hurrah).
Add to that gifts-with-purchase and my compulsion to take all the hotel toiletries home with me (I reckon I’ve paid for them, even if I don’t use them in situ…) and that’s a lot of beauty supplies.
The thing is that I’ve always thought an oversupply of these is lot harder to use up or pass on than food, clothes, books, kitchenware etc. Can you give away a beauty product that’s been opened, unless it’s to a family member or very close friend?
I’ve always thought not, so I was thrilled when a @KateTallant responded to my first version of this post on Twitter and told me about this brilliant initiative donating unwanted beauty products to women in need via the charities Refuge and Women’s Aid. They will happily take items that have been ‘lightly used’.
I did find a similarly useful way to strip down my vast hotel mini toiletries collection. I had a whole drawer stuffed with them, squirrelled away for use on short trips, or to put out for overnight guests. But they were so crammed in and jumbled up, it would take me ages to find what I needed.
So when I took a stall to sell stuff at a vintage fair thingo and I went through the entire stash, keeping only the ones I really like and will take away for short trips. I then filed all those in zip lock bags under ‘hair’ ‘cleaner’ ‘skin’ ‘teeth’ etc. It was very anal – and took a whole Sunday afternoon – but it left me with a very satisfyingly need drawer which has made getting ready to go on a trip so much quicker.
The rest I sorted into small ziplock bags, about five products in each, put them all in a nice basket and sold them on the stall for £1 each in aid of the women’s domestic abuse charity Refuge. I made over £20 and gave the ones that were left to a friend who works with women artisans in Morocco.
So that was a feel-good way of clearing some of the bathroom clutter, but a lot remains. The only thing to do will be to spend another afternoon going through the lot.
I think I’ll sort it first into Opened and Unopened. Then I’ll have to make the tough decision to bin the Opened stuff that is too old, or too used to give away. The unopened will divide into own future use and give away.
Then I won’t buy any more until I’ve used what I’ve got. If it’s anything like the kitchen experience, that will be quite a while…
Does anyone know if there are any initiatives to Give and Make Up in Australia? I’d like to put the word out.
*Have a look at Jo’s amazing new venture The Perfume Society. Australian readers can’t subscribe (yet…), but you can still look at a lot of the site. If you’re a fragrance hound, it’s an amazing resource. http://perfumesociety.org/
A note about the pictures: These shots were taken from the My Beauty Stash section on the brilliant website Get The Gloss. The top one is Glamour magazine’s beauty director Alessandra Steinherr; the middle is make up artist Ruby Hammer and the bottom one is UK Grazia’s beauty director Liz Hambleton with her major stash. It’s a great feature on this terrific beauty site.