Pre-moving declutter, part I: Clothing

Posted on August 17, 2017 under Declutter

I’ve been in Toronto for over a year now, which is the longest I’ve been in one place in five years. I’ve become very good at moving all my earthly possessions via plane, car, and Megabus, on average once every four to eight months since 2012. As many of you know, in just a few weeks I’ll be making a big move again – back to Glasgow, Scotland, where I spent 7 months in 2014 and 2015. Of course, moving across an ocean comes with major restrictions as to what I can bring – namely, whatever I can cram into two checked backs and two carry-ons. This impending move has inspired a necessary round of decluttering. Today I bring to you a recap of some recent clothing decluttering. A makeup declutter is soon to follow!

As I go through my clothes, I’ve been keeping three criteria in mind:

  1. Do I like this? Basically, the $1000 Marie Kondo question. This is an obvious one, but I have been hanging onto items which simply don’t spark joy (as Kondo puts it). I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to move four suitcases through three airports, but it requires every bit of physical and emotional strength a person can possibly possess and there’s no point expending that energy on things I don’t actually like.
  2. Do I wear this? A “no” is a good indictor that I shouldn’t keep the item, though it’s not 100% damning. I did keep some items which in my current life as a fulltime retail employee with a strict dress code I have not been wearing, but which may fit into my grad student life a little more easily.
  3. Will I wear this? This is the question that naturally follows from “Do I wear this?” Not only are there items that I have not been getting much use out of lately that I think I will wear in the upcoming months, there are also pieces that I wear constantly now which I don’t think will be useful to me in the UK. This question encompasses a lot of smaller questions. Will this fit into my lifestyle? Is this a comfortable article of clothing or just one which I like the look of? Can I envision how I will wear this? Is this appropriate for the Scottish climate? I’m lucky in that I’ve lived in Glasgow before, so I have some insight into what will be useful and appropriate for me to keep.

Going through my clothes piece by piece I found that what I got rid of fit into 4 categories:

  1. Things that don’t fit. You know when you order something online and it doesn’t fit right or isn’t comfortable but you don’t want to pack it up and trudge to the post office so you convince yourself you will actually wear it but of course you never actually do? Yeah. I had a few of these pieces in my closet, and they were among the first to go.
  2. Things that I don’t love. I have a lot of pieces that I’ve kept around because I think they’re useful: a comfy grey cardigan, a red v-necked t-shirt. Certainly these are practical and versatile items, but I just don’t reach for them over my other clothing options.
  3. Vestiges of a former life. Clothes I bought at 19 when I was in my undergrad are not necessarily clothes that are relevant to my current lifestyle.
  4. Work clothes. For work, I have to wear black dress pants and a black shirt. I have a lot of black shirts. Granted, I like some of them because black is a colour I tend to buy a lot of anyway. But there were definitely shirts I was holding onto simply for work purposes that I wouldn’t ever reach for in any other context, and so I gleefully said goodbye to them.

When I was finished, I discovered that what I had left was very formulaic: shades of grey and black and lots of jewel tones; black and white striped items; skater skirts and fit and flare dresses; patterned button-downs; sweaters. Yep, I have a type.

Here’s (most of) what I got rid of:

As always, getting rid of stuff feels so good that after I donated all this I ended up going through everything again and getting rid of more. I would say in total it would fill about a garbage bag and a half, which is a significant amount of space saved in my suitcase.

Highlights of my purge:

Lots of crop tops! They were great when I was 19 but just aren’t something that I have room for in my current life, for the most part. I decided to keep one for nights out and ended up getting rid of the other four (obviously, only two are pictured).

Some dresses which I bought with no occasion to wear and have worn very few times. All of these are from H&M. I wore the blue one to my high school graduation so it has some sentimental value, but I have a very similar dress that I wore to my university graduation which I kept instead. The others have all been worn to various occasions (birthday parties, NYE, funerals…) but I don’t wear them enough to keep them around.

Skintight miniskirts that don’t fit anymore and actually just shouldn’t be a part of my life at this point. I just can’t deal with having to tug my skirt down every 3 seconds anymore!

Two black purses which were too big for me to carry on a daily basis. I favour small (but not tiny) purses, and now I have one that I’m really happy with. These ones are in good condition, so hopefully someone is walking around the city getting use out of them now.

Impractical shoes. I bought the 72-inch black wedges with Christmas money when I was 18. I have worn these twice because I can’t walk in them and will never be able to. The open-toe shoes I did actually wear a few times – including to my graduation last year – but they’re not very comfortable. They were Forever 21, so the expenditure wasn’t too immense. I wear heels extremely rarely and am more likely to go with a pair of heeled ankle boots when I want some extra height. And if I want to wear heels, it’s definitely not going to be these:

I mean, REALLY. My eighteen-year-old hubris is astounding.

My favourite combat boots in the world. I love these boots so much and I am heartbroken that they are as destroyed as they are. They’ve been beat up for quite some time, and then I dropped a bottle of Essie Bahama Mama on the floor and it splattered on them, which horrified the employee who was helping me but which I loved. I think it really adds to their charm. I mean, they’re combat boots. If they’re pristine they don’t look right. I have another pair from the same brand, but the plaid is teal and blue and the boots themselves are a bit more bulky – I like them, but not as much. However, I think my mom will personally kill me herself if I take nail polish-splattered combat boots that are detaching from their soles overseas. Really, if I were moving to a climate where it didn’t rain daily I might consider it anyway. But walking around in the rain with holes in your boots is not the most practical idea.

A lot of work clothes! Most of these are hand-me-downs from my mom. I wear a lot of black in my day-to-day life anyway, but I’m getting rid of a lot of pieces that aren’t really my style but that I kept for the sake of work. A few of these items are also just worse for the wear and not worth hauling overseas.

In all, I decluttered 5 cardigans, 4 crop tops, 9 blouses, 3 blazers, 4 t-shirts, 7 pairs of pants, 1 pair of leggings, 3 pair of shorts, 4 skirts, 5 dresses, 1 pair of PJs, 1 athletic top, 1 beach cover-up, 2 bags, 4 pair of socks, 3 pairs of tights, and 4 pairs of shoes. 61 items gone total, which is a lot more than I was expecting. Good job, me!

(P.S. I’m taking my driving test tomorrow afternoon, so wish me luck!)

Nail polish declutter + inventory

Posted on June 06, 2017 under Declutter, Inventory

I’m getting to the point where I’m close enough to moving across the ocean that the metaphorical weight of all of my possessions is becoming rather burdensome. I’m itching to divest myself of material goods. I have a bin I’ve been filling up with clothes as I realize I no longer want them; there’s a makeup bag sitting on my vanity that serves the same purpose. I’m becoming rather ruthless by my standards.

I’ve actually been thinning out my nail polish since September, because it takes some time to really put your polishes to the test. I usually change my manicure once a week, so when I counted up my stash and realized I had 41 bottles of the stuff, I knew I’d have to start early.

I have never considered myself a nail polish person. I tend to purchase it on whims and never hem and haw over a $10.99 bottle of Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure the way I do over a $10.99 Maybelline lipstick.

Now, I suppose I am a nail polish person in some ways. I vividly remember sitting in the back of a grade 11 biology presentation and painting my nails out of sheer boredom. (I had a brief fever dream of becoming a paleontologist, and it took about half a biology lesson to talk me out of that one.) Since then I’ve scarcely been without painted nails; I’d estimate that since late 2010 I’ve gone maybe 15 days with bare nails. I began religiously painting my nails months before mascara ever touched my eyelashes and two and a half years before I got into makeup in any real capacity.

But I’m not the type of person who tracks new nail polish launches, knows about indie brands, can justify luxury nail polish purchases, or can name ten dupes for any given nail polish colour. I just think having colours on my nails is fun. Yet for a fairly casual nail polish wearer I think I have a lot of nail polish.

When it comes to moving, I view nail polish as one of the most frivolous things I could bring with me, a staple though it may be in my life, and so I’ve committed to decreasing my collection significantly. My goal was for everything to fit into my two acrylic nail polish holders (each of which holds 15 polishes) with no overflow. I think ideally I’d like fewer than 30 polishes, but that’s a good, practical place to start.

The mighty stash, before.

My first step was to cull everything I knew I didn’t like enough to even try on, which did not yield the most fruitful results. The second step was to test every polish I owned. This process took me a good 7 months. I used coloured dot stickers to designate each polish I tried as a for sure keeper (green), a for sure purge (red), or undecided (yellow). Once I finished this first round of testing I removed all the red dot items from my acrylic holders and found that everything fit much better, with minimal overflow.

Then I tested out all of my yellow dot items. I designated most of these polishes this way because I didn’t love them but still didn’t want to get rid of them for whatever reason. A few were given yellow stickers because I thought I had dupes for them within my collection, in which case I tried one on each hand and kept the best one.

In the end I got rid of 21 polishes. I did buy three more during this time period (with one gifted to me on top of that), but I tried to curb my nail polish buying significantly. I now have a total of 25 polishes, one base coat, and one top coat.

Here’s what I got rid of:

Stuff I just plain didn’t like: two polishes from the long-discontinued Wet N Wild Fergie collection, in Dutchess and Tonight’s Gonna Be A Good Night.

Things that are getting old: YSL Bleu Majorelle, Essie Cocktail Bling, Wet N Wild Party of Five Glitters, Orly Go Deeper, Joe Fresh Mist, Joe Fresh Oyster.

Colours I don’t like: Misslyn Rose Sublime (thought it was going to be more of a dusty mauve), Essie Bahama Mama (looks more wine than purply-berry on my nails), Sally Hansen Pucker Up (I never wear red nail polish), Essie Tart Deco (I tend to stick to cooler colours), Revlon Chroma Chameleon in Topaz, Nicole by OPI A Million Sparkles, Sally Hansen Grape Shifter, Sally Hansen Carnival.

Colours that are close to things I like better: Sally Hansen Coin Flip (I prefer a more white gold), Sally Hansen Wined Up (I only wear wine nails around the holidays), China Glaze Merry Berry (ditto). I’m also tossing my bottles of Seche Vite and Essence The Gel Nail Polish Top Coat because I like the Sally Hansen Miracle Gel top coat better than either.

Here’s a quick look at what I’m keeping – you’ll see that I really meant it when I said I like cool colours on my nails.

Revlon Parfumerie Scented Nail Enamel in Bordeaux (does kind of smell like wine); Sally Hansen Gem Crush Nail Colour in Lady Luck; Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Rosy Outlook.

Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine Nail Paint in Kiwi; L’Oreal Color Riche Le Vernis A L’Huile in Vert Époque; Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine Nail Paint in Sugar Apple; Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Barracuda; Sally Hansen Miracle Gel in Let’s Get Digital; Deborah Lippmann Mermaid’s Eyes; Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Sugar Fix.

Sally Hansen Hard As Nails Xtreme Wear Nail Polish in Pacific Blue (x4, because I’m a freak); Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine Nail Paint in Damson; Sally Hansen Miracle Gel in Byte Blue. YES I HAVE A PROBLEM.

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel in Midnight Mod; Orly Nail Lacquer in After Party; Essie Play Date; Sally Hansen Miracle Gel in All Chalked Up.

Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Gilty Party; Lancôme Nail Polish in 003; Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Blush Over Hue; Beauty UK Nails in Black Out; Sally Hansen Hard As Nails Xtreme Wear in White On.

And my standard base and topcoat duo: Witchcraft Be Strong, which helps prevent my nails from peeling, and Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Top Coat.

And here’s how I’m going to keep my collection under control:

  1. No more buying nail polish on a whim. The same care and research should go into buying it as I put into buying makeup.
  2. No more buying near-dupes of Sally Hansen Pacific Blue which I know will never live up to the original. You know what, I will spend $30 on a bottle from Ebay because I know it’s the only thing I will ever love!!!!
  3. No more buying Essie polishes. They have some beautiful colours and always have stunning seasonal collections, but I just never get on with them. I’ll use the ones I do have because I like the colours, but I have to stop myself from buying more no matter how alluring the colours!
  4. In that vein, buy only from lines that I know and trust. My favourite nail polish formulas are Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure, Sally Hansen Miracle Gel, and Barry M Nail Gelees. Those lines have enough colours to keep me covered and I know I love the formulas.
  5. NO MORE GLITTER POLISH! It’s always disappointing and more trouble than it’s worth in both application and removal.

Anyway, I reduced my nail polish collection by 40%, which I think is a pretty good amount. I really can’t see any clutter in what I’ve kept, aside from the fact that I own four bottles of Sally Hansen Pacific Blue, all of which are necessary.

A round of decluttering

Posted on February 15, 2017 under Declutter

On January 1, I decided to do a round of makeup decluttering. The fresh start of the new year inspired me to put aside some products that I’d been on the fence about. Over the past 6 weeks, I’ve been adding more and more stuff to my declutter bag, which I’ll be giving to my friends to root through next week. Of course, a good ol’ decluttering session is not complete without a blog post, so here’s what I’m getting rid of this time.

The big ticket items! Yes, I finally convinced myself to get rid of two palettes. The Stila In The Light palette was my first ever palette, a Christmas 2013 gift, and I used it to death. I still think it’s a great little neutral palette, but I have the Stila Eyes Are The Window palette in Spirit, which has all the same colours and more. In The Light did me well as a makeup beginner, but it’s time to pass it on.

theBalm Balm Jovi Rockstar Palette is another that I’ve held onto for a long time. I rarely used it back in the day because I wasn’t adventurous with my eyeshadow and a lot of the colours were too intimidating for me to use. I actually like a lot of those colours now, but I have similar shadows throughout my collection. I only ever use this palette for the silver (for some reason it’s the only silver I have?), but I can just get a Wet N Wild single silver for $0.99 and dump the big palette. As for the blush and highlighter, I have plenty of warm, peachy blush, and my Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Moonstone is basically identical to the Mary Lou-Manizer.

The Stila Eyeshadow in Mahogany has a beautiful formula and it’s a great colour, but I have plenty of deep browns in palettes (my favourite being LORAC Sable) and I never reach for singles.

These two Maybelline Colour Tattoos in Shimmering Sea and Bad to the Bronze are past their prime. I thought Shimmering Sea was the most beautiful, ethereal colour, but I got it in the summer of 2014 and it’s a pain to work with now. Bad to the Bronze is even older – I got it in July 2013 when I was just getting into makeup. Obviously, it’s been a workhorse for me. However, I have replaced it with a ColourPop single that isn’t dry as a bone. (You’ll hear about that shadow – and a bunch of other ColourPop stuff – soon.)

I’m pretty sure the Sephora Collection Flashy Liner in Flashy Violet has been discontinued, but either way it’s old as hell and twice as dry. Another purple liner I’m getting rid of is the Stila Smudge Stick in Tetra. I have another Smudge Stick in a more vibrant purple which I reach for more. (Also, I’ve never purchased a Smudge Stick but somehow have like 55 of them. The formula is pretty good, but the packaging is super faulty.)

I only use black pencil liner to tightline, so I don’t go through them too quickly and I definitely don’t need a lot of them. I never, ever use the Rimmel Exaggerate Waterproof Eye Definer in Noir, and by the time I get through black liners I like more this one will be dried up.

Another dried up product: Tarte Skinny SmolderEYES Amazonian Clay Waterproof Liner in Amazonite Blue. This is another product that is so old that I’d have to assume they don’t make it anymore. Even if they do, this particular pencil has to be five years old. I use it incredibly infrequently, and when I made it a point to actually incorporate it into a look, it was totally dry. Into the garbage it shall go.

I’ve had my Little Mix By Collection eyeliners in Jade, Perrie, and Leigh-Anne for something like three and a half years now, and they are worse for the wear. I stubbornly hold onto my Little Mix makeup because I think they’re by far the best active girl band in the Western world, but come on. I can get glitter liners from the Wet N Wild section at Walmart if I need them.

I’m getting rid of all my lashes! I actually loved the Tanya Burr Everyday Flutter lashes, but I wore them out. As for the Quo 815 Ultra Glam lashes, I mean, do those look like something I would ever wear? During university whenever I went out I’d do wild makeup and sometimes I’d add these lashes. I’m actually surprised I still have both of them since usually I’d get home at 5am and peel them off, discarding them on whatever surface was closest. Regardless, they do not factor into my current life. I think I’ll just stick with half lashes and individuals for the very rare occasions when I feel that falsies are warranted.

My boss gave me the Maybelline Brow Precise Fiber Volumizer Mascara in Blonde in my Christmas goodie bag, and the colour is totally wrong. I have not been able to evaluate whether or not the product is any good, because I put it on and immediately took it off because it made my brows look like they were coated in a layer of volcanic ash. Way too light and warm for my brows! I’m really not experimental with my brows at all, anyway.

Finally, the worst mascara ever: Maybelline Lash Sensational Luscious Full Fan Effect. I know a lot of people really like the Lash Sensational in the pink tube, so I was pretty excited for this when I got it in my Christmas goodie bag. But NO. You know how I hate Benefit They’re Real! in every conceivable way a human being could hate a mascara? This is the drugstore equivalent of that. It makes my lashes hideously clumpy and it DOES NOT WASH OFF. And it’s not even waterproof! I mean, guys, my eye makeup remover can take off actual waterproof mascara without a problem. So what the hell am I supposed to use to take this stuff off, nail polish remover? NO. I hate this stuff. HATE IT! And I very rarely burn with passionate hatred for a makeup product. But this mascara is chaotic evil.

Two blushes here: H&M Pure Radiance Powder Blush in Cherry and Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso. I still think Cherry is an absolutely stunning colour, but it requires a lot of work to make it look natural on my fair skin. I’d been using it primarily as an eyeshadow in the past few months, but now that I have the Anastasia Modern Renaissance palette I don’t need it. I got Luminoso a few years ago on a trip to the US, and I think it’s the last product standing from that trip. However, it’s time to say goodbye to it: when it comes to a glowy peach blush, I will choose the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Luminous Flush every single time.

It’s finally time to dump my crusty old Illamasqua Cream Pigment in Hollow. I genuinely have no idea how there’s no pan showing there, because I used this to contour every single day for more than two years. But because it’s a two-year-old cream product that looks absolutely revolting, I have replaced it with my Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder in Light.

I loved my Body Shop Honey Bronzer in Light Matte, but the compact snapped in half and that makes it more trouble than it’s worth. I got the Physician’s Formula Butter Bronzer in my Christmas goodie bag, so that will be my new bronzer. I use bronzer maybe 15% of the time I do my makeup, so I definitely don’t need two.

Finally, I’ve had the Bourjois Java Rice Powder before and decluttered it because it thoroughly confuses me. It’s too shimmery to use as a setting powder but doesn’t really do much as a highlighter. Again, my boss tossed this in my Christmas goodie bag, which was very nice of her, but I won’t use it. Out it goes.

I got the Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Intense lipstick in 43 in a mini set at Winners. I use the clear lip liner that came with it all the time, but I probably got suckered into the purchase by the brand name. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this lipstick at all; it’s quite nice, in fact. But my red of choice is Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution in Red Carpet Red, and considering I paid a pretty penny for that I’d like to get my money’s worth out of it.

Two Christmas goodie bag products, both completely untouched: NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Copenhagen and Maybelline Colour Jolt in Red-dy or Not. I’ve tried the SMLCs before and didn’t love the formula, plus I have colours similar enough to Copenhagen in my collection that I didn’t even take the plastic off to swatch it. The Colour Jolt formula has never interested me, and again, I’m not in the market for reds.

Finally, some random bits. I got the Sephora Collection Biodegradable Pencil Sharpener in my Bite Beauty Influenster box, which I thought was a nice touch in the name of completeness. However, I have a NARS sharpener which I love, so someone else can have this one. My Duo Eyelash Adhesive in Clear has gone off (seriously, it’s orange and stinks), and I don’t have any lashes left anyway, so… you do the math. Finally, the Elizabeth Arden Hydrating Mask delivers nice enough results but smells REVOLTING. Oh my god. I was not aware that Elizabeth Arden skincare smelled like this. I don’t know how to describe it other than to say that it genuinely smells like dill. And I do not want to smell dill when I’m trying to drift off to sleep. Or ever, actually. Someone tell me to stop buying things at Winners just because they’re brand name!

By the way, I also finally waffled back to my original conclusion and returned the Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation to Nordstrom yesterday. I don’t need that many foundations, and that one was too much of a pain in the ass for me to want to use regularly. Normally I would never even attempt to return a product that I’ve had for four months and have used a good eighth of, but the Nordstrom return policy exists for a reason, you know? The girl who did my return didn’t ask me a single question: I just said I wanted to return it, she scanned my receipt, and it was done. I took that money over to Sephora and bought another bottle of Make Up For Ever Ultra HD, which I have come to really appreciate as a foundation that always works on my dry skin and can be applied with basically anything.

That’s 28 products down, so I think I’m already making a good start for 2017!