Please welcome back our special guest poster, Musette!
Before I fell in with y´all my perfume life was simple: I had 3 or 4 perfumes, tops (okay, maybe 5) – they sat on a tray in my personal dressing room (back when I had one). I wore them. Case closed. I had my perfumes. That was it. That was then.
Times have changed, certainly the way I approach perfume. But <insert heavy, put-upon sigh> …well… it´s changed something much more profound: my storage space. I no longer live alone (sharing is hard) and am in a much smaller space. Not quite the perfect setup for a budding perfumista – I am a bit compulsive re home décor, with everything in its perfectly designed place – but what does that mean when you have over 100 samples? (and I know that´s peanuts – don´t snicker: you sound like my samples!)
My first attempts to wrangle everything were successful because I simply didn´t have that much. I had an adorable little stand with a little drawer (not drawer – drawer) that held two cute little mesh bins. Cute! One held about 20 1ml samps. The other held the 7 or 8 5ml decants I had. Actual bottles were in the linen closet in a little basket – all 5 of them, bless their hearts. So charming! Orderly, too. I was Mistress of My Domain.
You know where this is going, don´t you? Of course you do.
As the samps and decants grew in number I tried to wrangle them into some sort of organization by note or house. One great idea: charming little painted blocks of wood that El O drilled holes in to hold the 1ml samps. Got dumb, quick: El O got sick of drilling and sanding blocks and I had nowhere to put those cunning little blocks. Drawers are a disaster waiting to happen, as you pull the block out and the vials either wiggle or they stick. Arrrgh. It was a nightmare. I managed to break only 4 vials – and thank the Universe they were mainstream!
We are prepping for bathroom reno so all I have right now is one of those tacky plastic rolling drawer thingies. Lemme tell you about them: If you pull them out wrong they break…. and, well, let´s just say that (1)it´s a mercy that it´s on a rug and (2) Creed Love in Black isn´t the worst samp to break in your bathroom – it could´ve been an Oud! Or worse? Aromatics of Doooom.
And why am I even keeping my samps, etc in the bathroom anyway? Is that a good place or a dumb place for them? I have no idea where to put them. Bedroom is out: no room and El O has to sleep in there, too – the thought of Catagan seeping into the new carpet…
So they rattle around in those awful plastic drawers, multiplying.
And just listen to how they mock me:
Look at her, they hiss, with her little trays and pathetic note´ and niche v. mainstream´ attempts. And what´s with the little holes? Ha. If she thinks we´re gonna fall for that, she´s a fool. 1ml holes? Let´s get stuck ‘by accident’ Bwa hahahaha! 1.5mls, go mess with her mind. And you 5 mls: FALL OVER! Yeah, that´s the ticket. Hey, L´Eau d´Hiver! Go hide under Shocking! Watch it take her 10 minutes to find you! Heeehee!! Yeah, baby!
Perfume can be very mean.
I enlisted the help of El O, Master Builder, of the aborted Drilled Block System (now known as DBS (the acronym means something else, entirely, to him – and it´s ugly). I want him to make a brushed-steel apothecary cabinet with slidey-out trays (and a New and Improved DBS) that would hold, upright, any 1ml-2ml sample, with additional trays/DBS for 5mls plus little drawer-baskets for FBs. I drew this thing up, complete with antiqued glass doors and a finial on top. El O, no fool he, took one look at this cabinet and laughed right in my face.
“All this will do” he said, ” is encourage you to get even more bottles, decants and samples. No, thanks!”
El O can be really mean, too!
So until he relents I´m stuck with my little rickety FB system: the vintage mirror bedroom tray, with full bottles I use on a regular basis, along with pretty Venetian and French perfume bottles that will never hold a drop of perfume…. It´s vaguely glam and I feel civilized every time I see it, except there´s a ginormous blown-glass bottle that rattles blinkety-dink,blinkety-dink´ every time I walk by – and it´s leering ominously at my poor, defenseless Chicken bottle. I finally separated them and I think Chicken is sleeping a bit better at night.
So far, so good….but now those samps and decants call, luring me to their overflowing, rocky shores.
5mls upright in a funky wooden box I got Lawd knows where – they are settled and secure BUT! I only view a sea of golden tops. Lots of time spent picking up and putting back (and you know the one you put back will be the one you pick up again!) – all 1ml-2ml samps and minis in those awful plastic organizers, crammed into Sterilite drawers. Elegance Personified. Every time I open a drawer I hold my breath, fearing I´ll hear the dreaded crrrunnnch!´ of a sample getting broken – they´re getting´ kinda cranky in there…
I do what I can – but I still dreaming of my metal apothecary cabinet with its slidey-out trays and DBS…. A Certain Somebody thinks I´m nuts. But that´s what thrills my soul – gotta have order in an insane world…
So what about you real perfumistas, with your incredible collections? I´m a piker with my li´l punk stash. I know some of you have collections that rival Donatella´s!
How do you corral/control/coordinate your collection? Do you own it or does it own you? Do you care?
Any suggestions? I do love to organize and create order out of chaos. Who amongst you keeps order and how do you do it? What´s your plan for expansion? How do you allow for the other people in your house (El O fears an avalanche of tiny, vicious little vials). Bedroom? Bathroom? Home office? Fort Knox? Do you keep them temp-controlled or just trust that goodness and mercy shall follow your perfume collection? Are the rules different for vintage?
Should I just …….let them be? I so want to organize them in pretty little rows of fantabulousness. But maybe it´s a pipe dream.
What about Aouds? Where do you keep those? I´m thinking a Level 5 Biolab at the CDC. Like cobras, they can be beautiful – but deadly. Especially if you break one in your house!
Come help an Alien out! Share the Sea Salt! And the Big Silver Bowl! I think it´s gonna be the bathroom for awhile – should I buy a cabinet to devote solely to perfume? Am I insane?
If you have the Secret to Success, please – come sit by me. These samps are getting meaner by the minute!
image: Anne Taintor postcard swiped from eBay, presumably also on annetaintor.com