Perfume Organization is not the exact sum total of today’s thoughts, but it touches on it after we meander through how I got there.
I am not a hoarder, but I am comfortable enough with my clutter and assorted hobbies that take up space in my house (an empty surface needs a project to go on it!) I can often see over the edge into the abyss of hoarding. The only character trait keeping me from hurtling into that abyss – I don’t have much attachment to anything. My problem area is being acquisitive.
Most of my adult life I thought I was comfortable with my clutter. What I’ve realized is I am comfortable with the space my clutter takes up in my house and my head, not truly comfortable with it.
Let me tell you how this latest tidying obsession started. I decided it was finally time to get serious about the upstairs master bathroom remodel project, and that includes reclaiming a loft from a downstairs bedroom that adjoins the master and repurposing that space as a yoga/meditation/closet. Simple enough, right? First project was decluttering the area upstairs, and that means clothes first. I have this landing area at the top of my stairs where they put in a skylight and then tiled the area, and then the railing is on the other side, and the landing has a bookcase. Well, all my currently worn clothing seems to land in that Bermuda clothing triangle. I’m not sure why I have a closet – actually two of them upstairs, plus all the closets I’ve appropriated in the rest of the house – because that’s just a clothes storage area of crap I never wear.
That has to change.
Started sorting, discarding, taking out bags of clothes I haven’t worn in years. Discarding starts lapping over into the kitchen and other living areas. Discarding things is addictive, but I usually stop well short of bringing permanent order out of some of the chaos because… Don’t know.
After writing a short Facebook post about discarding so much crap and finding more, a comment mentioned Marie Kondo’s book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.” I think no, I’m not that serious, but buy the book anyway because … Don’t know.
Changing/changed my life. In one sentence, her approach to tidying/discarding made sense. Do it in categories. Don’t do a room because often you just start moving things from one room to the next, then you have to sort it again. Somewhere along the line you get tired because the first room you sorted is now cluttered once again. Do it in big categories and don’t move to the next category until you’ve gone through the first. First category is clothes. That means ALL the clothes hidden in every dresser, closet, back of a chair, etc. If it doesn’t make it into the big pile on the floor to sort, when you do drag it up, it has to be discarded automatically. This makes you find every single last piece of clothing so you can make decisions instead of default having to discard.
Once you see the pile, it’s staggering. I’m about 90% of the way through the clothing category, and I’ve thrown out probably 10-12 bags of crap, some of it two decades old -probably about 70% of the clothing I had. Not the scarves, though! I do have some sense left. I’m saving the scarf pile for last, and I love almost all of them and they all bring me unfettered happiness anyway. Once I finish discarding, then I will start organizing. Then I move on to the next big category – books. Then papers. Then the next thing on the list. Not giving the whole list, it’s in the book.
The point? To eventually be surrounded only by things I love and bring me joy. If that means I have two exquisite dishes and bowls I eat out of daily and wash as soon as I’m done with them, that’s perfect. If I have 10 pieces of clothing that I wear with so much joy every time I put them on, that’s a full closet and a full life.
Then we get to perfume. I have a lot of perfume because of my business, and that is just ongoing, but what I do have some control over is what I do with the empty bottles and the excess samples and things that accumulate. I’m decluttering those. Empty bottles are normally easy, they go in the trash. Except those old, rare Baccarat bottles that Candide Effluve came in, the old beautiful Golconda bottles, etc. I can’t throw those away, but I can’t store them indefinitely while accumulating more. I can’t be bothered with selling them because they really aren’t worth the time and effort it takes to deal with the details of selling. So what to do?
Repurpose. I now have a house full of old Baccarat perfume bottles filled with diffuser oil and reeds. My house smells amazing through every square inch of its slowly being decluttered space. Recommend Thymes Frasier Fir diffuser oil and Seda France French Tulips and Japanese Quince and their Christmas diffuser oil.
Bonus to all the above decluttering – I am finding that as I start removing excess, it frees up my head. That may not make sense, but that’s how it feels. Even though I’m focused on clothing now, I keep going through the kitchen and other areas with trash bags and tossing stuff, working on closets and drawers on a whim. Casual decluttering goes on at the same time as focused tidying.
Second bonus: I am buying less. Now I think about, is this object something I will either use/need/is replenishment for a consumable, or will it be something I really love and brings me joy. If I get it, and it doesn’t bring me the joy I thought it might, I send it back for a refund. I don’t just keep it, hoping that I’ll learn to love it or use it or I might find it useful. This is good for the budget as well, which helps me pay for the master bath renovation!
Third bonus: Refining your personal space so you have/keep only those things you love and bring you joy spills over into your life without effort. If you have been trying to find a way to sort out and simplify your life and fill it with joy – sort your personal space first and then wait for the magic to happen in all of your life. Cutting out toxic/annoying people is easier, as is reaching out to missed and loved friends because you see who brings you joy and who is just life clutter.
All of this got me to thinking of what I did with perfume before, which was store, collect, hoard. If you are decluttering, what are you doing with your perfume? How do you choose what you really love and brings you joy? I have so many bottles that bring me so much joy and I’d keep no matter what.
Today’s question: Have you ever tried perfume organization using the focus of joy and how much pleasure it brings you, or do you tend to keep more things that you don’t love and are only in deepish like with? Do you swap/sell those bottles that you just aren’t in love with? If you are a vintage collector, what do you do with the empty bottles? Am I a villainous cretin for filling that gorgeous Candide Effluve bottle with Thymes Frasier Fir diffuser oil?
Second set of totally off the wall questions – would it be weird, when I do my kitchen renovation, to get rid of the refrigerator, which I hate because it screws up all my design ideas because of having to place it somewhere, and get refrigerator drawers instead? How do we feel about having different colors of cabinets in the kitchen? Like darker lower cabinets and lighter upper, as long as it all blends together? I am not a fan of matchy-matchy kitchens that look color monogamous. I neeeeeeds some diversity in my kitchen – it craves it like my lungs craaaves air (*Foghorn Leghorn*). Would that be too weird and ecclectic? Or should I say screw it and get what I want no matter how weird? Normally this is my first choice except when I’m spending thousands to do something permanent to a house. Last thing, would an island vanity in the master bath be weird? Don’t put it up against a wall, just island it and put a regular mirror and sink on one side and a vanity with seating and lights on the other side. Or should I just be normal and put it all up against a wall somewhere? What is the move? These are the trivia questions that are cluttering my shallow brain at the moment.