cleaning out the armoire: Perfume hoarding pt 2

Patty is atop the Eiffel Tower, throwing Pierre Herme chocolate sables to the adoring masses below……so I’m jumping in here, if anybody’s around, to tell you how completely CRAZY Ann’s post from yesterday made me.  Ca-ray-ZAY.  So I started hauling out all my decants and samples because, let’s face it, I’m awash in those….and I realized that I have this ALL WRONG!  See, I have my decants/samples on two shelves and the FB reside in the drawer below (and misc crap resides in the drawer below that)….so…

…… you say?  Well here’s the problem with that:  I can never find anything in those shelves and even with the ammo boxes (unlabeled, btw – I mostly know which ones are which – but it’s stupid to have them unlabeled) I have to move tons of boxes to get to anything – and the top shelf is truly dangerous because I am just a tad too short to comfortably eyeball what’s what.  So.

I have come up with what I hope is my Perfume Solution:  I am getting pull-out shelves.  These, profiled in Olive and Love’s blog, look to be an excellent solution.   One of the things that makes being a perfumista so fraught with danger is Getting To The Stuff in the Back of the Stash.  Or, if you’re wearing a full-sleeved something …or you’re just a klutz, Getting to ANYTHING beyond the Very First Row.  Perfume Hoarding


Wait!  But that’s not all!  El O has a vending business and every week he breaks down scads of those cardboard trays that hold things like this : the boxes are about 9x12x3″, perfect for holding boxes of samples – you can see what’s in there but stuff doesn’t ribblerabble all over the shelf, if you knock something down.

Perfume Hoarding“But it’s UGGGGGGLY!!” you say.  Yah.  That’s why Floyd made paint.  I spray-painted a bunch of these awhile ago and they looked GREAT!  Best of all, if they get grotty,  I can replace them (if you do not have a vending biz, get them from your grocery store – they have tons of boxes in the back)

I fell madly in love with the Transglobal lab freezer boxes that Michelle (#8) recommended.  Ammo boxes?  Your days are numbered!  The ammo box is too deep, so you have to pull up each and every sample to see which is which (if you have a sample of all of the….I dunno…Annick Goutals…that can really harsh your mellow pdq).


I think I’m really onto something here.  I’m going to start this little project in the not-too-distant future.  This is what the top two shelves look like most days  (FB drawers are below) This was taken awhile ago but it hasn’t changed much, except for the Tragic Loss of Lady Million…  Perfume HoardingAs soon as I get this thing ‘done’  I’ll be back!  We’ll see if it looks any better.


If any of you have suggestions, BRING ‘EM!  I’d love to  know how you keep your stuff in order.

  • Joanna says:

    I put a large magnetic white board inside my closet and glue a small magnet on the back of those little testers. This way I can add notes, etc and they are visible and easy to get to. If I hate it I don’t keep it on the board.

  • Jan Last says:

    My collection is getting out of hand. I keep my samples in marked ziplocks, sorted by company. I store those in those little baskets you get at the dollar store (God forbid I would spend money on anything but scent) Each time I file a sample, I test it and enter notes about it on a spread sheet. That’s how I know what I can send as the Perfume Fairy Godmother. I love the way the bottles look, but keep them covered with a black cloth in the daylight hours. Just shoot me now!

  • mim666 says:

    ooh, cool shelves! I don’t even know where I’d look for ammo boxes here…

  • tammy says:

    I am a resident of Arkansas and there is something about the Beauty and the Beast contrast of storing perfume in ammo boxes that completely delights my hillbilly, contrarian heart. I loved storing mine thus!

    I don’t have that many samples anymore, though, and the ones I am keeping (mainly rare and vintage things) are stored in the top section of a jewelry armoire. They fit nicely in the ring section, especially, but the other sections work just fine. My decants are stored in the other drawers, and it’s perfect as well as pretty.

    My FBs are right out in God’s Plain Sight on my dresser, on vintage vanity trays, some of which are jewelled, because did I mention I have got the tackiest taste in the world and seem to have gone Full Bore Magpie? Half my bottles were bought just for the bottle and they are all gorgeous and it thrills me every time I walk in our bedroom. Which faces north, has one small window and is fairly cool, but honestly, I’d have them out regardless. I get such joy from seeing them!

    • Musette says:

      At the end of the day, tammy, that’s what it’s all about – the joy. Life is too darned unpredictable for hobbies to bring one anxiety – unless, perhaps, one is hunting cobras or velociraptors.

      I get the same giggles with the ammo boxes. I had to take some of my perfume decants in to Farm King in order to size them. The guys at Farm King……bless their horts. After an initial pause……do you know, they actually got a little bit into it? Sweeties!


  • masha7 says:

    I choose about a dozen samples/decants/full bottles at the beginning of each month for a dresser display. Then I pretty much just wear those. At the end of the month, the samples are used up, and decants, too, sometimes, and the FBs got some use. Seems to help me concentrate on a smaller group and appreciate them for a longer length of time….

    • mals86 says:

      Love this idea! I already rotate my full bottles by season, and since I’ve been trying to use up decants more intentionally, this might help. Thanks!

      • Musette says:

        I bow to you (remember the little bowing emoticon? I miss him.)……I usually am trying to work through a sample for review, while wanting to wear my go-to’s (espcially in the Winter, when I am even more psychotic than normal – familiarity (and scented body creams) keep me calm)….but every now and then I get a wild hair, open the armoire in the dark and force myself to wear the first thing that I touch. FIrst World, indeed! Last night was a vintage Mme Jolie parfum. yum!

      • Ann says:

        Yes, yes, Masha! That’s an idea worth trying. Just give yourself a small range of choices and wear them out. Plus it probably helps you decide what you must have and which are not love after all

        • Ann says:

          P.S. I will try doing this as soon as I get a dresser (or other flat surface) empty enough to arrange anything on, ha!

  • Ann says:

    Hey, darling A — hope I’m not in trouble for making you cer-a-zee (hangs head and gets ready to duck!) 😉
    You and all the other commenters have some very good storage ideas here. I’m taking notes like crazy.

    • Musette says:

      LOL! You didn’t make me any crazier than A&E already does. I have Binge/Purge – Home Edition issues! 😀 I can’t even wait until an Hoarders episode is over! I jump up in the middle and start looking for things to throw out!


      • Ann says:

        BTW, are you available for in-home consultation? You could go on a real bender at my house, tee-hee!!

        • Musette says:

          LOL! You should talk to my BFFFE! I clean her house all the time! Drives her nuts – but she hates to vacuum and ………well…….:-“)

  • Ginny M says:

    My fairly recently arrived-at solution: I bought, from Craigslist for $20, a pine media (CD/DVD) storage cabinet that’s, oh, about 4 feet high, two feet wide and 18 inches deep with solid doors to keep the light out. (If I were ambitious, I could paint it, but it lives in my spare room that’s not heated–no big). It has shelves that can be moved up and down along the back and at the front is a full-height section with shelves (also rearrangeable) that is on runners and can slides side to side, to offer access to the back: Most of my full bottles are in the front. For the growing pile of decants I bought a number of the same-size cheap, plastic food containers with lids–semi opaque with blue lids–and sorted the samples alphabetically by house. Each box is labelled with a letter, so in that box I put samples from houses/perfumers that start with that letter up to the next letter. For example, A and B are in the A box, C/D/E are in the C box, F/G/H/I are in the F box, and so on, only because I don’t have enough to fill each letter…for now). If there are more than three or four decants from the same house, they go into a small plastic baggie (usually 2” x 2” or 2” x 3”) and labeled, e.g., “L’Artisan,” “Chanel,” “Diptyque.” In a perfect world I might be using a converted wine refrigerator, but I’m not there yet. It doesn’t get that hot in Seattle, and my back room is doing the job so far! Fingers crossed! I’m not organized by nature, but can rally if my sanity is on the line!

    • Musette says:

      I doubt I will ever get to the whole ‘refrigeration’ thing – I just can’t be bothered. Mine are all in a relatively cool, dark place and they seem to be doing just fine. I love those food containers – my problem is I never can keep those organized, which is why I love stand-up storage – that’s just me (March had a storage solution similar to yours and she seems to manage it quite well) If they’re tucked away in boxes I tend to forget about them. That’s also why I want to get my FBs in a better space – the drawers sound good….but I rarely go in there. And that’s a shame. xoxooxA

  • Ellen Covey says:

    I have literally thousands of samples, and have had to devise a filing system for them. Basically it consists of baggies arranged like file folders in storage boxes. It works for sample vials and small decants. I described it on my blog:

  • eldarwen22 says:

    I keep my decants in a makeup bag. Since I mostly gave up on makeup (just wear lipstick and mascara), I have tons of makeup bags and makeup bags are dirt cheap. I keep my full bottles on my dresser next to my Galileo thermometers. Even in the dead of summer, my bedroom is cold and has a small window, so my full bottles can stay there.

  • Em says:

    So I’m curious (as a current Alabama resident who does the ammo box thing because they are PLENTIFUL here) — why are the Transglobal boxes so superior to ammo cases? Does the average vial stick up more? I have a few sizes of ammo case, and padded the bottoms of some of them with cotton to get the vials to be a bit more accessible…

    I will say that my solution (with a smaller collection, admittedly, but also less space: two cubbies of an IKEA Expedit Bookcase, with doors to keep out light) for the Back of the Hoard problem was spice rack shelf risers to provide definition by height: (potentially pricier, admittedly)

    • Musette says:

      The problem with the ammo boxes is the varying heights of a lot of the decants. All of mine are organized by House (those that are organized) but not all of them are the same size. So……if I have tiny 1ml vials and bigger 2 ml vials, somebody’s gonna be unhappy. The other solution I came up with is drilling holes in the myriad blocks of wood we have laying around (we own a machine shop and are doing reno on our house – you can imagine how many blocks of wood we have lying around). I can take a piece of wood, put it in the mill and drill 10 1ml holes 10 2ml and 10 5ml in pretty quick succession. Why have I not done this? Why is the sky blue?

      Your risers sounds like a great idea for a small collection!


    • tammy says:

      Oh, where did you get the clear risers? They’re lovely! I have some, but they’re white and I really don’t like the effect at all.