I’m the guest blogger over at my friend Lori’s blog today,  Once Upon A Product – check it out if you get a chance.  This particular post I’ve written may be of more interest to the ladies, since I’m talking about my lagom travel makeup kit.  (Although, for all I know, some of the men out there may be totally interested too.  What you do in the privacy of your own bathroom is your business – so by all means, read it.  No judgement.)  However, Lori’s blog is about more than just makeup – as her tagline indicates, it’s “stories of life, love, and makeup.”  So if you want to read some pretty hilarious anecdotes about everything from her teenage romances to her New York Italian upbringing or her lifelong obsession with Mick Jagger, give it a whirl!

And since writing that post for OUAP got me thinking about my cosmetics stash, I thought I’d do a small, quick, organizing project.  The show I’ve been rehearsing opens on Friday night, so I don’t have the time or energy to tackle anything big (and trust me, with the amount of makeup I own, to try to get it all lagom in one day would be a massive undertaking), but I did find one aspect of my product collection I could make lagom:

polish before

I know, I own a lot of nail polish.  This is partly because back in my corporate days, I had fake nails.  One reason for them was practical –  I have a lot of skin allergies, so if I used a new product that irritated my skin, I would scratch it in my sleep – ruthlessly.  I even had to sleep with socks on my hands sometimes to keep from waking up with bloody scratch marks on my body.  My own nails are pretty sharp, but acrylic nails are surprisingly thick and blunt, and can’t really do any damage, so in that sense they served a real purpose.  The other, lamer reason for the fake nails was that many of the women in my office had them, and I caved to peer pressure.  Several of my co-workers also got breast implants while I was working there.  If I had stayed longer, it’s possible I would have gotten a pair too.

It’s pretty ridiculous to keep so many polishes though, since for the most part, I’m usually in a show where I can’t wear any, or I’ll go in for a manicure/pedicure and use whatever colors they have at the salon.  Finances have actually caused me to cut back on the luxury of the salon, so I am doing my nails at home more.  But even then, I definitely have about 5 or 6 favorites that I’ll use, and the rest just sit there and get gummy with age.  So I took them all out and divided them by color to get a better sense of what I had.

polish mess sorted annotated

9 pinks, 2 neutrals, 2 blue, 2 glitter, 4 brown/wine, 5 top coat/base coat/strengthener/quick dry, 6 reds

That is a LOT of pink polish.  And silly, since I only use three or four of them on a regular basis.  The same is true of my reds.

I’ve sometimes bought “fun” colors to try and branch out – or, if I’m totally honest, sometimes I buy them because I just like the names so much.  Like this one.  It’s called “King Kong”:

King Kong

For years now, and this is no joke, I have secretly longed to have a job where I get to make up clever names for nail polish colors.  I would love that job, and I think I’d be super good at it.  Don’t judge.  Everyone needs a goal.  But even I will admit I don’t end up wearing a color just because I like the name.  So it was time to pare down.

Here’s what I did:

  1. Opened all bottles to check for ones that were past their prime.  Any that were old and sticky immediately got tossed
  2. In each color category, checked to see how close any two shades were by painting some test strips on my nails.  If they were virtually identical, one was kept and the rest had to go
  3. Re-evaluated what was left as to what I was actually likely to wear.  Anything that was clearly there because I just liked the name was tossed.  (Sadly, “King Kong” did not make the cut)

Here are the colors that made the cut:

polish cut annotated

3 reds, 2 browns, 3 fun colors, 4 base coat/top coat/strengthener/quick dry, 5 pinks

And here is the newly decluttered bottom shelf of my medicine cabinet:

polish after

Much more lagom.  I won’t lie -I will have to work hard not to let them build up again.  Nail polish is relatively inexpensive, and buying a new bottle has often been a way for me to “treat” myself.  If, while wandering through the drugstore, I come across one with a particularly clever name, I can’t promise I won’t buy it.

What about you?  Have you collected something in large quantities with a lot of duplicates?  Do you ever buy products just because you like the name or packaging?  Leave a comment and tell me!