The urge to purge is real and it’s snaking its way from my wardrobe to my beauty stash. I tore through my products like the Tasmanian Devil! This week I set aside time to pare down my (admittedly massive) nail polish collection and am super happy with the results. I thought I’d share the before, my process, and the after with you here.
I’ll be the first to admit that I had a polish problem in my late twenties. I got a wee bit carried away, to say the least, and amassed quite the collection! Three years ago I had four 100-bottle wall racks almost completely filled up. I certainly didn’t need that much polish, nor did I really even want to have that much. I just had gotten into a bad impulsive habit of buying more and more of it. It was around that time that I decided to start cutting back and slowly pare down my massive collection. This didn’t happen overnight. It wasn’t really until I hit age 30 in 2013 that I started feeling a natural inclination towards having less in general and became more aware of my tendency to collect more things that I really wanted.
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Fast forward to just this week: the “before” shot shows my nail polish stash taking up just less than three racks. My polish racks are hung in my home office bathroom where there is light and climate control since no one ever uses the shower (aside from my dog Winnie’s bath once every few weeks) and there are no windows in there. It’s the perfect place to store polish, but perhaps too perfect because I accumulated way too much! I slowly cut down my collection over the past couple of years while still accumulating some mainly through my monthly Julep Maven subscription. Although I cut way back on buying polish outside of the subscription, it still felt like an overwhelming amount to me. My initial goal going into this purge was to cut it down to fit on just two racks at the very most. As you can see, I did more than that and managed to get it down to just one. I plan on removing the three empty racks and sticking to a one-rack rule. 100 bottles of nail polish is more than enough for me!
This was a relatively simple task; it just required some time. I prepped by laying out a white towel (to better see the polish colors on), grabbed a few shopping bags to sort outgoing polishes into, and clipped a plain sheet of white paper to a board for polish swatches. Then, I took all of the polishes down off the racks and sorted them by color on the towel. This allowed me to really see what I had in each color category. I pulled bottles I knew I didn’t even need to swatch for the “to go” pile while I was laying them out. Once I had all of the “maybe’s” on the towel, I started swatching. Doing this in order of color helped me to see what dupes I had and get rid of more.
Once I finished this process and was left with the polishes I most wanted to keep, I piled them back into the basket and took some time to sort the bottles back on the racks. I decided to put them in order of color as opposed to brand like I had organized them previously, because I can better see what I have in each color category and know when I have dupes or very similar shades. It’s also easier to find a color this way when I want to paint my nails.
I noticed I was pretty close to having all of the polishes contained to one rack and decided I wanted to go for it, so I brought my swatch sheet into the bathroom to try to weed out the remaining dozen or so I need to make them all fit. I re-swatched lookalikes until I got it down to one rack only. I also have a few mini polish bottles that I use for travel, which don’t fit on the one rack, so I decided it would be ok to store those with my travel toiletries instead.
I was happy that only three of the several hundred polishes were dried up and needed to be disposed of. I’ve searched for places to donate used polish, but have come up short in my efforts, unfortunately. I’d rather re-home my castoffs than toss them (keep in mind you have to take nail polish to a hazardous waste facility for proper disposal) as there’s a lot of good quality polish to share. I’ll let my family and friends sort through and see if they’d like to keep any and then see if any of their friends would like some, too. Hopefully all all of the polish will find new homes and bring others joy. If you know of any places that accept used nail polish donations, please let me know!
I realize having 100 bottles of nail polish might seem like a crazy amount to some, but it feels just right to me in this moment. I now have a nice selection that are all favorites on hand to choose from. I’m extremely happy with how this purge turned out. It sounds a bit silly, I know, but I actually feel lighter knowing I’ve cut down my polish collection to a size that feels right for me. I’m going to experiment with a “one in, one out” policy and see how that works going forward.
I will be sharing an in-depth video next on the rest of my beauty purge efforts, including all of my skincare, hair care, bath & body products, and cosmetics. Stay tuned if you’re interested! I’d love to know if you’ve been inspired to purge your own beauty stash lately. Please share if you like!
Happy spring cleaning!
* This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are genuinely my own. *