Thursday, January 5, 2012

The many colors of kryptonite

So, 2012 is the year of babies. I've said before that I know a 4 brazillion* women who are having babies and eventually, I'm gonna put together a list so I can keep track of all this stuff.

That being said, part of our plan for 2012 is to attempt to get ready for said baby of ours before she arrives. This involves a lot long, hard talks with our stuff. We have many closets in this house (though not enough, because when can you ever have enough closets?) and most of them are full of stuff that's just taking up space. I think this is fairly common in most households around these parts. We don't need the vast majority of the stuff that's hanging out in those boxes, but it's hard to get rid of. Some of it is sentimental attachment, but most of it is a product of our upbringing.

"Don't get rid of that! We might need it later! Somebody could use that! It's still good!"

This is how we wind up with 42 tablets of paper that we never touch. 14 clip boards. 27 3-ring binders. Cardstock. Photo paper. Calligraphy pens. 9 drag-queens worth of make-up!

Cleaning out office supplies is a fairly unemotional task. Sure, there's the occasional stack of letters or cards that brings a smile as I look over them again, but unless it's love letters from my husband, they get put in the recycle stack. We managed to combine 3 closets into 1 this weekend by just getting rid of stuff. Some stuff goes to Goodwill, because it's still good and somebody could use that, but most of it went to be recycled or thrown away. It felt amazing! There is still one more closet left to tackle, and of course the garage, but we're making lots of progress! The sunshine room looks less like a place that potential hoarders go to practice piling stuff and more like a room that might someday soon be converted into a nursery! I already have 3 drawers full of tiny clothes!

Cleaning out my bathroom was much harder. I have an irrational attachment to my make-up and skin care. Free samples of things I haven't gotten around to trying in the years they've been sitting around? I don't need those! NO ONE needs those. They're long past their expiration date and any benefits they may have imparted are long gone. I was able to throw those away without issue... well, a little guilt for the amount of crap that I let get into my house that just winds up in the trash.

Then it came time to purge the actual make-up. The old foundation didn't pose a problem. Some of the old lipsticks and lipliners went into the trash without a twinge. Then things got hard. I don't really need all the different colors of lipstick that I own. I hardly ever wear the 6 shades I carry in my purse--3 lipstick, 3 gloss... plus chapstick, and maybe a free sample of some Sugar lip stuff I got at Sephora. You know what, my purse is it's own cosmetics counter these days. I can do pretty much everything from my one little make-up bag. Almost any look from natural to dramatic for a variety of skin tones... unless you need to use powder or concealer, and then it would be helpful if you were as pasty-pink as I am.

The point is, I don't wear makeup often enough to justify the obscene amounts of makeup I own. I need to get back down to the stuff I do wear and let the rest go to a home where it will be better loved! It took a lot of convincing and re-trying of different colors, but I managed to eliminate quite a bit. It's easier to convince yourself to give up YET ANOTHER purple eyeshadow when you know that you've already got 5 different shades of purple to choose from the next time you need purple eyeshadow, and knowing that "next time" could be months away.

There's a pile of things that weren't so old and icky as to be tossed as soon as they were discovered (yes, I had an equally large pile of THAT). It was VERY difficult, because I would look at every color and think "but I don't HAVE that color" and be tempted to keep it. Because I want all the colors--that's my kryptonite. I finally convinced myself that I didn't need 50 different shades of neutral eyeshadow. 5 is more than enough, since I don't go for neutral makeup much anyway. If I want to look neutral, I'll slap on some powder, some mascara and a lip-ish colored gloss and call it good. I don't have the skill or patience to apply 15 colors of eyeshadow, liner, foundation, concealer, blush and mascara only to have the overall effect look like I'm not wearing makeup. I can handle 2-3 products to make me look awake, refreshed and generally un-grump-like.

My bathroom is now much less cluttered. I put up some new stuff on magnets to reduce the amount of counter space I take up on my side of the sink. If it's not on the board, it lives in one small Caboodle. That caboodle is mostly eyeliner and lipstick. I did get rid of a lot of eyeliner, but still have about 25 different colors... but they don't take up too much space, so that's ok.

There's another clothing swap happening near the end of the month, so I have plenty of motivation to go through my closet again and get rid of things. It will be a little harder since things don't fit the same way right now as they might otherwise, and I have NO IDEA what things will fit like after I have an external baby, so... I guess I'll purge things that I always meant to wear but never did--you know, the stuff that's not really quite my style but I somehow convinced myself would get worn? That should make a dent!

*Actually 4 brazillion, not an exaggeration, since a brazillion is 5. Yep--20 women, having a total of 21 babies. I can't wait! 


Megan Hartman said...

You and I have the opposite problem with makeup. I am lucky if I have enough for daily use. I only have colors because I needed gypsy makeup.

I packrat in other ways. I make myself watch hoarders every once in a while to remind myself to clean out cupboards and closets more often.

There is a clothing exchange soon? I happen to have stuff I would love to donate to such an event that have been waiting to be donated for at least two exchanges that I have missed.

Swistle said...

I SO IDENTIFY with both "wanting all the colors" and with "wanting MANY shades of a color that's a favorite," even though I "don't really wear make-up very often at all."

I have particular trouble getting rid of nail polish colors.

Elsha said...

I also have a problem with wanting all the makeup colors "just in case" even though I hardly ever wear makeup. I'm finally down to a single makeup bag of stuff I actually use.

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