25 February 2015

Decluttering + What I Do with Products I Don't Love

Something I've become really aware of since I started blogging is the tendency to accumulate a lot of products.  I love trying new things, but I don't like waste and one person can only get through so much stuff!  I've been on a decluttering kick the last several weeks and I've also gotten into watching Use It Up and Project Pan videos on Youtube, both of which have been great encouragement to use up products that have been languishing in my cupboards.    If you aren't familiar with these, basically people select specific products that they want to use up within a certain time frame.  It's a great way to work through products without wasting them!

I find it really satisfying to completely use products up (which you've probably already figured out from my empties posts) and I love the idea of streamlining your collection, but at the same time, some products are a struggle.  No one is going to like every single thing they try, and it's always the ones that I'm not so crazy about that are most challenging to finish.  I don't want to waste things, but at the same time, I don't want to be constantly working to finish products I don't like and neglecting the ones I really do enjoy in the process.  

With that in mind, these are the questions I ask myself when deciding what to do with those products I don't especially like:
  • How much do I dislike the product?  If it's something I'm pretty neutral about, that's one thing, but if I legitimately hate every minute of using a product, maybe it's not something I need to force myself to use.  
  • How long will it take to use up?  If I can use something up in a short time, I'll usually push through, but if I know it's going to last 6+ months, that's when I'm more likely to call it a day.  
  • Will products I genuinely like go to waste while I use this?  There's no sense wasting products you love just to get your use out of a product you don't even really like.
  • Does it have a negative impact on my skin/hair/appearance?  Whether it's skincare that breaks me out, hair products that don't work for my hair, or makeup that just doesn't look good, I've realized that some things just aren't worth it!  
  • Can I repurpose the product for something other than its original use?  Maybe something didn't work for its intended purpose, but is there some other way I can use it?  Face products on the body and conditioner as shaving cream are my most commonly repurposed items.
  • How much did it cost?  This one only goes so far as I don't want to waste inexpensive items either, but there's no question that it's easier for me to accept defeat on a $2 item than a $50 one.  
  • Is there someone I can pass it on to?  I'd much rather someone else enjoy the product than me just suffer through it for the sake of using it up.
  • Is it expired?  Pretty much a no-brainer.  I'm not always a stickler for exact expiry dates, but if I already don't like the product, I'm not going to use it after it's expired.  On the flip side, if something is expiring soon, that often pushes me to use it up more quickly before the expiry.
How about some specific product examples?

Products I'm Working to Use Up:



Boo Bamboo Line Lifting Face Cream*
I actually think this is a great face cream, but I don't like the scent.  Boo Bamboo uses a naturally derived fragrance, but to my nose it smells very similar to a lot of mainstream skincare (and vaguely synthetic) and it's just not a scent I enjoy close to my nose.  I've been using it on my body, however, and I don't notice the smell nearly as much.

Pollen & Wax Apollo Cleanser
This cleanser has since been reformulated to have a smoother texture, but the one I have is a little odd.  On the one hand, it's a seemingly gentle cream cleanser, but at the same time, it feels quite harsh on my face.  It has sandy particles that are way too abrasive for my skin on a daily basis and while I tried using it as more of an exfoliant, once or twice a week, I consistently noticed my skin didn't look as good on the days I used it, so I stopped using it that way as well.  I'm going to give it one last try on my body, and hopefully that'll be the end of it.

Balance Me Wonder Eye Cream
I don't really dislike this eye cream, but it doesn't do a lot for me beyond just moisturizing.  I do want to get my use out of it, but I don't think I'll be sorry to see it run out.

Weleda Skin Food
I really like Skin Food, but I only use it in small amounts and with the rate I go through it, I definitely didn't need to buy this big tube, which sadly expires in April.  I'm not going to toss it at midnight on April 30 or anything, but I want to make a real effort to get through it at least within a couple months of the expiry. 

Schmidt's Lavender Sage Deodorant
I mixed and modified my Schmidt's and while it no longer irritates my underarms, it's still not my favorite deodorant.  I've got this pot and half of another, but I'm determined to work through them.

Carina Daily Moisturizing Shampoo
This smells good (like pineapples!) but it did nothing for my hair.  I've been using it to wash my makeup brushes for the last several months, and it actually works great for this purpose.  

Products I'm Saying Farewell To:



ELF Metallic Purple Mineral Eye Liner
My problem with this is twofold: the formula is way too hard and the color is unexceptional.  It's a plummy-brown with some purple shimmer on top, but once the shimmer falls off (within the first half hour or so), it's just another brown liner and not worth the effort of struggling with such a hard pencil.

Acure Leave-In Conditioner
I love Acure and I think this product works well, but I can't stand how it smells.  I've made an effort to use it many, many times, but I smell it in my hair every time I turn my head and it just drives me crazy.  I have about half left, but I also noticed it expired a few months ago, so it's got to go.

The Bottom Line
Like basically everything, I think it comes down to balance.  I don't know of anywhere local to me that accepts donations of lightly used products - only brand new ones - so if I don't have someone to pass a product on to, I do really try to finish most things myself.  That said, I've also come to realize that it's okay to get rid of the occasional product that just doesn't work for you.  I feel a little guilty throwing things out, but if it's just going to sit in my makeup drawers unused - like the ELF liner - or make me sick to smell it - like the Acure Leave-in - what am I really accomplishing by hanging on to it?

I'd love to know where you guys fall on this one!  Are you someone who has to use every single thing up, or are you okay getting rid of products that you don't like or can't make work for you?

* Press sample
Contains affiliate links

22 comments:

  1. I wish I knew other people near me to pass products on to if they don't work for me.

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    1. I've got a couple people, but I wish I knew more too!

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  2. If something doesn't work for me, I either try to use it for another purpose or give it away to someone. Sometimes I just throw stuff away after they've sat there awhile. If it doesn't work for me, I don't want to use it, but if I can find another purpose for it that does make me feel better. I don't feel too guilty about throwing stuff away that's just not a good product though.

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    1. That's good! I used to hang on to everything, but there's just no point. And, if I product is so bad I can't imagine it working for anyone, I don't feel bad throwing it out either :)

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  3. It's unfortunate that these products didn't work for you! This post was helpful for me as recently I've been clearing out some of my rarely used beauty products.

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    1. I think it's inevitable that not every product will work for you, but I'm glad to have found ways to repurpose most of these! Thanks for commenting, I'm glad it was helpful :)

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  4. Great post! I think I will make more of an effort to use up older products before delving into the new stash! xxx
    www.justemma.co.uk - a fashion, beauty & lifestyle blog

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    1. Thanks! It can be a challenge not to just dive into everything new, but I do think it's well worth it in the end :)

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  5. Great post Caitie! I feel you and the clutter! You don't realize how many things you accumulate due to "testing" and eventually, you know it's a problem when it takes up all your bathroom counters. I'm also in the process of elimination and product-ban until I go through it all!

    Susan | http://www.cupofsusan.com

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    1. Very true - it's amazing how quickly things can go from a manageable amount of stuff to way too much clutter! I'm trying to be more mindful of what I'm bringing in from now on :) Good luck with your elimination and product ban!

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  6. Another great post, I just love reading you! As a natural beauty fan (and not a content producer) I also noticed I accumulate a lot of products that I cannot possibly use it all so I have stopped buying and I just suffer from product envy perpetually, haha! It has especially became clear to me when I got rid of all my "dirty" products and the countless amount of makeup that was not used up. I am more selective on things I acquire now. Of the products you mentionned, I love the Schmidt lavender deodorant and the Acure leave-in (and the smell, I am in love with everything ginger or lemongrass) however the Skinfood does nothing for me, I currently own the seabuckthorn handcream and I am going through it. All the best! Kay

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    1. Thank you so much! I've become a lot more mindful of what I'm buying the last few months too, mostly after finally accepting that there's just no way to keep up with trying all the amazing products that catch my eye out there! There's always something new to be lusted after, but on the plus side, I think bringing in less stuff has made me more appreciative of the things I do buy!

      Schmidt's works great, but it didn't get along with my armpits and my diluted version, although gentler, is also not quite as effective. I don't know what it is about Acure's lemongrass scent - I usually like lemongrass too, but theirs just doesn't do it for me! I would be all over it if they came out with the exact same product in a different scent though :)

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  7. I hate throwing products away, even if I don't like them at all. I try to use most of them but sometimes it's a relief when you get rid of some products you don't really like. Most of the times I try to give them away to someone who might rejoice in it. But I try try to buy less products in general and use something up before I buy another product for the same purpose. Loved the blogpost and best regards (:

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    1. Thanks! I completely agree - I try my best to throw out as little as possible, but it does feel good to just get rid of the clutter, even if that's the only way :)

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  8. I really enjoyed this post. Massively guilty of hoarding products and probably have quite a number close to expiring. I would sooner find another use or owner for something that doesn't work for me, but there are exceptions. Some things just have to be thrown x

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    1. Thanks Karen! It's so easy to accumulate products, but I'm also finding it satisfying to be a little more mindful with what I buy. Not that my stash is tiny now or anything - I'm pretty sure I still fall firmly in hoarder territory too! :)

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  9. I pass on products I know I won't finish to friends. One friend I give to divides the stuff out among four other friends. In the UK you can send to give and make up http://www.escentual.com/help-and-advice/about/give-and-makeup/ x

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    1. I've heard of Give and Makeup before. I wish we had something similar here!

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  10. When my friends come round to my house, I often give them a thing or two from my stash if I know it might not be something I would use (from a subscription box perhaps) or if I'm not really liking it but I do feel guilty throwing things out too. Even if I know I won't be using it that often haha it's always tough throwing it out!

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    1. So true, I usually have to have something sitting around for a while before I'll actually work my way to throwing it out! Most things I'm able to either pass on or finish though, which I much prefer :)

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  11. I used to swap things on makeupalley but I would just end up getting something else I didn't use.. and paying to ship! It was a good thought though and I think it works well for a lot of people :)

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    1. I had the exact same experience on Makeup Alley, it just wasn't worth the cost of shipping! The worst was when someone actually sent me ancient Ecco Bella and Bare Minerals products with parabens (and both companies got rid of parabens YEARS ago!) This was after we emailed back and forth a ton about both working in health food stores and only using natural products, so that was kind of the end of swapping for me :) I know a lot of people do well with swapping, but at this point, I think I'd only do it with people I already know!

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