To go along with the great closet reduction of ’16, I’ve decided to tackle my biggest clutter problem area: the underside of the sink. When it comes to hygiene and beauty products, I’m a bit of a hoarder. I keep mascara too long and stock up on five different Bath and Body Works sets and buy soap in bulk instead of only when I need it. This is probably associated with my candle addiction and a general desire to have everything, including myself, smell amazing. Maybe it’s because I spent my formative years saturated in chlorine and hairspray, and now I’m making up for lost time (and damaged hair). Maybe I just really like all the colors b&bw body wash comes in. Who knows.
What I do know is that this has to stop.
Solution? Make use of my neuroticism and penchant for list-making.
For a week, I kept track of all the products I used. I even recorded the general time frame during which I used an item – morning, day, or night. I noted what I liked to use and what I was really only using in an effort to empty the bottle. I tossed some expired things I wasn’t even aware I had. I organized. I made myself become aware of what I was putting in – and on – my body on a daily basis.
When I reviewed at the end of the week, I realized I didn’t really need a box full of stockpiled body wash and toothpaste. I wasn’t using anything at a rate fast enough to warrant hoarding. And if I’m completely honest, I have way more stuff than I even realized that probably won’t make its way into my hygiene rotation until 2017, if that.
Plus, I had another, secret motive for this portion of the decluttering. I learned a few months ago about microbeads, which are tiny plastic beads used in many different hygiene products. Unlike natural exfoliating items, microbeads don’t dissolve or biodegrade. They’re also so small that they rarely get filtered out at water plants, meaning that they end up in oceans and landfills and potentially your food and drinking water. I don’t know about you, but I’m not really interested in trying to digest plastic…
(FYI – microbeads have recently been banned in the United States! They should be eliminated from all products in 2017)
Microbeads, along with other environmentally conscious thoughts and feelz, are my secret motive. I want to be more aware of where my various beauty and hygiene products come from, and that means being more restrictive about what I use and when I buy things. It’s also an unfortunate truth that many environmentally conscious items can end up being expensive when compared to the “less green” options. Hopefully, shopping less and more consciously will even each other out.
How do I tie all this together? Well, the first step is eradicating unused and unusable items from my hygiene hoard. This ranges from expired topical creams to chunky nail polishes – anything that doesn’t function the way it should. Where I could, I recycled empty containers. After getting through the toss phase, I moved on to develop a hygiene routine that I now keep posted by my mirror. This way, I can remove items I find I’m not using anymore, or add products that I transition into my routine.
I haven’t actually made any new purchases, however. As I run out of particular staples, I’ll start researching products to see if I need to replace anything in my daily cycle, either in terms of environmental impact, cost, or personal usefulness. But that’ll be the fodder for a future post, so for now, adieu!