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Plastics make it possible... to horde a lot of stuff

I am a health and beauty product junkie. I don’t wear a lot of makeup, but I love trying new shampoos and conditioners, lotions and moisturizers, nail polish. It’s hard to be a product junkie when the nearest Target, CVS, or Body Shop is thousands of miles away, and you’re not allowed to ship glass or large amounts of liquids to yourself, yet somehow I’ve managed to create quite a stash.

For the last few weeks been going through my stash to use up the partially empty bottles before we move again. I try this every time we move, yet I think I still have some things from my Walnut Creek bathroom. This move, I’m determined not to bring any bottles, tubes, or tubs with me to India that I bought in California. (We left Walnut Creek, California, in January 2008.) Also, I’m ready to try some new brands; for some things I have my one tried-and-true brand that I’ve been loyal to for years, but for others I like to shop around and I’ve been living with the same brands for too long now.

I know it’s time to just throw out some things, but I feel bad about wasting products here. Besides, if I throw a bottle in the garbage can, I know that my housekeeper is going to fish it out, wash it, and take it away to use for some purpose. For all I know, he sells them; there’s quite a market for reusable bottles. So, rather than see my products get rinsed down the drain (to say nothing of what may be happening to the local water supply when that happens) I may as well use the shampoos, lotions, and whatevers, if they are still good, before they get fished out of the garbage and potentially sold.

First I delved into the closet to see how many of each particular product were already opened and partially used. You know, you go on a long vacation, lugging the toiletries with you since you’re checking the bags anyway, and when you get home your luggage is lost for two weeks, so you have to open new bottles of all your daily products. (I found three open bottles of Body Shop tea tree toner, one for each vacation I’ve taken since we arrived here.) Then there’s that one brand of one product that you bought one time, opened, used once or twice, and then stopped for some unknown or forgotten reason (sorry, Arbonne citrus scrub, you were just too messy). Then a houseguest leaves behind an expensive bottle of shampoo that you’d never buy for yourself, but it smells so good and you love what it does for your hair, so you push your already opened bottle of cheap shampoo out of the way and use the nice stuff. (I don’t remember what it’s called, but I think it has bananas in it!)

I moved all those opened bottles to the front of the shelves so that I’m grabbing them whenever I need something. Previously, the open bottles were neglected in the back of the closet. It’s actually going well and it only takes a few seconds to resist the temptation to open a bottle of something new. I feel so accomplished when I finally get to the bottom of a bottle.

This is all part of my reorganization scheme for the next time we buy consumables to send overseas (which will be later this year). As I clear space in my closet, I try to think of how I can avoid buying so much plastic stuff with the next move. Even if someone else is using the bottles, I don’t want to have to deal with them in the first place. What we’ll be gaining in plastic baby toys this year, I want to lose in plastic bottle purchases. (And we’re not thrilled with plastic baby toys entering our home but we know they will be inevitable.)


Bfiles said…
haha, I do the same thing! It feels great to finally use them up. But I will say that w/ a will gain so much stuff that plastic bottles will be the least of your worries...congratulations, by the way!
Jen said…
The plastic toys are inevitable, but I felt a little less guilty getting some second-hand and then giving away when finished. Also, sadly, since they weigh less, not as much weight to ship around during the move.

Funny, I am doing the same thing. I realized I have a ton of half-used stuff and need to just use it up before I get any more. Good luck!
Diane H K said…
You can definitely cut down on the plastic baby toys by starting an online wishlist and being VERY specific about what goes on it, then sending a link to the list to all your friends and family who are likely to want to buy something for the baby.

We did that, still do it, and it works extremely well. Wooden and natural fiber toys are so awesome.
Nick said…
If only you could convince Mike to do the same with his stockpile of Dapper Dan pomade :)
Stephanie said…
Nick, I don't think that will happen any time soon. He's a Dapper Dan man.
sapphire said…
Just found your blog from the Blogher ad on my blog.

I'm from Berkeley, CA so a wave to you. =) And yes, I have a lot of mini hotel lotions and shampoos stashed with me.

Good luck on the big move to India, at least you are moving there in the fall... when it is not baking oven hot.

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