Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Current "State of my Stash Address" & my personal purging policy

Hi guys! I'm moving this weekend (across the hall, literally. We are downsizing from our 2Br/2Ba to a 1Br/1Ba to save $400/month on obscene rent), and recently organized my nail polish stash in preparation for my epic move (hehe). Currently, I have about 130 polishes. According to my spreadsheet, though, I have owned and purged almost 350 bottles! Wow!

Here's the whole collection in two pics:

Can you tell what my favourite colours are? LOL.

Here is all the polish put away in one Alex drawer. Nice and cozy!

I get asked quite frequently how I can purge polishes so easily. Like many of you, when I first got into nail polish, it was like an all-you-can-eat frenzy. I just had to have every polish I saw swatches of. I wanted the full collections. I wanted popular, discontinued and HTF polishes. I bought polish if it was on sale, even if I didn't like it that much. My stash ballooned like crazy. Then at some point last year, I was inspired by kittytokaren (of the excellent blog, Polish or Perish) to downsize my stash. I asked on NB for tips to purge your stash, and over the last year, I think I really have defined a personal stash policy:

  1. I only want to own polishes I love.
  2. I only want to own polishes I look forward to wearing.
  3. I do not want to own backups.

I am still struggling a little with #3. I have backups (single bottles) for Illamasqua Raindrops, OPI Absolutely Alice, and Lynnderella Ruby Red Ruby.

When I decide it's time for a little spring cleaning in my stash, I go through and sort it by colour. Say I have 3 turquoise cremes - there's no need for me to keep all 3, because usually when I want to wear a turquoise creme, I find myself reaching for the same one over the others. It is very difficult to move those other 2 polishes to the swap bin / purge pile, but if I'm totally honest with myself, I know it's the right thing to do for my stash. This is a true example of how Essie Turquoise & Caicos and Orly Gumdrop were dropped from my stash, in favour of Essie Greenport.

I also consider the following items:

  • Brand (bottle shape and brush type): I tend to prefer thin brushes like Essie over OPI's pro-wide. I also prefer smaller bottles.
  • Formula: Finicky polishes that can't be fixed with thinner tend to get the automatic boot from me.
  • Colour: Is this colour group flattering on my skin tone / do I even like this colour. Answering this question honestly is how I got rid of every damn yellow polish in my stash.

I used to factor in sentimental value and how hard to find something was, but I am trying hard to ignore these items as reasons for keeping a polish.

When I decide to purchase new polishes, I always ask myself if I own anything similar and if it's something I can see myself loving. If the answer is 'no' to either of these questions, I usually don't even want to buy it.

I have yet to have any regrets! Well, I do regret getting rid of BB Couture Impact Driver *a little*, but I don't miss it so much that I would repurchase it.

As far as what I do with my purged polishes, I usually swap or blogsale the polishes here! It's surprising to see how your tastes evolve; some polishes that were on my first Top 20 polishes have been purged now (Orly Galaxy Girl was a favourite of mine, but suddenly, I no longer loved it.)

Purging and downsizing is not for everyone. I would not force yourself to do it, unless it's something you really want to do. For me, I just started getting so overwhelmed at the number of polishes I owned, I wanted to declutter this part of my life. Sometimes, I totally wish I kept every polish I ever purchased so I could have a more comprehensive collection from which to do comparison posts, but it's not a good enough reason for me to keep so many polishes :)

Phew, that was long-winded! Do you have any tips or tricks for purging? Do you have any challenging purges to share? :)


  1. Thank you for posting this. I am currently downsizing/purging my stash and this gave me a lot of insight into the whole process

  2. As always, I admire your ability to keep polish in perspective :) I still haven't sold or swapped anything yet... but I think it's more of a logistical challenge at this point (how would I ship? what would I charge?), because there are certainly polishes in my collection I could part with. I still don't have a *huge* stash - huge is a different number to different people, but let's just say I'm not close to filling a Helmer ;)

    PS - 130 polishes in the drawer doesn't look like much, but spread out it looks like a TON lol!

  3. If you start to feel ill, stop! :) 

  4. If you're not close to filling a Helmer yet, I'd agree and say your stash is medium still :D 

    I know, right?! Polish is so innocent looking in a drawer, LOL. 

  5. great stash and great tips, I can't purge like you because I don't have anyone to sell them too, but I think I should try, it's getting a bit too crowded for my taste.

  6. Great job, I followed your downsizing posts with interest.

  7. GREAT post, I completely agree with you on all your rules and stash policies. Looking forward to your next blog sale!

  8. Wow, you have great self control lol! I don't think I could do this, at least not at this point. I hang onto every polish for the same reason I hang onto all of my clothing - I have SO much that sometimes I "rediscover" things I haven't worn in a LOOOOONG time and fall in love with it all over again!

  9. I am so inspired by this post & your purge policy!  I've limited myself to four plastic tubs (approx 400 polishes) and refuse to outgrow them.  I think I'm going to take your advice and sort by color, which will help me figure out dupes and determine which brands I love/hate.  Right now I just go tub by tub and take polishes out to purge and then put them back.  I'm really looking forward to "cleaning house" now!  And I agree about the evolution of taste and preference... I used to go gaga over OPI polish and now I've found others I love more. 

  10. I admire you for being able to do that... I have over 800 now and can't get rid of any of them lol

  11. I love your edited stash so much! Purging is definitely a new concept for me, but I'm actually enjoying the process of trying and assessing my polishes. It seems like such an obvious thing to do, but if I told you how many of my polishes are untried...

    Anyway, thanks for the inspiration!

  12. If you ever want to sell that other "Absolutely Alice", I'd take it off your hands! ;)

  13. Do you have a list of all the polishes you like and your favourites? I have about 50 polishes now.. and about another 50 I still want :) My sister thinks I'm crazy.. Is there any chance you could tell us the whole list of the ones you have and the ones you recommend the most? Or is that too invasive... You don't have to :)

  14. Hi Sam! There are a lot of polishes that I liked, but didn't love on my skintone. It's different for everyone! You should just go through the natural process of acquiring tons and tons of polish and then finding out what you love XD How's that for enabling?? :)