Before we dive right in, here's a little back story on my nail polish collection. In college (when I still lived in Poland), I used to have about 5 bottles at any given time - sometimes I would toss a shade when I noticed its quality had deteriorated, sometimes I would buy a new one when something caught my eye at the drugstore, but overall, I only did my nails occasionally and nail polish wasn't something I was very drawn to. Fast forward to when I graduated/ moved to Washington state and became an avid beauty blog reader (and a blogger myself) and surprise surprise, my stash started growing - I'd pick up a color every few weeks at the drugstore because it seemed like an innocent treat, and everything looked new and exciting - so why not try it out for myself? My nail polish amassing ways peaked when I started working in beauty retail; not only was it important to present myself well by always having an impeccable manicure, but the store I worked at also carried a wide selection of OPI, Essie and China Glaze along with all of their Limited Edition collections. I bought A LOT of bottles myself in the 1.5 years I worked there, but also received a good number as gratis.
But ever since I quit that job and we moved to New York City, my passion for nail polish has been on the decline. In late 2013 and early 2014, I still polished my nails pretty regularly, and even thought about trying out some more nail art; but in the end, I proved too lazy for it. I would buy a few new shades here and there but already felt my stash had grown too large and overwhelming. Now, through all of 2015 and the first half of 2016, I purchased exactly ONE new nail polish. I gave a lot away though - last year I passed on 4 to various family members, tossed 2 older ones and used 2 up (can you tell it was still difficult for me to let go of my pretties?) and had roughly 68 bottles remaining, in April I gave away 15 to my coworkers (Instagram photo above), leaving me with about 53 bottles - that is, until yesterday.
I wanted this declutter to be a lot more thorough this time and my loose goal was to whittle the stash down to the point where it could all fit in one Birchbox lid; even though I haven't been subscribed to the service for over 3 years now, I still use their boxes to organize my beauty stash. I don't know why I pictured exactly that amount in my mind - it just seemed like that would give me the most variety without becoming overwhelming or holding on to shades that were alright, but not my favorite. You can see in the first photo in the beginning of my post what I started out with: 2 Birchbox lids in the front (but one of them holding only my 'manicure kit': files, tools, thinner, base and top coats) and 4 manufacturers' boxes for 6 bottles each in the back of the drawer.
|The 'Before' photo of my stash.|
|L-R: OPI Alpine Snow, OPI Ski Slope Sweetie, Essie Urban Jungle, OPI Don't Burst My Bubble, OPI I Theodora You|
|L-R: OPI Pedal Faster, Suzi!, Zoya Julie, Zoya Megan, Essie Chinchilly|
|L-R: Essie Absolutely Shore, Zoya Neely, Essie Bikini So Teeny, China Glaze Secret Peri-wink-le, OPI You're Such a Budapest|
|L-R: Essie In the Cabana, Essie Butler Please, Revlon Royal, OPI Into The Night|
|L-R: Essie Cute As A Button, Essie Off The Shoulder, Essie Pink Grenadine, China Glaze That's Shore Bright, OPI Pamplona Purple|
|L-R: Essie Head Mistress, OPI Lost on Lombard, China Glaze Merry Berry, Orly Star Spangled|
|L-R: Zoya Toni, Zoya Jem, Zoya Payton, Revlon Perplex, OPI Muir Muir On The Wall, China Glaze Naughty and Nice.|
|Maybelline Precious Pearl, China Glaze Champagne Kisses, OPI The Living Daylights, China Glaze Mrs Claus, OPI Polka.com|
Do I ever regret owning as many as 100 bottles at some point in the past? Not especially. For me personally, I think those couple of years of collecting nail polish (or beauty products in general) were very important in exploring the beautiful variety and richness of shades, and then in turn figuring out what I liked and what suited me best. If I've never experimented, I wouldn't have had so much fun in discovering my individual preferences. However, I am now content and confident to follow my taste exactly and don't need to hold on to my 'experimenting tools' any longer. Plus, I'm pretty sure my family, friends and coworkers were all very happy recipients of my rejects :)
I hope that you enjoyed this very lengthy post and thanks for sticking with me to the very end. I would love to learn more about your decluttering process if you care to share, and especially what you personally consider to be 'ideal size' for a nail polish stash. Please let me know in the comments!