Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Capsule Collection 2015 Progress Round-up and Goals for 2016

It's New Year's Eve tomorrow, so prime time I think for a (probably overly lengthy) round-up of this year's attempts towards a smaller, well edited beauty stash in general, and a make-up capsule collection in particular. I'm very happy to say that in 2015, I've made some really big strides in downsizing my collection, and it's brought me a great satisfaction to learn more about my make-up preferences, curb impulse purchasing, and really use what I already own and love.

So what exactly have I been doing to reduce my stash? I've already discussed my various strategies in other posts on this subject, but let's rehash. I believe the key to my progress this year has been what I like to call a three-pronged approach. Firstly, I have been decluttering my vanity and passing on products that are no longer favorites to family and friends. Secondly, I've been slowly but surely using things up via Project Make A Dent and Project 10 Pan. And thirdly, I have stuck to my low-buy of only purchasing two make-up items a month. Alright, let's elaborate on these three points.

2015 could easily be dubbed 'The Year of the Declutter' in the online beauty community, mostly thanks to the popularity of Marie Kondo's 'Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up' (my thoughts on the book can be found here). However, this year has not been my first year of decluttering my collection. I believe I actually started going through my make-up with a fine tooth comb back in 2013, pulling products aside and gathering them into small pouches to give to coworkers and some family members. I also got rid of quite a few items towards the end of 2014 (read my post here). In July of this year, I did another bigger purge (documented here) on top of constantly weeding out smaller things here and there.
Box of products to donate, currently housing 4 face mask sachets, 3 blushes, 1 powder and 5 lipsticks.
I've now permanently assigned a box for products to give away that I keep close to my vanity, so when I pull out something I have not used in a while and after a few days of wear decide I don't care for it anymore, it doesn't go back into my drawers. This is how I would like to keep decluttering from now on - not in a some big way, deliberating on every single product I own, but on a case-by-case basis, only when I realize there's something in my stash I could definitely live without.

This year, I've also finished or very nearly finished the highest number of products since I started collecting (hoarding?) make-up 6 years ago. I have just published my Project Make A Dent 2015 and Project 10 Pan 2015 finale (here); I'm getting rid of 19 products through both of those challenges. I realize that for some seasoned make-up panners, that's not a very significant amount, but for me, it's an achievement I'm quite proud of. On top of those 19, I have also used up a fair number of other make-up products that I've been including in my quaterly make-up posts: there's been a whole lot of mascaras and lip balms as well as some face primers.
Box of finished make-up products from my panning projects.
In both of these Projects, as well as my Project MAD in 2014, I focused mostly on some older items in my collection, and while I'm happy to have them out of the way, I think for next year, I should include a lot more newer items; the thought of them sitting in my vanity drawers unused, gathering dust, makes me a little anxious. If there's one thing that panning make-up has taught me, it's that you need to make sure you're including firm favorites in your Projects; otherwise, you're forcing yourself to use mediocre stuff while your best products are going to waste, stashed away for hypothetical future use.

Lastly, in 2015 I have been really sticking to my make-up low buy of purchasing only two new products a month, which I started three years ago (I elaborated more on my low buy progress throughout that time in this post, if you're curious). One of the strategies that helped me the most was writing down every single make-up purchase in a journal. This may sound silly, but looking at how much I already bought this year, all listed in one place, month by month, often deterred me from placing another order. According to my notes, I actually purchased 21 products this year, so I came in just a little under my allowance; one thing I wasn't sure how to count were make-up brushes and gifts - some of them I included in my final count, some of them I didn't. I also didn't count gifts with purchase, but there weren't very many of them this year.

To sum all of these efforts up, I have definitely succeeded in reducing the size of my beauty stash in 2015, while both enjoying what I already have and occasionally treating myself to a new acquisition. I feel good about my progress; I think I'm pretty close to achieving my perfect balance of sustainable consumerism, lol - or being a make-up fanatic without so much waste, if you will.

For 2016, I want to continue my path, but focus less on decluttering and more on using up what I own as well as buying less. I will be doing more Project Pans next year (introduction post coming soon!) to move products out of my ownership, and I've already announced my 2016 Skincare (face and body) No Buy over a month ago (read more about it here), which so far has been a success.

As far as my 2016 Make-up Low Buy, I had contemplated making it even more challenging by going down to just one make-up purchase allowed per month, but in the end, I decided I don't want to do that - I think it may already be quite difficult for me with my skincare and bodycare no buy thrown in the mix. The 2016 2-item allowance includes all cosmetic purchases, as well make-up brushes and nail polish. It doesn't account for gifts from friends and family, gifts with purchase and PR samples. Rolling unused buys forward is allowed but not encouraged (by which I mean that if I only purchase one thing one month, I am allowed three products the next, but I'll do my best not to do that). I think these rules are quite fair and should definitely be doable for me. I will also continue writing all my purchases down - I have also applied this strategy to clothing and accessories purchases this year, and it's been very helpful.

And that's it! I hope it was at least somewhat interesting for those of you who are also trying to reduce; I would love if you shared your progress and plans for 2016 in the comments, or shared little tricks and tacticts that made it easier for you to work on your goals. Have fun tomorrow at your New Year's Eve parties - we need to celebrate our downsizing achievements, after all!


  1. I like your idea of the donation-box. I had one in 2015 and I have had about 60 products inside. Most of them went but now I'm stuck with lots of nail polishes. It's interesting that you have a lot of blushes and lipsticks inside - It's the complete opposite of my box.
    Congratulations for your highest emptying number! Concerning the emptying projects I totally agree that you should focus on a mixture of old and new products (and favourites!).
    Have a nice New Year's Eve!

  2. Uh, I enjoyed this post so much! Respect on sticking to the plan. I'm actually also decluttering case-by-case now and I always end up with a bag of makeup every 2 months, ridiculous. Still, I suck at posting changes on my blog. But I do feel less suffocated and anxious. Good job, hope the project in 2016 will succeed.
    Happy new year Monika!

  3. I love reading your decluttering posts - I think you have such a balanced attitude towards it. Year-long no-buys when successful are admirable, but definitely not realistic for me at this point - so a low buy that still allows for some fun purchases is much more relatable to me.

    I'm unsure yet if I'm going to set myself a numerical goal for how many items I can purchase, but I want to consciously reduce my existing collection and my shopping. Impulse purchases need to go in 2016, as do purchases fuelled by hype. I want to only buy products that I have researched, thought about, and know I will use. I've found "shopping my stash" to be very useful; I have enough products that some naturally fall by the wayside, so making a conscious effort to use them can make it feel like I have something new while also allowing me to assess what I'm really using. If I pull something underused out and don't like it, it goes into a bag that I will then bring to my friends to go through. I agree with you that the best strategy is to get rid of things as you go and to assess everything as you use and wear it.

    Looking forward to reading about your progress in 2016!

  4. Loved this so much! I still have to find what works best for me, as I'm pretty good with higher end beauty buys but fall at drugstore, and what's worst is that I end up using those cheaper things a lot less than the more expensive ones so it really is a waste. Working my way to a happy buy and use ratio though! ;) xx
    Gyudy's Notes Of Beauty

  5. I love reading these updates from you Monika. I'm definitely going to try writing down my purchases to curb spending - that's such a great idea.

  6. I've never done an official Project Pan/Make a Dent or similar, but I think I might start! At the very least I'm planning on documenting my purchases more officially. I've been on an unofficial low-buy for the past few months and haven't bought anything since November 6th (which I noted on my phone), apart from a replacement powder and mascara, but it's all felt very natural -- I haven't thought about it consciously too much. I'll definitely be going back to some of your other posts for inspiration and guidelines!

  7. Hey nice job! I'm trying a makeup low buy of sorts, not letting myself buy from certain categories until I finish or clear out a certain number!