Thursday, 14 May 2009

Exfoliation Part 1 - The Bathroom

I must admit to being a bit of a hoarder... I like to think I have got better over time (I no longer have keep all my cinema tickets and the collection of 'nice' plastic bags has been seriously slimmed...) but there's no denying the ridiculous amount of stuff I call my own.

So, when I came across Jess' exfoliation concept on makeundermylife it was just the motivation I'd been looking for to start getting more serious about The Constantly and Sneakily Accummulating Stuff. From time to time I enter a phase of nest-tidying urges and attempt to purge from this area or that, but it's never been that consistent. So, from this week onwards I'm going to try and find something (or things) to get rid of every week.

The really nice thing about this is that as well as de-cluttering, it really makes me think about how I will buy in the future and what alternatives there might be to the stuff I have.

There's also the potential to put redundant and idle objects to a better use or to discover exciting new ways to repurpose/upcycle things.

So, I started in the bathroom. (I've tried to give a feel for our bathroom in the little montage above). It's kind of plain, and the shelf is normally strewn with all kinds of bits and pieces.

For the first time in the 14 months since we moved in I took everything out of my side of the cupboard and off the shelf and off the side of the bath and considered whether I wanted to keep it. I think of myself as pretty low-maintenance so I was surprised at the amount of serums and lotions and creams and colours I had collected.
When I thought about it I realised there were two weaknesses - buying 'pretty' things as a comfort when feeling stressed or ugly or bored of myself, to which there could be much better responses; and 'free' things on magazines. I'm such a sucker for 'free' - nowadays I try and see it as them foisting something I don't need on me, rather than an exciting 'gift'. It's not really free after all!
Anyway, the results of my pruning were a tidier shelf (above!) and this little collection of stuff (below)... In the top right we have a Body Spray I never used and have no idea why I bought. It smells gross. I chucked the lot down the sink, rinsed the bottle and have put it to use as a mister for my palm tree (apparently this will stop it getting brown ends on its leaves!)

Next to that is some eye make-up remover. I've cut down a lot on eye make-up and use oil if I need to remove it so I just don't use this anymore.
Then there's some shimmery moisturiser which was just an awful idea.
And the foot scrub was ineffective and just made the bath messy.
Cheap hair colour made absolutely zero difference, and now I am henna-ing I really have no use for it.
In the bottom row we have: Hair serum - not really appropriate for fine flat hair like mine and felt like glue!; eye cream - I think I was feeling old and vain; earrings which I loved but have gone all manky with the cover peeling off; two really bad nail varnishes; and one of the 6 wash bags I've accummulated (FREE stuff again!!!!).
At the moment, most of this is still sitting in a kind of 'out-box' whilst I work out what to do with it as I'm loathe to just chuck it in the bin. In searching for alternate uses, I came across this brilliant site - - which discusses all kinds of ways to reuse or recycle all sorts of things - although sadly not sparkly moisturiser or eye cream. Would it be good for shining shoes I wonder? Would eye make-up remover clean dirt off kitchen cupboards? What could do with being painted horrible nail varnish pink? Should I rinse the moisturiser bottle and fill with raspberry coulis to create 90s' style desserts?
I'm not yet sure. One thing I do know is that I will NOT be buying any replacements. I feel quite bad that all these unused chemicals and plastic are going to probably end up in landfill. And after reading Pat Thomas' Skin Deep I feel thoroughly convinced that none of this stuff is worth buying. I hadn't really thought before about all the ingredients and what they were there for, apart from feeling a little uncomfortable at 'all the chemicals', and I certainly hadn't realised how many ingredients were based on petrochemicals, let alone thought about all the energy going into producing and transporting this shit.
I'm going to post separately about this book I think because there's lots of really interesting things to pick out of it and I've been rambling on long enough now.
I'll just leave you with a before and after shot of the cupboard. I'm kind of proud of my effort, although it is admittedly hard to tell at first which side is which! I think there is a lot more exfoliating still to do!!!
If you have any ingenious ideas for putting my cosmetic rejects to good use please do let me know!


Marie said...

I've got one good idea, you could give me your old eye make up remover, I'm almost out on mine... :)

Color Me Green said...

yes my only idea is to pass on your unwanted products to friends who would be buying them anyway.

we have way more lotions, shampoos, etc in our bathroom (and toxic cleaning products in our kitchen) than i would like - totally my boyf's fault, so i can't just throw his things out no matter how much i'd like to ;-)

LK said...

yay - M I will defo be glad to pass on to you whichever bits you would like!

Kylli said...

We are pretty good with not having too much stuff. Since having my baby and reasling how much damage chemicals do to little people skin we use natural laundry liquid, sweet almond oil or Alchemy Shampoo which is scentless and clean for him. I also use this for my hair as I get itchy scalp. But I do have my lovely organic no chemical shampoo and conditioner now from my sisters which i like. WE share shower gel and I never bother removing my makeup, just wash my face in the shower and then moisturise. Not sure what you could do with the old stuff though, bar recyling all of the containers.

Kellie H said...

good for you! I am starting to declutter my babe's playroom {i.e. our dining room w/ no talbe =) } But my bathroom & bedroom have so much stuff too. I just am such a pack rat too. I hope your exfoliation goes well!!!

Jess LC said...

AWESOME! So lovely! Please send me the pictures for this Friday for the end of the week exfoliation and to enter to win the organiK Revolution wrap :).

Keep up the great work! But just be warned: making under is addicting!

LK said...

Jess - will send pics! Especially now I can fully confirm the items have been properly exfoliated rather than just sitting on my chair waiting for me to do something with them!