If you’re just getting started on your way to minimalism and are feeling a little overwhelmed, start small by picking one category of your belongings to declutter. Dip your toe instead of taking the plunge! Most suggest starting with your wardrobe, but if that is too much for you, try something smaller like your nail polish stash.
I’ve been a nail polish addict for as long as I can remember. I literally don’t remember the last time I had bare nails. It was also one of those items I used to buy on impulse. If I was in a store that sold nail polish I couldn’t leave without taking a look and I ended up with a lot of duplicate shades and quite a hoard. I recently watched Allison Anderson’s video in which she documented her nail polish declutter, and that inspired me to declutter my own collection. Continue reading and I’ll show you how easy it is to declutter your nail polish collection.
I started by counting what I owned and sorting by colour to see how many shades of each colour I owned. I tried to eyeball it, but for some reason bottles of nail polish don’t look like many until you count them. I thought I had around 40. I won’t bore you with them breakdown by colour, but the grand total was 59 bottles! Even though I know I’ll never be very minimal when it comes to nail polish — I tend to stick to neutral colours in my wardrobe, and nail polish is one of the ways I choose to add colour — 59 bottles is way more than I needed. It was time to be ruthless with one of my most beloved collections.
So as I mentioned above, I first counted the total number of bottles, and then sorted them by colour. By doing this I could get a good sense of how many of each colour I had — and therefore learn a bit about my taste — and also I could easily see if I had any dupes or similar shades. This made my first cuts easy to spot.
By the second pass-through I had already started a pile of maybes. The ruthless side of me wanted to say “If it’s a maybe, it’s a no” but I just couldn’t decide between two very similar lavender shades! I went through again and looked for colours I couldn’t remember wearing recently (this season), but took the summer season into consideration. We’re just coming out of winter, so my bright summery shades haven’t been loved much lately, but that doesn’t mean I’m not excited to wear them when spring and summer arrive. If I was still excited about them, I kept them.
I went through again and got rid of anything that was super old. Anything where the lid was stuck or sticking due to crusty polish near the top, or if the polish was super thick and gummy, I tossed it. Applying old nail polish is such a pain and it never looks good. You could put some nail polish thinner in, but if you really love it, why not just repurchase it? You may find you can get through the whole bottle now that your collection is much lighter. Your favourite shades will naturally get more love.
I thought I was done, but I had forgotten my maybe pile so went through again and dealt with those. It was great to go through the maybes at the end. I was on a roll and feeling good at how small my “keep” pile was getting. It made it easier to be ruthless with ones I was on the fence about.
I went through one more time and was able to remove two more! The few shades I had left were my favourites. The ones I always reach for, or the ones I can’t wait to break out next season. I went from 59 bottles to…*drumroll*…22 bottles!!! I’m really excited because I know that these remaining shades will be on heavy rotation, especially since I change my nail colour at least once or twice a week.
To summarize my nail polish declutter process:
- Sort you polishes by colour and count the grand total.
- Count the number in each colour category before you start paring down (optional — I did this more for my own geeky curiosity).
- Go through each colour category and look for duplicate or similar shades. Remove any dupes.
- Go back through what’s left and look for colours you don’t remember wearing recently, being mindful of seasonal colours that you might still wish to wear when the weather changes.
- Go though what’s left again and look for anything that’s really old, applying old nail polish is a pain in the butt anyway. These should be easy to discard.
- If you started a maybe pile, go through it last and decide one way or another until the maybe pile is gone.
- Continue to go through the remaining bottles until you feel you’ve gotten rid of everything but the shades you truly love and know you will wear. Be ruthless!
- Find a safe way to dispose of any polishes that are old, and see if you have a friend who will love the polishes that you don’t want anymore.
Hopefully that left you with the confidence and momentum to continue decluttering your home step by step. No one said you had to empty your home in one day. Enjoy the journey!