Elimination Game | 1 at a time

AMtoPM organize beauty inventory stash homekeeping

Due to #shopthestash, I’ve experimented with a couple of methods on how to go through things. This year-long experiment has put me in a bit of a quandary: as much as I want to clear most of it away, I still want to get my money’s worth and try them all. Not only try them all, but use it all up.

If I wasn’t so concerned about that, I’d be culling pretty ruthlessly. With the parameters I’ve set up, I’m doing pretty well.

What is it?:

One at a time, is well…committing to a product until it’s completely finished. No exceptions.

How did I do:

To date, with this method, I got rid of:

  • one trial kit (cleanser, emulsion, eye cream, cream)
  • five facial sunscreens
  • three body sunscreens
  • three bottles of coconut oil
  • one facial water
  • three toners
  • countless sheet masks
  • one serum
  • one facial oil…among other things

The Good:

Early on, I practiced the one-at-a-time rule and started with the things that had very little product or were going to expire soon. This worked really well and my ego and confidence was boosted as I saw all of those bottles and tubs pile up.

In a way, it wasn’t really that hard to adhere to this. Most of my stuff, definitely early on, were stockpiles of things I was already using. All my opened stuff at the start of the ban were quickly used up and replaced. As soon as those things were eliminated, it got a bit tough. I had built up a rhythm, knowing how long my sunscreen would last and how many days I’d be able to get from my moisturizer.

While it was tough to get back to some of my forgotten full-sized products was, it was a great way to gauge if it would work well and to really see how long a product would take me if that was the only thing I could use. I learned that some of my toners could go an average of three-five months. Two months if I was using it more as a refresher, DIY sheet mask and toner. Knowing that a product has a window of longevity is going to make me a better, more discerning shopper.

The Bad:

In my goal to get all of my stuff used up, I didn’t really account for environmental changes. Some of my products didn’t work as effectively because of the weather changes. My go-to sunscreen works best in the summer or in hot, humid weather. It can be a bit drying. It’s not the best sunscreen to use when it’s cold and overcast. Not the best, but it does its job. My go-to moisturizer didn’t fare so well last winter, which was really cold and dry (for West Coast standards).

The struggle to finish a full-sized product is real. At around the halfway point I got frustrated. When could I move on to something else?! I just wanted to try something new and the mental aspect of this ban sort of wore on me for a while.

The Solution: Coming back to my why helped reinforce the purpose of the ban: not wanting to live with all this cluttered chaos. Looking at my spreadsheet and seeing the numbers dwindle and my empties photos were a quick visual that quickly got me out of that funk.

Sticking it out with some duds. My stubbornness made me stick with a lot of lemons. Thankfully most of the things that didn’t really agree with me were makeup-based and not related to skin care. Optimistically I had thought that maybe it was my technique. Or I needed to get over a learning curve. Maybe I was just not feeling inspired to use it. In really trying to force myself to use stuff up, or at least until its expiration date, I became really frustrated and annoyed. Not really something I want to associate with something that I think of as a self-care ritual.

The Solution: Really look hard at what the product is supposed to deliver. Is it supposed to deliver longevity? Be smudge-proof? Make your skin look super soft and dewy? Look past the hyperbole and see if the claims really work for you? If there are no results or using a product makes you frustrated and annoyed, it’s not for you. Sometimes you just have to suck it up and acknowledge that you got a lemon and move on.


Do you practice the one-at-a-time rule? How is it working for you?
Let me know in the comments below or via social media!

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Elimination Game


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