Perfume Drawer : Simple Storage Idea

I’m the last person to give advice about organization, since until recently my perfume collection was arranged in a manner defined as chaos in most dictionaries. I took searching for samples and decants as par for the course. But even dinosaurs like myself can evolve. What inspired me to change was a discussion brought about by Lauren’s article about her perfume collection. In her article, Lauren describes following a decluttering system based on the best-selling book by Marie Kondo and selecting out items that bring her joy. Her fragrance wardrobe, having been exposed to heat, is unfortunately beyond cure, but the sight of it nonetheless touches her so deeply that she is determined to keep it. It’s not just the perfumes in the bottles, but memories and feelings that matter.

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As I read the article, I realized that the last time I felt any thrill out of my collection was when I was a college student and had a few bottles arranged on top of my bookshelf. The little arrangement–Prescriptives Calyx in its frosted green bottle, a small black cube of Robert Piguet Fracas, a precious bell jar of Serge Lutens Bois de Violette ordered via a friend in London and delivered to New Haven by another friend, and a ragtag assortment of decants from Makeupalley swapping–next to my textbooks on economics and political philosophy spoke to me of new discoveries, wanderlust and new friendships. Since then, my collection has grown by leaps and bounds, and while I pared down a lot during my move to Belgium, I still had enough to require a storage solution. I enjoyed the individual bottles, but whenever I surveyed the haphazard arrangement, I felt overwhelmed rather than overjoyed.

Then, not long ago I reached for a bottle of Frédéric Malle L’Eau d’Hiver, which was neglected at the back of my closet, and I noticed a suspicious musty, nutty odor. It had turned rancid. The bottle was kept in its box, in a cool, dark spot, and yet it smelled nothing like the soft iris and almond caramel of my original purchase. I barely got a chance to wear it. The same thing happened to Annick Goutal Quel Amour! and Hermès Jardin sur le Nil. Clearly, my hoarding system was flawed.

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At Lauren’s suggestion, I read Kondo’s book, and I found it refreshing and quirky, free from the finger wagging tendencies of other organizational guides. Anyone who thinks of the well-being of their socks and thanks shoes for their hard work is alright with me, but above all, Kondo’s advice is sensible and easy to follow. Since there are numerous articles on Kondo’s method online, I won’t describe it here; mostly, I used the book for motivation, rather than followed the instructions to the letter. Suffice it to say, it gave me a basic idea and a new way of contemplating my belongings. I still don’t talk to my boots, but I do fold socks into neat bundles.

To start with, I took all of my bottles and decants and arranged them on the floor in my bedroom. Without dwelling on the cost or rarity, I set aside those fragrances which gave me a rush of pleasure. No “maybe I will like it again” or “I will wear this for a certain mood” perfumes. Only scents that bring a smile to my face.  This part of the exercise was the most enjoyable, since it revealed instantly what I needed within reach. Yes to Aquolina Pink Sugar. No to Tom Ford Lys Fume. Yes to Jacomo Silences. No to Jean Patou Joy. I finally admitted that as much as I admire Chanel No 5, I won’t miss it should I bid goodbye to my bottle. On the other hand, I can’t imagine parting with Guerlain Après L’Ondée, a perfume that gives me butterflies in my stomach.

Another group was of reference perfumes, fragrances I don’t wear but need for work–evaluations, creating benchmarks, writing articles and doing research. The third group was for donations and giveaways. For instance, I didn’t hesitate to place vintage Hermès Rouge in the “donate” group. I also realized that I held onto Serge Lutens Chypre Rouge for all the wrong reasons (the feeling of guilt for having splurged on it). It’s beautiful, but it doesn’t suit me. So it’s now delighting a friend who dreamed of buying a full bottle. On the other hand, I’ve kept my near empty and musty smelling bottle of Fracas, because seeing it reminded me of my student days and of hunting down perfume bargains in the thrift shops after classes.

perfume drawer

Kondo’s book doesn’t cover the needs of a perfume addict, but having folded the socks, I discovered something rare in our household–a whole empty drawer. This was when I had my eureka moment of the day–a drawer of my dresser is a perfect place to keep a fragrance wardrobe.  The perfumes are within easy reach and out of direct light. The bottles are easily surveyed from the top–I placed them in one of the lower compartments. I divided up my perfumes into three groups, separated into several shoe boxes, and stuffed the original packaging at the back of the drawer to prevent the shoe boxes from moving. How easy is that!

Meanwhile, it has been a few months, and my perfume drawer has remained fairly neat and clutter free. I no longer search for anything, open boxes or fiddle with dozens of decants before I find the one I need. As I get dressed for the day, I can decide which fragrance to wear by running fingers over the tops, a pleasant sensory experience in itself. I store many of my perfumes in decants, and it helps to have them accessible and clearly labeled.  I leave a few favorites-of-the-moment on top of my dresser and keep untested samples in a pretty cup, an improvement on storing them in a wrinkled ziplock bag.

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I have a long way to go before I can call myself an organized person, and my method can certainly be improved. I’ll let you know what happens when I go through my enormous box of perfume samples. Nonetheless, I hope that my experience might help others in search of a better storage system. The best thing I learned in the process is that surrounding oneself with meaningful objects has an uplifting effect. I still like my clutter–my twenty varieties of black pepper, too many rose perfumes, mismatched tea cups and shelves of books I probably won’t re-read, but in a more manageable way.

If you have any storage ideas or stories, please share.  If you would like to read about another way to organize a perfume wardrobe, please see Patricia’s method.

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

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198 Comments

  • Bianca: i keep most of my perfumes in a dolce&gabbana shoebox in my bedroom. classy or tacky? i’m not sure. July 20, 2015 at 8:02am Reply

    • Victoria: Practical! Shoeboxes are the best storage devices, as I’m discovering. 🙂 July 20, 2015 at 12:33pm Reply

  • Hamamelis: Thank you for the honest and generous article describing your storage process. The drawer looks very inviting with the different ‘perfume siblings’ neatly lined up. I did ‘kondo’ my clothes this spring, and one of the things that helped me was to thank the items that no longer sparked joy. I think in many people letting go or throwing away perfectly good items of whatever is difficult, and this helps, to make it part of the learning process. I must admit that there are a few pieces of clothing I regret having thrown away, so also in the Kondo process learning is needed. It also helped that my clothes found a good home.
    Fortunately I am still young in ‘perfume years’ and had the good fortune of having my bedroom redone and I have a beautiful chest of drawers, where like you I keep my perfumes. I keep them still in boxes in the drawer, and samples in Japanese cookie boxes that various Japanase guests brought us over the years. Once my drawer is full I have to start the Kondo process, but so far it all fits in and I can easily find them.
    I suppose many if not all perfumista’s need to blind buy some mistakes before the lesson hits home, I am one of them, and I suppose I will thank those perfumes for that lesson.
    Where did your no longer fitting perfumes go? I think if I would let go of some, a give-away in BdJ would be perfect, but imagine for you that is somewhat different. Also my taste in perfume changes so often, seasonally, mood- and otherwise, I suppose it is called lack of experience adn at this point in time I would not trust my ‘Kondo’ capacity where perfume is concerned. And my drawer has some room left! July 20, 2015 at 9:01am Reply

    • Victoria: So true. Since I’ve organized my perfumes, I’ve approached some other categories of belongings in a similar manner, and I’ve discovered many more “don’t want it, but can’t let go of it” items. Some of them even moved with me from my college town to NY to Brussels! So, now they’re delighting someone at a charity organization (I hope).

      As for unwanted perfumes, I’ve organized before my second trip to Ukraine, so I took many bottles with me. The ladies in our village got to pick their favorites. Since most of them can’t afford perfume, especially now that the cost of living has skyrocketed while the salaries have stayed the same, they enjoyed it very much. I also gave a whole bag of samples and decants to the kids I taught perfumery. July 20, 2015 at 12:39pm Reply

      • Karen: What a wonderful thing to do – passing on perfumes to women who otherwise would not be able to enjoy it. Maria B comments further down about donating to her church. I know some people may think that luxuries like perfume aren’t “important”, but I firmly believe the things that inspire and remind us of beauty are really important. July 20, 2015 at 2:39pm Reply

        • Michaela: Karen, you read my thoughts 🙂 July 21, 2015 at 3:24am Reply

        • Victoria: I do too. Beauty is a powerful force and can help one handle stressful, difficult situations. Even if all we are talking about is a bottle of perfume. July 21, 2015 at 11:25am Reply

      • Hamamelis: The most fitting destination for the no longer fittin you perfumes, now sparking joy in others. July 20, 2015 at 4:28pm Reply

        • Victoria: It was wonderful to see so many happy faces and lots of smiles as everyone sniffed perfumes and selected favorites. July 21, 2015 at 11:36am Reply

          • AndreaR: You’ve created a lovely memory for the children. July 21, 2015 at 2:47pm Reply

            • Victoria: I hope so. They looked so happy and enthusiastic as they were blending their perfumes. July 22, 2015 at 7:05am Reply

              • Karen: You never know, you may have inspired a future Dominique Ropion or Vero Kern! July 26, 2015 at 7:50am Reply

                • Victoria: Some of them were really good and had such sharp noses and memory for scents. July 27, 2015 at 11:53am Reply

      • Felicia: How lovely and having just painfully done this with my wardrobe, it is time to go through the bottles I have left. I purged years ago when I found cherished bottles had turned. Once my first Grand-niece was born I realized I wanted a signature fragrance so Iris Poudre became it and is still the bottle I run out of twice a year but then the collection started creeping up again (Rose, violets, spices, classics and moderns) and well it’s time to organize. I often leave samples at work in a little jar and delight when I find a woman has spritzed something or taken it. Bottles are often left but not as often. Thank you for reminding us to keep what we love without guilt. All of life should be this way! July 30, 2015 at 8:52pm Reply

        • Victoria: I agree. Life is too short, stressful and unpredictable to burden it with the feeling of guilt over such small, unimportant things. August 1, 2015 at 5:59am Reply

  • Phyllis Iervello: I keep mine (about 200 full bottles) on top of my dresser and bureau. There is nothing else on them except a myriad of perfumes. I have not yet had to deal with any of them going bad and some of them have been there for well over a decade. I know where to find them because they are right there in front of me. It is not perhaps the best way to keep ones perfumes but it has been working for me for years. July 20, 2015 at 9:12am Reply

    • Victoria: Sounds like a convenient way to store them. One problem with my previous arrangement was that I had bottles of perfume all over the house. So, of course, I’d forget where things were! July 20, 2015 at 12:41pm Reply

  • Elie: I laughed several times reading your post. Thank you for smiles. I still don’t have many perfumes in my collection so storing them is not a problem. But I have many samples and finding the right one can take up time. How does one store uncarded samples? July 20, 2015 at 9:18am Reply

    • Vanie: I have mine stored in a drawer in small boxes (like jewelry boxes, or those the samples came in for example) and empty small-sized candle jars organized by category, like Roses, Fruity, Chypre, etc. I find that I don’t spend too much time looking for a specific sample this way. July 20, 2015 at 11:47am Reply

      • Victoria: A great, elegant idea! Thank you, Vanie. July 21, 2015 at 10:39am Reply

    • Victoria: My pleasure! 🙂
      For now, I sorted samples into ziplock bags by the brand or type (recent launches, 80s, etc.), but I still need to go through each bag and figure out what I should keep and what I should discard. July 20, 2015 at 12:43pm Reply

    • Bethany: I know this sounds odd, but I find ammunition cartridge boxes (say, for 9mm rounds) make a wonderful storage method for sample vials. Their slots are a perfect fit for the small 1ML vials (the ones made to hold large-caliber rifle shells fit the larger spray vials as well, if you have those). The vials are kept upright and arranged in rows, and many boxes even come with labels for the rows (mine are alphabetized by perfume house). They’re also lidded and come in clear, colors or opaque, so protect the contents from light. They’re easy to find (any sporting goods store or online) and cheap. Some hold up to 100 vials, and they’re easily stackable, if you’ve filled more than one (and I’m ashamed to admit I have — thank you, Surrender to Chance ;-). I’ve loved using this solution to organize my samples. July 22, 2015 at 10:44am Reply

  • Judy: I remember when I first moved in with my husband, his bathroom was black & white. I brought over my Fracas, Black Cashmere, and another I can’t remember in their black bottles. They added my feminine touch! I sort of wear perfumes by season. I keep the most used on top of my dresser, while the other seasons are in dresser drawers. I’m always looking in those drawers for a “craved” winter in the midst of summer, etc., but this works pretty well for me. I LOVED this post…THANKS. July 20, 2015 at 9:31am Reply

    • Victoria: I can just imagine how chic it looked. My husband used to keep his little collection in the bathroom, and it looked great. He used up the bottles quickly, so nothing went off. But now his collection also has grown, and he has a shelf in the hallway. July 20, 2015 at 12:45pm Reply

  • Celeste Church: I love the picture with the samples in a teacup!! What a very cute way to have a cluster of samples at hand. (Especially for those of us who also collect teacups!!) Great article. July 20, 2015 at 9:31am Reply

    • Victoria: Glad to see another teacup lover! I have several favorites, from a pistachio green mug to these kind of frilly sets, and it’s a special pleasure to start a day drinking tea or coffee out of them. July 20, 2015 at 12:47pm Reply

  • spe: Kondo’s method works very well for perfume! I enjoyed reading your description of what you kept. The fragrances that bring me joy are Vent Vert (1990s), A La Nuit, Chanel 22, various woods and irises.
    There is a small, 4- tier, plastic drawer structure in my storage unit that houses most of my out-of-season perfumes. I also have a medium-sized cardboard storage box that contains rare, unopened perfumes. The perfumes that are in heavy rotation sit on my dresser (about 12).
    It is fun to read about others storage solutions. July 20, 2015 at 9:33am Reply

    • Victoria: I agree, I love reading about other’s storage solutions, whether for perfume or other things. It’s so personal, but one picks up many ideas.

      I also kept my Vent Vert, A La Nuit, No 22 and all of my irises, among other things. July 20, 2015 at 12:49pm Reply

  • Angela: Thank you for the inspirational and informative pics and kondo storage suggestion! I keep most of mine in a bottom drawer also. It’s the bottom of a closed door armoire that once contained five drawers on top. Those have been removed so I can fit 120 plus bottles of wine inside. Previously perfume bottles were stored according to perfume house in a guest bathroom that didn’t see much light or use. I may still display a few bottles, but I feel better less cluttered. However, i sometimes think of donating my perfume drawer since it was more for reference and scent experience and less for actual daily wear. July 20, 2015 at 9:54am Reply

    • Victoria: If your perfumes truly bring you no pleasure, then, no, it makes no sense to keep them. Or makes no sense to keep the ones that don’t thrill you. You must have some bottles out of that large collection that give you a rush of joy. Maybe, it’s worth going through every bottle and separating them out this way? Then you can decide how to proceed next. July 20, 2015 at 12:52pm Reply

      • Angela: Oops, I inadvertently misspoke. I meant donate ones that I bought solely to educate my nose (amateur though it is) and out of curiosity for their place in olfactory history. . . .i of course will keep those that make my heart glad 🙂 July 20, 2015 at 3:39pm Reply

        • Victoria: Makes sense! A reference collection is helpful at one stage, but I’m sure you’ve been collecting long enough to know your tastes well enough. July 21, 2015 at 11:35am Reply

  • Patricia: I love your pictures, and it was great fun sneaking a peek at your collection! I also keep samples waiting to be tried in a pretty container: an antique saucer that belonged to my mother. July 20, 2015 at 9:55am Reply

    • Victoria: I loved your storage idea and your mirrored tray. I felt that it would enhance the pleasure of my perfumes if I do use something else that inspires joy, such as my cup. It was a gift from my mom, by the way. July 20, 2015 at 12:53pm Reply

  • Karen: Great article and comments! My biggest challenge is the samples I’ve accumulated – some I keep in small Art Deco glass containers that belonged to my grandmother. The rest are in little antique cups in my vanity’s drawers. I switch up the samples periodically, mostly inspired by the monthly Recommend Me a Perfume posts.

    My FBs are on my vanity, some stored in another room. The 10ml Frederic Malle’s are in a beautiful bowl that also holds some costume jewelry – something luxurious about the way it looks.

    I do thank many of my things – especially my tools, and really especially the power tools! They make building things much easier and have been very helpful.

    Since a lot of my things have come from great aunts and uncles and my grandparents, when I thank certain objects I am also thanking my ancestors. I’ve been doing that for a long time and am happy that the idea is gaining popularity! July 20, 2015 at 10:36am Reply

    • Victoria: Samples are always a bit difficult to organize, because they are small and they multiply very fast (I swear, they breed!) 🙂 Keeping some samples for reference, even if you don’t wear those perfumes, might be a good idea. For instance, our tastes evolve, so it’s good idea to revisit fragrances. Also, you might want to compare one perfume to another. Unless you live in a big city with lots of perfume stores, samples come in handy. But then again, keeping samples for too long is not a good idea. They turn relatively fast. And not all sample vials are made equal. Some will make your perfume go rancid in record time. I will have to write a separate post on the subject, since I’ve had plenty of case studies with my organization attempt. 🙂

      A big part of the Slavic culture, just like Japanese, is tied to the animistic beliefs, so it doesn’t seem totally odd to think of objects as having sentiments. My mom does something similar to what you do. She’s actually one of the most optimistic, balanced and uplifting people in our family (not to say that she can’t drive me crazy time to time, as is every mom’s prerogative). July 20, 2015 at 1:00pm Reply

      • Karen: It is fun going through samples – reminding me of what I once loved, but now am glad I waited before buying a bottle, or wondering why on earth I haven’t gotten a bottle!

        Having just completed two big projects (cupboards for display and storage), I thanked all of my tools frequently – they were an essential part of creating order and beauty for our home! I definitely want to learn more about Slavic culture – the textile and food traditions that you write of and photograph resonate for me.

        And yup, moms are allowed to drive our (adult) children a little crazy now and then – I swear it’s for your own good!! July 20, 2015 at 2:48pm Reply

        • Victoria: I will think of a reading list that might be of interest to you. There are some great history books too, especially the publications from the past few years when more archives have become open. July 21, 2015 at 11:28am Reply

          • Karen: That would be wonderful! Right now I am in a reading funk! After a fascinating, fun nonfiction book, The Map Thief, which expanded my world in so many directions (just like a map!), nothing has caught my fancy. So some suggestions are very welcome! July 21, 2015 at 2:09pm Reply

            • Victoria: Not exactly about Ukraine or textiles (and rather depressing to boot), but I just finished Dalrymple’s From the Holy Mountain and loved it. July 22, 2015 at 7:04am Reply

              • Karen: I thought I had read all of Dalrymple’s older books, but looks like I missed this one. Will check it out, thanks! July 26, 2015 at 7:53am Reply

                • Victoria: He occasionally annoys me with “oh, look at me being such an intrepid traveler,” but it’s probably because I’m just jealous. July 27, 2015 at 11:54am Reply

                  • Karen: Maybe he’s a bit jeoulous of your perfume, food and art knowledge! I’ve read most of his books and enjoyed experiencing his progression from the easier reads of his younger days to his scholarly, but very readable later books. Return of a King was really fascinating and tied together a couple of books by other authors on that period of time in India. July 27, 2015 at 7:28pm Reply

                    • Victoria: I’ve started it, but I haven’t gotten far yet. It’s so darn depressing. July 28, 2015 at 9:12am

  • Gentiana: Thank you for the instructive and honest article sharing your experience, I hope I could apply at least a part of it. I already feel kind of overwhelmed, with 80+ full bottles and 300+ samples and decants…
    I used to keep track on a hand written list, then on a spreadsheet, by house, in alphabetical order. Now I am not able to write all the samples, as they are too much, and in permanent come-and-go movement.
    I keep my full bottles in more places:
    – most of them in a big drawer under my bed, together with about half of the samples. FB-s are in no particular order or grouping, samples are in alphabetical order, by houses.
    – some of them in my closet. There are two bags from niche perfumeries in bucharest, containing niche samples from those ahops (got for purchases and by persuasion 🙂 )
    – some in the drawer of my vanity table (the not-so-tall ones)
    – the current rotation ones (6-8) on the vanity table, but frequently I crave for something is hidden and that means a good quarter of hour of quest
    – a few in a briefcase (my first collection was all contained by this briefcase)
    – at the office in another briefcase
    – some of them at the office in the fridge. day by day more and more perfume bottles go to the fridge, less space for food remains. I hoped this will help me to lose some weight… but still no signs to significant change of dress size :). The fridge houses a big part of niche samples, purchased by internet shopping.

    Empty bottles are in two places: the ones that still have some perfume remained – in the same drawer under the bed with the FB-s and the bottles kept just for memories in a cupboard with glass doors – already so crowded that is impossible to open it without 2-3 bottles falling out. July 20, 2015 at 10:52am Reply

    • Victoria: I’m impressed that you’ve tried to keep a spreadsheet! Wow! I’m sure you can find a perfect way to organize everything.

      One thing I discovered is that keeping perfumes in many different places makes me forget what I have. It also felt like cluttered. Now, I have work and reference perfumes in my office in a cupboard and my “pleasure” perfumes in the bedroom. Of course, there are some overlaps, but it’s still manageable. July 20, 2015 at 1:03pm Reply

      • Gentiana: Yes, exactly: keeping in more places gives confusion and the sensation of clutter… A few years ago I kept perfumes in 3 places and grouped by color (I observed some smell/ color synesthesy ) but my collection was more manageable, as it had only 20-25 FB-s and 30-40 samples &decants. Thank you for the great idea to separate them by the gradient of love I have for them… I have some perfumes blind bought based on reviews and ratings…. and I must admit, trying to love something that doesn’t resonate with my soul, only on trends or on others opinions and ratings (let those be great perfume specialists) is a kind of snobbery… :)… I try to find the power to give them away… but, on the other hand, my tastes changed a lot in the last years, and the small evil goblin is still whispering in my ear: what if… ? July 21, 2015 at 12:11am Reply

        • Victoria: I’d say, just give it to someone else who can enjoy it now, sell it or donate it. Just keep whatever gives you joy today. If your tastes evolve, you can find way to those perfumes again. I remember in the past regretting letting go of a bottle of L’Heure Bleue (and having to re-acquire it), but realistically, what are the chances that very bottle would have thrilled me, especially as perfumes get reformulated constantly.

          Another story is of a friend who kept a sample of No 5 and then discovered that she loves it. She bought a full bottle once to find that it was reformulated and didn’t smell like the perfume she loved. So, lots of money spent for nothing. July 21, 2015 at 11:57am Reply

  • MJ: You timely article inspires me to purge my fragrance collection. Interestingly I had just picked up Kondo’s book from the library on Saturday and was intimidated. I try not to buy much perfume so I never part with scents I’ve “splurged” on. I am going back in there with the “Joy”question. So good to hear how Kondo’s techniques work for real people. July 20, 2015 at 10:54am Reply

    • Victoria: Marie Kondo is such a quirky character that she intrigued me instantly. I mean, here is someone who was interested in the way to organize things since the age of 5. I loved the book. I didn’t feel that I have to follow everything, but much of the advice was sensible and liberating. Also, I see her criterion of “sparking joy” as more loosely defined. Anything that elicited emotion and was meaningful was kept. For instance, she doesn’t seem to like books much, because most people don’t re-read them. But my collection of books, even just the sight of it, inspires so much happiness in me, utter, boundless happiness at the very thought of ideas, words and dreams contained between the covers, that I can’t even contemplate parting with it. And I did take all of the books down and held them one by one, as she suggested. They all stayed (and in the process, I dusted and organized them in a much better way). July 20, 2015 at 1:11pm Reply

      • Mariann: The only books I part with are those I genuinely didn’t like or feel meh about. The rest stay and are reread and reread. I do also have ebooks, just to keep the breeding problem under control, but it’s not the same. July 20, 2015 at 2:35pm Reply

        • Victoria: I parted mostly with books others unloaded on me and I didn’t have heart to refuse or books I disliked. But the part of books to give away was relatively small in comparison to perfumes and especially clothes. July 21, 2015 at 11:22am Reply

          • Karen: Clothes are my biggest challenge. I’m always wondering how many raggedy tee shirts do I really need, and then there is my regret at having gotten rid of most of my Laura Ashley clothes years ago. Not thinking that the fabrics would be worth keeping the clothes for, I donated dresses and skirts. Although I may not want to wear a dropped waist jumper anymore, I am still sad thinking about the beautiful fabrics! July 21, 2015 at 2:14pm Reply

            • Victoria: Would you have remade them into something else? July 22, 2015 at 7:05am Reply

              • Karen: I *think* or at least hope so! It would have been easy enough to have created some skirts from the dropped waist dresses, and now I know a woman who does incredible alterations she could probably create a chic, up to date dress from an older one. Oh well, good to know what not to get rid of when I’m clearing out! July 26, 2015 at 7:56am Reply

                • Victoria: I found that whenever I had taken anything to be altered in such a drastic way, I never ended up wearing it much. Maybe, it’s just the childhood memory of often wearing “refurbished” things. July 27, 2015 at 11:57am Reply

                  • Karen: Funny how our childhood can have a big impact on us as adults. Yes, the appeal of refurbished hand-me-downs is not high! July 27, 2015 at 4:59pm Reply

                    • Victoria: They were my own clothes, just refurbished to accommodate me growing. In the retrospect, some of them were chic, such as a while fur coat that my mom trimmed with beige fur from her old cape. (Yes, we wore fur, since in the -25C it was the most sensible thing to wear; modern insulatory fabrics haven’t reached us yet). July 28, 2015 at 8:59am

  • Maria: I also adore fragrance. I live in a hot summer climate. I have found purchasing a 3 ft tall fridge and placing it in my closet , 8×13 so the air does circulate, was very good for my fragrances. Back in the day when I did not have these luxuries I just saved the butter or egg compartment From my regular fridge for the few bottles I had. Note, this is also ideal for cremes,makeup and a bottle or two of soft drinks. The down side is that I cannot admire the beauty of the bottles when they are put away in my closet fridge. Light whites are more fragile than the stronger orientals. I love fragrace and everything from A. Gutal to Fracas, Sung, Chanel(many),Dior, etc… have done well . I have had some for several years and they are still wonderful. P.S. where may I purchase the mini collection of Les Exclusifs? 11 bottles assorted. July 20, 2015 at 10:54am Reply

    • Victoria: A fridge is a good idea. Some of my very delicate vintages are kept in a wine fridge. I just make decants for my perfume drawer.

      I’m not sure about Les Exclusifs minis. Did you try calling a Chanel boutique? July 20, 2015 at 1:13pm Reply

  • Trudy: I love this post as I am not consistently organized but I’m trying to be more so. I have a copy of the Marie Kondo book but so far haven’t put her method in action (although I do plan to do so). I keep my perfume in my bedroom closet because it’s dark and relatively cool. It seems to work well in preserving the perfumes but I miss out on the joy of seeing those lovely bottles on display. I would like to see them sitting on my dresser but my bedroom faces southwest and can get pretty bright during the day. I have to choose between a sunny room or keeping the shades closed for the perfumes! Maybe I’ll try putting just one or two on my dresser (ones that I presently wear most often). Love the teacup! July 20, 2015 at 11:02am Reply

    • Victoria: I had this concern too, but I mostly solved by decanting some of my most delicate (or precious) perfumes into brushed silver and black atomizers from Sephora. They look attractive and you need not worry about the whole bottle of perfume spoiling. Then again, some of my beautiful bottles are displayed. If the perfumes goes off while sitting in the back of my closet, it’s even worse. July 21, 2015 at 10:31am Reply

  • Ari: Oh, a wonderful post. I keep my Lolita Lempickas front and center, too- those bottles are impossibly photogenic! July 20, 2015 at 11:08am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you, Ari!
      Yes, LL is one full package–gorgeous bottle + beautiful scent. July 21, 2015 at 10:32am Reply

  • Annie O: Victoria, I love the whimsy of the little red shoes, which balance the photo, and add to the story.

    Karen, gratitude is one path to enlightenment! And as is said, if you aren’t grateful for all you have already, why would the Universe give you any more?! July 20, 2015 at 11:12am Reply

    • rainboweyes: Yes, the red shoes were the first thing that caught my eye 🙂
      As a mother of two boys growing out of their clothes every few months I’ve got practice in decluttering. I donate a lot of them (and my clothes) to Poland.
      My perfume wardrobe is too small (28 full bottles) to require special organising, my scents live in a canine in my powder room – the coolest place in our house. My samples are scattered all over the place but funnily enough, I always know where to find a particular scent. Good workout for my brain 🙂 July 21, 2015 at 3:55am Reply

      • Victoria: My mom also takes lots of clothes to Ukraine, and my aunt did the same thing with her 3 kids when they were younger. Someone in the village is only too happy to have them. But my grandmother always goes through the clothes first. I was chuckling when I saw her wearing my old college sweater to weed the garden. 🙂 July 21, 2015 at 12:03pm Reply

    • Victoria: 🙂 Red is one of my favorite colors, and nothing brightens up the outfits as a pair of red shoes. July 21, 2015 at 10:33am Reply

      • limegreen: Or a red tote! July 21, 2015 at 3:10pm Reply

        • Victoria: I have a small red purse, but I’m thinking of something larger for everyday in red. I’m craving colors. July 22, 2015 at 7:10am Reply

          • limegreen: Maybe a byproduct of living in northern climes? When I lived in Boston I was surrounded by greys and blacks and all my outfits were such. I craved colors, too, and had a much-loved red patent leather shoulder bag/tote. Now that I’m no longer in the NE, I’ve chucked all the black outfits, which took a few years to let go, even the heavy wool ones! (speaking of holding on to things — was I waiting for climate change and it would start snowing regularly here?). But I still love and use my red patent bag, even though I wish it were a tad larger to fit stuff and file folders. But the bag still sparks joy so it stays! 🙂 Didn’t realize that I was following the Kondo concept with my bags as many of them were no longer used or inspired joy. I’ve gifted away almost all of my nice purses and professional bags/totes to younger women who are just starting their careers. I remember not having anything nice when I first finished grad school and needed money for more important things (rent, food). July 22, 2015 at 10:42am Reply

            • Victoria: I can just imagine how much such gifts would be appreciated. One of the best presents from my mom once I started working was a nice purse. I felt so put together and a bit more confident. A little thing, but it made a difference.

              Lately, I’ve been coveting either a beige purse (the kind of rose beige color that Japanese magazines call “milk tea”) or a bright yellow purse. July 22, 2015 at 2:36pm Reply

              • limegreen: Your mom is just so awesome, everything you mentioned about her is just so cool! (I miss my late mother so much.)

                I know exactly that beautiful shade of rose beige! My Taiwanese friends call it “lotus root” — sounds better in Chinese, just as “milk tea” sounds better in Japanese! It’s a gorgeous elegant color. (I couldn’t keep it clean, I’m afraid!)

                As Karen observed below, a lot of BdJers are lovers of other things besides perfume — lipstick and bags! July 22, 2015 at 3:37pm Reply

                • Victoria: Not really, I’m afraid–“miruku tee” is how it sounds. 🙂 But having seen lotus roots, I can picture exactly what the color looks like. Yes, that’s it. If anyone spots a pretty, roomy bag in such a rosy beige color, I’d love to know.

                  BdJers seem to be a passionate bunch in general–dogs, cats, books all feature heavily in our lists of favorites. July 23, 2015 at 7:12am Reply

                  • Karen: Coach has a color Blush which may be a bit darker than what you are looking for – hard to tell from online photos. One or two years ago they had a lighter pinkish that sounds like what you are describing, very very pretty color. July 26, 2015 at 7:59am Reply

                    • Victoria: It’s one of those things that I crave time to time and then find the desire for such a light-colored, impractical bag evaporating. Coach has pretty colors, though. July 27, 2015 at 11:58am

      • katherine: Ditto of the red shoes. Love them! I’m frequently complimented when I wear them. July 21, 2015 at 6:46pm Reply

        • Victoria: One time I was wearing these shoes, an elderly gentleman commented, “Mademoiselle, your shoes light up the whole street.” It was very sweet. July 22, 2015 at 7:15am Reply

          • Katherine: That kind of comment makes one’s day – doesn’t it. August 1, 2015 at 4:39pm Reply

          • Katherine: Actually, you NEVER forget that kind of comment. So charming! A story to be repeated… I wish more people were clever, gallant, and generous that way. Which reminds me, just yesterday, my husband (DH) asked a cute three year old boy who was hanging off of the grocery conveyor belt, whether he was a monkey. The little boy energetically replied “Yes!”. DH replied that he had also been a monkey when he was younger, and now he was Spiderman! The kid let go and jumped to attention – all wide eyed and amazed. Cutie believed he was talking to the real Spiderman! DH set the record straight which I’m sure disappointed the little guy – but everyone else had a good chuckle. I wasn’t there – but I’m cheered by the memory of it all the same – just like the old gentleman and your shoes. They’re keepers. August 1, 2015 at 5:02pm Reply

            • Victoria: I bet he made that boy’s day! 🙂 What a sweet story. August 1, 2015 at 6:54pm Reply

  • Aisha: I did something similar about six months ago. I had been hoarding samples for years, and finally decided to weed through them. I now have a medium shopping bag full of fragrances that I consider “m’eh, ” but some other people might really like. Those need to be given away. Another medium-sized makeup bag holds fragrance samples that I like (i.e. Angel), but I’m not sure yet whether I love. Then there is a small bag of samples that I absolutely love. If I end up using up a sample and then longing for it once it’s gone, It’s likely I’ll buy a small bottle or decant. (That happened with both Stella and La Panthere earlier this year.)

    When I get a new sample, I put in in a glass vase that I have on my dresser. It reminds me to try it and decide whether or not it’s a “keeper.”

    As for bottles and decants, the ones I’m not currently wearing regularly (and the ones I consider “precious” because of sentimental reasons) end up in my perfume drawer. The ones I wear daily are on display and kept away from direct sunlight and heat. I think the bottles just add something special to the seasonal “decor.” 🙂 July 20, 2015 at 11:30am Reply

    • Aisha: I loved reading this, by the way. I enjoy learning about other organization methods. July 20, 2015 at 11:49am Reply

      • Victoria: Me too. Can’t explain why, but it’s always so interesting. 🙂 July 21, 2015 at 10:39am Reply

    • Victoria: I also have some perfumes that I wear seasonally, such as Casmir, so I haven’t yet decided whether I need to store it elsewhere. For now, it’s in the same drawer as everything else I love. It’s slightly further back though, and I will bring it out front (or on top of the dresser) once the weather cools down.

      Samples clearly have an expiration date, so yes, it’s not ideal to store them for too long. In the past, I was more likely to hoard them, but I’ve just smelled through a pile of samples dating a few years, and so many of them no longer are fresh. July 21, 2015 at 10:37am Reply

  • Mare: I loved reading your article and seeing your collection. What a treat to wake up to this!

    I just acquired a carded sample of Annick Goutal Quel Amour when I purchased another scent. I’ve used it a few times, and loved it. It’s so different and pretty, and does bring a smile to my face. I had my mind made up that it was going to be my next purchase. I’m wondering now about buying a full bottle if its a scent that turns quickly. July 20, 2015 at 11:33am Reply

    • Victoria: I’m happy that you liked it. It was hard to get started with the organization, but once I did, I enjoyed the process.

      If you use Quel Amour within reasonable time (a couple of years), it should be ok. Mine was hoarded for far too long. Hoarded and not used. How sad is that. July 21, 2015 at 10:38am Reply

  • Austenfan: I love these confessions! Even gladder that some people are even less organised than I am 😉 ! (I’ve always folded my socks, except my hiking socks as making balls of sock harms the elastic)
    Most of my collection is in a small chest of drawers, organised by house. Some is in the fridge, and the remainder is spread over my clothing cupboard.
    I do own way too much though, but so far I’m not ready to part with more bottles.

    Oh and I love the tips of your feet in one of the photos! July 20, 2015 at 11:56am Reply

    • Victoria: I have a friend in Brussels (another perfume lover) who has an impeccably organized apartment, with an impeccably organized perfume collection. I admired it, although for myself, something with a small degree of chaos is still best. July 21, 2015 at 10:43am Reply

      • Austenfan: I guess the same goes for me. Too tidy always brings out the contrarian in me 🙂 July 21, 2015 at 1:14pm Reply

        • Victoria: I guess, I make the best of my existing situation. 🙂
          My friend’s place is still very cozy, though. July 22, 2015 at 7:02am Reply

          • Austenfan: Chest of drawers has collapsed! Will have to reorganise! July 23, 2015 at 3:49pm Reply

            • Victoria: From the weight of perfume? 🙂
              Hope that nothing got damaged. July 23, 2015 at 4:31pm Reply

              • Austenfan: Yes! And no, nothing got damaged. It dropped onto another layer of perfume 🙂 . I’ve just bought a replacement, a lovely, second hand, sturdy cupboard that should be able to withstand this fragrant weight far better. July 24, 2015 at 6:11pm Reply

                • Karen: For a while I was on a refinishing kick. If you aren’t crazy about the color of your cupboard and you are near a Home Depot or Lowes, they usually have a bunch of “oops” paints – mixed colors that didn’t turn out quite right. They are super cheap and great fun to play with – plus for me a good lesson in blending colors. The sample containers here go for .50 and a strong tint can be mixed in with a lighter one – add some this and that, and you can create some wonderful colors! July 26, 2015 at 8:04am Reply

                  • Austenfan: Thanks for the tip, but I prefer my wood au naturel, plus this chest of drawers is made of nice wood and is in pristine condition! July 26, 2015 at 12:58pm Reply

  • Figuier: What a great article – and it makes a lovely set with Lauren’s and Patricia’s posts on similar topics. It sounds like you’re much more ‘at peace’ with your bottles now!

    Actually, without calling it by that name, I think the ‘joy factor’ test is what’s kept my perfume collection quite small and useable. For me it’s about having exactly those perfumes I need to cover my usual range of instinctive cravings, and to keep me interested and pleased. So I regularly gift or sell bottles I no longer use, as my tastes and perceptions change. Which leaves space for the odd new acquisition.

    Recently that meant, for instance, admitting that I no longer get any wear out of my previously beloved Coromandel, due to an increased sensitivity to patchouli. In theory, I know, it might be worth holding on to it in case my tastes change again further down the line. But that’s simply not the kind of perfume collection I want; it irks me not to use and enjoy the perfume I own.

    So all my FBs fit in a box that lives on top of my dresser, and I get such a kick choosing from it every morning. Books and clothes, however, are another matter entirely… July 20, 2015 at 12:00pm Reply

    • Victoria: You approach it all in a very sensible way. Yes, as Angela above was mentioning, she got tired of having “a reference collection,” great perfumes that she doesn’t wear. It also felt this way to me. I might enjoy No 5 on some days more than others, but day to day I can’t rely on it to hit the spot. Of course, since I do need a reference library for work, I can cheat a little and move No 5 to that group, rather than discard it altogether. Nevertheless, I’ve been happier with what I have, and I no longer feel overwhelmed.

      As for clothes, I need to devise a way to store sweaters. We had a moth invasion in our last apartment, and now I keep them in zippered plastic bags with little cedarwood balls. But of course, it makes it hard to know which bag contains what sweater, especially since many of them are black. July 21, 2015 at 10:48am Reply

  • Becky: Funny, this is the second time today I saw the Kondo book on the blogs today. Could it be a sign?!

    (No, it is a coincidence. Nevertheless, it is going in my TBR list.)

    I have current rotation perfumes out on a pretty tray that belonged to my grandma, and samples I’m currently using in a tulip-shaped cup I got at a thrift shop. Off-season perfumes are stacked in a small box in my closet. It’s not ideal – they shouldn’t be out in the light, but I just love looking at them. I get more enjoyment and use out of them when I can see them! And my bedroom is generally pretty dim and climate controlled – it’s not the worst-case scenario. July 20, 2015 at 12:09pm Reply

    • Victoria: Her book is popular, and I can see why. At first, I was more than skeptical, because the idea distilled into bullet points didn’t make sense to me. Now that I read the book, I have changed my mind. Her method is really helpful. July 21, 2015 at 10:50am Reply

  • Neva: Interesting article and nice pictures. The red shoes remind me of Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz – so cute 🙂
    Of course after reading it I felt the need to reorganize myself…I have a shelf in my fridge which is dedicated to perfume and I have a shelf in my bathroom with the perfumes I wear this season and I try to stick to just a few ones. The samples I’ve tried so far are scattered around in a nice paper bag in my bedroom and the samples I must try are on my working table next to my laptop so I keep an eye on them and they make my working day more enjoyable.

    I have introduced a perfume swap day when my girlfriends come to my place and bring all the perfumes they are tired of. We try them all out and maybe find something new and interesting in the bunch. In this way I regularly get rid of stuff I’m not specially fond of and everybody is enjoying it very much. July 20, 2015 at 12:10pm Reply

    • Victoria: When I saw that lipstick red color, I had to have them. Luckily, patent leather is very easy to maintain.

      A swap day idea is terrific. It’s lucky that you have other friends who are into perfume. July 21, 2015 at 10:51am Reply

  • Maria B: My church is involved with a project that caters to the needs of homeless women. Last year I de-cluttered my perfume collection by giving away bottles of fragrances I no longer wore to the project. It was good stuff. The women could choose whichever fragrance they wanted. I delighted in how much pleasure women in great distress would derive from something beautiful. I’m eyeing which ones I will give away next. Sadly, I’m fickle with my fragrances. July 20, 2015 at 1:51pm Reply

    • Karen: Wonderful, wonderful! What a generous and thoughtful thing to do. July 20, 2015 at 2:50pm Reply

    • Victoria: Such a good project. From my experience, people love receiving perfume. It seems like such a little thing, but it adds much to one’s sense of self, one’s mood. July 21, 2015 at 10:53am Reply

  • Aurora: Thank you so much for sharing your project step by step and in the process inviting us into your home and showing your collection. The final result looks so inviting and I love the mention that you can simply run your fingers over the top of the bottles, spoken like the incredible perfumista you are.

    Here is the status of my collection: during spring cleaning I too realized that things were not in control: so I opened the cabinet in the living room entirely dedicated to perfumes and I left all the ‘current’ bottles, and removed all the vintage bottles which I do not use so often, they are now in the guest bedroom in a square and closed on three sides mirror cube piece of furniture, perfect for vintage bottles as they’re is no direct sunlight except at the very end of the afternoon – one exception: all my vintage and modern Shalimars – 5 at the moment – are in my bedroom on top of my desk as I reach for them fairly often and love looking at them, they make me feel cosy and secure in my space if that makes sense.

    It’s not by far as elegant as your solution, I adore the photo of your drawer, but it works fairly well for me to have the bottles in different rooms. I haven’t read the Kondo book (maybe I shall now) but have given already the inevitable bottle mistakes to Scope charity and I am a little proud because I never have more than 50 or so samples, I use them very quickly and love to share them around. I had also loved Lauren’s post, and Pat’s too. July 20, 2015 at 1:56pm Reply

    • Victoria: What a charming solution! I’ve only interacted with you here in the comments, but you’ve always struck me as someone who combines practicality and whimsy, a great combination. So, I’m not surprised that your perfume wardrobe remains well-edited and well-tailored. I also like the idea of having my favorite bottles close. I also love just the sight of my Shalimar bottle. July 21, 2015 at 11:13am Reply

  • Natalie: I like how Marie Kondo wants people to ask themselves if their possessions ‘spark joy’. I too have mismatched tea cups and mugs. I love tea and coffee and having a variety of beautiful vessels to drink from heightens the experience. I enjoyed choosing each and every cup and was picky about it. Life is too short to be a cup monogamist and I don’t apologize for having a mismatched collection. July 20, 2015 at 2:32pm Reply

    • Victoria: Kondo’s method forces you to think of your things in a very basic and very personal way. Practicality, of course, is very important, but surrounding yourself only with utilitarian items is boring. One can survive drinking tea out of a single cup (or not even drinking tea at all). But that wouldn’t be interesting. Same with perfume, clothes, books, etc. July 21, 2015 at 11:20am Reply

  • Jehanne Dubrow: I started feeling a lot more pleasure about my perfume collection, once I invested in a dozen of the large plastic “shoeboxes” from the Container Store. These plastic boxes stack very easily, and most of my bathroom closet is now dedicated to my neatly stacked perfumes. I also started saving the original boxes in which the perfumes come, because I realized it was easier for me to read box label than bottles, which made finding things easier overall. July 20, 2015 at 2:38pm Reply

    • Victoria: This also sounds like a great idea. Since I’ve took the photos, I made little labels for the tops of the decants, so I can instantly tell them apart. I don’t have that many in the drawer, but still, now it’s even easier to find what I need. July 21, 2015 at 11:24am Reply

  • mj: I love the picture with the teacup!. That’s a neat idea to storage small things that get used frequently. July 20, 2015 at 2:44pm Reply

    • Victoria: It also reminds me to use the samples. For the blog the temptation is to review the new launches, but there are so many gems among the older perfumes that are inexpensive and easily available. So, I set aside those samples to test, whether for blog or my own pleasure. July 21, 2015 at 11:26am Reply

  • Joy: Such a fun and interesting article, Victoria. I loved the pile of decants and bottles on your rug. It made me want to dive in and help you organize! It would have been fun to rummage through all of the bottles.
    I must always have an organizational system, but one problem that I have can be purchasing a FB before I sample a fragrance enough. If I buy a FB, and later decide that I don’t care for it, I still feel committed to keeping it. I guess, I feel that sometime I may get the feeling that I had that caused me to buy it in the first place. After reading your article today, I have decided that I need to change my thinking. Perfume I don’t like is a constant reminder that I did not make the best decision in my purchase.
    I have a drawer for my decants and samples. I have dividers in the drawer as you show in your photo. My recent decants that I have purchased I keep in the drawer in their boxes. I like the boxes and can recall what is in each. I have a shelf in my bathroom that is out of the direct sunlight. I keep my FB’s on that shelf in their original boxes. I don’t have that many, so crowding is not a problem. July 20, 2015 at 3:28pm Reply

    • Victoria: Well, I can relate to that. Once you spend your money on something and once you own it, parting with the object is very difficult. The key is to stop thinking about it in such terms though. This is a core of Kondo’s approach. We don’t always make the best decisions, but everything is a learning opportunity. Keeping a perfume that you don’t love won’t make you wear it more often (and certainly won’t add much to your enjoyment of it). Her idea when you discard something is to thank it for the service–a bottle of sugary musk perfume for teaching me that I don’t like animalic notes paired with too much sweetness or a yellow sweater that gave me a boost when I first bought it, even though yellow makes me look tired, etc. If you pass on your unwanted items to someone in whom they spark joy, this is such a rewarding and satisfying outcome. July 21, 2015 at 11:34am Reply

  • Elisa: Like everyone here, I love articles like this too! There was a post on NST recently that suggested the dresser-drawer storage method — I would love to convert to this method eventually, though right now I don’t have the drawer space. Instead I keep my bottles on a three-level etagere inside my closet — luckily we have a huge closet in the bedroom. So when I open the sliding doors, it’s easy to see all the bottles, but they’re not exposed to direct sunlight. Samples and decants are scattered everywhere, but they’re organized to some extent at least in pockets — for example, I keep decants in little decorative cups or emptied out candles on my dresser, organized into groups like roses or orientals or light summer perfumes. It *mostly* works! July 20, 2015 at 4:31pm Reply

    • Victoria: Oh, thank you, I’ll have to look for it.
      Your system sounds great. I was contemplating something like this inside my closet, but when an empty drawer became available, I decided to try it. I know it’s not like discovering America, but I was very happy with my plan. And still am. July 21, 2015 at 11:37am Reply

  • limegreen: As others have commented, thank you for sharing peeks at your collection, I love seeing such familiar looking bottles, looking very friendly on your rug, is that gorgeous bottle in the forefront Oeillet Bengale? (I don’t have it but recognize the gorgeous glass bottle.) There’s a perfume voyeur in all of us, I suppose, and I look at your dresser drawer and try to guess what you have kept among the Malles, Chanels and Lutens bottles that I recognize. 🙂
    I have always kept my perfumes in a dresser drawer, for many reasons you and others have listed: easy access, away from the light, etc. An important reason though is that I keep my collection within this dresser drawer, and periodically go through it and give things away. Having just come back from a fabulous trip to Italy, with perfume loot, your article today was indeed timely!

    (There are loopholes to my drawer arrangement — this is a drawer for full bottles only! I have jewelry boxes full of decants and samples and a few minis. These sit on my dresser.)

    But thank you mostly for writing about taking an honest look at one’s perfume collection and being honest with oneself about how we feel about each perfume regardless of cost of rarity. What particularly resonated with me, was your comment about holding on to something because one may like it better later. While it is always a possibility, but it’s more likely to be a slim possibility. Do we hold on because of that slim hope, attachment to the “value” of the perfume (price, critical reviews, the perfume house)? I think I prefer the liberation that comes with letting go of a less than loved perfume and the “spark of joy” that comes with giving it to someone who will love the perfume and derive far more pleasure from it. July 20, 2015 at 5:02pm Reply

    • limegreen: And ever since you mentioned in passing in an earlier thread that L’eau d’Hiver and En Passant had gone off in a surprisingly short time, I’ve been very lavish with spraying! Sorry you lost such carefully stored perfumes, but thank you for the heads up! July 20, 2015 at 7:10pm Reply

      • Karen: Another incentive for us to just use and enjoy what we love! July 21, 2015 at 6:50am Reply

        • limegreen: Indeed! I know you’re a fan of the Malle 10 ml sizes, Karen, and I am, too, but mostly for reasons of being able to get a very special fragrance and be able to use it up before it goes off! It’s not so-called cost efficient when you calculate price per ml. but buying a full bottle is not cost efficient if it goes off before I can put a good dent in it! (Perfume is not meant to be Costco jugs of olive oil anyway!)
          Of course with the absolute absolute favorites (I’m looking at you, Dans tes Bras!), I have no regrets having the FB — if the 10 ml option had been around then, though, I would have gotten that.
          They are such great travel options, too — have you done your Carnal Flower wedding thing already? July 21, 2015 at 10:26am Reply

          • Victoria: Yes, I completely agree with you. It may not be cost-efficient in terms of dollar value per ml, but it’s no fun to wear perfume once it starts to lose freshness. Many modern perfumes aren’t macerated long enough and the base ingredients have changed, so I suspect, this is the reason for the shortened shelf life. July 21, 2015 at 12:09pm Reply

          • Karen: Hi Limegreen! And I have a huge floral arrangement with Limelight hydrangeas, a chartreuse miscanthus grass with some dark purple stems from a shrub and purple coneflower that does homage to your BdJ name!

            The 10ml may not be the most cost effective, but they are a terrific way to decide – Yes, a full bottle is essential! – or, no, this is just right. Plus, traveling is a breeze especially as they are packaged securely. And as you say, to not have the worry about it going bad makes it a good buy.

            The wedding was in May, two months ago almost to the day! Carnal Flower was the perfect perfume for me. I also took Lipstick Rose, because going without a Rose perfume of some kind was simply not possible for me….. Now when I wear it, it has beautiful memories connected to its already stunning fragrance.

            Love your Costco olive oil line! July 21, 2015 at 2:29pm Reply

            • limegreen: Congratulations on such a happy event!
              And to have such beautiful fragrances associated with it is so timeless (cliche but true!).

              And I love the combination of limegreen and purple (another favorite color) — I can almost see your floral arrangement! 🙂 Nature really knows how to mix and match colors — there are no such things as colors clashing in nature, just as scents “go together” in a natural environment. July 21, 2015 at 4:52pm Reply

              • Karen: Thank you for remembering about the wedding, Limegreen! Yes, Limegreen and purple are great together – makes me wish I had a skirt and top in these colors. It’s interesting because it seems that all the “old” color rules (whoever made them up??) just seem silly. I saw a photo of Carolibna Herrera in a red blouse and fuschia skirt and it was gorgeous (of course it’s difficult to imagine her looking anything less than gorgeous). That outfit made me think of creating a floral arrangement using that combination – nothing I would have done previously. July 22, 2015 at 5:24am Reply

                • limegreen: I’ll be honest and say that though I was sincere about wishing you joy, I remember more about your loving Carnal Flower than the wedding itself. (Sheepishly shrugging. 🙂 )
                  Selective memory, kind of how doglovers always remember the dog’s name but not always the dogowner’s!
                  I was recently in Rome (everyone but the tourists were so fashionable) and saw lots of gorgeous color combos among the omnipresent black outfits, and red/fuschia was a combo. As a matter of fact, I almost got a limegreen/lilac floral scarf but wisely (wink, wink) spent the money on perfume instead! It’s all about priorities. 🙂
                  P.S. I read somewhere once a long time ago when I paid attention to sewing, that no longer worn skirts with still beautiful fabric could easily be converted into either aprons (very dated!) or cushion covers. Your Laura Ashleys are gone, but maybe for future consideration — not that you need that many cushion covers… July 22, 2015 at 11:01am Reply

                  • Karen: Here’s your apron comment!! I was thinking about making up some pillow covers with old duvet fabric – a pretty blue floral that has faded into a soft color. Or else, save it for a skirt – go backwards, instead of skirt to cushion, duvet to skirt! July 26, 2015 at 8:09am Reply

      • Victoria: My En Passant turned bright orange, and while the scent wasn’t affected, I no longer enjoyed using it. I can’t explain why, but that vivid orange was a little bit scary. July 21, 2015 at 11:46am Reply

        • Austenfan: You should pass it on to some Dutch football fans! July 21, 2015 at 1:19pm Reply

          • Victoria: Shouldn’t be too hard to find them. 🙂 July 22, 2015 at 7:03am Reply

            • Austenfan: No, they are not known for their self effacing ways 😉 July 22, 2015 at 3:49pm Reply

        • limegreen: How very odd! I recently tested the new Malle shower gels and they are vividly colored, the En Passant gel is a lovely green, maybe they should go for orange. 🙂 July 21, 2015 at 4:30pm Reply

          • Victoria: How are the gels, by the way? July 22, 2015 at 7:13am Reply

            • limegreen: The gels are lovely, as with the body butters, superior in fragrance to most high end shower gels, but definitely one of those “do I want to pamper myself” type of items, even for a perfume hobbyist (I prefer this term to addict, more forgiving!). I just washed my hands with the testers (sadly, they did not have testing showers at the Malle boutique!) but the “washability” seemed very nice, moisturizing and all. The least interesting was the Eau de Magnolia one, didn’t capture the EdM essence at all, and was rather indistinct. The most surprising was Lys Mediterranee, much greener than the fragrance and really brought out the beautiful lily, it was gorgeous, and very blue, like the Mediterranean sea, I guess.
              (I don’t know how F. Malle got from the drydown of Geranium Pour Monsieur shower gel to get Ropion to create what ended up being Portrait of a Lady!) July 22, 2015 at 11:20am Reply

              • Victoria: I always look at those body butters and test them, but in the end, I feel reluctant to part with that much money for a jar of cream. I bought a set of vetiver soaps for a friend, and she loved them. July 22, 2015 at 2:46pm Reply

                • Karen: PoaL body butter is soooo luxurious – I had a sample and have thought so much about splurging on a bottle/container. Lasted all day and would help stretch out the EDP. But it’s $$$ that’s for sure. July 26, 2015 at 8:12am Reply

                  • Victoria: The EDP of Portrait of a Lady lasts into the next day on me, so I can’t imagine the oomph it would create with a matching body butter. I usually just make my own and stay content with it. July 27, 2015 at 11:59am Reply

    • Victoria: It might be that or my husband’s Aedes Eau de Parfum. I started by taking all perfumes, from all nooks of the house, including my husband’s perfume shelf, but I ended up separating his bottles later and letting him decide himself. He mostly kept everything (apart from an old bottle of Demeter cologne) and took Cartier Declaration from my “reference” pile. 🙂

      On your last point, yes, it’s a good idea to think why we hold onto something, even though it clearly doesn’t spark joy. For instance, people often try to like classics. Yes, one should keep one’s mind open to all possibilities and classics are an acquired taste, but it shouldn’t lead to one’s collection overcrowded with the “aspirational” bottles. Otherwise, it’s like a wardrobe of clothes to wear for when one’s slimmer or more toned or whatever. Such wardrobes are the ones that elicit a feeling of not having anything nice to wear. July 21, 2015 at 11:44am Reply

    • Victoria: Oh, I just looked at the photo closely, and the ones in the foreground is Aedes EdP. Oeillet Bengale is lying further down.

      I’ve kept Le Parfum de Therese, Lipstick Rose, Musc Ravageur, En Passant (a fresh bottle, not the one that turned orange), Carnal Flower, Une Rose. Chanel–La Pausa, 31 Rue Cambon, Cristalle, all concentrations of No 19, Beige, Coromandel, No 18, Cuir de Russie, Bois des Iles. Lutens–Iris Silver Mist, El Attarine (must review it!), Bois de Violette, Santal de Mysore, La Myrrhe, Ambre Sultan, Santal Blanc, A La Nuit, Boxeuses. Might be others I’m forgetting, but there are also decants in there. July 21, 2015 at 12:20pm Reply

      • limegreen: What a lovely curated collection! thanks for satisfying the curiosity of your (devoted) readers! 🙂
        And thank you again for the point about “trying to like” classics. I would say that could extend to some standards in critically acclaimed modern perfumes, too.
        I was glad to have tried no. 19 and it’s become one of my favorites (would love to have all concentrations of it) but even though I keep testing it, Mitsouko remains elusive for me. I may finally be able to let Mitsouko go! July 21, 2015 at 4:15pm Reply

        • Victoria: Yes! This reminds me of trying to like Tommy Girl after reading Luca Turin’s review. I’ve grown to admire it as a striking, clever composition, but it doesn’t excite me enough to wear it.

          I never ended up warming up to Parure, for instance. I like it and I wear it time to time, but I can live without it. When it comes to chypres, I’m still with Mitsouko. July 22, 2015 at 7:13am Reply

          • limegreen: (looking up Parure and El Attarine, unfamiliar to me!) July 22, 2015 at 11:31am Reply

            • Victoria: Guerlain’s Parure might be discontinued (or perhaps in their “exclusive”, ie. overpriced, range), and El Attarine is part of the bell jar collection at Lutens. It’s like a love child of Bois de Violette and Arabie. July 22, 2015 at 2:47pm Reply

              • limegreen: “love child” ! I would very much like to read your review! 🙂

                (lol that your husband only discarded a Demeter. My Demeters have become room fresheners, so they are still used, just no longer occupy dresser status.) July 22, 2015 at 3:50pm Reply

                • Victoria: His bottle was very old, and well, unlike me, he doesn’t have that many perfumes. Only 6 bottles or so. July 23, 2015 at 7:16am Reply

  • irem: Let me share my method of dealing with the ever breeding samples. I had a few empty Diptyque candle jars. I have carefully cleaned all the wax while keeping the labels intact. Now I store my samples in the empty jars loosely grouped by the candle label: Ambre houses the orientals/chypres, Figuier is for the green chypres, Mimosa has the light and sparkling scents. The only bad thing is that I am tempted to buy more candles. I am not sure they are always worth the expense (some of them have very poor throw). July 20, 2015 at 5:05pm Reply

    • Victoria: Perfect! By the way, I store my makeup brushes and tooth brushes in glasses that once housed candles. They actually tend to be high-quality, sturdy, hard to break and attractive. July 21, 2015 at 11:45am Reply

      • Patricia: I do that, too, V. One of the things I liked most about Kondo’s book was her encouragement to use items we already own for storage purposes instead of running out to purchase them. July 21, 2015 at 7:07pm Reply

        • Victoria: That was refreshing. Most books on storage come with lists of stuff you need to buy, which rather defeats the whole purpose of organizing. July 22, 2015 at 7:16am Reply

  • Shannon: For a variety of reasons, I bought a mini refrigerator to store my fragrances and skin care products. I have heard that refrigeration can damage fragile top notes, but I’m not convinced on that point. It also keeps my collection finite. July 20, 2015 at 5:58pm Reply

    • Victoria: I’m not convinced by that. At most fragrance houses, perfume libraries are stored in regular fridges (used for nothing but perfume). If you have space and means for an extra fridge, it’s a good idea. July 21, 2015 at 11:45am Reply

  • Katherine: My joy is not only in wearing perfumes, but also picking them out, sniffing them on a whim, and generally admiring my collection. So I want them handy and on display! They are on a large and pretty tray on a counter in (what is effectively) a dressing room. They are organized by bottle shape/color/style. The room is cool and white blinds on the window minimize the light that comes in – while not completely shutting it out (it’s about balance). I keep a handful of bottles to wear during another season in my closet. (Like others mentioned – I sometimes crave those off-season scents – and reach into that stash.) As you noted Victoria, tastes evolve so I am keeping samples accumulated in this first year of my perfume journey in a drawer under the counter. I also share them with with my daughter – she keeps the collection culled. When I have more I forsee sorting them by note or mood in shallow little (inexpensive) white trays in the drawer. I liked Figuier’s comments and see the merits in unloading what doesn’t bring you joy so you can properly enjoy what does. Problem is I don’t think I will be able to properly implement it with such discipline … July 21, 2015 at 12:06am Reply

    • Victoria: “unloading what doesn’t bring you joy so you can properly enjoy what does”–yes, that’s it. I tried to do that with my collection, and while at first it was a little bit hard, I later got better and more disciplined at it. I’m not even talking over the course of several days or month. Over the course of a few hours. It’s amazing how clearly you feel something that gives you a rush of pleasure. If you want to try it, you take out all of your samples and lay them out on the floor. Then take each vial into your hand and see what happens. I bet you’ll soon discover what triggers an emotional response and what doesn’t. But it helps to have an idea why you want to organize. For me, it was because I started to feel in general that there was too much of everything around, and I wanted more clarity, more air, so to speak. I’m very happy that I had Lauren, people who commented on her article and then Kondo’s book to motivate me. July 21, 2015 at 11:51am Reply

      • katherine: Thanks Victoria – excellent suggestion that seems easy enough. Should make these exercises less daunting and help some of us get over the procrastination hump… A few final thoughts on “letting go.” I find it easier to let go of things that don’t spark joy but have a certain value – if I temporarily store them for awhile, say a month or two. (It’s my “undo” button) It helps me to get used to the idea of living without them. It allows you to confirm your decision, thereby relieving you of the pressure that you may be making the “wrong” decision. Also, you’re apt to be more honest about your “feelings” for the item if you aren’t unloading them right away. Of course the possible downside is deciding to re-analyze your decisions. July 22, 2015 at 10:23pm Reply

        • Victoria: Yes, I do that too, although Marie Kondo advises against this method. If something doesn’t spark joy, then it just doesn’t. Mostly, I store those things away while I figure out what to do with them. I don’t want just to toss an expensive pair of shoes, for instance. Instead, I might look for a consignment store, a friend who wants them, etc. July 23, 2015 at 7:22am Reply

  • Jackie: Hi!! While I love reading this blog almost daily, I’ve been loath to comment over the last few months because I feel guilty about not properly posting my thoughts on the samples (and minis) kindly sent to me by Karen and Angeldiva after I’d shared my story of being robbed (of perfumes among other things). Discovering this blog last November was such a solace, and, as many BdJers can no doubt relate, sent me down that proverbial rabbit hole!! I also asked at that time for recommendations for incenses and received an unbelievable number of generous responses, to which I also — guiltily — have not yet properly reported back. This doesn’t mean I haven’t enjoyed the samples and suggestions and gained much from them: I’ve bought a few full bottles based on both recommendations and samples, all of which make me very happy! 🙂

    Anyway!! (long-winded preamble…) I wanted to pop on here to offer my suggestion for storing samples: a tiered, acrylic lipstick stand!!

    As you say, Victoria, samples seem to reproduce themselves, and while I own only a few full bottles, I have many samples and have just purchased my third lipstick stand. Each little section of the stand holds four standard samples, so a 24-section stand holds almost 100. Mine are loosely organized according to groupings whose logic would likely make sense only to me: Chanels, Malles, etc, … incenses, irises, etc. The best part is they stand up straight, and because the stand is tiered, they are relatively easy to identify. I keep the stand with current loves on top of my dresser and the other two in the top drawer of my dresser.

    I hope you don’t mind me posting a link to a picture, Victoria.
    https://goo.gl/photos/uXDLqjSdcA7JCA7dA

    And a link to a stand I’ve purchased from Amazon, though you can also get them at organizer shops.
    http://www.amazon.ca/Lipstick-Cosmetic-Organizer-Trapezoid-Display/dp/B00EEZ4V7K/ref=sr_1_4?s=beauty&ie=UTF8&qid=1437448559&sr=1-4&keywords=acrylic+lipstick+holder

    Such a great article, Victoria! I loved reading the story of your college days (I can relate!) and getting a peek at some of your perfumes — and zooming in enviously! What a wonderful collection! July 21, 2015 at 12:31am Reply

    • Karen: Hi Jackie! How wonderful to “see” you here! And please don’t feel guilty – life is happening and time zips by. I can totally relate about guilt’s power – just happy that you all received and enjoyed the goodies.

      What a perfect solution for samples! They remain upright, names visible and can be sorted by any whatever works for you. I think you may have solved the sample storage problem!

      So good to see your post Jackie! July 21, 2015 at 6:48am Reply

      • Jackie: Hi dear Karen, lovely to “see” you too! Thanks for your understanding: life does zip along, esp with two busy young daughters!

        Haha. Thank you. I already had the first lipstick stand (lipstick: my other obsession) and it just felt natural to plop the samples in there… and now I have two more stands!

        Good to be out of hiding! 😉 July 21, 2015 at 11:42pm Reply

        • Karen: Hmmm, lipstick and perfume – I wonder if this is also a common obsession amongst BdJ readers? Occaisionally I have pangs of guilt for the number of lipsticks I have, but….. they are each beautiful and slightly different! Sort of like rose perfumes. July 22, 2015 at 5:28am Reply

          • Victoria: I discovered I have about 20 true red lipsticks. I can’t tell much difference among them once they are on my lips, but I sure won’t be parting with them. Each has a little story behind it. July 22, 2015 at 7:21am Reply

    • Michaela: Jackie, the lipstick organizer to easily store and retrieve samples is probably the best idea ever! July 21, 2015 at 7:28am Reply

      • Jackie: Thank you, Michaela! They do work perfectly for samples. It occurred to me you could also label the sections, but that is one of many things I will never get around to. 😉
        I see below Andrea R also uses them. July 21, 2015 at 11:45pm Reply

    • Victoria: Jackie, no need to feel guilty. We are just happy to see you here. Thank you for commenting and sharing such a brilliant idea. I’m off to see if I can find something like this for my samples. The only thing is that I have far too many, and I first need to cull the stockpile further. July 21, 2015 at 11:59am Reply

      • Jackie: Thank you for letting me off the hook, Victoria! 🙂

        Hope you had luck finding a lipstick stand! The culling is definitely the difficult part. 😉 I even keep empty samples of fragrances I enjoyed so as to remind me. Oy! July 21, 2015 at 11:47pm Reply

        • Victoria: If they make you happy, they serve their purpose! My empty bottle of Fracas does that. July 22, 2015 at 7:17am Reply

    • Irina: Wow, this is a great idea! I’ve seen similar organizers at The Container Store. July 25, 2015 at 5:44pm Reply

  • Jackie: PS, I do still intend to report back. I’ve been keeping notes. 🙂 July 21, 2015 at 1:07am Reply

    • Victoria: Would love to read your notes at some point. 🙂 July 21, 2015 at 12:00pm Reply

      • Jackie: Thank you, Victoria. You’re very kind. July 21, 2015 at 11:47pm Reply

  • flowergirlbee!: i own en passant and l’eau d’hiver…i was sheepishly wondering how long yours lasted before they turned….sad face…loved seeing your collection : ) July 21, 2015 at 2:46am Reply

    • Victoria: L’Eau d’Hiver was perhaps 4 years old? Some of my other Malle’s are much older and they still smell wonderful. So, I’m guessing that the problem is with the perfume itself. It’s too delicate and should have been used up faster. July 21, 2015 at 12:01pm Reply

      • flowergirlbee!: phew!! that isn’t too bad…the malle site gives 2 years…thanks victoria : ) July 22, 2015 at 1:35am Reply

        • Victoria: I decided that if I re-buy them, I will just get a 10ml spray. July 22, 2015 at 7:17am Reply

  • Jennifer: I too just recently did the exact same thing with my perfumes. I recently realized I hate the fact I could not see the beautiful bottles of my favorites aka ones I will not be swapping away. I also was not wearing part of my collection because it was in haphazard spots. So far I have been lucky not to lose my bottles to heat/light. July 21, 2015 at 9:53am Reply

    • Victoria: My feelings exactly. What’s the point to have something and not to use it. Yes, I worry a little that exposing some of my extraits to light might shorten their lifespan, but I hope that now I can use them up before it happens. Perfume is meant to be enjoyed, after all. July 21, 2015 at 12:10pm Reply

  • ElenavL: Hi Victoria, I have been meaning to thank you for the wonderful drawer idea ever since I have implemented it myself after seeing it in your Instagram. I never expected such an effect but I could not believe how much more I enjoy my collection now. In my case all of it fit perfectly into my drawer and nothing is lost or forgotten. And I realized I even have space both in my drawer and in my head for something new, whereas before when most of the bottles were hidden behind each other i had an impression that I already have way too much and should teally stop buying. Thank you thank you thank you! July 21, 2015 at 10:48am Reply

    • Victoria: Very pleased that my idea helped you. 🙂 Thank you for letting me know. It’s such a simple, straightforward way to store a perfume wardrobe. I also liked that I didn’t need to purchase any new storage containers. Shoeboxes are sturdy and attractive, and they are perfectly sized. July 21, 2015 at 12:14pm Reply

  • AndreaR: I was happily reading about the “Perfume Drawer” when the word “Kondo” appeared. I stopped reading and cleaned out a drawer of papers I’d been meaning to go through. Obviously I have read the book and have happily incorporated a few of Marie Kondo’s ideas into my lifestyle. One of the very first things I did when I read her book was to go through my perfume stash of samples and small decants. A dear friend of my daughter’s was just beginning her fragrance adventure, so she was gifted with a nice box of samples to explore.
    My small collection of perfume bottles is on a shelf in my closet. The fragrances I wear in cooler weather are in the back row. My samples are still kept on two three-tiered Lucite lipstick holders. I like to test a fragrance over a period of time. La Chasse didn’t appeal to me when I first sniffed it, but this year it’s been a summer staple for me. July 21, 2015 at 2:56pm Reply

    • Victoria: I ended up relying on her tips to organize some other places in the house. All in all, we don’t have such a tremendous amount of stuff since we’ve moved not long ago from overseas, but still, things accumulate and clutter becomes chaos within short time. I’ve noticed how with Kondo’s ideas, I no longer even have to worry about clutter. It just doesn’t happen. For a packrat such as myself, this is nothing short of miraculous.

      It makes a lot of sense. I also test over a period of time, but I’ve made a rule not to keep a sample for more than a year. It starts to turn after that. Unless it’s a properly sealed spray sample, but those are rare. July 22, 2015 at 7:09am Reply

      • AndreaR: Excellent advice. I didn’t even think about that. I don’t have to worry about my 10 ml of Carnal Flower. I dropped it on the floor of the closet yesterday while I was dusting. Fortunately, there was no carpet on the floor. July 22, 2015 at 11:05am Reply

        • Victoria: Did the bottle break? July 22, 2015 at 2:44pm Reply

          • AndreaR: Yes. It does smell quite lovely and not strong enough to put me off that scent forever. I’m sure it will dissipate in a few days. July 22, 2015 at 6:26pm Reply

  • Nora Szekely: I’m usually not too organized but when it comes to my passions like writing, reading and scents, I draw a great deal of enjoyment from restructuring my collection of books, notebooks and perfume bottles time to time.
    As for clothes, I need some serious Kondo-ing in my life 😉
    I love reading other people’s organizing tips and descriptions of their perfume storage, I wish we had photos here too.
    At the moment for fumes I have 2 shelves in my living room where I arranged my bottles in a supposedly artistic way. One shelf contains bottles that have white boxes, I. ex. Patou Joy, Oscar de la Renta Oscar and Coco Mademoiselle. The other shelf has black and gold boxes on them, mostly by Guerlain but this one also has a pair of vintage looking sunglasses, a fountain pen and a decorative notebook on it.
    I recently put away my definitely-winter-only scents to a cupboard.
    I have a few favourites in my bedroom, I also enjoy looking at them when unwinding for bed. I even hung a few necklaces around a bottle of Miss Dior Cherie that is sitting on an open shelf, just because.
    As for parting with my bottles: I have around 50 bottle now, gathered in 3 years so I count myself a newcomer in collecting perfumes. I gave away a few bottles to friends due to allergies and quick boredom. A note about Coco Mademoiselle: I couldn’t use the EDP without sneezing but I still have a dry body oil that I can wear without problem, if somebody has the same issue but loves the scent I cannot recommend enough to try the dry oil as it’s delicious. By the way I first read about the dry oil found it on this very blog 🙂
    Still many of my least worn bottles just wait for my taste to evolve and one day maybe… so I just wait and resample them but will think again about donating them to a charity shop.
    One last tip: I lend a few of my bottles to my mum and best friend, I let them use the half of the bottle then I use the other half or have a spritz when I’m in their house, this way the bottles that I use rarely but love don’t go bad and somebody else can also enjoy them (Dior Addict is just magnificent on my mum). July 22, 2015 at 10:09am Reply

    • Victoria: This is a great tip. I agree with limegreen, sharing with loved ones makes perfume even more enjoyable.

      Love your idea of Miss Dior Cherie decorated with necklaces. 🙂 July 22, 2015 at 12:36pm Reply

  • Nora Szekely: I meant borrow, not lend. July 22, 2015 at 10:11am Reply

  • Nora Szekely: Nope, I meant I borrow my bottles TO my mum and best friend.
    I mix these two words 🙁 July 22, 2015 at 10:13am Reply

    • limegreen: Same transaction of an exchange! 🙂 “lend” and “borrow” are the same word in Chinese, it’s an added directional word that indicates which way the object is going.

      I love the idea of leaving scents with someone dear and sharing it that way! Not the same thing, but I leave unloved fragrances in the restroom at work but they sort of get taken, instead of everyone taking a spritz. 🙂 July 22, 2015 at 11:42am Reply

      • Nora Szekely: Still a lovely idea of leaving them in the restroom at work. I work at a big office at the moment, so I’m sure that people would spray or take the bottle. Even if the latter happens, somebody goes home with a scent they love.
        I’m thinking about giving some bottles to my nearest charity shop, so many fragrance lovers have a tale about finding a precious bottle for a song in such shops, I might make someone’s day with my unwanted goodies. July 23, 2015 at 7:39am Reply

  • Carolyn: Victoria…what a wonderful way to arrange your perfume…as you say it keeps it in correct way it should be kept…also keeps it dust free 😀
    Fabulous Carolyn xx July 23, 2015 at 11:20am Reply

    • Victoria: Dust-free was also important for me. I hate dusting, but I dislike dusty bottles even more. But this way, the bottles are protected while I can still enjoy seeing them arranged together. July 23, 2015 at 3:48pm Reply

  • Irina: Such beautiful photos, Victoria! The elegance of the Annick Goutal bottle stole my heart! Your square wooden floorboards are so European, they sparked joy and nostalgia 🙂

    Kondo’s book has been getting a lot of attention here, but I haven’t been sure that it isn’t a yet another gimmick that promises to change your life. I’m now very much looking forward to getting it from the library 🙂

    Drawers are great for storing collections! I hog one of the bathroom vanity drawers to store my collection of ~40 Chanel nail polishes. I lay them out horizontally and by color like a rainbow, so choosing a shade becomes part of the pleasure.

    As I’ve been very conservative with acquiring full bottles, all of mine easily fit on a shelf in our windowless, cool walk-in closet. I store samples in those sturdy black gift boxes from Dyptique, and organize them by brand in pretty little taffeta bags from the decanting companies. It works better for me to keep the bottles upstairs, and the samples downstairs on my office bookshelf because otherwise, spontaneous testing becomes a trek to the other side of the world and simply doesn’t happen.

    That said, I’m inspired by your prettiest tea cup of samples! I’ve run and placed one on the night stand for those scents that I like at bedtime. Isn’t the old Soviet (I assume it is? apologies if I’m wrong) china amazing? So translucent, and I swear tea tastes better in it! I have my mom’s well-used wedding set and it traveled with me through half of the world 🙂 – I put “HEIRLOOM CHINA FROM MY MOM <3" in huge letters on the box, and movers always laugh and treat it well. Otherwise, I also firmly believe in mismatched cups, and Limoges goes so well with Lomonosov 🙂 July 25, 2015 at 6:50pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you, Irina. I also love the look of Goutal’s “masculine” bottles–clean, pleasant to use and whimsical enough with the use of graphics.

      I also didn’t bother with Kondo because of all the hype, but when Lauren and so many readers talked about her book and described their experiences, I knew I had to read it. I enjoyed it. Kondo and I part ways on many things–there is no way getting rid of books just because I won’t ever re-read them, and I don’t aim for a completely minimalist, Zen monastery space. But I like her suggestion of taking a look at your space and deciding what to keep on the basis of what touches you. It’s very sensible too. When you surround yourself with meaningful items, your home becomes a space where you can relax and feel content.

      Love the idea of your sample organization. Your china sounds like a true treasure, and I was smiling at the way you’ve protected the box. My cup is of cheap Limoges mass produced for the American market in the 50s. I absolutely love it for its unapologetic prettiness and almost impractical delicacy. The latter is the reason why only two cups survived out of a set of 6. The cup in which I store samples has a minuscule hairline crack, so I no longer drink out of it. There is no way I’m getting rid of it, though. Time to time I browse around the vintage shops in Brussels and pick up another cup for my collection. Tea and coffee taste so much better when drunk of favorite cups. 🙂 July 26, 2015 at 5:16am Reply

  • Melissa Pham: I’m the messy type too. But since this post is so inspiring, and so seems the book of Marie Kondo, maybe I should start to organize everything in places.
    I’m storing my galore in boxes under the bed, and some of my frequently used is being kept on the dressing table. All of them are uncategorized and hard to find if needed, though. July 27, 2015 at 10:08am Reply

    • Victoria: Good luck, Melissa! Once you start organizing and hit upon an arrangement that makes sense to you, it’s so enjoyable. Since then, I’ve organized most other parts of our house. I do have to do something about samples, so that’s coming up. July 27, 2015 at 12:25pm Reply

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