If You Think This Is A Lot, You’re Wrong

imageI just reached my hand into the top drawer of my dresser and grabbed what I could hold before I threw it on my desk to take a photograph.  These seven lippies are about a fourth of the rest that I left lying in the drawer. Unphotographed.

It’s embarrassing. I can’t imagine that I own this much of one item, true, my favorite cosmetic but still…who needs more than one lipstick?

I came in from a party at a beautiful apartment last night. The owner has it decorated rather simply, and in a quiet moment after dinner gave me a spray of her favorite perfume (Diorissimo). There aren’t trays of bottles adorning her dressing table. There’s one elegant bottle of beautiful French scent. That’s all.

I yearn for such simplicity. The ability to focus and care for a few things instead of an overwhelming collection. Perhaps only Americans think having more is the way to live; I am decidedly, purposefully, turning toward less in 2016.

Less lipstick, less perfume, less books, less accumulation. To me, this will equal less stress. I want to appreciate what I own and use it up before I buy more. After all, even Mary Poppins said, “Enough is as good as a feast.”

So thank you, James, for your Triple Dog Dare Challenge which I gratefully accept. To read from only the stacks of what I already own, while wearing the lipsticks that I already have, seems like a tremendous boon to me as I face the new year.

Tidying means taking each item in your hand, asking yourself whether it sparks joy, and deciding on this basis whether or not to keep it. By repeating this process hundreds and thousands of times, we naturally hone our decision-making skills. People who lack confidence in their judgment lack confidence in themselves. I, too, once lacked confidence. What saved me was tidying. ~Marie Kondo the life-changing magic of tidying up

38 thoughts on “If You Think This Is A Lot, You’re Wrong”

  1. Simplicity has such a lot to commend it. I will confess that I have a half-dozen lipsticks, all of the same color, but it’s because the color was discontinued When I found out, I did the only reasonable thing, and bought several. The good news is that I won’t have to purchase a new lipstick for quite some time.

    I’ve been decluttering and simplifying since Mom’s death. She was a bit of a hoarder, and it was fear-based: a result of growing up desperately poor during the Depression. I took on a bit of the behavior myself. Now, I’m going the other direction, and finding it tremendously freeing. You will, too, and you’ll be surprised how much happier it will make your New Year!


    1. Now my question is, “Which shade do you love so much you bought several?” I have to know being the lipstick fanatic that I am! 🙂

      I imagine that simplifying after a parent’s death would be almost impossibly hard. So many treasures, both in object and memory. I find it quite freeing to have less stuff; the hardest part to sort is that with an emotional impact. For me, anyway.


  2. I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (Marie Kondo) earlier this year and got rid of a lot of our clutter. Clothes, books, kitchen gadgets, unused dishware, old paperwork, etc. It really does give me a sense of freedom to reduce my choices by eliminating the excess. I still have more work to do in this regard and hope to tackle the closets and shelves once again after the holidays. If it doesn’t spark joy, it’s gone! With that said, I should send you a photograph of all my lip balms! 🙂


    1. I love that book! I’ve read most of it, well, the part about sorting through the clothes and sparking joy and passing things on after they’ve taught you a lesson. What a fabulous philosophy! (Thank you sequin top, for teaching me I never want to wear sequins again!)

      Now, as I said above to Linda (shoreacres) onto the trickier part of sorting things that aren’t clothes: letters, cards, photographs, journals, those are the things that are hard for me. I’ll have to see what Marie Kondo says about those kinds of things!

      Would love to see a photograph of your lip balms. i seem to remember you liking Burt’s Bees? xo


      1. I’ve sorted through some of my stacks of cards and letters, but still have a lot to re-read and make decisions about. Photos? That’s going to be a year-long project! And I won’t get rid of any of my reading journals. What if the Internet goes away and I no longer have my blog?? 🙂

        Yes, I love Burt’s Bees. I also have lots of lip balm from Rod’s dentist. They give it out at every visit. Let’s just say that I have a lot!



  3. This had me laughing out loud. See I did the Marie Kondo method of decluttering through my house I really have downsized an enormous amount. But lipstick is something I have a hard time turfing though I do it. I love lipstick. I love books, stationery esp pens and cosmetics. I gave a lot of stationery away when I decluttered the house, threw lipstick away I’ve had for years and I do mean years, decades almost and then heaps of books. But I could still lose more stuff and not miss it. I, too, am doing the TBR challenge so we can commiserate together. Have a wonderful New Year and all the best for 2016.


    1. How interesting that you used Marie Kondo’s method, too! And, even more interesting to me is that you also love lipstick. (I thought there weren’t many of us out there, but perhaps I’m wrong!) The problem with having lipstick too long is that it can feel tacky, or have a funny taste. Then it’s easy to throw away.

      I like thinking about all the things that mean something to us. You like stationery, as well, and I like journals. Well, we’re readers and writers of one form or another, and that’s just a few of the things that keep us friends.


  4. That is some resolution. All the very best! I am at the opposite end of the spectrum where I am sooooo much bothered with a simple living, that I have avoided many basic luuries for years. I think it is to find a balance…comfort without overindulgence. Like your friend…she had a perfume, only one perfume, but it was a beautiful French perfume! I have been trying to make my life a little less Spartan over last year and I think with 3 more items, I should be completely done! The only indulgence I cannot stop is from buying books…Its a weakness that cannot be overcome. I cannot even remotely begin to fathom of reading from what I already have…though hand on my heart I have enough! But for all my spartan approach, bookish orgy is my biggest failure!


    1. I’m so intrigued by your comment! I don’t know many people who have led disciplined enough lives that they avoid luxuries. It is hard to find a balance between too much and too little. I almost feel guilty ‘complaining’ about my excess because so many people in the world don’t have enough. I don’t ever mean to sound unappreciative of the blessings in my life, and I do try to share with others.

      As for too many books, that is all too common a problem for us book bloggers!


      1. My being spartan was easy…I was a daughter to a very goods driven mother…my mom was a buyer and a collector….I think all her buying and collecting made me go on a wholly different tangent. I always feel less guilty when I hear similar bookish behavior from others! 🙂


  5. My drawers and cupboards are groaning with stuff too, including many many lipsticks. I have a splurge of de cluttering now and again but it’s nowhere near enough. I’m doing the triple dog dare too…..


    1. Glad to see we’re in the Triple Dog Dare challenge together. Maybe it will be just the impetus we need to carry over using what we have into 2016 and beyond! Also glad to know I have a fellow “sufferer” in the lipstick department. 😉


  6. Hmmm…well, dare I confess that I don’t wear lipstick? Never have. I do wear lip balm as my lips get very chapped in winter. Anyway, I applaud your resolution to simplify, whatever that means for the person. I’m pretty much a ‘less is more’ person in most aspects. That what being raised by an ‘almost hoarder’ does to you. However, I do have issues with numbers of books. Somehow, in my mind, books don’t count. LOL

    I’m seriously thinking of joining the Triple Dog Dare thing. My aim for 2016 – read the books I currently own. I’ve gone a little overboard with acquiring them in 2015.

    Happy New Year to you and yours! May 2016 be a year of joy, peace, and hope for all of us. And books. 😉


    1. You may certainly confess it, especially as our friend Lesley has confessed the very same. Lipstick certainly isn’t for everyone!

      It’s so easy to go overboard in the number of books one acquires. I think owning a nook (and a kindle!) is a little deceptive, too, because they can just slip inside a little handheld device so easily! I hardly know how many I own on my e-readers, but at least they’re not requiring dusting on myriads of shelves.

      May your New Year be spectacular, Kay. I’m so glad you’ve begun blogging again in 2015!


  7. I feel just like you. I’d love simplicity but my lipstick drawer must look just like yours if not worse.
    But then again – it’s such a lovely thing a lipstick.


  8. I have 5 lipsticks in my purse alone (you never know which one you’ll need for an on-the-go touchup!) and refuse to count what’s in the drawer…. kind like all those ebooks on my kindle. Yes, I’m participating in the TBR Dare, too! 😉


    1. See?! You never know which one you’ll need!

      Glad you’re in for the Triple Dog Dare, too. I hope that assuages some of the guilt we may feel over our accumulations.


  9. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Meredith. I must do something about hoarding books too. There is barely any space in my bedroom. Minimalism seems to be the panacea. 🙂


    1. There’s a passage in a book by Cornelia Funke, entitled Inkheart, where the character visits a house in which the books are piled on the floor and in the hallways, up the walls and falling off shelves. In a way, that sort of appeals to me. But, I don’t know if I could live there for long. Minimalism is definitely calling my name.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Lipstick, perfume, and books? A trinity of all my passions. I dragonhoard all three. Like you I probably need to hit the brakes on my purchases. First because my bookshelves and vanity are groaning from the lack of space. And second because I notice that my lipsticks, perfumes, and books are similar in shades anyway. My friends don’t notice a new lippie simply because I keep buying the same chilli red shade over and over again.

    My prediction was accurate. December has passed and I’ve only read fifty pages of Emma. I am just too slow for readalongs. I definitely want to finish Emma in 2016 but as of now, I’m going to stop and start afresh for the new year.

    Happy readings for 2016!


    1. Look how similar we are! You buy all the same shade of red, a chili sort of color, and I buy all that are of a cherry hue. Now I’d love to know the names of your favorite perfumes! (I’ve reverted back to Aromatics by Clinique this winter, and I’m so crazy about it. I’ve worn it since I was 17, on and off, of course.)

      No worries about Emma. Sometimes it’s just not the right time for a certain book. What matters is that you love what you read and we can talk about it together.

      Happy New Year’s!


      1. Oh dear, I have Tocca Florence, Diptyque Do Son, Christian Dior Grand Bal, Serge Lutens A La Nuit, and Frédéric Malle Lys Mediteranee. See, all these perfumes are a variation of the white floral theme (jasmine, gardenia, lilies, tuberose) — predictable, moi? Of course..

        Aromatics by Clinique is too much like a mix of minyak telon (Indonesian baby oil made from fennel oil, eucalyptus oil, and coconut oil) and Chinese herbal medicine from my babyhood and toddler years. I can appreciate Aromatics as a grand perfume but since I can cheat just by getting myself a bottle of minyak telon, I never need to purchase Aromatics.

        Tell me more about your favorite perfumes.


        1. I love your reply! You’ve given me names of scents I’m totally unfamiliar with, and who knew that about Aromatics?!

          I tend to prefer the chypre and spice fragrances, particularly Guerlain’s Parure (which is no longer made due to EU restrictions) and Mitsouko. But, I have more than I can begin to name in every category…what comes to mind is Fracas and Diorissimo, as my husband loves florals; Opium, the spice king, and LouLou a weird but wonderful little thing from Cacherel. Of course there’s also Chanel No. 5, and Joy, and Shalimar because who doesn’t want a classic? These are only a few; as I said, it’s rather embarrassing. But, kept in a dark closet I assume they won’t go bad. They haven’t yet, and according to Luca Turin (of Perfumes, the A-Z Guide), they never will.

          Thank you for answering my question. 🙂


          1. You’re welcome. Perfume is a passion of mine that none of my offline friends share so I love talking scents with you.

            Mmm, Mitsouko — probably my first perfume memory. It was my grandmother’s signature scent. No longer, Mitsouko is no longer easy to find.

            Chanel just opened a makeup counter in Jakarta an exact two weeks ago and they brought along all of their perfumes with them, including their Les Exclusifs Collection. I was in sniffing heaven! No 5 is a beautiful fragrance, but I always feel I need to be older and wiser and all around more womanly to wear it. In other words, it wears me instead of the other way around. No 22 from the Les Exclusifs Collection is No 5’s little sister (have you smelled that one?) — less intimidating but still elegant and polished. Their newest Misia is also a lovely scent; feminine and romantic.

            Now, if only the Les Exclusifs prices weren’t such as extortion…


  11. I admit I tend to be a bit of a hoarder when it comes to books, craft supplies and makeup! But there is something to be said for a simple and organized life. I did a big decluttering all last week and in particular my studio feels ready for creativity. I notice that when I have too much stuff all over I just get overwhelmed and don’t do anything. Good luck with your challenge!


    1. Have you read Marie Kondo’s the life-changing magic of tidying up? She’s a bit odd, but she echoes what we’re saying here: a clean job site is a happy job site. It’s nice to be underwhelmed for a change.


  12. One bottle, one lipstick….out on the dressing table. Sounds like a setup for a magazine picture.How did she arrive at the decision that those were her favourites? Only through research. Which means there are some more… somewhere. So….where are the rest of her research material? If you had opened the closet door, would they have fallen out and rolled away? And what were those nice smells coming out from under the bed, anyway?

    Just a thought


    1. If she was anyone else, I suspect what you say might be true. But she truly lives in a tiny apartment, and there are no hide-away places such as one might find in a much younger person. This beautiful widow of 80+ years of age is who she is through and through. Still, thanks for raising the question.


  13. Less is more, right? Well, let’s hope so. Handbags for me are like red lippy for you. I plan on culling my collection, along with my books, clothes, shoes, etc. Simple sounds so good to me 🙂


    1. Marie Kondo (of the magic of tidying up book) said she puts one handbag inside another for storage; they take less room and support each other that way. Just in case that helps with your sorting. 😉


    1. They are great! I like mine better than Clinique High Impact or Chubby Stick or Diffeeent lipstick, all three formulas of which I own. The Color Pop I have is Passion; what are your three shades? 🙂


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