Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Makeup Addiction and Burnout, Part 1

***Disclaimer*** This post is not intended to belittle or minimize true addiction. Thanks.

One day I realized my makeup collection was out of control, and I'm not sure how or when it happened. It was all neatly organized, but the organizer itself was a bone of contention with hubby.

I'd purchased a 7 drawer wide Sterilite organizer from WalMart for $35, and added some wheels to the bottom from a smaller cart. At 40 inches tall, 22 inches across, and 16 inches deep, I thought it would be the last organizer I'd ever need to buy.

It worked really well to store all my makeup. I found I had to keep rearranging, moving things from drawer to drawer, to stay organized. I had brushes in the top drawer, various primers and creams in the second, foundations / powders / blushes in the third, and shadows in the fourth. I had lip products, nail polishes, some perfumes, and duplicate shadows in the fifth drawer (the first deep one). For a while I had my hair dryer, brushes, and other misc items in the bottom two, but they were soon moved elsewhere to make room for more shadows. Isn't that when I should've realized I had a problem? Or should it have been when I bought the organizer in the first place?

Here's the WalMart photo, which is small so it looks reasonable!

Here's the cart, moved to the basement to hold some of Ian's old toys. I had some pictures of my makeup in it about a month after I had purchased it, but have since deleted the pics.


It justbarelyfit in the bathroom closet. I could leave it in the closet while I applied my makeup, but had to wheel it in and out anytime I needed something from the closet. Hubby was not pleased with this, and after a while even I got annoyed having to constantly move it.

If we lived in a McMansion I could've put it in a spare room, but we live in a small home and the only spare room doubles as an office. Wheeling this organizer back and forth to the bathroom each day would've been ridiculous, as would adding a vanity, mirror, and great lighting to the spare room.

Now, hubby has space for all of his tools. We have a nice sized shed, added on a two and a half car garage, and I even created a "tool room" in the basement. The shed has outdoor tools, the garage has automotive tools, sandblast cabinet, large air compressor, welders and welding supplies, 6' tall cabinets with various other supplies, and several large Snap On Tool boxes. The tool room has all the other things that he might need around the house, and hubby's one of those who has every tool there is, and in various sizes and types.

So why, you ask, shouldn't I have space for my vast makeup collection? Tools are part of hubby's everyday life, including his job (industrial HVAC). He's mechanically minded and fixes anything and everything for us, our family members and lots of friends. The tools serve a very valuable purpose.

My makeup served only me. Did I need such an insane amount of makeup to make me happy? No. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the size of my collection was making me unhappy. The daily routine of selecting which shades to wear was cumbersome; it had ceased to be enjoyable. It felt overwhelming, suffocating me. The moment of clarity was upon me.

With all that I was facing in my daily life - a dying Grandmother with severe Alzheimers, a family who couldn't provide the necessary support either financially or emotionally yet questioned my decisions on her care, my own second guessing my actions, a husband who'd had a heart attack at 40 and my concerns due to his very poor family history, ongoing and progressively more worrisome issues with my son, fertility issues and miscarriages, accepting that I was never going to have another child, and receiving not one but two somewhat unexpected diagnoses about myself - all major issues on their own. I felt as if I'd get through one crisis and the next would knock at the door without allowing me time to breathe. Really, we all need a little break from reality from time to time and I was no exception. I'd used makeup as an escape.

Sadly makeup drama surrounding a company I loved really went into high gear around this time. It's never ending in the makeup world. It can be useful - reports of poor customer service, screwing people out of their orders, not issuing refunds, unsafe ingredients in the product, unsanitary manufacturing conditions - those are all things that we should talk about, not only to protect ourselves and each other, but to hope that the owners will make any necessary improvements.

There will always be personality conflicts and not everyone is going to like each other. So be it. Some of the comments were disgusting, and it seems to get worse with each new incident. I found I simply no longer wanted to be involved in any forums or groups. Removing myself from them did make it easier to move forward minimizing my collection.

I talked to hubby about putting a new closet organizer in the bathroom. We selected a system at Lowe's and got some sliding baskets in different sizes. I told hubby I would make sure my makeup fit in one large basket, which is 7 1/8" high, 21" wide.


He was doubtful that I'd be able to cram it all in that basket, but I was determined. I'm stubborn that way and refuse to allow anyone to tell me I can't do something. Stubbornness helped me quit smoking. I just decided one day to quit, and although coworkers said "yeah right" I wouldn't accept failure. Threw the pack away and that was that.

With cigarettes, it was actually easy, because I just didn't buy any more. But my makeup, eek, it was everywhere, and the amount of money involved was mind boggling. I knew it would take longer and be more difficult than quitting smoking, but I was determined to get it under control.

Thanks for reading. Part 2  is here.


  1. So interesting Cin, so you did use the "addiction" to cope with other issues. It's just not as harmful to your health...maybe to your well being though. I have removed myself from a lot of that too. Way better being on the outside looking in from a distance than right smack in the middle. I have not bought any make up for quite some time now...except for the foundation refill, and mascara. I tend to use the same colors and still like a choice of blush and shadow, but can narrow it down quite a bit. I have been quite happy with my little collection. But then I never had much room to put it anyway!

    I am looking forward to part two, I know you can do this. Hope things are going better for you and your family. I do miss talking to my "make up" friends.

    1. I miss so many of you wonderful ladies too!

  2. One of my questions when cleaning is "Do own this item, or does it own me?"

  3. I found your blog through Google, and I really love all of these makeup addiction/destashing posts! I'm kind of going through the same thing now. My makeup (and just general beauty) collection has ballooned to massive, massive proportions, and I'm trying to focus on no more buying, and just enjoying and getting good use out of what I have. I used to love makeup and beauty stuff, but when you have so much that it's irritating or it consumes you, it becomes far less fun. I'm being honest with myself, and I'm getting rid of things that I know I will never ever use that are just taking up space, hanging around like some weird depressing cloud.

    I'm about to post pictures of my collection as well as a few goals I have for the rest of the year! Congrats on your destashing success.