Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Perfume: Hermes, The Ziploc, and Decluttering Weakness

Yesterday, I read a Basenotes thread "What house(s) do you collect?", so I went through my Basenotes wardrobe out of curiosity. I wasn't the least bit surprised to find Parfumerie Generale and Serge Lutens amply represented, but I definitely didn't expect to learn that Hermes is one of the top three in my collection. That's not to say that I disapprove of Hermes or anything like that, but I didn't think that liked them all that much.

So I had to go through the list of Hermes fragrances that my wardrobe claims I own. Hiris, sure, I love that. Oh, yeah, I bought a Discovery Set from Hermes plus a couple of stray Discovery Set bottles from The Perfumed Court; that should show all those other houses that tiny bottles can inspire purchases from other-than-favorite houses. Eau d'Orange Verte, didn't I give that away? And Terre d'Hermes, too? So I went to look at the actual collection, and, yes, no Eau d'Orange Verte, no Terre d'Hermes.

That was when I made my mistake: I went to look at The Ziploc.

The Ziploc is a gallon ziploc crammed full of fragrances that I plan to give, sell, or swap away. (Probably give, locally; Postal Regulation Phobia continues to rule.) It's the product of much decluttering heartstrain. Actually looking at The Ziploc, rather than stuffing a rejected fragrance in with eyes averted and running away again, is a mistake.

This is because The Ziploc makes me go "Ooh!" and then fragrances come out and then I spray on things that I had firmly given up, like Creed Original Vetiver, and then all that decluttering is in danger of going out the window. I smell strongly of Original Vetiver right now. If I've got my terminology right, my superego filled The Ziploc; my id ("Pretty! Smells good! MINE!") wants to retrieve everything from it.

It's all the more dangerous because we moved and combined our households and therefore all of my Perfume Breadboxes are in one place, and it was the crowding of the Breadboxes that made me declutter in the first place. You'd think, of course, that the Breadboxes would be just as full even though they're reunited, but that's not true - two homes meant bottles in one place and decants drawn from the bottles in another, and I boxed up the decants and that means that Breadbox Real Estate is freed up.


So I'm eyeing the Ziploc and questioning my decisions. For example, why is Mandragore in there? I love Mandragore! Could I possibly have decided to get rid of it on the flimsy grounds that I haven't worn it in three years? Unthinkable! It's going on the "maybe" shelf.

Then there's Coty Wild Musk... OK, I can give up Coty Wild Musk. I bought it for the Drugstore Series, and, no, I'm not going to answer to the part of my brain that's asking, "But did you review that one? Shouldn't you hang on to it until you do?" No. Just no. Goodbye, Wild Musk.

Demeter Dirt?! I love Demeter Dirt! How could...

Oh. Yes, I love some of Christopher Brosius's current dirt renditions more. That must be the reason. Back in the Ziploc with you.

Fresh Lemon Sugar. I loved that. I lift the cap and I still love it. I suspect that it went into the Ziploc based on snobbery ("Too sweet. Teenager fragrance.") and citrus overload. But I'm pretty sure I still love it. It's going to a Breadbox. If and when I buy Din Dan, Lemon Sugar may go away.

Sand & Sable. Drugstore series again. I enjoyed it, I enjoyed writing the review, I enjoyed the comments conversation that ensued. I never ever wear it, because there are heavy white flowers that I like better. Pass on the enjoyment to someone else. Do you hear me, Id? Back in the Ziploc. Back!

ElizabethW Sweet Tea. It was once my very, very favorite. I never wear it any more. I can't look in Sweet Tea's sad eyes as I put her back in the Ziploc; she's going in "maybe" until I'm stronger.

Kiehl's Pear 1977. (Why 1977?) A nice pear and nothing but pear. I enjoy it but it's so simple that I will never wear it. I reassure myself that perfumers will keep on making pear notes, and put it back in the Ziploc.

Eau d'Orange Verte. Its appeal is based purely on "But Hermes makes good fragrances!" and "But I paid money for it!" Not enough. Ziploc. It's a relief that I apparently already got rid of Terre d'Hermes; it has much more snob appeal for me, and I might be unable to resist it today.

Fresh Hesperides. I loved it once, but never bonded with it like I did with Sweet Tea, and it smells aggressively synthetic to me now. It's going back without a qualm.

L'Occitane Bergamot Tea. That makes the Mandragore eviction all the more puzzling; that was my other bergamot fragrance. But if I'm keeping Mandragore I don't need Bergamot Tea; off with it.

Y'know, I have a new theory about Mandragore: I suspect that I was going to buy a real bottle to replace my existing mini, and then the bottle got outprioritized. I'm telling myself that anyway, because it makes keeping the mini a sensible deicison that saves a bottle purchase, rather than a decluttering weakness. Yeah, that's my story.

A "spare" Vetiver Tonka. At just 15ml of fragrance per Discovery Set bottle, I'm reclaiming that. But it reminds me of why I got rid of Original Vetiver -- for me, there are no circumstances under which Vetiver Tonka doesn't beat out Original Vetiver for the SOTD decision. So the giant green Creed bottle goes back in the Ziploc.

And that strengthens my decision to keep Love in Black in the Ziploc - I can maintain my prejudice against Creed that way. Sure, yes, Creed has some nice scents, and I really like the Creed reps I've met. But all the people running around insisting that Creed uses All Natural Materials Woo Hoo! annoy me, and so does the advertising copy that feeds that impression. And I feel no obligation to be rational and unprejudiced about luxury products.

Jo Malone Sweet Lime and Cedar. Smells lovely at first, and then on my skin the lime grows and grows and grows until I want to saw my arm off. Best to get rid of it, to resist the temptation to try it just one more time.

Rochas Tocade. I adore the circus-colors bottle. The scent itself is a "comfort" rose, but I don't like roses enough to want them in my comfort scent, so it has no function for me. Back in the Ziploc. Back. I said back. Look, Id, you can get a picture of the pretty bottle, OK? That's better; thank you.

The bottom of The Ziploc is full of decants and samples; I refuse to look at those. If I don't even see them until I dump The Ziploc out and tell friends, "Take something!" then I'll feel bad saying, "Oh, I changed my mind about that one; give it back." Of course, my friend are polite enough to undermine that by repeatedly asking, "Are you sure you want to give it away?" but I'll tell myself that they'd be furious if I said no. Decluttering calls for mental guerilla warfare.

Image: By H. Zell. Wikimedia Commons.
(What does it have to do with the post? Nothing whatsoever. It was just pretty.)


  1. You make me wish I lived closer! :)

  2. I have a box like your Ziploc bag. I keep saying, "One day I'm going to sell these on eBay, cheap, just to get 'em outta the house." Sure, I could throw them up for grabs on Fragrantica, but people get so annoyed when you say US swaps only. Sigh. (And my recent experience on Perfume Posse's Swapmania left me determined NEVER EVER to do it again. No swap negotiation for me. Nope. Takes forever. Somebody's always unhappy.)

    EBay is sounding better and better as a way to get rid of stuff - at least I'll cover my costs. I hope. (Our local Goodwill and women's shelters do not accept used fragrance or personal care products. Boo.)

  3. I have a ziploc bag within a shoe box, much depleted since I gave a ton of stuff away to a women's refuge (who didn't mind used fragrance) and then some more away to a friend of Mr Bonkers, who will accept literally any freebies, even Joop! for Men and a leaky plastic atomiser of Escada 1990.

    But I feel your pain and your wrestling and flipflopping, and regularly go through something similar when I ill-advisedly open the lid of the outer box.

    Re JM Sweet Lime and Cedar, it is a dead ringer for Walkers Sensations Gently Infused Thai Lime & Spice crisps, now sadly discontinued.

  4. Sweet Lime and Cedar is also being discontinued, so says my JM rep.

  5. Hey, Diana! Hey, if you happen to be wandering by Ashland, email me. :)

  6. Yo, Mals! Hmm; I hadn't thought of Swap Unhappiness. Maybe the PRP is just as well.

    I'm not surprised at Goodwill refusing used personal care products, but perfume seems fundamentally different. They should rethink.

  7. Howdy, Vanessa! Heh. I wish I knew somebody locally who would happily accept them all. We briefly considered a garage sale for our excess junk after the move; I was imagining a sign, "Free perfume samples with any sale". But it really doesn't seem to be a perfume town.

  8. Diana! I'm surprised; it seemed to get so much attention when it was released. Maybe the Infinitely Growing Lime happens to other people, too...