What's your decluttering process?

Uniquefrags

Basenotes Member
Oct 10, 2022
I ran a search and didn't see a general thread on this so thought I'd start one. :)

I have indulged a fair bit in fragrances over the past year, with about 4 sample hauls and a handful of full bottles bought. Over the past month or so, I've been working my way through my samples in an effort to declutter a bit because it all became a bit overwhelming. I do best if I have no more than 8 full bottles of different fragrances, with a handful of samples to work through.

It got me thinking, how do other fragrance lovers and collectors go about decluttering? Is it a constant thing you do on the go, or do you tackle it when you suddenly find your collection is overflowing? Or do you not declutter at all and just enjoy having a wonderland of variety to play in?
 

JBHoren

I *am* smiling
Apr 25, 2007
It got me thinking, how do other fragrance lovers and collectors go about decluttering? Is it a constant thing you do on the go, or do you tackle it when you suddenly find your collection is overflowing? Or do you not declutter at all and just enjoy having a wonderland of variety to play in?
Basically, what's highlighted. My collection's got significantly more bottles than yours, and at some point (later, rather than sooner) I decided to group them on my dresser "geographically", by fragrance "family" — floral/fougère, gourmand, tobacco, and vetiver — anything unlike and/or "cross-over" gets located ± on the borders; as well, more-frequently-worn frags go to the front, less-so further back. Samples? I keep them in several repurposed shaving mugs and try to use 'em as I get 'em (and I'm not reluctant to toss 'em).
 

LeChypreSexy

Super Member
Oct 13, 2022
I ran a search and didn't see a general thread on this so thought I'd start one. :)

I have indulged a fair bit in fragrances over the past year, with about 4 sample hauls and a handful of full bottles bought. Over the past month or so, I've been working my way through my samples in an effort to declutter a bit because it all became a bit overwhelming. I do best if I have no more than 8 full bottles of different fragrances, with a handful of samples to work through.

It got me thinking, how do other fragrance lovers and collectors go about decluttering? Is it a constant thing you do on the go, or do you tackle it when you suddenly find your collection is overflowing? Or do you not declutter at all and just enjoy having a wonderland of variety to play in?
I'll wait until I have around 8 bottles I don't want, then I take them into work. I'll leave them in the break room and tell people to help themselves. The only fragrance I had to throw out because no one wanted it was Tom Ford Grey Vetiver. Mugler Aura hung around for a few days but eventually someone took it because she liked the bottle. Yup, my coworkers recognize a turkey when they smell it.
 

Uniquefrags

Basenotes Member
Oct 10, 2022
Loving your responses already!

Also, I don't collect samples. They create an annoying clutter for me. I use them up promptly or give them away.
I tend to need to try out my samples over time. Like, I'll try one scent and then return to it a few weeks later to sample again. I find that my first impression isn't always right and giving space and time helps me fully form my opinion.
There are many I loved but, upon sampling again, realized "This is nice but, I don't really want to smell like this"! Akro's Awake was one of those: I was so impressed with how realistic the coffee note was, with that maple syrup in the background. Only after sampling it a second time a month later did I realize that I felt like I'd spilled my morning cup of joe on myself, and that's the impression others would have, too! :p

I decided to group them on my dresser "geographically", by fragrance "family"
That's a clever way to group them!

I'll wait until I have around 8 bottles I don't want, then I take them into work. I'll leave them in the break room and tell people to help themselves.
That's incredibly generous of you! I'm sure they're all very grateful!
 

LeChypreSexy

Super Member
Oct 13, 2022
Loving your responses already!


I tend to need to try out my samples over time. Like, I'll try one scent and then return to it a few weeks later to sample again. I find that my first impression isn't always right and giving space and time helps me fully form my opinion.
There are many I loved but, upon sampling again, realized "This is nice but, I don't really want to smell like this"! Akro's Awake was one of those: I was so impressed with how realistic the coffee note was, with that maple syrup in the background. Only after sampling it a second time a month later did I realize that I felt like I'd spilled my morning cup of joe on myself, and that's the impression others would have, too! :p


That's a clever way to group them!


That's incredibly generous of you! I'm sure they're all very grateful!
I feel the same way you do when it comes to food or liquor fragrances. Why would I want to smell like I spilled coffee or chocolate mousse all over me? I'd rather not.
 

PrinceRF

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Apr 3, 2020
It got me thinking, how do other fragrance lovers and collectors go about decluttering? Is it a constant thing you do on the go
This. I constantly analyze my belongings and throw away or gift items that I do not need or no longer make me happy. In fact, I know of every single material posession that I own, and I have them all mapped inside of my mind. I am immensely disturbed by clutter.
 

hednic

Basenotes Institution
Oct 25, 2007
It got me thinking, how do other fragrance lovers and collectors go about decluttering? Is it a constant thing you do on the go, or do you tackle it when you suddenly find your collection is overflowing? Or do you not declutter at all and just enjoy having a wonderland of variety to play in?
The thousands upon thousands of free samples I accumulated over the years with bottle purchases were either given away or tossed. I never had a desire to use or keep them. On the other hand, I have had no need or desire to de-clutter my collection of bottles which have adequate room and even plenty of room to spare where they are housed.
 

Pippin06

always learning--often laughing
Feb 8, 2017
I ran a search and didn't see a general thread on this so thought I'd start one. :)

I have indulged a fair bit in fragrances over the past year, with about 4 sample hauls and a handful of full bottles bought. Over the past month or so, I've been working my way through my samples in an effort to declutter a bit because it all became a bit overwhelming. I do best if I have no more than 8 full bottles of different fragrances, with a handful of samples to work through.

It got me thinking, how do other fragrance lovers and collectors go about decluttering? Is it a constant thing you do on the go, or do you tackle it when you suddenly find your collection is overflowing? Or do you not declutter at all and just enjoy having a wonderland of variety to play in?
I usually give away fragrances I realize aren't loves. Have never sold any. I will only keep fragrances I love--and usually have personal or sentimental value.
 

Uniquefrags

Basenotes Member
Oct 10, 2022
This is interesting! I must confess, I had expected that most would collect without hesitation and not be keen on decluttering often (perhaps because I see people boasting about massive collections on social media). It seems from the replies that the majority here are quite quick to eliminate anything that doesn't work. Life's too short to wear a fragrance that isn't a straight up "love"!(y)

This year of experimenting with fragrances has made me realize that I definitely prefer moderation. Decluttering the samples I have now has shown me that I'm easily overwhelmed, and when I have an abundance of choice, I tend to revert to the same fragrances anyway, leaving the "extras" untouched.
 

cheapimitation

Basenotes Dependent
May 15, 2015
I've not reached the point yet where I feel the need to do a massive declutter, but if I'm wearing a fragrance and start to think to myself "I'm not sure I'm really enjoying this", I'll usually give it another shot and if I still feel the same way it gets the boot. This happened to me with MFK Absolue Pour Le Soir. I think I was just hyped up on its rarity so I bought it when I found it available at the MFK flagship. I wore it a few times and kept thinking "do I actually like this smell??" Turns out I didn't, so I sold it.

The other case would be if I find something redundant, like I have a better version of the same thing I would always reach for first.

I do think in general it's better to just buy less and enjoy what you have. It is very easy to get in the cycle of buy quick and resell which can be just as bad as buying too much because it really feeds the fast consumption and constant dissatisfaction with what you already have. I do understand this strategy though if you don't have much chance to sample things, for some it might be the best way to test fragrances for some.
 

Paddington

Marmalade Sandwich Eater
Basenotes Plus
Jun 17, 2021
This is interesting! I must confess, I had expected that most would collect without hesitation and not be keen on decluttering often (perhaps because I see people boasting about massive collections on social media). It seems from the replies that the majority here are quite quick to eliminate anything that doesn't work. Life's too short to wear a fragrance that isn't a straight up "love"!(y)

This year of experimenting with fragrances has made me realize that I definitely prefer moderation. Decluttering the samples I have now has shown me that I'm easily overwhelmed, and when I have an abundance of choice, I tend to revert to the same fragrances anyway, leaving the "extras" untouched.
I Will never allow myself to collecting for the sake of having pretty bottles on a shelf, my fragrances are there to use and if I feel they don't use them or have much love for them I will find them a new home cause id be the first to admit I was caught in the loop of acquiring everything just to have them and also the first admit its not a healthy mentality
 

Uniquefrags

Basenotes Member
Oct 10, 2022
I do think in general it's better to just buy less and enjoy what you have. It is very easy to get in the cycle of buy quick and resell which can be just as bad as buying too much because it really feeds the fast consumption and constant dissatisfaction with what you already have. I do understand this strategy though if you don't have much chance to sample things, for some it might be the best way to test fragrances for some.
That's just a good mentality to have generally. I feel like fragrances are being churned out a crazy rate (or maybe I'm just noticing all the new releases because this is a new hobby), and it's important not to get sucked into that overconsumption cycle that leaves you chasing the next big hit.

I will say that I also agree with your final point, because that was me. I had to "haul" samples because I couldn't get most fragrances locally and it was the only way to figure out my tastes. But one year of abundance was enough and I won't be repeating it.

Of course, I completely get the other side of this. For some people, collecting and holding on to every bottle is part of the pleasure. It's part of their journey and their collection/display brings them joy. I can appreciate that for what it is. We all have our own ways of enjoying this hobby and they're all equally valid.

cause id be the first to admit I was caught in the loop of acquiring everything just to have them and also the first admit its not a healthy mentality
That's wonderful! To have that level of self-awareness is great. I wish I'd been paying more attention to my approach as I was experimenting so that I didn't make as many mistakes (there was a lot of rapid acquisition in a short space of time)!
 

cazaubon

Moderator
Moderator
Basenotes Plus
Jan 1, 2005
I just threw out a huge bag of samples Monday. They collect until I feel overwhelmed, then I purge. As for bottles, anything that is a failed blind buy or I definitely never want to wear again gets sold or gifted. I do tend to keep things for a long time before making a final decision though, as I don’t want to regret later.
 

LeChypreSexy

Super Member
Oct 13, 2022
I just threw out a huge bag of samples Monday. They collect until I feel overwhelmed, then I purge. As for bottles, anything that is a failed blind buy or I definitely never want to wear again gets sold or gifted. I do tend to keep things for a long time before making a final decision though, as I don’t want to regret later.
Keeping fragrances for a while before getting rid of them is a very good idea. I got rid of a big bottle of vintage Sinan edt, and every so often I think "Hmmm, maybe that wasn't the best idea." So far that's my only regret, though.
 

Schubertian

Basenotes Junkie
Apr 8, 2021
I try not to clutter in the first place. I'm actually not a fan of the term "declutter", I mean I know clutter can happen and so on, but the best thing is to be mindful of what you buy (not only in perfume but in everything) and only buy things that last and are loved and used til the end.

Having said that, sometimes tastes or circumstances change. I've had a few bottles that turned out to be mistakes, or I discovered I no longer loved them; I've tended to put them aside for a while, retry and figure out if I really dislike them or am just cycling through different preferences. In cases where nothing worked ultimately I've sold them, swapped them or given a couple away. I don't get given perfume as gifts, thankfully, so that's not an issue.
 

Zenwannabee

Super Member
Sep 15, 2009
I’m of the Marie Kondo school that if I’m keeping it, it should spark joy. That said, I agree that you should evaluate slowly before parting with fragrances. I tend to abhor clutter, but also want to avoid regrets in parting too soon with fragrances. I also try to avoid impulse buys (never easy!) and to enjoy what I have. But I’m mainly at the point where I’m very choosy and have to really like a scent before buying it.
 

lfc1892

Basenotes Junkie
Dec 12, 2021
If I really don’t reach for something I’ll swap or sell it. Recently did that with Halfeti and swapped for a vintage tobacco vanille. Great swap
 

JBHoren

I *am* smiling
Apr 25, 2007
Basically, what's highlighted. My collection's got significantly more bottles than yours, and at some point (later, rather than sooner) I decided to group them on my dresser "geographically", by fragrance "family" — floral/fougère, gourmand, tobacco, and vetiver — anything unlike and/or "cross-over" gets located ± on the borders; as well, more-frequently-worn frags go to the front, less-so further back. Samples? I keep them in several repurposed shaving mugs and try to use 'em as I get 'em (and I'm not reluctant to toss 'em).
[OP's closing sentence: Or do you not declutter at all and just enjoy having a wonderland of variety to play in?]

I would add another strategy (for collections warranting a physical approach to "clutter"): Seasonal presentation. That is, if you have fragrances which you wear (more or less) according to the Summer/Fall/Winter/Spring divisions, perhaps display only those, and move the rest elsewhere.

"In for a penny, in for a pound": Organize a (sub)grouping by weather and/or temperature. Perhaps combine the seasonal and weather approaches, with one of them as your primary focus and the other as secondary. Here, too, there's room for "dresser-top" geography.

Finally, a plug for Wardrobe "tagging". If you've already created a Wardrobe (or thinking about it), you could tag each entry with labels for season and/or weather. When deciding which one to wear, select the "Tagged" view and then the tag for "season" or "weather". You'd still have to choose one (often the most difficult task), but once you've already separated "wheat from chaff", doing so would be a different "difficulty".
 
Last edited:

veloglider

Basenotes Member
Nov 7, 2022
I ran a search and didn't see a general thread on this so thought I'd start one. :)

I have indulged a fair bit in fragrances over the past year, with about 4 sample hauls and a handful of full bottles bought. Over the past month or so, I've been working my way through my samples in an effort to declutter a bit because it all became a bit overwhelming. I do best if I have no more than 8 full bottles of different fragrances, with a handful of samples to work through.

It got me thinking, how do other fragrance lovers and collectors go about decluttering? Is it a constant thing you do on the go, or do you tackle it when you suddenly find your collection is overflowing? Or do you not declutter at all and just enjoy having a wonderland of variety to play in?
I woke up about 3 yrs ago realizing why in the heck do I have over 350 bottles, I couldn't wear them in 10 lifetimes. I also realized i only reached for some more then others and those were more heavy spicy smoky frags. I just got started and in about 6 months sold most but while selling i also traded a few and bought some i had always wanted. After all said and done i downsized to about 72, and recently did a second purge getting rid of others i didnt want like some designer and cheapies and have bought a few more with a new one today and another coming Monday. I have pretty much everything i want with the exception of a few but no big hurry to make the jump i can wait. I feel so much better after the downsize not having to decide which to wear and just having a much nicer collection of quality over quantity. Most i now own are niche with just a few designer like Tom Ford & CDG
 

_Nicolas_

Super Member
Aug 16, 2021
Smaller samples that I'm not at all keen on just get binned (I almost always start with 2ml and then go for a larger sample if I really like the fragrance), cheaper full bottle blind-buys that no one wanted used to get taken to the charity shop or binned if really cheap. Now I hardly ever blind-buy because I sample more and more.

I use a cupboard of my credenza for my collection, tray for a dozen fragrances that are my current rotation, bookcase shelf for minis and a small cardboard box for samples. If it won't fit in those, it's not staying! The cupboard that houses my main collection is certainly not orderly (at least the top shelf, bottom is full of well-organised backups), but I simply use the Basenotes wardrobe to select my SOTD and then locate it there, so it isn't an issue.:)
 

TheBurgh

New member
Nov 5, 2022
Has anyone searched for or found trays to hold sample vials upright?

My "clutter" of them is currently 100 and growing. 🤨
 

N.CAL Fragrance Reviewer

Retired
Basenotes Plus
Jul 1, 2011
I just threw out a huge bag of samples Monday. They collect until I feel overwhelmed, then I purge. As for bottles, anything that is a failed blind buy or I definitely never want to wear again gets sold or gifted. I do tend to keep things for a long time before making a final decision though, as I don’t want to regret later.
Did the samples go into the trash? Maybe the samples could've been given away, perhaps placed in the give away thread.
 

Uniquefrags

Basenotes Member
Oct 10, 2022
Coming back to this a little late as I've been distracted by a hectic workweek!
So many amazing answers. It's always interesting to see how we all approach our hobbies, so thank you all for the food-for-thought!

I feel so much better after the downsize not having to decide which to wear and just having a much nicer collection of quality over quantity.
This was incredible to read! I'm so happy you've gotten your collection to a place where it is perfect for you. :)

Has anyone searched for or found trays to hold sample vials upright?
Not trays, but I use an 'acrylic grid make up stand'. It's got little square cubicles that are meant to hold lipsticks or nail polish. My tester bottles and vials (from 0.7ml dabbers to 3ml sprays) all stand up there really well. I organize by fragrance type, so one cubby for 'citrus', another for 'iris' and so on. Worth looking into, perhaps.
 

veloglider

Basenotes Member
Nov 7, 2022
Yes, I did throw them in the trash, there were so many I just didn’t want to deal with trying to rehome them. I will try not to let them build up so badly next time.
I always kept samples and whenever i sold a frag in a group would throw a few in, it helps with good positive feedback and great reviews for me LOL
 

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