Tuesday, September 23, 2014

By Request: Storing and Organizing All of Those Gift With Purchase Samples!

When cpl100, a lovely Lola's Secret Beauty Blog reader, made the request that I reveal my method for storing all of those gift with purchase samples that I have-- I knew that I needed to clean up the disastrous mess that had accumulated before my reveal! While this area of my collection had been quite well organized-- it recently descended into pure unmitigated chaos. The problem seems to be that while I sleep the samples breed and multiply-- I therefore had to empty out my large sample drawer and reorganize it before taking any pictures and describing what I do.

I have a large original built-in cabinet with a bank of very large and deep drawers in my master bathroom that I use to store many of my products. The bottom drawer is where I store many of my skincare samples, but in the spirit of full disclosure I would be remiss if I told you that was the extent of what I have accumulated! Yes, there are other piles of skincare products that need to be organized and stored properly as well, and this is to say nothing of my makeup samples that are stored elsewhere.
My method of storage is a pretty simple one, really. I tend to organize products by their brands rather than by the type of product (with a few deviations). My rationale for this choice is twofold: first, it allows me to see precisely what I have from a particular line; and second, it enables me to try out several pieces from a given line at the same time. I tend to use plastic bags or whatever see-through drawstring bags that I have on hand from bag events. This allows me to see what I have at a glance without too much fumbling about.
Samples, particularly those generous deluxe versions, are such a wonderful way to test out products to determine whether you like them enough to purchase the full size versions, and they are absolutely perfect for traveling. As you can tell from my monthly Empties posts, I tend to use a fair amount of samples, and when it comes to traveling I use skincare samples exclusively with few exceptions. They save so much space in my travel bag-- plus they comply with the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) stringent regulations if you are flying.

While there are probably more efficient ways to store skincare samples-- I find that this method works for me provided that I keep it organized.

How do you store your samples? Do you store them by brand or type? Do you intermingle your skincare with makeup samples?
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32 comments:

  1. oh wow I would love to have that drawer in my collection. For some strange reason, I go crazy for the cute little versions of high end products more so than the full size. I can use them up quickly so I can move on and try something else!

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    1. Hi The Beauty Bug! It's definitely nice to have lots of samples to try out! I agree the cute little versions of high end products are fun to have and use! They definitely allow you to test products out and then move on, but I am particularly satisfied when I discover something that works so well for my skin that it becomes a Holy Grail must buy! :-)

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  2. Quite a collection - but completely understandable - we blog about beauty, after all :-) . For a while I stopped ordering when the GWP's were on because I was just accumulating too much. When I lived in the States I also had a few beauty subscription boxes so it was getting out of hand (for me). I store my deluxe samples in a small plastic bin and the ones I intend to use for travel sit in a travel bag in a cabinet. These days I never have more than 3-4 deluxe samples of each skincare category and any number of packet samples. It's less overwhelming for me that way, lol. :-) But you seem to have a system that works. :-)

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    1. It's definitely a crazy-sized stash of samples! I know what you mean-- buying during GWP events certainly causes one to accumulate a ridiculous amount of stuff! Your method of accumulation and storage seems far more efficient than mine! My system only works provided that I keep it organized! As soon as I start just tossing stuff in the drawer without organizing it is when I become overwhelmed! :-)

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  3. Storing by brand is a genius idea - trying out a range of items from one brand at a time would give an overview of the line that is way more satisfying than testing a sachet here and a sachet there....erm, which is what I do - but no longer! x

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    1. Hi Unpaletteable! I'm glad that this inspired you! I agree that storing by brand is the way to go-- at least it has been for me. It also makes it super easy to see what you have from a particular line. You do get a better sense of what the line is about! Let me know how it goes for you! :-)

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    1. Hi Anaviglam-- I do seem to have accumulated quite a few samples LOL! How do you store yours? :-)

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  5. Hi Helen! I completely agree with Unpaletteable-- this is pure genius! There is such logic to this method! Yup, reorganizing tonight after work! How is Fannie doing? :-)

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    1. Hi J! I'm so glad that you like how I store my skincare samples, and am flattered that you think enough of it to give it a try! BIG SMILE! Thank you so much for asking about Fannie!!!!!!! <3 <3 <3 She seems to be feeling well, and she continues to put on a little weight. We keep a VERY close eye on her, and any sign of a shift in the wrong direction and we'll be visiting the vet. I suspect that before too much time has lapsed that her blood will need to be flushed of the enzyme build-up since her kidneys are functioning at 1/3 of capacity. However, all things considered she's happy, eating and purring a lot! xoxox, Helen

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    2. Lucky Fannie to have a human mommy that loves her so much and watches over her so carefully! :) Already reorganized my stash of samples by brand and am way happier now. I found a couple of Radical, Tatcha, Rodial and African Botanics samples in my mess and am really excited to try them. Thank you so much for the lovely tips!

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    3. Thank you, J that is such a kind thing to say. I love that kitty dearly and will do everything in my power to give her a happy life in the best health possible. I'm this post motivated you to organize your samples and that you found some buried treasures! I know just what you mean-- organizing my mess unearthed things that I didm;t even know that I had! xoxox

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  6. Gosh I do not store them like you, that's for sure. My cabinet with samples is not that big but it is soooo messy. I need to learn from you, my darling. You are a master!
    Tell your furries I send them love!

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    1. Hi wefadetogray! Well, it definitely is working for me now that I have restored some order! It was a pretty scary mess after months of just tossing stuff in the drawer! I hope that your week is off to a great start! I'm hugging the kitties for you! They send you purrs and licks! xoxox

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  7. i sort by category as i usually prefer to test one new product at a time. currently there are several shoe box sized storage units stacked on top of each other broken down into: face serums/moisturizers, face makeup & brows, eye makeup and lip products. zip lock bags are used inside of those boxes to separate into subcategories. when i'm starting to run low on something in my current rotation or if i feel like something in the routine needs an adjustment, i can pick up the ziplock with the correct sub category and see all my options in one place across different brands and see which strikes my fancy.

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    1. Your storage method sounds like a good one, and organizing it by product type definitely sounds like it facilitates finding new products to rotate into your routine! Nice job, Chia-Yi! :-)

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  8. Wow, I'm just a beginner with regard to samples compared to you! I'm so jealous of all those Tatcha and Radical Skincare samples, lol Thank you for some great organizing tips. Plastics bags by brand it will be!

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    1. My stash of samples wasn't so big not that long ago, but after a few cycles of big gift bags at Barneys and Space NK and pretty soon there were so many more samples. I find that as long as things are easily visible and organized in a way that makes sense-- then I will use the products. If not, then I forget all about them! Plastic bags work really well, I find! Let me know how it goes! :-)

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  9. I am in love with Tatcha. Lovely collection!

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    1. TATCHA is definitely worthy of our love-- it's such an amazing line! :-)

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  10. I actually don't have too many samples on hand at any one time. When I end up with duplicates or products I don't want or need, I give them to a women's shelter. When many of those women flee, they leave everything behind so a few little luxuries are always appreciated.

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    1. Hi Eileen, I have actually been meaning to do that for some time. It's such a thing to do :-)
      At long last my Tom Ford Master Class event coverage is posting tomorrow! I hope to see you at the next one! Have a lovely evening :-)

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  11. Now, that was not what I was expecting at all. Don't know what I expected but it wasn't that. I am envious of both your stash of products and the extra drawer you have to devote to them. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Hi cpl100, Absolutely my pleasure! You probably thought that it would be a more sane amount, and perhaps more well organized? It is nice having the big drawers, but without organizers to subdivide the space it can tend to get a bit cluttered. Well, I doubt you would envy my stash of samples if you considered how much I spent in full size products to end up with that many samples- LOL! Actually, I don't want to think too much about that! :-)

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    2. Oh there is a lot more! This is just the portion that is organized! I have at least that much (if not more) in other places that I haven't dealt with yet! So you were right in your assumption!

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  12. looks like home, helen! :) mine is stored if a very similar condition, but in a nice pull out, under bed storage system. that would not be my favorite, but bed/bath situation pretty much demands it. i am also able to store extra disposables (tissues, cotton balls, baby wipes) in the same location and dang it, it just works!

    oh, this reminds me -- in my last TestTube i received what looks like a very generous skin care sample system from a brand called eQuitance. it is specifically for lightening issues and i cannot use it. if you are interested, i will happily forward it in your direction. it contains a cleanser, toner, serum, night cream, spf day cream and some supplements. it looks quite nice, i just cannot use it and it does not address my skin's needs. let me know and we can work out details via email if you think you can use it.

    peace out,
    cheryl

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    1. Hi Cheryl! Your system sounds very efficient. Frankly it makes more sense to have it stored in an under bed storage unit than in a bathroom with limited storage space since these samples aren't the types of things that need to be accessed on a daily basis. My built-in storage unit is an original 1920s feature from when the house was built, and while I love the character-- it is quite deep and inefficient for more than storing towels and larger items. However, with storage space at a premium I use what I have!

      Thank you so much for the offer-- that s so gracious of you. Let me take a look at their website to see if this is something that I could use. It is so very thoughtful of you to even think of me for this!

      xoxox, Helen

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  13. hi lola! how long do you store these samples for? i have sooo many, but i'm also afraid they may go bad if I don't use them up fast enough (and i mean fast enough as within a year or two)

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    1. Hi! I do make sure that the lids are on tight, and the drawer is a cool dark place-- so that does have a tendency to increase the shelf life a bit I also try to use things that tend to be more perishable sooner rather than later. Many of these things haven't been in my drawer all that long, but others have been sitting in storage a little longer. I evaluate each product before use-- if they seem as though they are turning then I toss them, but I don't find that happening very often. Samples of products that I really love get used fairly regularly, and I often carry them in my purse, and inevitably use them whenever I travel. If they seem as though they are turning then I wouldn't risk using them. If you have product samples of things that you really love-- then I would just use them and enjoy them before too much time passes! It amazes me how quickly one can accumulate so many samples! :-)

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