With two women and two men in my home, there is a huge range of personal care products floating around our bathroom. We each have a designated drawer, but things find their way into the linen closet, the sink top, the guest bathroom, and our bedrooms. My stash was personally very out of hand, so today (instead of doing the myriad of other things I should be doing) I went the "productive-procrastination" route and did an inventory. I like to try new products, so I have a ton of samples, not to mention all the gifts I've been given over the years, or the flosses from the dentist, or the random products mom has bought me (both my skin and hair are difficult beasts, and I'm always willing to try the next new thing for them!).
Why you should inventory, too:
For any frugal-minded gal (or guy), taking an inventory helps you save money--honestly! If you're only partially using a bottle of something, that's $1, $2, $3 out the door when they expire. You can also make better budgets: if you have half a bottle of shampoo and you usually use a good-sized squirt every other day, you can guess when you will need a new bottle, and avoid a surprise expense. It also helps keep you organized, physically. I have so many bottles of things in so many places right now, and I can't wait to cut down on the clutter!
The time commitment:
Obviously this varies per person, but you should go in with a game plan. I started by taking all the bottles I had and putting them on the bathroom floor. Then I grouped by type: shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, face moisturizer, etc. First I checked for any expiration dates, and threw out anything old. If I had multiples of a product, I married them together, putting any empties off to the side for a sense of accomplishment. I then went through and decided which product I would try to use up first, leaving those out where I would see them, and putting the others neatly in my drawer. Overall the process took me about 30 minutes :)
My Inventory, Completed:
Travel: I found several unopened or reusable travel-sized things. These are being stored for future trips, or when I'm very low on products.
The Empties: By marrying like products, I emptied a conditioner, a shampoo, a mouth wash, and a small contact solution.
Shampoo: With a little bit of Pantene, some Head & Shoulders, and a bunch of samples, I will try to save my favorite, the No Poo, for school.
Conditioner & Gels: I've got quite a lot of conditioner, hopefully enough to get me through at least fall semester plus the rest of summer. Gel I'm quite low on, though. Those travel containers are all that's left of my preferred brand, but I've an unopened bottle of the Garnier.
Moisturizer & Sunscreen: The Cetaphil I use every day and is the only one here specifically for my face. I clearly need to moisturize the rest of me more often! I should be all set for the rest of summer and fall, although I'll need more Cetaphil.
Contacts: I'll need more contacts soon; I've only got three sets left. As for solution, all the smaller containers were free samples (woot!), while the larger two I bought. Since I don't wear contacts all that often I should be okay, but we'll see.
Teeth: I don't use the whitening strips often, so I should be all set through fall semester. The toothpaste will be quickly used up, as will the floss, but I know mom has more for the family to use. The mouthwash I'll make work. I've also got two toothpastes and a mouthwash set aside to bring to school.
Deodorant: Now this I will need more of fairly soon. Each of the regular-looking bottles has only a few days' worth left. The taller one is unopened but is really a style I don't like (rollerball) so I might not end up using it at all.
Feminine Products: Between samples, losing the stash I had, restocking, and finding my stash again, I'm pretty solid in this category.
The Drawer, After:
Has anyone else done an inventory recently? Do you do makeup as well as personal care? What's your method?