Do you have a hobby? Maybe you like to scrapbook or maybe you’re a duck hunter? Maybe you collect vintage cigar boxes or propagate orchids.

I have varied interests but there is one thing that seems to have risen to the top of my list:

The quest for the perfect lipstick.

I realize that by admitting this I may have immediately lost some of the points on my feminist leaderboard,

And it gets worse.

What started off as a quest for the perfect lipstick has expanded.

It has grown in size and scope.

Now rather than simply looking for a nice, longwearing, subtle shade that compliments my skin tone,

I’ve started looking for other makeup products that can give me the same buzz as finding a candidate for the perfect lipstick.

This isn't all of it.

This isn’t all of it.

I know. It’s a problem.

In my defense, the photo you’ll see below represents ALL the makeup I own. Can you wear the same stuff in the dead of a Minnesota winter that you wear in the middle of a humid, sunny summer? I think not. Therefore, in my defense, it looks worse than it really is. I think.

My sister was so flabbergasted to discover the depths of my storehouses that she insisted we go through it together and clean out what I didn’t use anymore.

“What?” I said.

“Let’s get rid of the stuff you don’t need,” she suggested.

“What?” I said.

“Come on, bring it out here,” she bullied.

And that’s when I discovered that perhaps I have a little more than is reasonable to hang on to. Observe:

She's sad and is my niece.

She’s sad and amazed…so is my niece.

Yes, a couple of those bags are empty, but at least one of them is filled to the gills.

In sorting through it all, we discovered that I had 16 eyeliners. 16. Some were worn down to the nub and needed to go. A couple of them were extremely similar in color…like almost exactly alike. So she made me get rid of those.

She’s bossy like that.

While we went through it I came to the conclusion that I like concealer and blush, a lot. In my defense, I have chronic dark undereye circles (and apparently I have bags too although I did not know about this problem until a peppy, unrepentant girl at a sales counter informed me of this ailment. ‘Come out from behind the safety of that counter and tell me that,’ I thought.) that take some attention and sometimes multiple products are the only way to make a dent.

That still doesn’t justify how many concealers I had.

There was some negotiating, some finagling on my part to make my sister see the merits of certain products.

You see, Rae is a minimalist.


She hardly bothers with makeup at all, and when she does she’s got five things to choose from in her tiny makeup bag.

I think I gave her four of those five items.

Therefore, Rae cannot grasp the necessity of two different types of bronzers.

“All you need is one,” she claims, as if she’d know.

And when I explain what a primer is, she has a look on her face that is both confused and longsuffering.

“How many mascaras does one person need?” She shifts subjects to keep me off balance, thinking I won’t notice that she just threw away the primer we were discussing.  I’m wise to her tactics and while she’s helping my niece put on a string of pop-beads I fish out the primer from her “throw away” bag.

In the end, we got rid of a lot. It may not look like it in the picture, but this is now my entire arsenal of makeup, all seasons of the year represented:

She got rid of a couple more things after we took this picture (but I snuck them back into my bag when she wasn't looking).

She got rid of a couple more things after we took this picture (but I snuck them back into my bag when she wasn’t looking).

Rae asked me how I felt once we had completed the job. And I have to admit, it did feel good to clear out all the broken, worn out, bad color pieces from the collection. I gave my niece a couple things to play with, thus securing my spot as Best Auntie for the day. I felt lighter, more in control of my stuff rather than the other way around.

In truth, it bothered me to see how much money I had invested over time.

Maybe that was what made it hard to get rid of any of it — I knew I had paid money for it so I needed to justify it by keeping it…

Kindof backwards logic when you spell it out, huh?

In the future, I plan to keep better track of what I have, in order to spare myself the trouble of storing things I hardly even use, along with freeing up space in my mind and budget. And if I need to get rid of a couple things, I’ll probably pass them on to Rae. Lawd knows she has room in her makeup bag.

Do you have a quest for a perfect item, be it jeans, jacket, haircut or lipstick? How do you keep it in check? What do you stockpile that you could do without (or do with less)?