Friday, April 23, 2010

Door #1 : Ways of Storing

When someone comes to my house and says, "Okay, where is this perfume collection?," I'm in a bit of a quandry.  Because there is no "here" or "there" to point to.  No wine refrigerator dedicated to perfume.  No shrine of bottles on top of the dresser.  No drawer or chest of drawers, no special basket, no pie cupboard.  No linen closet with dedicated shelves.

Oh, no.  Not that.

Some of that (a drawer, a basket, a shelf).  And some other (old glasses, egg cups, boxes, candle holders).  And general drops here and there for good measure.

The "filing system" is the same way.  Some things are gathered by source, others by house, others by season.  It makes sense for me.  Hey, one must adapt the best of Melvil Dewey, Carl Linnaeus, color theory, vintage formulation changes, frequency of use, and general attractiveness of bottle, right?

Not to mention that when it comes to sourcing, I have places/people that I am confident I got what I asked for.  Then there are those forays into the unknown, with varying degrees of risk, but those procurements often go into quarantine until I determine with greater or lesser certainty whether or not the contents inside are a) what they are supposed to be, and b) even if they are, what shape they are in.

Right here, at this point, if you'd like to make a judgement about how much mind space and time I allow for this little interest of mine, feel free.  All I ask is that you consider:  A) my mind works this way anyway, so the time factor is minimal (sorting everything into One Grand System and cataloguing Every Last Vial would indeed be time consuming, and frankly, a little mind numbing).  B) If this blog were about something else, we could go through a similar investigation of the way books are "stored" in my house.

(Aw, what the heck; real quick--largely assembled by type (fiction, reference, cookbooks, gardening books, history + historical fiction, antiques, series, nostalgia, more than one pile of To Read, in process next to the bed, in process out and about, oversized books, books of interest that are in public places (coffee table type and other, try to rotate), vintage cookbooks (a subcategory of cookbooks, further sorted into "from the family" and "collected on my own"), professional reference and interest (further sorted into "film" and "education"....)

((Don't ask about the CDs and LPs.))
the minis have their own lounge; more precious ones tend to hang together

A lot a Fume Folk eventually get around to talking about their collection, where and how it is stored, etc.  I loved when Brian came clean on sheer volume; when Kevin calculated just how long the juice would last; and when FlitterSniffer fretted about defrosting.  As it turns out, just today Nathan reveals he has been taking pictures of Abigail's collection.

I've been wondering how to publicly address this myself.  And when I threatened offered to show what was behind Door #1 in this week's "Let's Make a Deal," I pretty much planned to start the reveal.  I figured I'd spread it out over a few entries, letting each entry be a "portal" into the collection, with the mega confession Big Reveal at the end.

I think that, instead, I am offering up a mind map first.  That's right, I'm using the term "mind map," not "brain {flatulent event}."

I'm not going to go inside each of my drawers.  The filing isn't perfect, it's always in process, and unmentionables by definition shouldn't be, even if only visually.

But, look-see here; there's a pull-out, which is a sort of drawer.  Which, for those keeping score at home, doesn't see the light of day unless the door is opened.  Where it was all going to be kept.  "It" being the perfume.  All of it.  Or so I thought when I started.  Said I to myself, if it doesn't fit on this shelf, well, then, I've a problem more than extravagance.  (Speaking of which, no, that Amarige isn't Extravagance; it's the regular variety, not a flanker.  And it was no lower case extravagance, either; dirt cheap at T.J. Maxx.  Just so you know.)

Hey, has anybody been playing the "I recognize that!" game?  No, not psychological disorders.  Bottles and what is inside.  I kind like doing that with other people's pictures.  I've gotten a lot better at it over time.  But I'm still a piker.  

Here's a basket that hides under a bunch of scarves.  Bottles too big for my boxes, and bottles I want relatively easy access to.  Also in there is One Big Lesson that I've talked about in the past.  (It has to do with reputable sellers...mmmm hmmm....)

Hang on--what was with the muffin tin of stuff?  That's samples I've recently gotten that await testing before being assigned to a more permanent location.  That high shelf in a closet?  Full size, non-regular rotation; vintage peculiarities; a couple of back ups for beloveds that are discontinued.  Note the Ivoire edt prominent in the front, ready for swappage.  Oh, and though that splash of red on the right is distractingly close to Malle's red, that is actually a box with a collection of miniatures inside.  (I *know* I've talked about how awesome those are, right?)  The last thingamajig is a lipstick holder, which it turns out is a great way to hold 5ml decants.  If you like to display them/have them easily accessed and don't mind a some light exposure.  (Not a bad option if you are screaming through a decant.)  Notice the lid open onto 1mls, held inside the powder compartment.

Okay, OKAY!!  Sometimes things get left in the light.  Just how much time and energy do you think I spend on this, anyway??? 


Honestly, really, not as much as you might think.  I've been at this for a few years now.  I spend a lot more time writing or thinking about it than I do storing it.  And, to be honest, I kinda like thinking about it, in the ways that I do.  

Brian, it's almost been a year and a half since you threw out your invitation to share pictures.  Consider this my late reply.  The rest of you, I offer a hint of my Big Reveal.  I promise, temperature is stable and cool, and the most precious are not exposed to light.  But this is a living collection.  Sorted by my brain.  And asking to be visual in at least some respects.

 Thanks for coming by.  Have a great weekend.

All photos the author's own, which I hope is apparent.  Also apparent is that I have not yet quite "formalized" my ownership of this photos, so sure, if you're unscrupulous, you can grab them and share them without attribution.  I'm working on making it easy for one-click honesty; meanwhile, just include my name and a link to my blog/today's entry.  You know, if you are documenting personality disorders, or who you know with Nuit de Longchamp, or want to send an amusing note to An Official Nose saying "I know that people talk about powdery scents, but do you suppose this person knows that *powder itself* is not classified as perfume?"  Or something like that.


Bloody Frida said...

okay it looks like you have like a ZILLION bottles! Have you counted them all recently? (I'm super envious!)

I'll have to take a photo of my entire collections - it will def dwarf in comparison.

ScentScelf said...

Frida, once it got past ten, it was in many ways half a way to a zillion. Especially once I had more than 10 in each category (samples, decants, full-size (partial or full) bottle). It is an embarrassment of riches.

No, I have not counted. That would be cruel. To me.

You should take a photo of yours! Share if you like--I'd like that. Just remember, I'll be the first to say...this picture of yours...the one you take could be the first in a series of documentations...I notice you are actively swapping and *do* know chances are you'll have more by the end of summer, right? (What's that? "Mwa ha ha ha....?" Nah. ;) )

BTW, I'd much rather spend flexible cash on samples and decants and the occasional score than on designer coffee. And as for designer water from questionable sources that comes in earth-challenging bottles ? Don't get me started.

Swappage...decants...resale...a fine form of reduce, reuse, recycle.

The occasional full bottle? It's wearable art.

Bloody Frida said...

I have a photo of my early sample collection in my blog..but it has grown and grown!

Hehee I won't make you count - I'm not that cruel!

It is interesting what one will pay for...for me, yarn, perfume, art supplies, but to spend more than a certain amount on a pair of pants or a skirt ("I can make it cheaper than that" - not that I do, but I think it) or a coat, or a piece of furniture (most of ours are from second hand stores or literally off the curb)

I just counted - before November I had seven bottles of perfume, now I have 23! (some a tiny bottles, though!) And I'm not sure how many 5 ml decants from TPC I have!

flittersniffer said...

I thoroughly enjoyed this visual tour of your perfume receptacles/storage systems/natural habitat. The "lounge" for the minis was the highlight! I like the thought of the rarer ones hanging out together. I reckon boxed may gravitate towards boxed, and the ones with flamboyant tops will seek out their equally embellished kin.

I also found your spelling of CDs and LPs without an apostrophe deeply restful.

Before my camera broke I took a snap of about half my collection -when it was temporarily exiled from its own chiller to make way for the "dairy product diaspora" after the kitchen fridge packed in. That was the first Flight of The Flacons episode.

Oh, and I played that bottle recognition game with your collection, which you would think would be easier than "cold" scent identification, but I was rubbish at this too. I think I may have scored a lone point with Coco, and that is about it!

Musette said...

I'm not going anywhere near this conversation! LOL!

xoxo >-)

flittersniffer said...

Oh yes, that post by Kevin about projecting the time it would take to use up your collection was sobering. I must be pushing 2 litres now all told, which at my modest consumption rate will last me several lifetimes. My dislike of waste only serves to reinforce my belief in reincarnation...

ScentScelf said...


I can think of more than a few of good reasons why not to join in on this conversation.

But why not? Come on in, the water's fine. ;)

ScentScelf said...

FlitterSniffer (Whom I Sometimes Want to Call Bonks),

Going in reverse order:
Yes, Kevin's post was sobering. But also a relief...I mean, I knew I was thrifty/mild/stingy with my applications, but I can see a wanton spritzer (remember the "make a cloud then walk through it" theory of application?) worrying about just how long the juice would last. Combine that with things being reformulated or outright discontinued, and then I can understand that story of Elizabeth Taylor buying two cases of her favorite lipstick when it got discontinued.

Wait, um...I believe I skipped to hoarding and unreasonable response...okay, dial it back. (But that *was* an interesting story...has stuck with me since my youth when I read it in a "women's magazine" in some waiting room....)

Ha ha! The Mini Lounge. I shall think of it as such next time I enter. I need some sort of suitable stylized glowing sign, where what would typically be a cocktail glass is actually a perfume bottle.

Thanks on the punctuation. That has often bothered already shortened the other part; there's no missing element between the last letter and the s. Ah, well. I'm going to be a lonely voice in usage world.

Ding ding ding! That bottle of Coco you recognized is also the bottle of a lesson in counterfeits. Purchased from an online auction site early in my perfume curve, even I recognized the juice as being thin when it arrived. Still smelled nice, in a watery, heart into stomach way. I kept it because a) I did get it cheap (warning flag!), and b) I figured I could purpose it somehow. March actually wrote about this on The Perfume Posse a while back; I'll find the link and get it to you should you be interested.

Oh, and reincarnation -- ah, back to that...and back again...and again... ;) -- ah, interesting solution to the issue. If I only had Shirley MacLaine's power of recall when it comes to past lives; I'd feel more confident about remembering the spritzes of this go-round, and appreciating them off the bat in the next. In lack of that at the moment, I share. A lot.

Except for the VIP corner in the Mini Lounge.

Ines said...

You collection looks so much better stored than mine. And catalogued as well - but as you say, sorting through them is an ongoing process which for me changes every once in a while when I look for something and cannot find it the way I want to at the moment.
I would be scared of taking photos of my collection, it doesn't seem so big at the moment (most of the things are hidden somewhere so people wouldn't get too shocked upon seeing so many bottles).
Regarding books - I no longer have any sort of order when it comes to them - I blame it on the lack of shelf space. :)

ScentScelf said...

You remind me of something I should have perhaps included. It is an old lipstick holder that supports a number of 1ml vials, most of which were the "Perfume 101" collection from an online decanter. I used to stare at that group and be so fascinated. A chypre? A "masculine"? A floral? A classic? Would I ever really learn to tell the difference? That, and the "roses" collection (which you can see under the wooden egg in the stemmed glass), were all I played with for a couple of months, along with the Norell that started it all. And it was a LOT to take in.

To tell the truth, I was perfectly ready (and willing) for it to end there. It just didn't. :)

Is there ever enough shelf space for books???

Musette said...

Well okay....

First, I'm more of a sample girl than a Full Bottle Gal, though I prolly have about 30? FB (if I go and count them I will probably burst into tears). Most of my bottles are either vintage or those things I love beyond all love.

All these (plus my samples, which number in the hundreds and reside in ammo boxes, courtesy of ScentScelf - an admirable recommendation, btw)...well, pretty much all of these reside in a cabinet I bought, back when I thought I would only have a reasonable number of vials. Ha.

Lots of ammo boxes. Having a room addition built.



Musette said...

ps. I LOVE the muffin tin.


ScentScelf said...


The ammo boxes are pretty darn groovy, with each vial resting just so in its own cozy safe niche. Safe in the house, and good to go should you be inclined to travel with them. :)

I think you and Ines and Bloody Frida all have lots of samps. Not that I don't...but my trending toward decants and splits is starting to evidence itself in the shape of the collection. Literal shape.

Hey, I'm glad you like the muffin tin! For a while, I was using vintage individual molds to hold things, but that didn't work quite as well. They'd either fall over for lack of company, or be too hard to rifle through. Muffin tins are good for sorting, though. And the egg cups...well, I like those because I like 'em, and because I like knowing they came in a baker's dozen dozen. Oodles of them from a closed down science lab.

I think "reasonable" is one of those relative concepts, no? Always good to have perspective, of course...but I never cease to be chuckled by your story of having a "room" built to safely put away your collections. (I'm not sure how many people who visit here visit the Posse, so I'm going to point out just how genuinely space challenged you are overall, before someone starts imagining a Donatella Versace situation.)

((Now, a Donatella attitude... ;) ))

Always nice to have you drop by. ☼ rays of sunshine

Bloody Frida said...
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Bloody Frida said...
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Bloody Frida said...

okay if I don't get this one right, I'm going to bed!

Gah I shouldn't try to post when I'm watching "Legend of the Seeker"..anyway.

I love that Musette said "dang"

I'm in the 'where should I store my samples' chapter in my new addiction. Right now, they are overflowing two wooden boxes which are enclosed in a larger wooden box is supposed to be the ones I have already sampled, and the other box houses the ones I have not sampled yet but then I am also kinda putting houses together inside the little pouches that TPC sends, and some of those I have already sampled, and I'm sooo confused!

Ines said...

You're absolutely right! There just never is enough shelf space for books...

ScentScelf said...

Bloody Frida, you do know that the recent research that's floating about shows that we don't really multi-task, right? I'd say this Seeker sought and found you. ;)

Hah! Musette is full of good 'uns. Watch for her.

I LOVE boxes in boxes. I love boxes. In fact, that was what finally prompted me to write something about My Collection, realizing I had managed to find a way to use some of my odd but adored boxes.

Incidentally, I remember feeling *just like that.* While I can't promise you'll move beyond it, I am saying you can. I did. (I still have some things in pouches, btw. Remember, I said I wasn't going to drop, erm, show my drawers...)

Mals86 said...

Wow. Lotsa leetle bottles.

I don't even want to talk about my collection, which is a) getting a little overwhelming and b) growing all the time. I don't even know how I'm going to wear it all, even if I hit 100 and spritz three times a day. Why do I add to it? What are my kids going to do with it if I get hit by a bus?

I just lost a sample vial this past week, after boasting that I never lost them. (OTOH, it may be in my teenager's room, and therefore Not My Fault I lost it.) By and large, though, everything is in one of two places: the hatboxes on my dresser for the current rotation, or the bedside cabinet, for out-of-season and vintage and duplicate bottles. Tested samples are in the craft organizer box in the cabinet, arranged by house; samples to be tested are dumped higgledy-piggledy in a wooden box on the dresser. So far this has worked (I admit to plunking down $3 for another craft box recently, though).

It probably only works because I have an Excel file where I keep track of things. Hopelessly geeky, I know.

flittersniffer said...

Fun poll! I am climatically geeky, but thematically I am all over the map, as it were.

ScentScelf said...

Hey there, Mals. You know you have revealed a hole in my presentation, no? Because yes, lotsa leetle bottles. I do have a lot of 'em. I think minis are ab fab for satisfying the desire to have a "library" of scents.

But...I don't NOT have full bottles...I just...wellll...just didn't show those. All. Yet.

Your track record is mighty impressive. Just one lost vial? I have--what should I call it?--I know! "eyeglasses phenomenon." Where did my glasses go? Where is that sample of X? They show up eventually. (This could also be called "keys phenomenon." But not "other sock phenomenon"--those never show up.)

I have a spreadsheet, too, but like the other, it is not done with a capital "D." It is handy, though.

Geek is cool these days, right? It is "nerd" that is still dorky? Or is dorky cool, too? So hard to keep track...

ScentScelf said...

Ah! See!! Geek reappears! And if you are, whether climactically or otherwise, it must be cool.

BTW, "climate" was the first, and still the dominant, method I use for sorting/selecting perfume. You do mean weather, right? Not something to do with the circus? (I have to be careful with lexicology with you. And we are talking "geek" here, a fave among those who like dictionaries. That, and "twit." But I digress. Again.)

Thanks for taking the poll. :)