Monday, December 27, 2010

Storage, or, A Trip Down Memory Lane

Am scrapping other posts in the hopper, as I was visiting the Perfume Posse this morning, where March summarized her approach to storage.

The wise thing would have been for me to read and move on.  But, as often happens, I feel compelled to open my mouth.  And, as often happens, I attempted to find the balance between responding and oversharing.

Guess which direction I failed toward?

And guess what I am going to subject you to today?  Further meandering on the topic.  I'll start with my comment:

Erm…more than one storage system. Should I really tell?
Because…there’s the first “discovery sets” I picked up from Perfumed Court. Which I keep, still in their category grouping (“roses” “101″ etc) stuck into sea salt which is in odds and ends vintage stemware. Then there are the miniatures and precious morsels, a.k.a. put in the bottle by the maker items, which stay in the velvet lined drawer in my dresser. Then there are the Precious Decants and Smalls, Influenced by the Early Years which reside in a place of honor in my, erm, lingerie drawer. (LOL…lingerie in my mind conjures images of pegnoirs and camisoles and other dainties…suffice to say they are well cushioned, but not so much by silk and lace.) A few full bottles in the front of the other two drawers.
Decants in boxes, loosely grouped by house, unless they are workhorses grouped by season, in which case they are likely to be in a bigger bottle anyway. Back up bottles (yes, I have as many as five of those) with odd vintage things (Intoxication, Hay, etc) up on the high shelf in the clothes closet.
Sigh. I almost feel like this is a confessional. I can almost hear the perfume years zing past…I remember when I first fell, I had a bottle of Norell (picked up at an estate sale as a curiosity in memory of my grandmother), a few samples plus the discovery sets, and then a full bottle of Magie Noire, my first “real” perfume since I had KL in college and Carolina Herrera from my wedding day. (I didn’t wear perfume then, but felt like I should have something for a wedding.) Husband purchased that for me the summer I fell down the rabbit hole.
Smile. As long as I’m confessing…there’s one more box. Not full. But overflowing with memories. I keep the perfume I purchased in Paris in that one, along with a vintage bottle of Apres L’Ondee that I split with friends who came to me via perfume but have become very dear to me.
Which would probably summarize the storage system overall. There is logic and method to it, but all considerations are subject to and generally molded by sentiment and history.
I didn't even bother to mention the whimsy of how certain splits end up out and on display.  They are there to remind me to play with them.  Unless, of course, they are carefully packed away, a game of hide and seek I play with myself when I squirrel away treasures to be re-found at another time.  The display:

 One of the stemwares mentioned in my comment.

Vintage manufacturers samples, about to be gifted for the new year.  Samples somehow mixed with other ephemera in an eggcup.  Samples from long ago, still in the (intact) cup where I first put them.  Because when/how they came into my life is sometimes a better way to retrieve from storage than "A-Z" or "Manufacturer" or "author."

Mind you, I admire Bonkers' perfume refrigerator.

Hmm, this one must be a misfit.  

These photos are mostly pictures from a favorite spot to write. The perfumes are not those that I generally wear, or that are "in storage."  They are..."in process."  
Kind of like me, when I am here.
I tried to speak about storage before, in this post ("Door #1: Ways of Storing").  Go there for more pictures, if you like.  There will be madness.
What I did not try to address before is what I recognized in my comment to The Posse.  Which is...I treasure memories.  And this exploration into perfume is mapped by memories as much as it is by scent families or style or even type of bottle.  Memories of where I was in the journey, to a great extent.  Memories of how a certain perfume anchors outward, certainly -- usually broader questions like does it connect to a geography/vacation/season? does it remind me of a certain friend, because they introduced me to it/helped me learn to love that scent family? does it evoke a certain period in my life?  But sometimes simpler ones, like "did I panic houseclean when this one was out and it ended up in my son's closet?"
And, it turns out I not only treasure memories, I have allowed myself to allow them to trump any Dewey Decimal style of organization that I might try.  A fair number of what I have are entered onto a spreadsheet, separated into sections labelled "Sample" "Decant/Partial Bottle" and "Full Bottle."  But not all.  A number of my "regulars" are sorted into boxes by season (warm v cold, basically), but not all.  
A number of my treasures are cloistered in the dresser.  But not all.  
treasures, yes, but whimsically collected here, largely because size allows
It occurs to me that if I end up fully charting, with this combination of words and pictures, in serial post form, I might actually accumulate a functional mind map.  A portrait of How Things Work in there, as it were.
(That laughter you here might be yours, but it most certainly the author's own.)
Anyway, I offer you sincere happy wishes for warmth and good cheer as the holidays wind up and the year winds down.  I'd like to give you a hint of what else is coming this week.
But I know enough now to know that what I would offer is the muscle of plans hung upon the skeleton of intent.  All of which would be subject to that little box of whimsy.

all photos author's own


Marina said...

ooh, love the vintage lipstick holders!

Musette said...

I envision you, sitting amongst your books and your charming little teacups of makes me smile, even as I long to gather up all your samps and put them in sterile, numbered, slotted boxes.....:-)


ps. that's what that bowl was for, btw.....more sorting and whimsy-ing!

ScentScelf said...

Marina, they have actually served quite well for 2ml, 5ml, and 10ml decants. If you don't mind things being out in the light, that is.

But perfect for those who are careful enough to want to keep their full bottle in dark cool storage and decant out small amounts at a time for happy general use.

We can pretend that person is me.

ScentScelf said...


Ha! I am going to have to find the perfect labels for your shell cases. And ammo sterilizer. ;)

That charming little wooden bowl is to my right as I type this, with some By Killian samps, a vetiver of unknown provenance (the lettering has rubbed off of the commando decant, and all I can read is "vetiveri"?, and a funky pair of vintage Mexican silver earrings that I probably just wanted to see against the wood grain. See, just as intended: sorting and whimsy!

Speaking of commando decantery, someday I shall have to post pictures of the eyeglasses case with the supplies inside. Perhaps a how-to guide to go along with. Hmmmmmm.

Ines said...

I didn't know there existed vintage lipstick holders (or any kind of lipstick holders) and I want some to use the way you do. :) I really love the way they look on book shelves and I have many of those.
At least you have a way of filing your perfumes, I got as far as organizing my samples by houses a year or more ago and everything that arrived in meantime is all over the place. At the moment, I pretty much rely on my memory and intuition as to where something might be located.

ScentScelf said...

Ines, I can't imagine life without bookshelves. And stacks of books. And books tucked into corners.

Memory and intuition--works for me. Memory and intuition smack bang up against filing system. That's what I have now. When I started, I couldn't fathom the folks who talked about "storage" systems. It was clear that they were all about recovery and retrieval, as in, "how would I find that?"

At the time, that seemed like a silly question. You find it the same way you find any ephemera in this house. The proper room/drawer/stack/quickly socked away spot. Depending if you were feeling organized, or romantic, or visually creative, or in desperate need of the semblance of order at the time you took it fully into your conscious. I mean, how many samples/vials/versions can a sane person have of this perfume stuff?

Turns out the me I was sure I wouldn't become is the me who wrote this post. ;)

Vanessa said...

Another stunned admirer of the vintage lipstick holders here!

Beautiful photos and a fascinating exploration of mental maps and storage systems. I do so agree about the memories playing into it all. Over Christmas, to console myself for the fact that I am working and Mr B is a helpless lump of suffering (and I do mean that kindly), I have worn both my new bottle of Eau Duelle and a number of scents that I associate with happier times. I have struggled to find some of them, mind, not having a terribly coherent system myself, and a pretty holey memory these days.

Way to go with "workhorse decants" and "repurposed pottery"! I repurposed some sprouts and chestnuts last night and the resulting soup was so unappetising that it went straight down the lavatory - whence it looked as though it had come, indeed. (Sorry!)

ScentScelf said...

The vintage lipstick holders, a decided irony for one who is not a lipstick kind of gal. But I picked up one, and once I found a purpose to go with the curiosity...well, now one is "them." It's fun to hear that you guys are enjoying them!

I was/am sorry to hear of Mr B's suffering, and glad that Eau Duelle brings a modicum of comfort. As for repurposed sounds as if they went to a better place.

Would it be terrible to say that I just thought of a children's book idea, involving a sadly deceased fish, some chestnuts, and...what? Right. Terrible. Sorry.

Holes in the memory? Santa brought me a device which chirps when you whistle. It is labeled a "key finder," but I am deciding whether to attach it to my keys, my morning cup, or my reading glasses. Since I've already tackled #3 by buying many cheap pair, the choice is really between #1 and #2.

What were we talking about?

Carol said...

absolutely love these photos! Treasuring memories makes me think that the main reason I'm not happy about dying in general is that no one will have the memories I have. This is not meant to be a negative/sad comment; just what I think about sometimes.

ScentScelf said...

I am glad you enjoyed the photos!

Funny you mention the issue of treasured memories, BF; I don't take it as negative or sad. It is one of those things I have thought about, the context of an object/heirloom: even if I save it AND the person who has it next appreciates it, what it is to them will never be what it was to me.

For memories themselves, we are indeed unique repositories. Going back to Jean Shepherd from the last post...we are unique, and we are quite prone to "translating" the memory to others...even to ourselves.

This is where psychologists, religions, and thanatologists bring up the term "reconciliation," I believe. :)

As for are writing; so at least some of your memories are committed to the firmament. :) :)