I have hoarding tendencies. Not terribly bad ones, but I attach sentimental value to pretty much everything I own. I have a box at home that contains the hair braid cut out of my hair at age 8, when I went to Portugal on a family holiday. It also contains my First Ever Nail Polish, a pale blue Glitz and Glam number, and even though I will never be able to use it again on account of the texture now probably being similar to concrete, I cannot throw it away.
If something is a gift, then no matter how small, I will not be able to part with it.
Last year at work, my Secret Santa bought me a jar and filled it up with all my favorite pick’n’mix sweets. This August, the jar was on my desk and there were still some manky old Smarties in it which had gone faded and stale in the sun. But could I throw them away? No.
In the end, my boss actually had to intervene and make me throw them away for the good of the health of the rest of the office. I still have last year’s Advent Calendar next to my desk, because I forgot to eat the chocolates and then couldn’t throw it away because –- you guessed it -– it was a gift.
Chris is actually worse than me. Last week, I had to physically wrestle an old 4 ft x 2 ft pallet which we used to move our stuff into our flat TWO YEARS AGO and that had been buried under boxes and spare bedding ever since.
“WE MIGHT NEED IT ONE DAY!” he was exclaiming, with a mad look in his eyes. In the end, I had to make him choose between the old box for his PlayStation or the pallet to go in the bin. The pallet got the chop.
Anyway, hoarding aside, I also have an issue with actually USING gifts that come my way. Because of the extreme sentimental value I place on gifts, I tend to leave them in their boxes, gathering dust because I don’t want to use them up. When perfumes run out, I never want to part with the bottles because they were so expensive! I can’t just throw them in the bin! Surely I am throwing away MEMORIES! You get the picture.
Last Christmas, my mum and stepdad bought me a lovely Cath Kidston soap and soap holder. I put it in the sink, but didn’t unwrap the soap for three months because I was scared to use it all up. Despite the fact I could quite easily buy another -- BUT THEN IT’S NOT THE SAME ONE!!!! God, I sound mental.
I heard a great pearl of wisdom from UK beauty guru and Guardian columnist, Sali Hughes, who essentially said, "Why would you save your best things? Use them." This stuck with me.
What am I saving my best things for? Why would I save my lovely Marc Jacobs room spray and use a cheap one, save for when we have visitors? I paid £15 for it, why am I not using it?! Why am I saving the perfume my boyfriend bought me on Valentines, and using my old one? Why do I only use the hair products I got for my birthday at the weekends, and use my cheap ones during the week? I understand that eking it out makes sense, but if you can’t treat yourself to your best things then there is no point in having them at all.
Re-training myself to use my nice things rather than store them away has been FUN. It’s amazing how many things, looking around my bedroom, I have kept away in drawers for fear of losing them. The amount of gifted lipsticks I wouldn’t take in my handbag, in case my handbag got lost, or stolen. The amount of beautiful makeup that I had locked away, not to be played with, not to be worn, was a revelation. Dipping my fingers into forgotten shades, I vowed to always save the best for NOW.
Is this something everyone does? Do you have certain things that you don’t want to use up? Will you promise me that tonight, you’ll open that expensive bubble bath you’ve been saving? Because you deserve it, and you deserve it now.
I’m taking a break from online Christmas shopping by dicking about on Twitter: @Natalie_KateM.