As I unpacked my kits from the myriad of traveling jobs I've had recently, I realized I have enough makeup for 4 makeup artists! I also realized I have a tendency to hold on to products that are no longer relevant to what I do, and have such an over abundance of that it's hard for me to keep track of what I really need. As I began the process of purging I understood more clearly there has to be a better way to manage this. If I could simplify what I have, I wouldn't hate packing my kit as much when I have a job. If I became aware of everything I have, then I wouldn't have those moments of panic that I forgot something, and wouldn't need to pack unnecessary things that make my load unbearable.
How the hell did it get this way?
I have mentioned in previous posts how blessed I am to have companies who believe in my work, and believe in supporting makeup artists that will use their product in dynamic ways. I have been so grateful to have companies sponsor me through the years with new products and a yearly gratis. For a long time I'd think "I'll gladly take it all, because you never know what you are going to need" but now I have an over abundance of product from companies like Temptu, Make Up For Ever, OCC, MAC, Royal and Langnickel, Naked, Stila, Bare Minerals, Sigma, Embriolysse, Avene, Mehron, Sephora, Cozzette, Maybelline, Face Atelier, Skindinavia, World Body Painting and more. I collect it all, ultimately using about 70% of it, and now always being able to test my new products right away. Some of you are probably saying "I'm sorry but I don't really see a problem. In fact, I wish I had this problem." Well aside from have too much and not knowing where to put it...Here is the issue:
Stop being a philandering product whore, and make a commitment!
In order to minimize your kit, find products you love and rely on. There must be 500 million red lip colors out there, but it only matters which matte, cream, and gloss versions you can count on. Same with foundation! You probably already know which liquid, cream, and tinted moisturizers you love, so why would you keep looking to add more? Sometime there are holes (I haven't yet found the perfect concealer palette) but once you find your long lost love, what do you do with the old ones? Of course I am always trying new products to know what's out there and popular...but if you are getting products just for the sake of it, you are wasting money, valuable kit/closet space, and creating clutter in your physical and mental space. It's the same scenario as when you have four sets of shampoo and conditioner in your shower because you were dazzled by a shiny new product before you finished the old one, and thus started your collection. So, find your loves and stick to them, and find a system to filter out old products.
"But I don't want to get rid of it because you never know when you'll need it..."
Ok just stop. That tripe is a hoarder's anthem. That same shampoo/foundation/red lipstick...you know (and I know you know!) will sit there well beyond its expiration date, taking up physical, mental, and energetic space. Yes, you spent money on it...so either use it up before you start something new, or hand it off to a friend, someone who is building their kit, or throw the damn thing out. Abundance is not owning tons of things, abundance is letting go because you know there will be enough. Create a system of what to do with old products. Whenever I buy a new pair of shoes, I promise myself I'll get rid of an old pair. I have been known to have trunk sales and giveaways with friends and interns. Keep the flow of energy moving...that which comes in needs room, so other things must leave.
Get off the "kid in a candy shop" syndrome.
I have learned many years ago, before entering a trade show/makeup boutique/etc with too much eye candy for my wallet and closet to realistically handle, I go in with a clear goal of how I'll come out. I take inventory of what I have and what I need, staying committed to accomplishing a purchase where those needs are met. Research and refine your choices rather than taking something home with a "we'll see" attitude. I imagine this tiny little Baptist preacher sitting on my shoulder as I walk through the aisles "Thou shalt not be tempted! Stay back demon! This is not what you came here for! The path of righteousness is the path of...well just keep moving...you do NOT need another f-ing Zuca, you already have 3."
Distinguish what you want vs. what you need
One of the best things I have ever done was sit in a seminar of one of my colleagues teaching kit focus. I learned so much from the minimalism of artist friends like James Vincent or Kevin James Bennett that I could essentially cut my kit in half. As true artists, we can mix and tweak so many products to do more for us, and create less volume in our kit. Figuring out how to dilute containers to palettes and forcing yourself to structure those palettes with the most essential colors, is key to a lighter load. Interestingly enough you could do an entire makeup with a blue, red, yellow, black and white flash colors for any skin tone. Not the preferred way to do it, but it is possible. So what do you really need in your kit versus what you actually pack?
Be ready before you're ready - pack ahead to avoid anxiety
I have been hired to do jobs everywhere from men's grooming to full body paint with fx and hair. Obviously, different jobs need different kits, and you should still be prepared just in case. You know the essentials you will need for a beauty job, and what you would add to that kit if it required tattoo coverage. You also know the add ons needed if a natural beauty look turned creative. I have learned from other artists through out the year to have these kits ready to go so you can easily add or subtract a zip-pack or two and be fully confident you have what you need. I pack for fashion week one week before. Knowing I'll be working with at least three brands, I make sure my must-have essentials are set, compact, and easy to convert no matter what brand I am working with.
In the end, the main remedies to cure hoarding tendencies have to do with editing, condensing, an abundance mentality (in your inventory and in all material things!), a clear purchasing focus, and the ability to pack smarter...not harder. Or is that heavier?