Imagine the Simplicity: Time to De-Clutter the Bathroom Cabinet

Photography: Maarten Deckers

By Ramona Cording

Have you ever looked at your bathroom cabinet and wondered how you could down-size the amount of product you need for your face and body? Or how to switch to simple on hand products that are 100% natural, travel well and are easy to use and have more than one way to use them?

Here at Goodbye OUCH we have been going through a de-cluttering phase, finding how many products we can say goodbye to and replace with just one product that is beautiful, useful and give us joy.

Do you have a special balm that is your go to for all kinds of situations? Or are you like how I used to be, with many different products for many different uses.

A lip balm for lips.

A massage wax for massage.

A special ointment for those occasions that you just don’t know what to do about, like an itchy bite or nasty scratch.

Or maybe a balm that you bought because your good friend used it.

Once upon a time, a long long time ago, a friend came to my house and used my bathroom. When she had finished and returned from the room the first thing she said to me was “You sure have a lot of product girl!” It was a most interesting comment from her, as I knew she loved high quality moisturisers and lotions, she even sold a few ranges in her shop, and they were all NZ brands which were native plant botanical ranges and had the most alluring of smells.

When she left that day and I had a good scrutinise of my own bathroom cabinet, I realised she was right, I did have an awful lot of product. Some products had been given to me as presents, some I was trialing but probably would never bother buying again, and some were single use products, that were specially identified for one major purpose and were not transferable to other areas of life. For example, I had a day cream, night cream, eye wrinkle cream, lip balm, intensive night moisturising cream, all over body lotion, hand lotion, massage balm, body butter, the list just went on…

Something I noticed about these products is the amount of time before a product is past its best before date, or giving its optimal performance can be anywhere between 6 months – 30 months for a natural product. Some more synthetic-based products have longer expiry dates as these products usually contain preservatives to help keep a longer shelf life in the supermarket.

I had a good hard look at my bathroom cabinet that day, and made some tough decisions about why I had stored so many products in my life and was that a good thing for me to be doing. I questioned the ingredients in the products, and questioned if I had an obligation to use the product all the way to the last squirt in the tube until I dispensed it in the rubbish bin. Iif I did chuck the product out without finishing it, how would I do that responsibly without washing a bunch of gunk down the drain, and would I be able to recycle my container.

Oh the burden all these products!

I subconsciously set to work, furiously using and decanting half-used body lotions, researching and refusing products which sent tiny little particles of plastic down my drain to goodness-knows-where, and not be broken down for the next 50 years. Then I started to streamline subjectively my choices around what I wanted to have in my life, what worked and what was necessary.

This was a time in my life which just happened to coincide with one of the most product awakening times of my life, the birth of my first child. It is a time when many new mums start realising that the way they treat their own bodies before a baby comes along, is not necessarily the same way we want to treat them during pregnancy and after our baby is born. Many of our everyday beauty and hygiene rituals are completely unnecessary for a baby’s life, and some recommend not even washing your beautiful newborn with soap.

So how is it we came to rely on so many beauty and daily necessities that we think we can’t live without?

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