I'm also feeling vaguely overwhelmed by my shiny new perfume hobby - it somehow shifted from sheer fun to something else while I wasn't looking. I've been overthinking why. (The extent of the overthinking should be clear from the length of this post.
But coming from a family of hoarder types, I think that a fair bit of thinking on issues of acquisition and use of possessions is worth the time investment.)
Samples, for example. I always really really want to buy them, and I put time into begging for free ones from perfume houses and stores, but when I have them and I put them in the sample bucket, I'm irritated at how many I have. So I clearly have too many.
And cheap bottles. I was late to the discovery that, hey, designer fragrances are _really deeply discounted_ most of the time! And, wow, sometimes they make minis! I realize that everybody else already knew this, but I started at the niche end and then started exploring the designer fragrances, instead of the other way around, so the world of discounts and minis and gift sets is relatively new to me.
And, of course, there's the infinity of fragrances that I don't have time to smell. I make sniff lists, divided by brands that the stores might carry. This was fun when I started, but now when I get to a store, especially one of the rare stores that carry niche fragrances, I feel so pressured to sniff what I really wanted to sniff, that it's not fun.
And perfume hunting obsession. Every single time the SO and I go somewhere that has perfume, even a rather dull fragrance department that I know from experience has nothing new or interesting, I insist on going to sniff things. This annoys him.
All this means that I've been buying too much and I want to buy too much and I'm not having enough fun with it even as I'm spending too much time and energy and money on it. Right now, I have about twenty-two bottles-and-minis, six solids, six or seven decants, and probably a hundred samples, so "too much" isn't out of control yet. But all but about five of the bottles-and-minis and all of the solids and decants and samples were purchased in the last six months or so, and I'm accelerating.
So I need to stop. I'm not quite sure how to stop, but my experience is that I respond well to personally-imposed Control Freak rules. And my recollection is that some of the fun of the perfume hobby is based on scarcity - when I have plenty of stuff, I'm not happier, I just want even more, plus I feel guilty. When I very rarely get anything new, each new thing is a fun shiny toy. So my new rules are:
- Until the sample backlog is drastically reduced to, say, ten pending samples, samples will get exactly one skin test. (Or whatever you call it when you dot on just a bit to get first impressions.) After that, I'll actually put on enough to wear, usually using up the sample in one to two wearings, or give the thing away. Something about all those "maybe; try again" samples makes me feel overwhelmed.
- I'll narrow my purchased samples to Houses Of Interest. Right now, that's Guerlain classic pure parfums, Perfumerie Generale, and CB I Hate Perfume. I will avert my eyes from Tauer and all the other things that sound so delightful until I feel that I know what I want to know about these categories.
- Control Freak Budgeting. If I budget by dollars or don't formally budget at all, I tend to get a bunch of fun cheap junk and get overwhelmed and don't enjoy any of them much. If I budget purely by items, as in one bottle per some interval, I can of course spend an infinite amount of money.
So I'm thinking of allowing myself one full bottle every three months, at a maximum price of...well, I'm not sure, but I'll set a price that can support many, if not all, of the niche brands. The rule is that I get only _one_ bottle, I can't divide that budget into several bottles. And I have to get the smallest full bottle available. This should, hopefully, drive me to buy the one bottle that I really want and will wear.
And every month, I'll permit myself one very modest-priced sample order of one to five samples, where small decants or small minis count as samples but even one will generally blow most or all of the month's sample budget
None of these budget restrictions will apply to gift money or gifts or other small frivolous windfalls.
I think that this should re-introduce the scarcity that makes every new acquisition shiny and fun. And, of course, avoid that whole Going Broke thing.
- In-Store Sniffing. I'm seriously thinking of doing in-store sniffing only when I'm out alone, to stop annoying the SO. But that's rare enough that I'm not sure if it's going to work.
- Sample Days. Sample testing will happen only on Mondays and Tuesday. Yes, this is totally control-freakish, but now I find myself dithering between wearing something I already love, or knocking off one from the sample backlog. By introducing artificial scarcity, I think I'll look forward to Monday and Tuesday sample days, and I'll enjoy having the "sample or not?" decision taken away on other days.