Saturday, January 25, 2014

Subscription Box Madness/ Buried Under the Beauty Mountain

      So - after taking a few quick pictures for my Instagram today I have realized what a problem my subscription box obsession has become.  It wouldn't be so terrible if I had a few and I actually used the products I received, but I have had TONS of subscriptions to these beauty and lifestyle sampling programs and I think that I have crossed the line into addiction territory at some point in the recent past.  It is overwhelming and it's morphed into something that makes me feel a little crazy.

      I originally subscribed to Birchbox so I could try new beauty products.  It seemed like $10 a month was a small price to pay for a box of surprises that showed up at my door and that I'd possibly find a few products that really worked well for my skin without paying full price.  I did receive a few things I loved and I did end up buying a few products in full sizes from their store with points I had accumulated over time.  Along the way and odd thing happened.  Instead of taking the products out of the boxes and using them in my routine I felt a compulsive urge to keep them in the kraft paper logo boxes they arrived in and keep the assortment of items together as a "set".  More than once I dug through previous boxes to find an eyeliner or face cream or bar soap that I knew I had but hadn't tried because I was afraid of forgetting what month it arrived in.  I don't know why it is or was important to me to know what came in each box, but with very few exceptions all of the products are still in those boxes with the card and shred that they came in.

      This is a pattern I continued with nearly all of these boxes, and I have wasted tons of money on subscriptions.  If I hadn't got so completely insane in the purchase of loads and loads of these each month I would probably have been able to purchase a few higher end items that I would've really liked to try and actually used them rather than having more products than I could possibly use before they expire or that I can't even find because of my crazy way of keeping them all in the boxes they arrive in.

      This is a list of several (but likely not all) of the boxes I have subscribed to in the past.  I say "the past" because I am trying very hard to cancel my subscriptions and limit myself to a few select ones that I actually use.  First up are the ones that I pulled the plug on and a brief reason why I don't receive them anymore.

*Birchbox - too many foil packets and perfume samples I could get from Sephora
*Blissmo - charged me for a three month renewal when I didn't sign up for auto-renew
*Wantable Accessories - very expensive box for jewelry I liked but didn't love
*Wantable Makeup - great customer service but repetitive brands and disappointing product value
*PopSugar Must Haves - I loved this box but they upped the price and then sent less unique items
*PopSugar Special Edition - WAY too much money ($100!) for a box of things that I would never use
*CraveBox - I loved this box, last May they sent an email that they were belly up with no warning
*EcoEmi - a nice natural/organic company that sent too many things I was allergic to (shea all day)
*Mirenesse VIP - you have to spend LOTS of money on their brand to use the "credits" that you receive
*Mirenesse GlammBox - completely repetitive, constantly disappointing, deceptive pricing
*NewBeauty Test Tube QVC - same brands repeatedly with tons of skincare I found too harsh for me
*NewBeauty Test Tube - starting sending drugstore brands in sample sizes and cut the product value
*Boxycharm - changed formats from their initial launch and sent unsealed products from drugstore brands
*Beauty Army - the selections offered seem to include many things I've already tried in other boxes  

 Then there are a few that I have yet to quit.  Here are the reasons:

*Julep - you can skip every month which I have for quite awhile, but occasionally there are great deals
*JewelMint - I love the mystery boxes they offer and you can skip easily which I almost always do
*Little Black Bag - I've cancelled my multiple accounts and I'm down to one which I skip often
*GlossyBox - the last few months have been really impressive to me and I'm afraid I'll regret quitting
*Ipsy GlamBag - This is the least expensive and my favorite in terms of products I use so it's a keeper.

       I guess that I am making headway by saying goodbye to quite a few of these monthly or bimonthly purchases.  I am making myself a promise that I will unbox and use or trade most of these products.  I have also begun sorting through the hundreds of free samples I signed up for last year.  It was incredibly exciting to get packages every day but at the same time it is incredibly overwhelming to look at the sheer amounts of stuff that has accumulated that I will likely never use.  There was a time when I signed up for a free sample of some product every day and my mailbox was full of an unending stream of things that I wouldn't use but felt I needed because *FREE* is a word I find unable to resist.  I stay off the freebie pages of Facebook and I don't go looking for those offers anymore.  If something pops up that I would like to try and I am certain I will actually use I go for it (like K-cups or perfume samples).  I still stay active with Crowdtap, Influenster and BzzAgent where I can get full size products for free but I actually pass on campaigns I don't need (greek yogurt?  Blech - no thanks!) which I didn't use to.

      Not working at Target (land of the 70% off must buy although I clearly have no use for items) has helped me.  I would come home with a bag of stuff every day.  I'm not even kidding.  When things went to the lowest discount price they suddenly became an insurmountable desire.  I have more kitchen gadgets and appliances than I could ever possibly use.  I have tons of decorating and entertaining items for parties that I will never throw because I am embarrassed to have people come over and see the insane piles of things I have everywhere.  Not working in a retail environment is the best decision I have ever made.

      My husband is a saint.  When we were married he said that when we had a home of our own he wanted to keep it very minimal with lots of clean surfaces and not clutter things up with lots of knick knacks.  I look around every day and think that he must regret marrying me.  I started trying to organize my makeup collection a few days ago.  You can't even see our coffee table.  It isn't just makeup either.  It is a jumble of magazines, mail, books, food and stuff I can't even always identify without opening the boxes - because it is still in the damn boxes.  He complains sometimes, and he tries to offer me encouragement with managing the mess.  Whenever I make a little headway he is full of praise and smiles but I know that it kills him that I have rooms full of boxes and that I can't seem to surface from all of the stuff I'm piled under.  I'm afraid he will wake up one morning and be so frustrated with the mess and the junk that he won't want to come back.

     We don't have many friends.  I don't really have any friends here that I would feel comfortable seeing this madness.  I tried to have a party last year and I invited several of the ladies I worked with over but ended up canceling because I had a terrible panic attack thinking that they would arrive and judge me on what a poor excuse for a hostess I am.  I put off cleaning and then got so overwhelmed with the piles and piles of things that I had to "deal with" I called everyone and told them to forget it.  If someone popped by unexpectedly I would die of embarrassment.

      I'm trying to stay positive and I'm tackling this a little at a time.  This weekend I hope to clear off the coffee table and work on finding pantry space the kitchen.  I need to do it without moving the stuff to a different room which is a trick I resort to too often.  I worked on finding the floor in the craft room over the holidays.  I'm totally not joking in the least when I say the entire room was buried under a mass of stuff.  I spent hours sorting papers and packages and sifting through boxes of everything from Christmas ornaments to clothes and bags of new stuff I forgot I have.  I struggle so much to find the discipline to pitch the things I'll never use or give it to charity.  I have to get better at it and I hope that I will.

      If any of you have advice on how I can tackle these issues I would be happy to hear it.  You don't have to tell me I'm a hoarder or a pack rat because I know I am.  I would appreciate any mean spirited comments be kept away because I obsess over them and they just make me feel worse.  I've had to take down YouTube videos because of nasty comments people have made that I am hurt by even though I shouldn't care what some random woman in Nebraska that doesn't know anything about me thinks when she decides to poke fun at my opinions.  I am a very sensitive person by nature, and more than anything I am asking for your support and guidance so if you have those pearls to offer I'd gladly make room in my crowded corner for them.

      I offer all of you much love and I hope that the updates I post here will soon be about me working my way to the top of this and waving hello.


  1. Hey Michelle,
    I’ve nominated you for a Leibster Award on my blog and tagged you. It’s a fun little award/tag. The link below will go live on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 4 am MST. I hope you’ll enjoy and accept the nomination.

  2. I also have a problem with subscription boxes but I have to remove everything from the boxes and them keep the box - only for the adorable ones like Glossybox. I hope everything goes well with your cleaning :)