Why Samples Bog Us Down

Although sample-sized anythings can serve many purposes, I have legitimate reason to consider them troublemakers. Trust me. They cause more harm than good and I'm not afraid to say it. For someone trying to get organized, samples can create a road block and pose the trickiest question of them all: now what? I'm here to face this issue and suggest a solution for how to manage those samples and keep them in check (because that's what I DO). Since I'm a raging optimist and a fair player, I will start off by listing the reasons that sample-sized products are awesome and ways that they benefit the greater good. But don't get too excited and go around town collecting these guys. The rebuttal will follow immediately after.

Why are samples gr8?

- They are FREE! Everybody loves a freebee. Why not seize the opportunity to get a shampoo session free of cost? Or better yet, apply a full face of foundation in a color that doesn't actually (but nearly does!) match your skin.

- They are small. These guys can be stuck anywhere - in your toiletry bag, pocket, or glove compartment. This makes them ideal for travel and on-the-go occasions.

- They give you the opportunity to try something new! Which can be a lot of fun and a THRILL! Just when you thought you found yourself the perfect face wash, you get handed a sample which blows your mind. BAM! You know what your next purchase is (use up the face wash that you have before buying a new one!!).

We can all acknowledge the benefits of these mini consumer-pleasers. But like I said, they can cause a lot of trouble too. I have witnessed countless collections of samples dusting away in drawers or strewn about rooms. Excesses of single-servings of beauty products, food tasters and hair care. Everything in moderation, folks! It's easy to convince yourself that these body wash dollops will one day save your life. They will pull through during an apocalypse and you'll be so thankful that you saved them. Or that you'll in the very near future be traveling the world for years and will bring and use up all of those samples and again, love yourself for it. Guess what? Those things A) won't happen and B) are no reason to allow yourself to save ridiculous amounts of samples.

I'm no grinch. I'm not going to tell you to refuse samples from now on. Or to throw out every last sample that you've so meticulously collected (and stared at) for the last decade. I will, however, give some suggestions for making sure samples don't become a dark force in your life.

- Find a reasonably-sized pouch and make this your "sample collection." This will now house all of the samples that will become your inventory. Keep two or three of every item (shampoos, conditioners, bite-size toothpastes, etc.) and put the pouch in a easy-to-reach place. Refer to it when you travel or need something for the go. Don't be afraid to use some of this inventory. You will come across more samples to replace these if need-be. I promise.

- Use the rest up! The longer you stare at those samples, the less likely you are to use them. Today is a great day to try that face mask or experiment with the newest soap scent that the guy on the street shared with you. Systematically go through the samples and pat yourself on the back every time you finish one up. Don't you feel so much more cultured now that you've experienced all of these products?

- Just say no. You really don't have to take everything that comes your way. If there are lipstick samples at the local drugstore and you hate lipstick, don't take one! Be mindful of what you allow to enter into your life. Unless you have plans to immediately and consistently use what is being offered, DO NOT horde the samples. The thought alone makes me shudder.

If you're knee-deep in samples (*cringe*), it may take time to regain control. Be patient. Cheat by applying two layers of that face moisturizer or sharing it with a friend or colleague ("hey, check out this really cool, potentially awesome hand sanitizer that someone gave me"). But keep your eyes on the goal and keep in mind that YOU CAN DO THIS! Once you get to a proper baseline (remember that "sample collection" we spoke about?), stay there! Life without mounds of samples is beautiful.

This just in: you can also DONATE samples to local shelters. If that ain't a winning way to get rid of them, I don't know what is.