Say goodbye to perfume clutter

I like the idea of perfume, but have never really supported the whole “signature scent” concept. Wearing the same fragrance day after day isn’t my style, so I usually just go without perfume because it costs a lot to have many options. I also don’t want a whole dresser top full of large glass bottles tempting my cats. I find, too, that after a year or two the perfume goes stale and loses its oomph!

Reader Amanda sent us a terrific idea for men and women wanting to get rid of large bottle cologne and perfume clutter. Similar to the Use it up! advice reader Elena sent us for shampoo, Amanda’s suggestion is to only purchase perfume in very small amounts through websites like LuckyScent and ThePerfumedCourt:

“This keeps the price low, I can try different perfumes (some not available locally), and I hide them in a box in a dresser drawer, freeing (uncluttering) the top of my dresser.”

LuckyScent has an option at the bottom of every page of perfume that gives you the choice to purchase a sample (0.7mL.). They even offer sample packs; groups of popular or seasonal fragrances.

And, ThePerfumedCourt only sells trial sizes:

“What we do is spray, pour, or use sterile pipettes to take perfume from its original large bottle and repackage it in a smaller bottle (we only use brand new sterile glass bottles) so that the consumer can try as many fragrances as they desire before buying a full bottle.”

Thank you, Amanda, for such a terrifically simple idea for men and women who choose to wear a fragrance!

27 Comments for “Say goodbye to perfume clutter”

  1. posted by Jen on

    I think perfume is olfactory “clutter” … LOL. Most of them give me a headache, and thank god I’m with a man who feels the same way. I find not wearing perfume cuts down on the physical clutter as well.

    Good ideas, though, for those who like it!

  2. posted by Janey on

    I’ve had terrible experiences with the Perfumed Court – once they sent me an entirely empty bottle and then refused to refund me 🙁

    Awful customer service.

  3. posted by Kersti on

    I am an avid perfume wearer, I never feel completely dressed until I have some scent, even though I’m so used to my perfumes that I can nolonger smell them on me (a big no-no is to start putting more on once you’re attuned).

    When I was young and very very poor I would buy a bottle of body shop perfume essence. Dip in a toothpick and run that over the pulse points and you’re smelling like roses all day. And those tiny bottles last forever!

    Now that I can afford grown up scents I have managed to find a couple that I really like. I have one scent that is almost my signature scent and then I have three others that I wear when I want a change. The change scents have all been gifts that I gave a whirl and found that I really loved.

    In a fit of hypocrisy tho I would not advise anyone to give perfume as a gift or to use the service mentioned, as scents are so personal that unless someone really really knows you it can be so difficult to pick one out.

    Oh and one other tip – avoid using lavender-based scents if you suffer from migraines, they can be a trigger.

  4. posted by Lise on

    I’m a fan of Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab’s perfume oils. You can try most of their oils in a 1/32oz sample size before buying a full bottle; and even their full bottles (5mL) are compact, as the perfumes are not diluted with alcohol like most commercial perfumes are.

    Of course, now the problem I have is where to store all my samples…

  5. posted by Lisa T. on

    Wow, for a second there I thought I got my “perfume” feed and my “productivity” feed mixed up! Buying samples is a HUGE money saver, plus variety is the spice of life, right? However, a few samples can get messy FAST. Those little samples are my clutter downfall (I have hundreds!).

    As for where to buy samples, I’ve never had a a problem with The Perfumed Court (including from back when the ladies had individual businesses on eBay). There are a couple of intriguing perfume oil places that sell samples — DSH Perfumes and Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab. They are definitely not your average department store fare!

  6. posted by Peter on

    I will definitely have to let my wife know about this. She is not into the ‘single scent’ either. This is a great way maybe for ME to save some $$$:)

  7. posted by SisterCoyote on

    I don’t wear a lot of perfume, but I like having options when I feel like wearing some. I buy “imps” from Black Phoenix Alchemy Labs and keep them in a re-used Altoid tin in my medicine cabinet.

  8. posted by Mer on

    Since my husband hates perfume and it gives him headaches, I wear just a tiny bit so that I can smell it and not inflict it on other people. Needless to say, it takes a long time for me to use an entire bottle. I stick to one scent and keep a bottle in my dresser drawer.

  9. posted by Eve Martel on

    If I get sick of a perfume, I just trade it on They have a great swapping set-up.

  10. posted by Amy on

    Actually, pure lavender essential oil is recommended for migraines.

    As for the samples: at one point I had dozens and dozens of samples. Unlike regular perfume bottles, they’re not lovely enough to put out and enjoy and they add a huge amount of CLUTTER to the bathroom. I got rid of all of those teeny bottles that I could never organize or find!

  11. posted by Meghan on

    I actually bought a simple 6″x6″ hanging box which I painted to match my room. Then I lined up my perfumes on it (more attractive ones to the front). It is a great decoration, gives you two ‘shelves’ to put your perfumes, frees up space on my dresser, and also keeps you from bumping into your dresser, and simultaneously knocking over 8 perfume bottles.

  12. posted by Elena on

    I have 3 scents: daytime sweet(lavender), daytime flowery(SJP’s Lovely), and nighttime sexy(Origins Ginger). They suit my different moods and don’t take up tons of space.

    Also, I’m putting it out there that I’m a big nerd b/c I got excited that my name was in your post today Erin. 🙂

  13. posted by Kristi on

    Actually, most perfurmes contain tolulene (dry cleaning fluid) and other nasties – and who wants to spread that on your skin?

    Besides being environmentally unfriendly, many perfumes provoke asthma attacks or environmental allergies in those around you – I am constantly amazed that pepole wear strong scent on the bus, in the theatre, at the symphony where they apparently don’t recognize how they’re “cluttering” the air quality for everyone.

  14. posted by Katherine on

    If you are one of those who likes a variety of different smells but doesn’t want a bunch of bottles cluttering up your space, I suggest trying Black Pheonix Alchemy Labs.


    They sell essential oils, which last longer than straight perfume, and there’s a thriving “trade” community if you purchase a scent you aren’t thrilled with. You can buy samples of the scents (known as “imps”) straight from the company or you can purchase a larger bottle. Even if a scent you’re looking for only comes in a larger bottle, often there are people in the BPAL community who will happily decant a sample for you for a few bucks, and the samples last at least a month or two on their own.

    I have over two dozen different scents that I rotate through dependent upon the weather, time of month, or just to “feel pretty”, and all of them fit in a leftover necklace box (2 inches by 2 inches) that came with a christmas gift.

    Finally, if I don’t feel like trading a scent but I don’t want to use it anymore (or I think it’s old enough to have lost it’s “oomph” as one person already stated) I just pour the remaining perfume into a defuser I own. Voila! Instant aromatherapy for the days the bathroom gets an especially long visit from the family.

  15. posted by Tina on

    BPAL is great if you like to smell like a headshop.

  16. posted by cdelphine on

    I think a little bit of perfume is okay but I hate when people wear a ton of perfume.

  17. posted by Lise on

    @Tina. Any perfume with patchouli and/or cloves is likely to make you smell like a headshop. It has nothing to do with the manufacturer.

  18. posted by ducky on

    I’m the type with one signature scent, but I love this post for the fact that I just switched perfumes and hadn’t been able to find trial sizes of it for travel – but Perfume Court has them. I LOVE having the trial sizes to just toss in my makeup bag (and keep there) when I’m packing for business trips. Don’t have to worry about the big (expensive) bottle breaking/leaking or forgetting it at home.

  19. posted by Stephanie on

    When I buy makeup or skincare stuff off of Sephora.come, they give you sample options to add to your order. I almost always pick the perfume ones, so I can get miniature samples to try new ones.

    Also, working in a library, I can attest to what torture it is to be around someone who has doused themselves in perfume. I get at least one brain-splitting migraine a week at work from people coming in smelling like a perfumery.

  20. posted by infmom on

    I have a signature scent, too, but it’s Chanel Cuir de Russie which used to be a department store item and now is about their hardest scent to find. So most days I wear other perfumes and save the Chanel for special occasions. I see Perfumed Court offers it, so when my current tiny bottle (bought on eBay) is gone I might try one of theirs.

    I’m also a fan of Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab and have most of their amber based scents in “imps.” Some of them I like a lot better than others.

    Vermont Country Store sells a lot of classic scents, but they don’t, as far as I can tell, offer samples, which makes it very difficult to determine whether any particular scent would be worth buying.

  21. posted by Natasha on

    I don’t wear makeup, I don’t style my hair, but I adore perfume. Especially Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab. As stated, the bottles are small, you can store them in any manner of small containers that can go anywhere. My bathroom has no drawers or shelves, so I’ve had to go the inelegant route and store all my toiletries in an office caddy. Observe, the taming of the perfume clutter!

  22. posted by Natasha on

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  23. posted by Me! on

    @Tina and @Lise, what’s a headshop?

    Perfumes should be kept in dark places so they last longer, so they shouldn’t be cluttering up your dresser top.

  24. posted by Sidra on

    Try the Sephora Scent Sampler-only $50 for 10 perfumes of your choice, and then you get a voucher to get a fullsize bottle of your favorite one.

  25. posted by Barb on

    A head shop is one that sells accessories for smoking pot—rolling papers, pipes, bongs, etc.

    I love perfume but it doesn’t love me back. I’ve had to give it up so I don’t’ break out in hives. So sad.

  26. posted by Julia on

    I am also one of those women (men too perhaps) who never feel dressed without perfume – I lOVE it. I only wear two scents by DIOR and have done for years. I have no perfume clutter at all and not a drop ever gets wasted. My perfume is stored in the medicine cabinet in my bathroom so no cat issues for me. I often am complimented on my perfume so I am sticking with what I do now!

  27. posted by SkiptheBS on

    Thank you for the info on sample bottles. Since I began working from home, I have few occasions to wear scent, and most of mine have deteriorated.

    Modern synthetic scents have a nasty habit of increasing with body heat and can overwhelm quickly. If you have unscented lotions, you can mix the scent with some lotion to moderate it. My late mother would purchase scented bath oils, store them in the fridge, and mix enough into hand lotions to keep her fragrant but not offensive. The same thing could be done–economically–with samples.

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