Monday Question: What Do You Do With Your Fragrant Regrets?

Have you ever bought a perfume and later realized it was a mistake?

What did you do then?

Sold it on ebay or elsewhere online?

Swapped it?

Gave it to someone as a gift?

Pretended it didn’t exist and move on?

My Answers:

I’m currently at the ostrich stage, burying my head in the sand and pretending that there are not quite a few albatrosses, to stay with the zoological similes, in my cupboard.

In my early days of Perfumista-dom, I stupidly bought a few bottles, I shouldn’t have, I don’t like them anymore and basically I want to get rid of them, but I seem to be too lazy or to unwilling to face defeat like that, to do anything about it. Until now. So I’m harnessing the power of the wonderful perfume community, to hear what you all do with those unwanted and unloved and mostly unsused bottles.

Or am I the only one with a few bottles of shame?


About Olfactoria

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68 Responses to Monday Question: What Do You Do With Your Fragrant Regrets?

  1. Eva says:

    As if you’ve read my mind I have been asking myself exactly that for the last few days.
    Was actually going to email you today to find out what you do with those unwanted bottles.
    Some of them are hardly used.
    Anyway looking forward to reading the answers of everyone.

  2. lady jane grey says:

    Oh, thankfully my 1804 (Histoires de Parfums) was loved by my mother-in-law – but unfortunately, she felt bound to buy me a swap, so now I have a Bois de Paradis by Parfums Delrae at home, I don’t know what to do with…

  3. Ines says:

    Ha! I only have one bottle of shame now. 🙂

    And that is because I either gave or swapped the others away. 🙂 I am hoping to get rid of the last one soon too.

  4. Marie says:

    I have a few large birds – well more than a few – that have taken up residence in my home. And I need to face them, because I generally don’t like to keep things that I never use, be they clothes, books or other items. I’m very reluctant to give away my reject perfumes away as presents because the risk of being guilty of merely exporting the problem to someone else’s house is very real, also very few of my friends are interested in perfume. I’ve given a few bottles away for a specific charitable purpose, other than that I will probably keep some of them for reference, others I might either try to sell or simply give away on facebook friends – and then there is probably one or two that I might simply – ahem – [coughs uncomfortably] – throw away under the heading L

    • Marie says:

      Ooops – pressed a button a bit too fast there – last sentence reads “undert the heading Let’s face reality and move on to new adventures. Some things can’t be helped”. And the oldrr I get the less sentimental I am when it comes to inanimate objects.

    • Olfactoria says:

      That is my problem too, I don’t want to give perfume to someone without knowing whether he or she likes it!
      I gave a few to charity as well.
      Not being attached to inanimate objects is something I’m still working on… 🙂

  5. the husband says:

    May I suggest you people publish lists of unwanted perfumes. Somebody’s Britney Spears purchase may be loved by somebody else …. and maybe swapped for a Bruno Banani.

    • Olfactoria says:

      You may. 🙂
      This is exactly what I will be doing – watch this space…
      Although your examples of perfumes are clearly designed to evoke a certain rancor in this fragrance snob. 😉

    • deeHowe says:

      Lol, I thought he was just making up names with the second one there!

      Anyway, that is exactly my suggestion. I think you should start a “Swap & Sell” page, and offer up your bottles of shame for others! You could set prices, or suggested swap items (gotta beware of those who want everything for nothing, they’re out there, and they’ll bleed you dry. Some of them live in my house 😉 ), and before you know it, you’ve got the beautifully edited collection you’ve been craving!

  6. I haven’t done this recently, I’ve fine tuned my perfume buying, I sample numerous times before I buy. That said, I have done this a lot in the past and mostly ended up swapping things on Basenotes. There is a draw of ‘shunned’ perfumes in my bedroom that I have tried but can’t get rid of!

  7. Asali says:

    I feel quite lucky that so far I only regretted buying one bottle, and a few weeks after I bought it there was a posse swapmania, and the bottle got a lovely home, and I got to know a fantastic perfumista as well as receiving beautiful things in return.
    I had a few bad presents, they went on MUA and swapmania too:-)
    Like you I tend to get quite attached to my bottles, so I do like to see them go to loving homes.
    I thought that in your case, have you considered having a list attached to your blog with things to sell? I have seen other bloggers do that. Otherwise, as your husband suggests, you could host a swapping event yourself at some point if you thought that might work???

    • Olfactoria says:

      I will do that, I think. A sales page is the best solution I believe. 🙂

      You are indeed very restrained in your purchases to regret just one! I admire that! 🙂

      • Asali says:

        I think the real reason is perhaps less admirable restraint 😉 and more to do with the fact that niche labels aren’t available in this perfume-backward country of mine. I can’t answer for myself if the pefumes where right there on the shelves, I do love those FB ❤

  8. the husband says:

    Who can honestly say they don’t love the bottle of BS Radiance od BB’s fruity florals. 😉

  9. andrea says:

    I currently have two ‘5* masterpieces’ mistakes listed on ebay which is where my mistakes end up, I usually don’t make too much of a loss on them (sometimes even a profit) and use the money to buy another bottle of something else. I also sell off ones that I have got bored with and know that I won’t use them again. I did try swapping on MUA but the person I was swapping with pulled out at the last minute which has put me off the idea a bit. 🙂

    • Olfactoria says:

      eBay is a good idea in theory for me, but it seems to be such a lot of work…
      But it is encouraging to hear that you did not lose money that way.

      • karin says:

        I agree! I just can’t get into the whole eBay idea. Overwhelming.

        • lady jane grey says:

          I’m happy I’m not the only lazy one – I considered ebay once or twice but ended up saying “oh gosh, such a lot of work…”

      • andrea says:

        Send me photos and desription and I will list tthem for you, LOL. Seriously, its not that hard once you have done your first listing, just make sure you put enough to cover the postage as its always more expensive than I estimate it to be,

  10. masha7 says:

    I donated several bottles to the beauty salon at a house for elderly folk with Alzheimer’s disease. People with dementia often love perfume as it sparks older, intact memories, and it’s just fun. You could also donate them to a homeless shelter or battered women’s shelter, they’d certainly be appreciated.

  11. Tara says:

    So funny B, I have been thinking this over a lot lately – in sync yet again! I only have a handful of bottles that I want to pass on (one of which I am giving to my sister because she likes it) but I can’t get around to the hassle of listing them on Ebay. I’d be interested to see if you do something on OT. It would be good to stop having those few unused bottles staring at me accusingly and to have the cash for spending on new ones!

  12. karin says:

    I have a stockpile of those bottles. And they’re not easy to get rid of. I even tried giving them to a women’s charity, and they weren’t allowed to take the bottles cause they’re used (anything in the “cosmetics” category has to be new). Huge lesson in never buying unsniffed…

    • Olfactoria says:

      I hear you, Karin!
      They are really not easy to get rid of, and who wants to throw away perfume? Exactly. 🙂

      • karin says:

        Yes…and I’m at the point now where I really would prefer to just get rid of bottles rather than swap! Result of over-enthusiastic purchasing…ah well! I keep thinking with the world economy crashing, we’ll go into a trade economy where my perfume stash will be my form of payment for food or something. 😉 I’m thinking of it as an investment now.

  13. Caro says:

    I usually give them away to to my sister, friends, colleagues, the maid…but sometimes afterwards I regret not having given some of them another chance. I don’t mind having stuff I don’t wear, but there’s always someone else who will enjoy them more than I do.
    Some other time I have sold some bottles for half their price and donated the money to an animal charity.

  14. deeHowe says:

    There are lots of great ideas here, but of course, I think the best idea would be to sell them, and buy new bottles that you’ve been wanting! Let the old fund the new!
    EBay isn’t hard at all; when I decided to heavily edit my collection, I sold a Serge Lutens, a Guerlain, and others. In some cases I actually came out ahead, and not behind. I promptly reinvested that money!

    Of course, a sales page on OT would be wonderful, because I know that there are people who would love to buy *your* perfume. That unwanted little pink & gold bottle that you sent me has become a favorite of mine (I wear it almost every night to sleep), and I honestly can’t tell if it’s because I like the fragrance so much, of if it’s because it came from you! I just know a sales page would be a big hit 🙂

    Oh, and since most people don’t know how criminally expensive it is to ship from Austria, you should post a link to shipping rates. Matt was telling me the other day about a musician who has been labeled “greedy” within their little music community, because of his shipping rates (Migo editions, out of Vienna!). I was appalled, needless to say, because said musician is NOT greedy; just a victim of the Austrian postal service 😦

    Wow, I just completed my first novel, lol! 😉

    • Olfactoria says:

      The sales page is in the works. 🙂
      Although I think the “it’s from me” bonus only works for you, my dear friend, but I hope some people will go for a bargain!
      And thank you for morally backing me up that the “old” unwanted bottles should fund the new ones. Exactly what I have in mind. 😉

  15. dremybluz says:

    If I know someone that loves the fragrance, I will give it to them as a gift. Sometimes I take them to work and let some of my co-workers try them. If they really do like what they have tried, then I just let them have the bottle or bottles. Some of these ladies love perfume, but due to family financial matters, can not afford to go buy a fragrance whenever they would like to have something new. Sometimes I just turn the bottles into room air freshener or use them to scent my drawers and closets. I find it too much trouble to sell on Ebay or swap on some of the swap sites.

  16. moonrae says:

    I just put it/them away for a time,hoping some aging(the perfume not me hehehe)might change how I feel about it… I collect perfume bottles,so they aren’t a total waste

  17. vanessa says:

    We must be lucky in the UK because a women’s refuge took a bunch of my unwanted samples and minis once. Full bottle mistakes probably account for 25% of my collection and I have shifted quite a few on MUA, sometimes in return for another mistake, haha, but not always, have given away about 4-5 outright and sold a couple. The others are at the back of the fridge out of my line of sight for now, but still trouble me…. : – )

  18. Julie says:

    I have plenty of regrets, but they are mostly decants (no more unsniffed splits – one day I will learn!). Since you can’t sell those on eBay, I have just been swapping on MUA and just recently posted some on FFF. Some of my cheaper regrets actually went to the zoo, for use as enrichment with big cats (many zoos will accept them, so check with yours if you’re wanting to donate!). My brother works at the San Diego Zoo and they are often looking for donated items and usually they are more mundane (towels, blankets, cleaning supplies). I’ve also been collecting magazine perfume strips as apparently the hyenas love to sniff and shred them! Here is a good link about zoo enrichment – click on “sensory” under types for more info:

    • Olfactoria says:

      Buying unsniffed is such a thrill, isn’ it? But the rude awakening is not so nice.

      The zoo thing is very interesting, who knew? Thank you for the information, Julie!

  19. Undina says:

    I tool a loooong look at my FB list. Those three or four that I wouldn’t have bought today are almost gone anyway (they were from my pre-perfumista days). There are three 15 ml bottles, which I bought in the set because of the forth one, still not opened/tested so I do not know if I dislike them or not. But with them it doesn’t count because the price was really good and I got the one that I wanted. Among those that I’ve bought recently there are a couple of bottles that I could do without: it’s not a real regret, I will be using them from time to time and I bought them below MSRP but I could have used those money on something I love instead of just like. Other than that, I’m still too young to the field so I haven’t accumulated too many mistakes (if not to count samples and I plan to impose moratorium on buying samples – at least until I have less than a month-testing-worth amount of those that I plan to test).

  20. Eva S says:

    Although my collection isn’t immense (20+ or so) it still contains some albatrosses, and whenever I see them it’s annoying. Some are now used as book-stops (Jeanne Lanvin-so pink! and Lancome Magnifique, horrible). At least they keep “The Guide” from toppling over. I’ve never considered selling bottles so far, mainly because most of them are from my early days and I don’t think anyone would be much interested, they’re all quite boring mainstream. Well, my bottle of Petite Cherie isn’t exactly mainstream, but since it’s famed for turning in just a few months I wouldn’t feel comfortable trying to pack it of to a new home. Thinking of putting it on my vanity table next to the jewellery purely for decoration- the problem is that there’s hardly any room, my jewellery collection also contains not a few “albatrosses” unfortunately and possibly even more expensively…

  21. anotherperfumeblog says:

    I am firmly (for the moment) in the ostrich position. If there are mistakes, there are not many, so I will deal with them later. I recently went through a big purge, and I did sell some on ebay, but now that ebay has decided to charge a percentage of the sale price, it is getting harder to break even and still offer a fair price.

  22. angie Cox says:

    I give it away or it’ll end up in a drawer smelling as bad as ever . Luckily I havn’t made too many huge mistakes , thank God for sample services!

  23. My wardrobe started growing after I found basenotes and other fragrance fans, so I have not had to deal with being stuck with too many mistakes as I have found homes for most of these. Of course, other reasons for this include limited funds for this hobby and the fact that the drugstore and mainstream brands are basically all that can be found here.

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