Saturday Question: How Many Bottles Is Your Ideal and Why?

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Portia

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Hello Fellow Fumies,

Every Saturday we have a Question, an idea purloined from Olfactoria’s Travels. Everyone gets to chime in with an answer, chat with other responders and it is a fun event each week. Taking sides never means taking offence and everyone keeps it respectful and light, even though we can sometimes trawl the depths.

The idea is you’ll see it on the weekend or chime in through the week. Hopefully you will come back and see if anyone has responded to your comment and you can reply to them.

Over 100 responses I will draw a Scent Sample Pack (from my collection)
This week:

  1. Grandiflora Madagascan Jasmine
  2. Etat Libre d’Orange Afternoon of a Faun
  3. Neela Vermiere Creations Pichola
  4. Vintage CHANEL Antaeus
  5. L’Artisan Mimosa Pour Moi

Last Weeks Winner: Fazal

eMail me at (portia underscore turbo at yahoo dot com dot au) with your address please

Saturday Question: How Many Bottles Is Your Ideal and Why?

Todays question is not about how many you have in your collection, how many you think you may end up with or how many are on your wish list. We are not talking samples or decants. This question is only about what you think the PERFECT amount of bottles might be. An amount that will give you enough scope to feel like you have decant choice but not overwhelming or unwieldy.

The reason I ask this is because I used to collect shoes like I now collect perfume, maybe not quite so ferociously. In the end I wasn’t getting any joy from having all of them and only wore about 15 pairs anyway. I gave myself a 10 pair rule. Yes that includes my flip-flops and Drag shoes (although I do have backups of my two pairs of them uncounted). The rule is, one pair in, one pair out. The most I’ve pushed it out to are the addition of a pair of Motor Cycle Boots and a pair of dark brown suede Ferragamo dress runners that were both gifts from Jin and thus get around the rule. If there was anything in my shore wardrobe I deemed rehomeable they would have been but my collection is freaking rock solid.

My Answer:

Though my collection numbers hundreds of bottles, and it keeps growing, I think that the perfect amount of fragrances would be 35. That would take up a reasonable amount of space, give me enough choice for seasonal and weather variations, won’t feel skimpy or basic and would ideally reflect what I really love to wear rather than what I really love to own.

Ten each of summer & winter specific and 16 wear whenever or extra special bottles.

This is merely fantasy, never going to happen. So let’s all have a go at imagining streamlining your collection.

My Saturday Question to you is:

How Many Bottles Is Your Ideal and Why?

 

 

115 thoughts on “Saturday Question: How Many Bottles Is Your Ideal and Why?

  1. My ideal is fifty. I’m quite close to this as far as my official collection goes. The problem is selling/trading the perfumes I have cut from my top fifty – they’re basically sitting at the bottom of my cupboard, waiting for a new home.

    With fifty, I have a satisfying variety but I’m also using everything at least several times a year. Parfumo helps me keep track of how many times I actually wear something and the last time I wore it – this has helped show me that there’s a difference between between loving something in theory and actually reaching for it consistently.

    I have 10 perfumes on my definite wishlist. This means that as I buy them over time, I will have to move ten down and out.

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      • Parfumo is similar to basenotes or fragrantica. It’s a huge perfume database, also has a comment and rating section, forum, selling function etc.
        I’m not sure the international version is as prominent as the German parfumo webpage but it is definitely worth to check out 🙂

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      • It’s true that the English version is not as densely populated as the German one. Sometimes the reviews can feel sparse compared to, say, Fragrantica. But every user being able to add perfumes to the database (and the easy collection management I mentioned) makes it really stand apart. 🙂

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    • Thanks for mentioning Parfumo. This is going to be a handy way of keeping track of my collection, plus samples I’ve tested – currently the spent little vials go off to reside in various storage tins signifying ‘WANT’ ‘very nice’ ‘meh’ and ‘uggh’. But that might not be a sustainable strategy for a frag head!

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      • You could handle this multiple ways on Parfumo: you could sort by your own ratings, or make custom folders and pop them in there after testing. I’m always happy to get people on Parfumo because it means more quality content. 🙂

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    • Oooh…thanks for introducing me to Parfumo! I’ve been tracking what I wear through each month in a notepad app on my phone but this looks like it will be so much better!

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  2. Hoo boy, that’s a tough one. As my collection is currently south of 60 bottles + dozens and dozens of samples, and with many, many, many more full bottles on my wishlist, I don’t think I have an ideal number in my head. I may or may not have picked up a four drawer bedside table today to store my perfumes in. Just so it looks neat and tidy, you understand. Not so I’ve got more room to store more bottles. And certainly not because they’ve outgrown the two-tier wire storage rack shelving thing that is currently hogging all available space on the top of my chest of drawers and makes people either fall over laughing when they see it, or just gape, wide-eyed and open-mouthed, before saying uncertainly “…wow, you really like perfume, huh?”. I love all of my perfumes and make sure I give some love to each of them on a regular basis. Yes, ok, I’m fickle. What can I say? I adore scent and perfumes and always have. My ideal number? Yeah, nah, don’t have one. Too many scents out there, and not enough sniffing time!

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  3. Interesting question Portia, and I love the thought of a collection reflecting what I love to wear versus what I love to own. In reality though, I fall into both categories. I own fragrances I love to wear and fragrances I love to own (mostly vintages that I am in love with the history). My perfect number of fragrances would be 100 to allow for both. I could let go of some of my current fragrances that I will likely never wear, mostly blind buys that are just not right for me. I have a large armoire where I store all of my perfume bottles in a cool dark place, and I love the experience of taking inventory, admiring the bottles, and selecting fragrances based on my mood, the season, and what I haven’t spent time with in awhile.

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    • Kathleen, now that you mention it, I’ve become aware that the vintages are actually a lot of perfumes that I don’t wear much, but absolutely need to own. This means more perfume bottles that I first thought.

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      • Agreed; I don’t wear the vintages often and there are some in very good condition that I don’t dare to open .
        I’m not sure why because they are meant to be enjoyed .
        However I feel that they remained closed for many many years and I’m reluctant to open them .
        I feel that I just like to look at them and have pride in ownership I guess

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      • Highly recommend an armoire! Mine used to stand in a small guest bedroom where it was overbearing. I moved it to the basement and the big wide doors open so I can easily see all my perfume bottles displayed on the shelves. Now my bedside tables drawers, bathroom cabinets and drawers, and closet are free of perfume bottles and spacious for other items.

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  4. When I started out I thought in terms of the ideal number of bottles but, a bit like my definition of old altering (upwards) as I age, the maximum reasonable number seemed to expand as my collection did…30…40…50…(it would be close 80 now although ~30 are 10ml or less).

    Also I found that seasonality plays into it a lot for me. I like variety and some scents just don’t work for me in the heat, or the humidity, and some aren’t as enjoyable when it is cold. Bottle size is a factor too. Sometimes a 2ml sample is plenty and usually 20-30ml is more than enough (although sadly not always an option).

    What I have found is that I need to be able to see all my bottles so they don’t get neglected. Plus seeing the bottle and mulling over what to wear is part if the joy for ne. If I can’t then my collection feels overwhelming and too large. So I’ve given myself two shelves and my samples and minis are on them as well grouped up in a couple of small glasses and a make up caddy. If I want to add something – it needs a place so I can actually see it, and reach it, without having to move everything out. Otherwise something has to go.

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    • Interesting Lillibet,
      Geographical restrictions. Excellent idea.
      Yeah, seasonality plays a big role in my need for more too.
      Portia xx

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    • Agree with needing to be able to see and reach everything easily. I have my perfumes in their boxes in the cupboard – I want to take them all out to make selection and spraying simpler, but I also like the extra protection the boxes provide.

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  5. I love this question. When I started out on this perfume journey in the early 1970s I had five to seven bottles rotation. I kept a “to buy” list of what full bottle I wanted to own next and once a bottle was drained it would be replaced. Of course there were some favorites that were replenished over and over again.

    Then in the mid 2000s I discovered the online perfume community and started reading blogs. Yikes! That definitely threw my disciplined behavior out the window! I started buying more and more whether or not I had drained a bottle already in my collection.

    Ideally, I would like to get back to having no more than 5-7 bottles of fragrances I absolutely adore. What makes matters confusing in my house is that there are four fragrance wearers and thus the number of bottles that truly belong to me is a bit blurred as everything is pretty much shared and in various bedrooms, the basement and the bathroom as well as some that are with the eldest at college.

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    • Oh yes CM,
      The online world of perfume changed my life too. The end of fiscal responsibility as I knew it.
      Lucky you have four frag heads in the house. Also lucky you like to share, I’m not a sharer and have too much of a sense of mine to be so generous.
      Portia xx

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      • She has actually brought bottles back and forth from college depending on the season. She is more of a seasonal perfume wearer. I, on the other hand, am the least fussy about what I wear so as long as there is perfume in the house I will wear it no matter what the season (I have been know to wear MFK’s APLS and SSS Winter Woods in the heat of summer and Cristalle and Orange Sanguine in frigid winters). The middle one is now in a “natural” perfume phase so she has all of my essential oil concoctions and 15 Pacifica Perfume Company solid fragrances in her room. Which means I get to wear her other stuff-LOL!

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      • And actually it might be more of a curse because guess who was buying said perfume for them? Me! Although right now we are pretty much on a no buy except for absolute essentials…tightening the budget due to college expenses.

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  6. Great question, Portia. I tried to count my bottles not so long ago and I stopped when I got to 75 as I got horrified. I reckon there are not more than 85 of them but still, I was a little shocked. I don’t think I’m going to limit myself to any partucular number (under 200, lol!) seeing that there are still a lot of perfumes I never tried, – it would be same as limiting myself to the amount of the music I listen to, or the films & series.

    Having said this, I only try to keep the perfumes I really love wearing, – or those that have some sentimental or historical value for me.

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    • Hi Diana,
      That first major perfumista stocktake can be very confronting.
      If you wear it, then keep it. Yeah, scentiment plays a big role for me too.
      Portia xx

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      • Hey Portia! Yes, it’s important not to let this passion control our reason. Still, ain’t it good to know that one has a vast choice at least in perfumes?

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  7. My ideal would be between 40 and 50. Enough for variety and perfumista cred but not so many that I need to worry about storage and money. If I reach that limit then I think a 1 in 1 out is a great rule for maintenance 😀

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  8. I definitely belong to the “own what I love to wear” group but I am rather picky and a perfectionst when it comes to perfume. The more perfume I own the more difficult it is to find something extraordinary that can compete with what is already in my collection. So far, the golden number is below 20 bottles, probably around 16. These are mostly “wear whenever scents”, my favourite scent category 🙂

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  9. I had a dream last night that I had thousands of perfumes stored on shelves in my backyard as if they were a fence. In my dream I remember thinking “hmm I have a lot of perfume” but not that it was completely insane. So I guess I just don’t have a limit! XD

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  10. I think I could live with 20-25 I could probably work toward that number now if I could let go of some of the bottles I never seem to wear. Could get away with a small decant of many!

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  11. I think 100 sounds about right, but that’s not likely to happen any time soon as I currently have upwards of 700. So it’s purely theoretical. DNEM as I have too much perfume. 🙂

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  12. I tried to cull my collection a few weeks back. I have a lot and I had 90 sitting there ready to sell on. My heart broke. I bought them with the intention of loving all equally. I cannot even give them away. So, in essence, I have about 20 I cannot live without. No. Scratch that. Maybe 10. Ok, if I had to grab just 5 bottles in an emergency, I’d grab Jicky and stumble over the other 4. Does that mean I really only need 1?

    It appears the number I have now is enough. Too much, but I am not really hankering after any more as I tend to have something from most genres that are pleasing enough. I do think it prudent to have 2 from each major genre, just to make the morning ritual of perfume application easier to deal with. Analysis paralysis is real.

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  13. In an ideal world I would like to have 50 different perfumes (not counting backups) though it would be very hard to come down to that number, given size of collection. But I still do plan to reduce my collection in the future. 50 may not sound much to some of us given size of collection but it essentially means we will not wear any perfume more than 7 times a year on the average if we wear all perfumes equally.

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  14. I had about 45 bottles and felt a bit guilty for not wearing them enough. So I culled about 15, only to buy others. The collection is growing again, there is always that one ‘must have’, then another after that. But I will not go over 40 again, I just don’t get enough use out of them.

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  15. Great question, interesting answers! I agree with Lillibet. I like to be able to see all the bottles at once.

    I think I have mentioned before that in my clothes closet I placed a small, low table. On the table is a large-ish round glass tray, all the full bottles fit there. Samples, decants, and travel bottles are in small boxes on the table. That’s it, when there’s no more space I have enough. So for me it’s more about having everything at hand rather than sticking to a particular number.

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  16. I’ve been pondering this, and I really don’t know. I do know that when I counted them it scared me. But then I bought two new things. My head and my heart have different ideas.

    There are a few things that are just gathering dust. I need to let go of them, and send out into the world to someone who will love them and wear them. If it’s not being worn five times in a year, it probably needs to leave. So, say 60 to 70.

    Time for a swap/freebie fest?

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      • Saffyshire, it’s all sorts!

        >sits and imagines the shelves and the boxes my hand passes over, repeatedly…

        The most tragic waste is the whacking great big bottle of Amouage Bracken. It was a gift–a very generous and thoughtful one–but, so very, very not me.

        Some which would make sense to pass on half a bottle or more, like CB I Hate Pefume In the Library. It seems to need more than normal body heat to open up on me. I live in the wrong climate for that. 4160 Tuesdays Sex Goddess–I enjoy it it, but I will never wear 100ml. And some more obvious ones: a few Muglers, where 2 to 5ml will easily see me through a lifetime.

        Miss Dior Orginale could go entirely as it’s been untouched since I acquired a stash of vintage. CDG2, because I will go for CDG2Man every time given a choice. A couple of L’APs–Passage d’enfer, Timbuktu. A few little bottles, where they came in sets, and I wear them rarely enough to only need one (MFK APOM Pour Femme, for example) or added the wrong one to a set (Hermes Vetiver Tonka).

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  17. Well, I have a couple of ideas about my collection, firstly, it’s a responsible buying as I will never ever use the entire bottle. I just know myself)) Secondly, I wish to try as much as I can, I just enjoy discovering new scents, new combinations, new names or vice versa I want to know classics. So my entire collection is only miniatures, samples and decants. And my answer is indefinite number of items))

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  18. Too hard! Too hard! I started to think maybe 16, allowing 4 per season. But then 16 wouldn’t be enough because there are the different strengths of each fragrance, and that could be 4 in itself. And then allowing for the backups of favourites, which could be however many? It’s like asking how long is a piece of string. My poor addled head. So I’m gonna say 26, which gives the 4 seasonal, plus a small allowance for the variables. It would certainly save some time spent pondering what to wear on any given day, as well as making sure they are tidy and where they should be. But it’s never going to happen. Ah well. . .

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  19. I’m with Lillibet…
    I need to be able to see all of mine so that I don’t forget about them and so I can admire them. Therefore I either cull or start another shelf 😁😁. I haven’t culled any yet as I try to use them up and also my current stockpile is sitting at about 40 full bottles so not yet out of control. I’m happy with about 40.

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  20. Well, I don’t know. I have about 900 full bottles and thousands of minis, samples and decants. It’s unmanageable. I can’t find anything. I think 100 bottles would be manageable, and I could wear all of them in a year. I am selling some but keep blind buying more than I sell. so much to sniff.

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  21. I have not set a limit, currently have about 70 full bottles and because I like big, I buy the 100 ml bottles usually. They are kept in 2 drawers within their boxes, plus the top shelf displays the ‘exposed’ ones, ie those not inside drawers altho they are still in packaging. There is another glass display shelf showing a few more. Since I am at the upper limit of space, I am very cautious now about buying more, unless I can sell another to make way.

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  22. Oh gawd, this is a scary thought. I am moving house and have packed up my collection. There is something like 8 packs of full bottles, plus 5 smaller packs of minis and decants. It’s not until you do something like this that it dawns on you just how much has been acquired.

    A lot of my collection is vintage and antique stuff, which I would always keep, so I’m not going to count them. So what would I get down to if I could?

    My preferences tend to shift on a seasonal basis, so my collection would have to include four signature scents for each of the four seasons. But there are also shoulder seasons in Melbourne, such as our Indian summer, so I’d be inclined to have another three or four for those times. I also think I’d need a fragrance for evenings out and big occasions. Rounding the number up, I think ten fragrances.

    My criteria would have to be very stringent. As Agnes says, I’d have to love them, enough that I’d never tire of them. They’d all have to have good longevity, at least six hours. I like fragrances with medium sillage; I want them to be more than skin scents, but I don’t really want to be that guy radiating perfume as he walks by. Finally, very importantly, they must get the tick of approval from my wife, who is very sensitive to a lot of perfumes.

    Could I ever get down to ten? Not a hope in hell.

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  23. I think I answered a similar question a year or two ago. If I remember correctly I said 30 bottles would do. So, that’s about where I am now (after giving away two mainstream Armani perfumes). There’s a few unloved niche perfumes and about 5 mainstream scents I should sell or give away, but orher than that I still have at least 10 perfumes on my wishlist. So my ideal number would be 50, included some decants or travel sprays. Both budget and storage are limiting factors. Plus, I don’t want to feel guilty about my collection.

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      • No harm in a big collection as long as you can afford it and it doesn’t take over the whole house. You do seem to have the means to be generous to your close friends, too. I sometimes wonder why a big collection of wine is fine, while perfume isn’t.

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  24. I counted my collection a couple of months ago. I had 72 bottles which I use, mostly 30 ml bottles. I think I could comfortable add another 30 to take the number up to a perfect 100. My back ups I’m not including.
    I’m swimming in samples, but still am interested in purchasing more.

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  25. So I currently have 47 bottles (30 mls or greater), twenty of which could be rehomed. However this completely fails to take into account the equal number of decants (between 5 and 30 mls), and of course the over 500 samples. I’m happy with my number of bottles and decants, I think a better question might be how many is too many samples?! (Do not enter me please)

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      • The one’s requiring rehoming were pretty much all blind buys. My luck with blind buys has been minimal. I’ve had a three that have been fantastic, but that’s out of 16. That’s not a good hit rate. So I’ve put myself on a ‘no blind buy’. And of the ones I smelt for the first time in store and then bought immediately only 2 out of 7 will be staying. So I think perfumes are a bit like lovers, you really need to live with them for a while before you commit to a long term relationship.

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      • well, it is over 10 years worth which is only 50 or so a year. But I guess that fails to take into account the ones that have been rehomed. But even that doesn’t take it into the stratosphere. The hardest ones are the ‘meh’ ones. The loves and the hates are usually obvious. I’m finally getting better at realising it’s meh and adding it to the ‘to go’ pile.

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  26. I have to confess the collection started 2yrs n 4 months ago on a cruise trip with creed av, terre Dherms, cole reaction, bvlgari pour homme, 1million intense. Later in summer of 16 in vegas black orchid TF, we were told about on the boat trip.. from there its exploded with most of the scents being niche. There are some amazing designer frags out here im going to eventually own but im the on your seat edge of the clift kind of frag head.

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  27. If I had a spare room I could devote to perfume, and the means to fund the habit, there would be no limit!

    But tuning back into Reality FM, I think 60-70 bottles sounds about right. There’s no reasoning behind that whatsoever, other than I think it would be manageable, and would give me the opportunity to appreciate each and every one of them. But how to choose those preciouses? I’ve no idea!

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  28. I think I could live with 40 full bottles. 10 vintages that I just have to have no matter if I wear them or not. 30 more perfumes that I could change according to the season and occasion would be just perfect. Recently I’ve noticed that some older perfumes smell a bit different and I want to eliminate this possibility in the future. I need the feeling of finishing a bottle every now and then and with a large collection this is almost impossible.

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  29. Super interesting question Portia and some super interesting replies. For me, i’m more governed by budget and space. I found a super neat trick to store my growing collection of decants into a jewellery hanger thing with pockets, so i’m storing by ‘house’ and then one pocket for give aways, a few pockets for ‘order again’ and so on. And i’m finding there is so much to choose from its hard to keep favourites. Theres so much exciting stuff out there! I do think you are right that maybe 100ml of anything is too much. Also, i think my ‘nose’ is changing and what i used to adore i dont love so much anymore. If i had to pick a number i’ll go with 40-50 – one for each day of the month and a few spare.

    I liked Ingeborgs’ comment re wine – something else i have bottles too many bottles of!

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  30. My ideal is to keep the horde below 100, which I have strived to maintain. I don’t like the idea of anything going bad, which has happened in the past when I had too many and didn’t rotate them. This way I get to use each a few times per year. Also, I treat myself to many scents in the form of bath gels and lotions, so that way it feels like I have most everything I want and I am satisfied.

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