The Taming of Haulzilla; Counterspace Redemption

If you have been following my blog, you've seen the unstoppable force of wallet destruction that recently exploded all over our apartment; leaving us tripping over the cardboard and bubble wrap wreckage for months.

I am of course speaking of Haulzilla, which you can read about in its full terrifying glory here.

So many things, where am I going to put all of it?!

I cannot deny that Haulzilla definitely increased the amount of products underfoot, but even before then, my collection of skincare and makeup was already spilling over countertops, breeding in our medicine cabinet, piling up in random boxes around the living room, and skittering under my husband's hands when he sleepily tries to brush his teeth really early in the mornings.

I needed to get things under control before there was a causality of either a shattered bottle or possibly his sanity.  I wanted to avoid both.

I have had success with reclaiming some of our counterspace via the use of airless pump bottles to decant things (you can read my review here) but with the revolving door that my routine has been lately, it's become a serious hassle to decant things fast enough (and by that, I mean clean them properly between products, and let me tell you, those things do not air dry easily!) and several things are better suited to their original containers.  Like droppers.

Even with the ongoing countertop crisis, the 'underfoot' crisis and 'piling up in every corner of the apartment' crisis were swiftly gaining prominence as well.  I managed to develop some digital organization of my recent hauls, testing schedule, current stock and empties, and candidates for each step in my routine via the spreadsheet I mentioned in this week's Weekday Randomness post (click) but Mother of Sheet Masks help me if I actually had to go find anything.

So, with very limited bathroom real estate available for storage solutions, I decided I could get one of those plastic drawer sets which I could turn sideways and wedge under our towel rack.  (Note: we live in the desert, so we don't have the same risk of humidity in our bathroom like most people do.)  When my husband got home that day, I had barely gotten out a "Honey, I have an idea, why don't we get one of-" when he suddenly yelled "WAIT!  I forgot something!" and dashed out the door; moments later he had returned lugging a three drawer set.  It turns out the friend he had recently helped move gave it to him, and he thought it would be good for my 'bb creams and snails'.  How fortuitous!   Also hilarious timing.  Or I'd been talking in my sleep before my conscious mind had arrived at the solution.

However, knowing that his friend's apartment had never been cleaned in the 8 years he lived here other than occasional out-of-state visits from his mom, before starting I enlisted the help of 75 friends:

I ended up using about 20, which is a staggering amount for such a small drawer set.  Godspeed, bacteria killers; your service was not in vain.

The next challenge was of 'fit an elephant into a teacup' proportions, namely fitting all of this stuff into this one drawer set:

I'm pretty sure when I finally collected all the various boxes of things in one place, my mind fuzzed out into white noise for a few minutes over how I was going to pull this off.

I had my work cut out for me.  I consoled myself that a (very small) portion of this is actually nail polishes/supplies that have their own giant tub they're destined for, and a goodly amount of what I have pictured is either empties (a portion of Haulzilla is actually empties, since it took so long to evolve) or the boxes of currently in-use products.

So, poured myself some tea, cranked a kpop playlist, and set to work, feverishly stacking and shifting and rearranging until I managed this:

Behold my fearsome packing powers!
Not only did I manage to fit everything in there, but I have a fair bit of room in my 'makeup' drawer still left, so with some creative re-arranging I could fit 1/3rd to 1/2 of a drawer's worth of stuff in here, if I had to.

The top:

I stuffed all my random old western makeup/products (that I really need to comb through and throw out one of these days, but not at 2 am the night before I have to go to work) and various doodads in the blue tub resting on the top, and in front of it is all my daily products which have been carrying out their diabolical campaign of torment on my husband.  I was even able to free up the medicine cabinet space I had been congesting with products, heedless of the danger of the toilet maw lurking below.  I risk a heart attack daily as I open the cupboard door, with nothing but my reflexes (such as they are) to prevent rouge products from leaping to a wet death.  There's no way I'm putting something on my face after it's been dunked in the toilet, so it's a game of chicken every day.

Not pictured is my Clarisonic, current konjac sponge, or the two products I keep in the fridge, which are the OST/C20 Vitamin C serum, and the Nature Republic aloe gel (reviewed) since they're not going to be stored on/in this drawer set.

The first drawer:

Why yes, that is a pH testing kit sitting right there.
Because it was already quite late when I finally finished obsessively cleaning the drawer set, I foolishly started organizing this drawer carefully, with products placed neatly and in an orderly fashion.

Then I closed the drawer and reopened it.

Needless to say, the contents had shifted in transit and I discovered it was completely useless to try to keep things tidy; the best I could hope for was benign chaos.  I stuck my hair stuff and makeup brushes in a large ziploc and wedged it in the back, stuffed my point makeup (western and Asian alike) into a smaller ziploc which I placed in front of it, and then tucked things wherever they would fit.

As I mentioned earlier, I have a surprising amount of room in this drawer (and an epic amount of BB creams, which you can see swatched here) which is a relief; in the event that my stash defies the laws of nature and manages to expand despite all my efforts to the contrary, at least I will have somewhere it can expand to.  Also, I can't help but ruefully reflect on how someone who wears makeup so little has managed to amass such a collection. I did wear it daily before I started working from home, but it still pains me to have it go unused.  I don't want the strain of wearing it on my skin if I can help it, especially if I am testing new products and trying to isolate their effects, so the 'look fabulous even if you are a hermit' approach isn't going to work for me.  Weekend date nights it is!

The second drawer:

I am still amazed at how compact the sheet masks are
As hard as it is to imagine, I have managed to stuff every single sheet mask I own into this blue tub nestled on the left side of this drawer, and fit all my sample sets in front of it.  At the back is a deluxe sample kit and all my spare foaming nets.

All my random/single/kitchen sink samples are in the ziploc bag at the back right; under it is the products I actually bought as gifts for various people, along with an never-unwrapped contour powder that is way too dark for me, as is the BB cream at the front left of the tub.  Immediately on taking these photos I realized that this drawer set was destined for my bathroom and hastily removed said gifts and items I plan on gifting/reselling.  Derp.

Rest assured, none of these items made it to my bathroom, they're in a box in my living room, but my camera was dying and I couldn't be bothered to wait for it to charge and then retake the picture.

At the front left is the non-sachet and/or deluxe samples I have, along with the elusive Hanyul 5 sample set that went ninja mode on me when I was trying to assemble everything for the Haulzilla post.

The third drawer:
Can you believe I only have three Mizon Snail Gel backups left?!

Amazingly, this drawer was the only one that entered 'trying to fit an elephant into a teacup' territory.   In the end, everything fit.

This drawer contains, from the front to the back, everything that is on my to-try list, my backups, and my Wasteland of Rejects which have been banished to the hard-to-reach overhang of the upper drawer.  The only thing back there that I don't dislike is the Mizon shampoo, but just never use it other than special occasions because I have a lot of hair and as a result I buy cheap shampoo.

You may look at the picture of Haulzilla at the top of the post, and then down at this single drawer of products with skepticism, as surely it would be impossible to fit everything in a collection so vast it covered every inch of my tabletop?

True, and that brings us to the final player in my night of frenzied organization.

The box of Empties and in-use Boxes:

Empties are the beauty world's next haul enablers!
I suppose it's a bit weird of me to keep the boxes of products I am currently using and/or the boxes + empties of the products I have used, but I have a few reasons for why I do it, and hoarding is not one of them.

(I promise I am not a hoarder.  One of my favourite things to do is to organize our pantry and throw out things that are expired and/or we never use.  Actually, I enjoy organizing and purging things in general.  So refreshing!)

For one, I like to test and use things to death before I review them, which can mean the box is rattling around for some time before I am finally ready to review the product; I like to take pictures of both the product and the box, so I need to keep it.

For another, when you have a stash as massive as mine and a testing schedule so complex that it requires automated calculation, empties are a source of pride and a sign of sanity.  It's what draws the line between 'voracious consumer of Asian beauty products' and 'someone with an uncontrolled shopping addiction'.  Even my husband, who is painfully privy to my daily skincare habits, asked me "are you sure you're going to be able to use all this?" even as he helped me assemble Haulzilla on our table.

Parts of this box is stacked 2-4 layers deep just to fit everything, do not be fooled by the top-down perspective.

The spreadsheet:

Additionally, organizing things digitally also helps me identify what areas of my routine I already have plenty of options for, what I'm in danger of running out of, and most importantly, coordinates my testing schedule.

Although the filter/sort features will not work in this view-only version, you can always pop in and see what my current routine is, what products I have on the go, and what might be upcoming for review.  If there's something that you see I have already tested but isn't reviewed, feel free to request it!

Currently, the spreadsheet contains mostly Haulzilla purchases and doesn't have many of my older stash, but my next project will be to add everything in there and glory in the organizational revolution it brings.

Click here to view The Spreadsheet of Many Tabs.  I update it almost daily, so you can always see what I'm up to.  I have the Stash tab sorted by Brand as I suspect that's the easiest for people to navigate with the filter and sorting features disabled.

You can read more about the evolution of the spreadsheet and how the testing schedule automation works here if you need some help navigating the maze of entries.

And with that, Haulzilla and my entire current collection has been officially tamed, my husband will be agog over the totally free counter of our bathroom sink when he wakes up tomorrow, and I'll leave you all with my latest purchases:

These were only 99 cents each.  I've been loving green tea masks lately.

Two sheet masks I picked up from the korean mart where I purchased the supplies needed for my first ever virtual Kimjang on Saturday, where a group of fellow Asian beauty addicts and I hung out online making kimchi together, which was a tremendous amount of fun, completely exhausting, and best of all, produced this:

Pro tip: The foil over the mouth of the jar before screwing on the lid trick is courtesy of my long-suffering spouse who was tired of our fridge reeking of fermented cabbage every time he opened the door.  It works amazingly well; I've kept store-bought kimchi for months this way and it kept the smell completely contained.
My first ever attempt at kimchi, specifically tongbaechu kimchi (which is the traditional whole nappa cabbage type with filling painstakingly stuffed between each leaf) using Maangchi's recipe, which you can find here.

The entire process took between 6-7 hours and left spatters of kimchi filling everywhere, but it was so worth it.  I already consume store bought kimchi at a rapid rate and it's my favourite form of probiotics as dairy is not my friend.  Correction:  dairy and I are in a tragic tale of one-sided love; I adore it and long to eat it daily, but it is locked in bitter feud with my intestines and thus our love can never be.  *heartbroken sobbing*

Thankfully kimchi has been able to pick up the broken pieces of my culinary heart and I shamelessly eat it straight out the jar at times.  It's even low calorie, don't judge me!

Do you have a teeming stash that you've wrestled into submission with your organizational skills? Do you love spreadsheets as much as I do?  Have you made your own kimchi?  I'd love to hear from you; leave me a comment below or connect with me on Facebook or Twitter!

All the best,

**Disclaimer: All products reviewed/mentioned in my blog, are 100% purchased with my own money, with a single exception of a press sample I tested & reviewed in 2015 which swore me off of them forever.  This blog contains  both affiliate and non-affiliate links, and clicking the former before you shop means that this blog may receive a small commission to assist in this blog supporting itself.  Please see my Contact Info & Disclaimer policy for more information.


  1. I am quite impressed by your packing skills!
    Just a little side note, I lost my favorite hard to find vintage sunglasses in the toilet when they fell in while it was flushing. Our pipe is very large and the flush is super strong, the glasses were gone before I even realized the fell :(

    It is better to keep things away from that kind of evil!

    1. Oh noooo! I am sure you could have rescued them from their unfortunate dunk too. I have actually lost a full set of makeup brushes that somehow flipped up in the air and somersaulted into the toilet. There was no coming back from that one.

      I agree prevention is the best solution!

  2. Ohh you organised everything wonderfully~ ^ ^
    I feel a little bit jealous of your amazing haul teehee! ^ - ^