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Den Downsizing

Over the last few years, little by little, my shave den has continued to grow. The expansion was driven by curiosity, FOMO and various acquisition disorders. It’s now at the point where it’s just too big. I tend to be a minimalist rather than a collector. My OSD side likes to keep things simple and orderly. Currently too many things are going unused, the display is sprawling and product selection has become daunting. It’s time to streamline things again.

I’m interested in hearing about other people’s downsizing journey including any tips or suggestions. The process of an early acquisitions followed by a period of downsizing seems to be the natural order of things around here. I’m wary of cutting things too quickly. I’ve previously falling into the trap of selling things only to re-buy them again later. I enjoy some variety in shaving and am conscious that preferences can change with time. After reading a thread on a certain item I often pull it out of the back catolog and give it a spin again. It’s often better than I remember it. Certain vintage items have become increasingly harder to find and more expensive to buy and it’s taken a long time to find some items.

Today I made a start by packing away some stones. I filled a box with duplicates and put them into storage. Out of sight and out of mind. I figure that I’ll keep them packed up for a while. If I don’t use them or miss them, I’ll consider moving them on in a few years time. Soaps are more or less under control. I culled the bad ones early on and only kept my favourites. After running those down for a couple of years I recently restocked the best if the best to a sensible level. Razors and brushes are another matter. Baby steps.
 

EclipseRedRing

I smell like a Christmas pudding
If I try to downsize my razors then I struggle to objectively decide which ones can go, I wrongly think I favour them all equally. When I shave I select a razor at random, simply based on what I feel like using each time. So, when I consider downsizing it is apparant that some razors are used more often than others and some, for reasons which are not clear and do not matter, are rarely used if ever. It is those that I let go, because my actions reveal which razors I enjoy most. I put the out of favour razor away in a drawer for a few months, to see if I miss it, sellers regret if you like. Often I cannot remember what razor is in the drawer - then it is time to let it go.
 
I had too much razor clutter. Despite running some kind of rotation and trying to look after my modern and vintage razors carefully they were accumulating normal signs of wear and I felt guilty reducing the condition of the really nice old razors I had found. "They belong in a museum" as Indiana Jones might say.

So I sold everything that wasn't 316 SS (I like to think some of the buyers might have been museums...), which is a material I have always liked, to focus my collection and enable reinvestment in more (but less overall) razors.

It was hard selling a few favourites but it's done now. For a while I didn't buy anything but then this year the RAD seems to have started up again and if I am not careful then I will end up with as many 316 SS razors as I had of all types before. I want to be a minimalist and to only have enough razors to fill my rack but I like variety and to collect - such a conflict. Maybe I just need a bigger rack...

I have also fallen into the trap of buying the same razor twice either as a spare (EJ 3one6 and PAA Meta-4) in a different material (Rockwell and Rex Ambassador), for a slightly different spec (RR SuperSlant, Exec Outlaw, etc) or because I regretted selling it (AS-D2 although it turns out I didn't like it enough so solid it again!).

I've been thinking of giving my spare boxed/unused EJ 3one6 to my dad as a birthday present. I recall he had a black plastic Wilkinson Sword safety razor when I was younger but for some reason he uses Mach3 now. Since the death of my mum he has been keen to try new things to upgrade his lifestyle such as converting from instant to fresh ground coffee.
 
I had too much razor clutter. Despite running some kind of rotation and trying to look after my modern and vintage razors carefully they were accumulating normal signs of wear and I felt guilty reducing the condition of the really nice old razors I had found. "They belong in a museum" as Indiana Jones might say.

So I sold everything that wasn't 316 SS (I like to think some of the buyers might have been museums...), which is a material I have always liked, to focus my collection and enable reinvestment in more (but less overall) razors.

It was hard selling a few favourites but it's done now. For a while I didn't buy anything but then this year the RAD seems to have started up again and if I am not careful then I will end up with as many 316 SS razors as I had of all types before. I want to be a minimalist and to only have enough razors to fill my rack but I like variety and to collect - such a conflict. Maybe I just need a bigger rack...

I have also fallen into the trap of buying the same razor twice either as a spare (EJ 3one6 and PAA Meta-4) in a different material (Rockwell and Rex Ambassador), for a slightly different spec (RR SuperSlant, Exec Outlaw, etc) or because I regretted selling it (AS-D2 although it turns out I didn't like it enough so solid it again!).

I've been thinking of giving my spare boxed/unused EJ 3one6 to my dad as a birthday present. I recall he had a black plastic Wilkinson Sword safety razor when I was younger but for some reason he uses Mach3 now. Since the death of my mum he has been keen to try new things to upgrade his lifestyle such as converting from instant to fresh ground coffee.
I have also toyed with the idea of buying the same razor in a different material. I have and really enjoy the Blackland Blackbird in Stainless Steel. My RAD tells me that I should get the titanium version. The stainless is perfect but the titanium must be better. It’s madness. I’m sure the titanium is great but I’ve found that I quickly get used to whatever I’m using. The weight of the stainless steel has never bothered me once. There’s no reason to upgrade what works.

I’m also guilty of buying the AS-D2 twice. I can’t bring myself to sell it again so it remains in my collection as a reminder. I might give it to my son one day. It would work well for a beginner or someone that likes a mild razor. I like more efficiency and blade feel. We sell things for a reason but sometimes we forget the reason.
 
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I have also toyed with the idea of buying the same razor in a different material. I have and really enjoy the Blackland Blackbird in Stainless Steel. My RAD tells me that I should get the titanium version. The stainless is perfect but the titanium must be better. It’s madness. I’m sure the titanium is great but I’ve found that I quickly get used to whatever I’m using. The weight of the stainless steel has never bothered me.
I find materials such as Aluminium or Titanium too light for my preference so I was glad to see those razors sold. In the case of the Rex Ambassador I sold the Rhodium one which on first use gave me the worst cut ever and I never really trusted or forgave it although in truth I probably wasn't paying enough attention. I have just bought the stainless steel version which hasn't arrived yet although I suspect i will prefer the Yaqi Ultima.

I like that with 3 piece Yaqis and Razorocks their handles are mix & match so with each vendor I just have one handle and the heads can store at the bottom of my razor rack with spare Rockwell and Outlaw head parts.
I’m also guilty of buying the AS-D2 twice. I can’t bring myself to sell it again so it remains in my collection as a reminder. I might give it to my son one day. It would be great for a beginner. We sell things for a reason.
Sometimes I wonder afterwards if I didn't give a razor enough shaves to form a fair impression, or I identify a change to technique that might have helped, or I just see it at a really good price and want to shave with it again. Most razors I buy are used so provided I don't overpay and am happy to wait until it sells at a good enough price then Ebay seems to be a lending library for razors.

I have 2 young sons and have been wondering what to give them when they are old enough. I'm sure they would be fine with an ASD2, Mamba 53, etc but then I'd rather give them something that I actually enjoyed myself like the PAA Meta-4. Maybe I need to buy another spare so I have 2 to give and we could each have different colour flare tips.
 
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Mike M

...but this one IS cracked.
I have been downsizing my own den in the last few years for the same reasons. I had too much stuff to use and it was a headache trying to decide what to use. I was having to decide earlier in the day because I couldn't do it that night, and even then I might just stare at the shave shelf and gear for 20-30 mins and still be none the wiser on what to use.
Realising that soaps go off that is where I started and have made good progress especially by joining the 3017 thread. I have reduced all areas of the hoard except brushes which I really need to work on. Blades have been a particular problem of mine and joining the Tuck At A Time thread has helped, though being a member of the Excalibur thread has not.

I started a thread on my journey Shavers Anonymous (the simple life) - https://www.badgerandblade.com/forum/threads/shavers-anonymous-the-simple-life.651360/post-12636967 if you are interested
 
For me, it’s all about soaps and brushes.
I would love to PIF a bunch of shaving items but shipping outside of Canada costs way too much that it’s cheaper for me to simply toss what I don’t want.
 
Don't get me started on blades! I bought another hundred and ten yesterday. :)
I had 80 blades arrive today but to be fair they were thrown in with a razor, a stand, some blade banks, a travel cover, etc. It seemed like a good deal on ebay but reading this thread made me realise I probably bought someone else's shave den clearout!
 

Phoenixkh

I shaved a fortune
I sold off all my middle range razors early on. I would have to check my first couple BST listings, but if my memory serves, I sold 11 razors. I gave a few nice ones away so I had a more workable group.

I did the same things with brushes and gave almost all my scented soaps away when I found out my face reacted to them. That was a shame because @Tomo and @Flanders had helped me pick out some great ones. I was sorry to see them go, but they went to a good home.

I didn’t do too bad: I’ve only replaced one razor: the Flat Bottom Tech.

I thinned out the razors a few weeks ago now and I’m down to only razors I enjoy immensely. One more (an Ares), and I should be done for a while. I did relent, finally, a get a Pegasus Mistura the other day from BullGoose as they had them in stock and what a wonderful brush for me. I loved the SOC Misturas, but they were a bit smaller than my preference.

Contentment is elusive, but I’m headed in that direction, I ummmmmm hope. <eg>
 
I think it’s useful to have a goal in mind. You should decide what your ideal den looks like before undertaking a wholesale clear out. Choose your storage location and set a size limit. My undoing was when I moved house and my den was released from the confines of the medicine cabinet. Once I moved to a bookshelf I quickly filled it.

Realise that you don’t need to own every soap, razor and brush that was ever made to get a good shave. That is the realm of collectors. There’s nothing wrong with collecting but collections should be viewed separately from daily use items. Collections also deserve to be displayed. Decide what types of gear you like to use for variety and pick an example of each for the shave den. Turn your 100 vintage razors into a feature by putting them into a display case.

Restrict expansion by operating a ‘one in, one out’ policy. Maintaining a small and well curated shave den doesn’t mean that you can’t try something new. It just means that you limit the number of keepers. If you find something is no longer to your taste give the spot to something else.

Fine tune your den before committing to a sale. Move unwanted items into storage prior to selling them. This allows you to experience what it’s like to live with a smaller den. Is there enough variety to keep you interested or are there still unused items on the shelf? Are you happy with your top 5 razors or do you want to swap them out? Do you miss the items in storage or have you forgotten you even had them? It maybe that you keep a small back catalog in storage for rotation. This lets you keep the den tidy but dymanic by cycling items through. Razor and brushes don’t go bad and they don’t take up much room. If they haven’t been called up for a while, it’s probably safe to let them go.
 

Phoenixkh

I shaved a fortune
I have 3 locations for 3 razor families. On top of my tall dresser, I have a few bronze, brass and gold plated razors. In that same dresser, I have a small family of Vintage razors. Finally, I have a few stainless and titanium razors on top of the master bathroom double sink vanity. On “my” side, of course.

My wife seems okay with this arrangement. Or at least, that’s what she says. <eg>
 
Everything not in my bathrooms is in a vintage machinist chest. I am looking for a better looking one (maybe a vintage Gerstner).

It all multiplies so fast. I could, probably, get rid of about 25% of my razors and brushes. I know that I will never use my Rolls Razor. I do not even count my loser pile in my razor count (razors not good enough to keep)… so, I could probably get rid of a lot more than 25% of the razors. It is time to get quite picky with any additions.
 
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I have 3 locations for 3 razor families. On top of my tall dresser, I have a few bronze, brass and gold plated razors. In that same dresser, I have a small family of Vintage razors. Finally, I have a few stainless and titanium razors on top of the master bathroom double sink vanity. On “my” side, of course.

My wife seems okay with this arrangement. Or at least, that’s what she says. <eg>
It's good when you have a double sink in the main bathroom. This means that you have several bathrooms. I live in an apartment where there is only one bathroom, and it is so small that I can hardly fit alone in it. And, of course, there is no place for a collection of razors.
 
I followed my own advise and packed a few things away this weekend. It was fairly easy to slim down knowing that it’s all still there if you need it. 16 stones, 7 razors and 3 brushes have been tucked away into storage. There’s still plenty to choose from and the den’s looking a lot tidier. Everything has its place without too much double up.
 
Everything has its place without too much double up.
I think it also helps to pick one winner for each type of razor eg SLOC = Yaqi Mellon, Mild = PAA Meta4, etc. For example I am currently weighing up if I need both my EJ 3one6 (that I love) and the Razrorock Gamechanger (84P maybe too aggressive) , or which version of the Outlaw to keep (Mild or Evo), or if I should keep the Rex Ambasador or Yaqi Ultima, etc. I usually have one to two of these contests running and it takes quite a few shaves with a variety of blades to get to a conclusion which uses space.
 
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A challenge for many especially with the wife. I downsized some years back to just a Feather DS-2 and a few Gillette Atra handles. Later added a stainless razor from a well known huckster that promptly rusted. Then a Tarara.

A few electric razors as well. They tend to fall in and out of favor with yours truly especially since my road warrior days are behind me.

Have just 2 brushes both sitting in storage. Went to face lathering sans brush. The true minimalist approach.

Blades as Eric mentioned a problematic. Seems an acquisition of many years of Gillette Russian Blue blades occurred at some point. They share space with a few others.

Only one razor, one cream, and one aftershave occupy the counter. The remainder fit in two shoebox size plastic tubs stored in a nearby closet. Seems to keep the household happy.
 
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